The bane of any blogger is silence. We write and write and write and … nothing. It’s like dropping a pebble in a well. You don’t get any response. The Internet equivalent of crickets chirping is nothing at all, and nothing at all is very, very common. Sometimes though, you have the opposite problem.
About two weeks ago, I wrote a post about a proposal, in Canada of all places, to make it mandatory that every children’s entertainer undergo a background check. The idea is to somehow protect children from abuse, but I’m a little unclear on how it’s supposed to work. I guess the theory is that a child molester will be caught once, convicted, released, and, solely because he is permanently barred from working as a department-store Santa, decides to give up molestation as an avocation.
What I am perfectly clear about it what will actually happen if this silly bill every becomes law: a bunch of people who would otherwise make perfectly good Easter Bunnies or whatever won’t, either because the cost of the licensing is prohibitive (given the not-extraordinarily-lucrative nature of working children’s birthday presents) or because they have some meaningless offense on their records. What won’t happen is even a single child being saved from abuse.
The champion of this bill is a woman named Linda Beaudoin, and Ms Beaudoin apparently Googles her own name once in a while. She read my post and, let’s say, disagreed. She posted a series of comments — you can read them for yourself but the gist is, she’s mad at me.
Well, okay, if I were busy doing something I thought was important and some snot I’d never heard of said what I was doing was silly, I’d be mad too, but I want to discuss her points in detail.
She writes “nothing in the world is 100%.” The criticism of the bill is not that it isn’t 100% effective, but that it’s 0% effective. Seriously, the proposed law would do absolutely no good, at least in the practical sense, and it would divert time, money, and attentions from other programs that could do some good.
She also points out a factual error in my post — the poster child for bad birthday clowns, John Wayne Gacy, did (contrary to what I wrote) have a previous conviction, he did 18 months of a 10-year sentence for sodomy. The record was sealed so he might still might have qualified for a clown-license, but let’s say for the sake of argument, he couldn’t get the clown card. So the horrific career of John Wayne Gacy would have been nipped in the bud.
Well, his clown career would have been stopped. His career as a serial killer still would have prospered.
I could go on but let me summarize. Ms Beaudoin passionately believes (a) child abuse is a serious problem, (b) something should be done about it, and (c) this is something, therefore we should do it.
She is right about the first two.