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Thursday, June 21

Just What Is Civilized?

I watched Little Children a few days ago and I still don't know what I think of it. It underscores a problem that I don't believe anyone has yet answered in a satisfactory way. The problem is that of what to do with people whose perversions can cause harm to others, particularly children. The answer is not as simple as you might think as the film points out. Obviously children need protection from predators but where is the line drawn when people are mentally ill, as I think this is. Incarceration is not going to cure them and we cannot hold them forever. To me it is similar to a suicidal person. You try to protect them from themselves but there is only so far you can take that.

For those who have not seen the film, there is a character who has exposed himself and is now out of prison. He lives with his mother in a neighborhood with many children. I want to say the parents are ridiculously hostile but my children are adults. I might feel differently if they were small. By the end of the film you are well aware that this is a sick man.

So what does a civilized culture do to solve this problem?

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