Calling For Balance On 'On Balance'

A few days ago, my three kids were bickering endlessly with each other for the trillionth time. I told them "I've done everything in my power to stop your fighting and I've decided you three simply deserve each other. So keep on bickering to your heart's content!"

They laughed and stopped fighting.

It's time to do the same thing now with all of you. This summer, the anonymous nastiness on this blog has become counterproductive to what has been, in general, a very productive discussion for the past 18 months. Not everyone is at fault here, but everyone will now be required to register with washingtonpost.com before they are able to post comments to the blog.

We value honest opinions; disagreements and even anger are a normal part of conversations about work/life balance and parenthood where philosophical divides are common. Requiring registration does not mean we don't want to hear from you, but it does mean we want you to take responsibility for what you post, and maybe even think twice before turning to malice.

Here is how it's going to work:

When you click to post a comment, you will be prompted to log in. Your MyPost ID will display when you post a comment. You can set this ID to be different from your e-mail address one time here. If you have already created a MyPost ID elsewhere on washingtonpost.com, that ID will display on this blog as well. If you click to post a comment and are not yet registered with washingtonpost.com, you will be asked to do so.

I hope that those of you who want to continue "making real, substantive contributions to the contributions," as one reader wrote in an e-mail, will stay. In her words: "I don't want to lose the fun and the margarita discussions, but I'd like it to feel less like a junior high cafeteria."

A second part is for our community to self police. If you see an offensive comment that you think warrants removal, please send an e-mail to onbalance@washingtonpost.com. That will help flag these comments earlier to those of us who can remove them.

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  July 31, 2007; 6:30 AM ET  | Category:  Conflicts
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Comments

Please email us to report offensive comments.



OK, I can live with this. I just hope to be First!

Posted by: fred_and_frieda | July 30, 2007 6:15 PM

Thank you to Leslie, and the WP staff. I'm sure it's going to be more pleasant around here.

Posted by: sue | July 30, 2007 6:15 PM

Thanks, Leslie. Good call.

Posted by: emmckhann | July 30, 2007 6:30 PM

A great idea! Will this lead to more civil conversation? I hope so. I enjoyed the gentle snarking, but it has been getting out of hand lately.

Off topic and personal: to those who were interested, the cats and I made it out to California in one piece. They adjusted surprisingly well; the only trouble we had was getting the harnesses on and getting them into the bags. Little cat did better than big cat, except at security, but both did okay. They spent about ten hours in those bags and I think they did really well. And no one on the plane died of anaphylactic shock due to cat allergies. :-)

Posted by: Monagatuna | July 30, 2007 7:31 PM

PS. MonaGatuna=Mona, obviously.

Posted by: Monagatuna | July 30, 2007 7:32 PM

So Leslie, are you going to bring us milk and cookies for bedtime since we (some of us) are acting like your children?

And how are we going to figure out who is whom with the new names? Although I suspect that we will soon figure out and I think that Mr. Mako will not be joining us!

Posted by: fred_and_frieda | July 30, 2007 7:35 PM

Can they be warm chocolate chip cookies?

Posted by: maaxt | July 30, 2007 7:45 PM

mona - glad you and your babies made it safely.

Megan's Neighbor

Posted by: mn.188 | July 30, 2007 8:29 PM

Any popular blog should have the same policy. Lots of trolls love anonymity.

Posted by: kctipton | July 30, 2007 8:48 PM

Hi there all - it is a bit longer but I get to keep my identity.

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | July 30, 2007 9:46 PM

Guess who?

Posted by: BlindSpot | July 30, 2007 9:55 PM

Well, it looks like this blog is down to only 1 gutless coward from now on...

Ha!

Posted by: BlindSpot | July 30, 2007 10:11 PM

Leslie - Good to see you made the change!

malharden, AKA ProudPapa...

Posted by: malharden | July 30, 2007 10:29 PM

Thanks for your support, guys.

For most of the last 18 months I have been anti-registration, because I respect the people who've been drawn to On Balance's topics and discussions. But in the last few weeks I came to feel we had no choice but to require registration. Not as some weird form of punishment, but to keep the intelligent discussions (and the people behind them) alive and kicking in our corner of cyberspace.

Anger, disagreement and some degree of bashing are all totally fine in my view. I think these work/life issues are really important and warrant passionate discussion. But the obscenity and harsh negativity made the blog too painful to read some days, even for me. On Balance got UnBalanced.

So here we are. I'm looking forward to going forward. I hope some of our favorite regulars will come back and rejoin the discussion.

Posted by: leslie4 | July 30, 2007 10:37 PM

mehitabel, née catlady.

Posted by: mehitabel | July 30, 2007 10:54 PM

Thank goodness! I was so sick of all the nasty commenters who never identify themselves. It's fine to disagree with someone else's country but some folks have been downright rude for no reason at all. To the cowards: step up and identify yourself. This is a great blog and this remedies what I think was a rather annoying problem. My reading will be much more enjoyable now.

Posted by: mrsbookaddict | July 31, 2007 6:09 AM

Above I stated, "It's fine to disagree with someone else's country but some folks have been downright rude for no reason at all."

Oops, haven't had my morning coffee yet. I meant to stay "It's fine to disagree with someone else's opinion . . . " I hope this doesn't predict what kind of day I'll be having.

Posted by: mrsbookaddict | July 31, 2007 6:11 AM

Good policy, should be put in place for all of these forums. That said, yesterday's discussion would have probably been MUCH less interesting if people had to identify themselves...

Posted by: jjtwo | July 31, 2007 7:06 AM

fred, I'll be back to join you at lunch! I'm sure you didn't expect me to go away from my favorite feeding ground, did you?

Mr Mako

Posted by: Mako | July 31, 2007 7:15 AM

Great policy. Sorry I haven't been around lately. My data arrived last month and we have been swamped. I try to catch up on Fridays.

Posted by: foamgnome | July 31, 2007 7:23 AM

It's nice to know that Leslie got rid of the gutless cowards, but what would the blog be without us?

Hello Fred, KLB, Mona, MN, Catlady and Foamgnome. I'm glad to see the regulars haven't gone anywhere!

Posted by: GutlessCoward | July 31, 2007 7:37 AM

Not a bad idea to expect some accountability.

Question - how do I get my User ID to reflect the name I usually use when I post (Vienna Mom)??

Thanks,

Posted by: monkey204 | July 31, 2007 7:44 AM

Gutlesscoward - are you someone we already know? Inquiring minds want to know.

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | July 31, 2007 7:56 AM

Catlady, do you use that moniker on another prominent forum with a "9" behind it? Cyberspace is a very small place!

(Proud Papa)

Posted by: malharden | July 31, 2007 8:14 AM

This ID makes me much less anonymous, since I've used this moniker since 1995! Anyone who knows me knows I AM DemandaBanana. I'm also atb. This should be interesting to watch...

Posted by: demandabanana | July 31, 2007 8:15 AM

Gee, Make and Gutless Coward both? I do like some of Gutless Coward's comments tho.

Posted by: fred_and_frieda | July 31, 2007 8:15 AM

I for one am glad that WaPo has finally decided to enforce the "sign in to post a comment" rule. I just wish that they would allow those of us who already had signed in to change their User ID; I used to be John L, for example and would've liked to have kept that name instead of the first part of my email address.

Posted by: jlnsford | July 31, 2007 8:17 AM

BTW, Leslie, where is my cookie?

Posted by: fred_and_frieda | July 31, 2007 8:17 AM

I think if you want to change your posting name, you have to create a new Washington Post login (probably with a different email address), and then log in using that new information.

Posted by: carifly | July 31, 2007 8:21 AM

Looks like today's blog is going to have a bit of a Happy Hour feel to it. Everybody raise a glass...

(Proud Papa)

Posted by: malharden | July 31, 2007 8:21 AM

HMM, maybe I will unretire.......

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 8:25 AM

No need to do so on our account! :)

Posted by: fred_and_frieda | July 31, 2007 8:26 AM

Test. Good tip carifly...

Posted by: ProudPapa15 | July 31, 2007 8:35 AM

Good move Leslie

POWM

Posted by: tntkate | July 31, 2007 8:36 AM

Okay, so now that that's settled, how about a topic for the day? Speaking of kids fighting, where do others draw the line on letting their kids work out their differences with each other and stepping in when the 5-yr-old has made the 2-yr-old cry (on purpose) for the 15th time in a half hour period?

Posted by: rockvillemom | July 31, 2007 8:41 AM

Okay, so I created a new email account and new profile just so I could be "viennamom".

Seems sort of silly, though, that you can't just select a new userID to go with an existing account.

I'm guessing the people collecting the registration data to make decisions about advertising never thought about it either. But 'm guessing I'm not the only one with multiple accounts now for washingtonpost.com....

Posted by: viennamom | July 31, 2007 8:41 AM

Thank you!!!! I think this will help so much.

(aka Just Wonderin')

Posted by: Corvette1975 | July 31, 2007 8:41 AM

In alphabetical order:

Hi, foamgnome. Figured you were knee-deep in data these days, from what you'd mentioned before.

Para a mãe portuguesa: Boa tarde!

To pATRICK: Let's go for flan sometime, OK?

To Proud Papa: Sorry to disappoint, but I'm not the same mehitabel. I just took this new name last evening.

To all the other regulars, great to see you again.

(signed) The former catlady.

Posted by: mehitabel | July 31, 2007 8:43 AM

I'm very pleased that Leslie and her staff decided to make this change. Things had been getting pretty ugly.

clarify, I used a different e-mail address but was still not prompted to enter a screen name. Did I miss that part?

Mona, I'm glad to hear that you all arrived safely. Are they indoor cats, or are you going to have to use the butter-on-the-paws trick to get them to come home?

Meesh

Posted by: santaperpetua | July 31, 2007 8:43 AM

I'm a fan of registration, but I think the process WaPo has chosen for blog registration is horrible. When I registered YEARS ago, there was no option for creating a username -- your ID was your email address, which in my case is my actual name. There's no way I want to use my actual, rather distinctive, first name on a blog.

So, easy, right? Just create a new account with a different email. But still, no way to have a user name that's not your email address (unless I'm missing something). Stupidly, I used my personal email address for a second sign in, and now I can use my last name to post! Whee!!


Sorry, but this is crap. If you're going to use a registration process that was originally meant to be private for a public forum, then you darn well had better figure out a way for people to create aliases.

Guess I'm off to create a new email account with my desired username. What a waste of time...

Posted by: reneeas | July 31, 2007 8:51 AM

I'm a fan of registration, but I think the process WaPo has chosen for blog registration is horrible. When I registered YEARS ago, there was no option for creating a username -- your ID was your email address, which in my case is my actual name. There's no way I want to use my actual, rather distinctive, first name on a blog.

So, easy, right? Just create a new account with a different email. But still, no way to have a user name that's not your email address (unless I'm missing something). Stupidly, I used my personal email address for a second sign in, and now I can use my last name to post! Whee!!


Sorry, but this is crap. If you're going to use a registration process that was originally meant to be private for a public forum, then you darn well had better figure out a way for people to create aliases.

Guess I'm off to create a new email account with my desired username. What a waste of time...

Posted by: reneeas | July 31, 2007 8:51 AM

If any of you need your e-mail address cleared out of the system so that you can re-register using a name you want to display, please click on the "washingtonpost.com: help" link below the bottom navigation. The righthand portion of the tab allows you to submit a question. washingtonpost.com customer care folks can help alleviate any roadbumps you may encounter. Thanks.

(By the way, the "onbalance" username is being used by On Balance's editor at washingtonpost.com)

Posted by: onbalance | July 31, 2007 8:57 AM

Warm milk and cookies--I want to dunk them in my coffee.

But after hours, can I have something with tequila?

Which brings another thought to mind, Vegas Mom, when are you going to plant agave plants with the xeriscaping and either make a profit?

Posted by: maryland_mother | July 31, 2007 8:59 AM

Oh, I get it. Well, I guess I'll be making a new account!

Meesh

Posted by: santaperpetua | July 31, 2007 9:02 AM

I think this is a great idea--I come here to read what you have to say and don't have the time to read through 300 off-topic posts. This new policy is no different than any other online discussion board I've ever been on--on every other board the moderator butts in to remind people to stay on-topic and will delete posts that start down a hostile tangent.

I do agree, however, that the Post's registration process is ridiculous--you should absolutely be able to use some kind of alias so the whole world doesn't have to see your name. Yes, you can go create a new email address that doesn't reflect your name, but it shouldn't be that difficult.

Posted by: maggielmcg | July 31, 2007 9:05 AM

years ago, when asked to sign in with my email address, I made one up (janedoe@acme.com), since I didn't want to get unwanted emails and I figured it was worth trying it out to see I could access the Post that way. Turns out I could, although you'll just have to trust me when I say that I am single mother by choice in real life.

Posted by: janedoe | July 31, 2007 9:09 AM

I don't get the problem - my ID/alias isn't my e-mail address.

Posted by: dennis5 | July 31, 2007 9:18 AM

Hey guys! It's scarry otherwise known as Irishgirl74.

Posted by: Irishgirl74 | July 31, 2007 9:28 AM

Amanda, do you really want all these people to know your personal details from the baby board?

For all of you with non-disposable monikers -- welcome to identifiable world!

Posted by: super7 | July 31, 2007 9:28 AM

I'm willing to try this system; I hope it will help. I agree that the signal-to-noise ratio has dropped sharply in the last few weeks, and I'd to get this back to being a useful discussion forum.

Hopefully I won't get in trouble for saying this, but the WaPo registration system doesn't actually make you have a valid e-mail address. Simply register and tell them that your address is (the nickname you want)@(some place that doesn't exist); e.g., ArmyBrat@adkfj.cz It works.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | July 31, 2007 9:29 AM

Hi, Irishgirl74 (Scarry)! How are you feeling these days? Doing well, I hope.

Posted by: mehitabel | July 31, 2007 9:32 AM

Army Brat,

Apparently, though, for those of us who already had signed up, we cannot change our user name even if we change our email address to a nonsensical and nonexistant label. I changed my email address but still have the same user name.

Posted by: jlnsford | July 31, 2007 9:37 AM

Fred, catlady, et al., thanks to Army Brat, I have my name back, LOL. Just goes to show there is a time and place for compliance with The Rules - and a time to use them efficiently.

Posted by: Megans_Neighbor | July 31, 2007 9:38 AM

Well that was easy! Thanks Army Brat. It would have never occurred to me to try that.

Maryland Mother, what's a good type of tequila? I hate the stuff, but my friends like margaritas, so I want to get a good type.

Posted by: Meesh | July 31, 2007 9:40 AM

Speaking of kids fighting, where do others draw the line on letting their kids work out their differences with each other and stepping in when the 5-yr-old has made the 2-yr-old cry (on purpose) for the 15th time in a half hour period?

Ahh, the joys of parenthood.

I've drawn the line at physical pain and purposeful prolonged meanness. 5 yo vs 2 yo is simply not going to be a fair fight, no matter how the 5 yo argues it. In fact, if the 5 yo is instigating, then the 5 yo is probably either tired or hungry, or both. If not, tough. Off to the dungeon with you, miscreant! Later on, when everyone has settled down, I try and get some one-on-one time with the instigator doing something we enjoy. (Psst--Perler beads, Legos, and things like that usually help.)

8 vs 12--then you let them work it out.

I only get involved when it looks like there is going to be blood shed, or if there are some REALLY below-the-belt comments continuing to be made. Yes, I do address the "it's not what you said as much as how you said it!" stuff too. Later.

I'm also forthright when I've decided that I need some quiet. So I order them to separate areas, or I tell them to go outside, provide them with squirt guns and a dog and not to come back until they're able to be civil.

If things are REALLY bad, then I get to have the squirt guns and THEY get to run from me. I'm far more accurate and can still outrun them. Although one of them will be pulling ahead of me soon.

*huff puff huff puff*

Posted by: maryland_mother | July 31, 2007 9:40 AM

jlsnford, that's right. You have to register for a new account. My old account was created before they used email addresses as account names; it happened to be the former Canadian postal code of my former employer (showing how long ago I created that account :-) Rather than have my postings tagged "m2j5c2" I registered for a new account. It took a try or two to figure out that new accounts have IDs that match the first part of the email address (the part before the "@"). The rest was pretty straightforward.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | July 31, 2007 9:40 AM

Good Morning everyone!

I'm so glad everyone is making the move safely thus far, and with minimal breakage. And sending out the change-of-address cards already! I'm so impressed.

Don't forget to tip the movers!

Vegas Mom

PS: Maryland Mother -- We've never planted agave. Will have to look into it. But our desert flowers are looking very pretty lately, while our "regular" flowers died about a month ago. We will replant in the fall when temps turn "regular" as well.

Posted by: vegasmom89109 | July 31, 2007 9:41 AM

Hi Meesh,

I'm a flyweight when it comes to drinking, so I don't actually know what a good tequila is or not. All I know is that it tastes better with grenandine, and I'd best stick to only ONE drink.

Hmm, anything not named "Old Horse Lips"?

Posted by: maryland_mother | July 31, 2007 9:43 AM

anyone having problems with your screen name, click on the teeny tiny HELP button at the very bottom of the screen. the tech team at wpni should be able to help. thanks. this is a good change. kind of fun seeing people's "real" names too although i guess this is goodbye to The Lascivious Strumpet.

Posted by: leslie4 | July 31, 2007 9:43 AM

John L - I did it, and I am no technology whiz. Sign out, re-register with user name you like and fake extension.

I tried to change my handle the legitimate way last evening, as the 8:57 administrator post recommends, and promptly received a dismissive e-mail from the Post that they are far too busy, busy, busy to respond to each and every e-mail.

Posted by: Megans_Neighbor | July 31, 2007 9:44 AM

Hi Vegas Mom,

I'm planning on planting paw-paws this fall. I swear, this year I will! Plus some sugar maples. Keep your fingers crossed that in 5 years or so I can tell you what, if anything, can be done with paw-paws besides eating them fresh.

Does anyone know if you can can them? Do they freeze well? What about jelly?

Posted by: maryland_mother | July 31, 2007 9:45 AM

LOL! I guess that makes me a welterweight. I guess anything will taste fine once it's masked by the margarita mix.

Posted by: Meesh | July 31, 2007 9:52 AM

mehitabel,

I had a few problems a few weeks back, but my boy is strong and he is holding on. We are really just trying to get him to 30 weeks. Anything after that is just luck. The doctor told me that if we can get him to 30 weeks he should be okay although he would have to stay in the hospital. I am hoping he will make it to 36, but I am not holding my breath.

How have you been?

Posted by: Irishgirl74 | July 31, 2007 9:54 AM

Cool! I am back to being Fred and I still want my cookie!

Posted by: Fred | July 31, 2007 9:59 AM

...@acme.com- works for me! And this is what it took to lure me back, as it was getting WAY too nasty lately!

Hello to all the regulars, and Mmmmm... chocolate-chip cookies...

(off-topic: I made it to a Kwik-e-mart and got one of those Simpsons fluorescent-pink-with-sprinkles donuts. I think DH feels like he's Homer Simpson, but married to Lisa Simpson. My brother was definitely Bart when we were growing up. The Simpsons have clearly affected how I think about my family, in answer to last Friday's question!)

Posted by: SheGeek | July 31, 2007 10:01 AM

This is great, Leslie, and editor. I hope that this will make the blog comment space a little less cringeworthy. The anonymity of the internet really encourages cruelty, in my book.

Posted by: msbighead | July 31, 2007 10:02 AM

Irishgirl174, Thanks for asking. I'm OK. My latest book collaboration was published this month, which makes me very happy, and I've moved on two other projects :-)

Posted by: mehitabel | July 31, 2007 10:03 AM

I'm glad to see this happen. I think it's a good thing, I enjoy reading what folks are saying, but the nasty comments take away from the atmosphere.

And now you all have gone and started talking about cookies. I would love to have a warm chocolate chip cookie with the M&Ms on the top right about now.

Posted by: Sitka1 | July 31, 2007 10:05 AM

AKA Emily

I also support registration. Yesterday was a train wreck on the blog. Although I have a minor complaint. I would have loved to keep my user name, but am stuck with the registration name. But I guess it's better than nothing.

Posted by: mybemail | July 31, 2007 10:06 AM

That's awesome mehitabel.

Posted by: Irishgirl74 | July 31, 2007 10:06 AM

Hi everybody! Looks like I'll have to do a little work to update my databases, but it shouldn't be much of a problem. Just mention your retired name and I'll give you credit for your past submission under your new name.

Hi Meesh! (* waving right hand *)

Posted by: BlogStats | July 31, 2007 10:11 AM

Ok, I figured it out; create a brand new account with a brand new (but fake) email address, and just put "johnl" in at the front.

That's hardly going to stop the trolls, though. If someone wants to, they can be as obnoxious as they wish, get banned, and then create another fake email address and start all over again.

Requiring a legitimate (and verifiable) address would be the best practice, as well as not tying the User Name to the email address. That way those of us with revealing addresses can use the real one and keep their old nom-de-plume as well.

Posted by: johnl | July 31, 2007 10:12 AM

Hey! I am back also!

Posted by: anonthistime | July 31, 2007 10:14 AM

Thanks for the tip, John L. At least, for the moment, I get to keep my moniker.

Posted by: Emily | July 31, 2007 10:15 AM

Hi BlogStats! I hope you can still track us because I love hearing the stats. I'll try to think of something good to ask for stats on...

Posted by: Meesh | July 31, 2007 10:22 AM

Leslie,

A thousand thanks! Now there will not be calling of bad names by people who sign no name to their posts. It will be easier for us to get along. Thank you.

Posted by: abu_ibrahim | July 31, 2007 10:25 AM

I like the new policy and am glad I read the others' posts to create an account with the user name I used in the past. I left the blog for quite some time due to the increasing nastiness but hope it will be a better read once again. The debate can be great - but without the personal attacks.

Scarry - good luck and I'll keep my fingers crossed for 30 weeks or longer. I had one premie and preterm labor with another (that was stopped with nasty albeit helpful medication). I'm hoping for the best for you and baby.

Posted by: Stacey | July 31, 2007 10:32 AM

Leslie, thank you so much. I had actually stopped reading the comments because so many of them were upsetting. I hope this new process helps calm things down a bit. Kudos.

Posted by: simplywords | July 31, 2007 10:36 AM

Stacey I had the nasty medicine with my last baby and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enenmy or my grammar foe.

Thanks for the kind words. pATRICK are you coming back now?

Posted by: Irishgirl74 | July 31, 2007 10:37 AM

Scarry,
My thoughts are with you also. Take care and get a lot of rest. How far along are you now? I am 21 weeks, so I am thinking that you must be at least 27 or 28. Good luck to you and your family. May your delivery be uncomplicated and your baby be healthy.

Posted by: Emily | July 31, 2007 10:37 AM

thanks for all the support. i had developed a thick skin for the negativity but lately it got way too ugly. looking forward to good discussions.

Posted by: leslie4 | July 31, 2007 10:39 AM

Stacey I had the nasty medicine with my last baby and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enenmy or my grammar foe.

Thanks for the kind words. pATRICK are you coming back now?

Posted by: Irishgirl74 | July 31, 2007 10:37 AM

I am glad you and your baby are doing ok. I think I will post again now that the swarm of mindless trolls seems to be addressed. Besides it's been along time since I've had CATLADY'S delicious flan.

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 10:41 AM

Off topic,
I just read an article on the free birth movement, where some women are opting to deliver their babies at home, without the help of a physician or midwife. Yikes!!!

I actually know a woman who is planning on doing that. I don't think she so much identifies with that particular movement though. She is Ukrainian and just thinks that all the medical attention Americans seek is unnecessary. She doesn't know exactly how far her pregancy has progressed. She looks like she is 8 months or so pregnant. She has not gone to the doctor's yet, and has no intention of going when labor begins. She says she is healthy, gets plenty of exercise, and delivers easily, so it should not be a big deal.

I tried to talk her into going to the doctor's and getting a check-up at least, but she is adamant that that would be a waste of time and money. But I am really concerned for her. She has 3 other little children at home.

How can people be so cavalier about it?

Posted by: Emily | July 31, 2007 10:44 AM

Patrick,
I am the one who makes the flan. Don't forget it.

BTW, welcome back.

Posted by: Emily | July 31, 2007 10:45 AM

Patrick,
I am the one who makes the flan. Don't forget it.

BTW, welcome back.

Posted by: Emily | July 31, 2007 10:45 AM

I bow before your superior flan, milady. Thanks

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 10:47 AM

This is a really good idea. I think this will keep the trolls away, and this blog can truly focus on balance issues.

Even though I'm not a parent, I really do enjoy reading and occasionally contributing to the topics discussed on this blog. It will be a breath of fresh air to be able to do so without the negative element that would bring morale down so quickly.

Great idea! :-)

Posted by: JRS | July 31, 2007 10:53 AM

Emily and pATRICK thanks. I am 28 weeks this week. I have family coming out at the end of September to help me. I have very easy deliveries, but nasty pregnancies. I hope your pregnancy is going smooth!

There is no way I would have a baby at home. About the only situation I would even conceive of having a baby at home is if we were in the middle of some kind of a pandemic where it would be worse to go to the hospital.

Posted by: Irishgirl74 | July 31, 2007 10:55 AM

Hey! I am back also!

Posted by: anon | July 31, 2007 10:14 AM

_____________________

Yes, but now you should be the only "anon", just as now there's only one "Gutless coward", etc.

I guess someone could always try to be "an0n" (with a zero instead of an o) but the number of possibilities is reasonably small.

(Which is interesting in a way, because some of the "Gutless coward" postings in the past were mine. Not all of them; and no, not yesterday's; although I agree wholeheartedly with yesterday's. But now there's only one "Gutless coward".)

Posted by: ArmyBrat | July 31, 2007 11:02 AM

Great idea! I started reading and posting occasionally about a year ago, and I noticed a substantial increase in the overly combative and nasty posts. Thanks, Leslie - hope this helps!

Posted by: Lori | July 31, 2007 11:03 AM

pATRICK wrote: "I bow before your superior flan, milady. Thanks."

I second the motion, Emily!

Posted by: mehitabel | July 31, 2007 11:03 AM

hmmm trying to change my id back to Fo3, but I like the idea of registering to squelch to anon nastiness...

Posted by: btpduc748 | July 31, 2007 11:09 AM

Scarry,

Dia's Muire dhuit! Even at 29 weeks, they were able to pull our first born through. Now, he is bigger than I am. May the same happen with your baby!

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | July 31, 2007 11:12 AM

I don't bow to flan, unless it is in a trough in front of me.

Can I use a spoon though?

Posted by: maryland_mother | July 31, 2007 11:16 AM

I am back as CMAC, and I used a fake email address so hopefully I won't be kicked out.

Thanks Leslie - the forum was not even readable yesterday.

Posted by: cmac | July 31, 2007 11:16 AM

MattInAberdeen,

That makes me feel so much better. It is so nice to hear nice stories about babies making it.

Posted by: Irishgirl74 | July 31, 2007 11:30 AM

Great change, Leslie, I hope this makes the forum more attractive again. How long has this been in the works? Did the cleavage day just finally get to you, or have you been planning it for a while?

Posted by: LizaBean | July 31, 2007 11:30 AM

Topic Suggestions from CT: Pool Safety
Did anybody hear the sad story about the 6 year-old who died over the w/e when arm became stuck in a drain in Greenwich CT? Just so heartbreaking....

or Home Safety

What should we do to be safe from "home invasion" like in Cheshire CT?

Alarm? Gun? Criminal Registry?

Posted by: btpduc748 | July 31, 2007 11:33 AM

Not to be the glass-half-empty girl, although I often don those shoes, LOL, but I'm betting that the WaPO systems permits limitless numbers of "anon"s and "gutless coward"s - so long as their e-mail extensions are different. We shall say, shan't we?

I'm so glad, too, because I am far too old to learn this many new alphanumeric combinations.

Posted by: Megans_Neighbor | July 31, 2007 11:34 AM

Emily -

I just read the article you mentioned and it was extremely scary. I'm glad that the women profiled all had healthy children (except for one) but that doesn't mean that it is the best way to go. If the baby is born breech or with a cord wrapped around its neck - their back up plans are not going to work. A hospital being 5 minutes away in the car doesn't mean medical attention is 5 minutes away.

I know many posters have made comments in the past that once you have children it no longer becomes about you and your needs. How appropriate a comment in regard to this article.

Posted by: blueskies2 | July 31, 2007 11:34 AM

Yea verily; we will likely have limitless anons - this is Army Brat, posting under my new account of "anon". Oh, well, the registration step will probably stop a lot of the trolls who don't want to bother going through the process.

Posted by: anon | July 31, 2007 11:44 AM

I'm so glad that this change has happened - I had stopped reading comments altogether! Thanks, WaPo and Leslie.

Posted by: RebeccainAR | July 31, 2007 11:46 AM

What should we do to be safe from "home invasion" like in Cheshire CT?

Alarm? Gun? Criminal Registry?

These guys (or at least one)were out on parole and had a long laundry list of criminal behaviour. Maybe that is where blame should lie.

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | July 31, 2007 11:47 AM

I think the concept is fine, accountabilty can lead to more productive discussions. However I am not sure how this leads to accountabilty since anyone can create an e-mail address and then sign in. In fact, it looks like you don't even need to have a real e-mnail address when you create a a post ID. Either way I hope this works!

Posted by: happydad | July 31, 2007 11:51 AM

I look through your postings for advice (chuckling, blushing and grabbing grammar tips along the way) but this is my first post. Very glad that people are registering now! Anyway, I am due in early January with our first child and my husband and I are disagreeing on an issue. Are there definite pros and cons to knowing the gender beforehand? Friends of ours have said that waiting makes the birthing experience more moving, exciting, incredible, etc, etc. Is this really true? I am a pretty practical lady, with a new house and I want to know how to paint/decorate. Any thoughts? A few of you pregnant gals seem to know the gender already.

Posted by: futuremom | July 31, 2007 11:52 AM

Great change, and about time, too. The anonymous trolls were beyond cruel and nasty at times, and I found myself avoiding the discussions. Thanks, Leslie.

Lynne

Posted by: lsturt | July 31, 2007 11:52 AM

Yesterdays blog was pretty bad and I can see why this was necessary.

The 'old' 2xmami.

Posted by: mamipicante | July 31, 2007 11:53 AM

Future Mom

I vote for waiting. It is one of the sweet mysteries of life! Don't worry about the nursery being the "right" color or not having the "right" clothes. It is really so much more fun anticipating and picking names for both girls and boys.

Posted by: Fred | July 31, 2007 11:59 AM

"Yesterdays blog was pretty bad and I can see why this was necessary."

Trolls are like cockroaches, they will be back, it's only a matter of time. Until then, enjoy.

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 12:00 PM

YES! YES, YES, YES. I had seriously almost given up on this blog, but now my faith has been renewed.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | July 31, 2007 12:01 PM

YES! YES, YES, YES. I had seriously almost given up on this blog, but now my faith has been renewed.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | July 31, 2007 12:01 PM

Hi WORKINGMOMX, hope springs eternal right? ;)

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 12:03 PM

"Friends of ours have said that waiting makes the birthing experience more moving, exciting, incredible, etc, etc."

future mom, i'm curious as to whether it's you or your husband who want to wait. For you, the birthing experience is already going to be, um, moving and exciting, LOL. We loved knowing the gender of each of our children in advance - not because of paint or any sort of nesting concern - but because we could call our baby by name and stop using "him or her" or "it". Whatever makes you feel as though your baby is already a part of your family - prior to birth - adds to the excitement. At least, that was true for us. Fred holds the alternative view.

Posted by: Megans_Neighbor | July 31, 2007 12:07 PM

Hey! This is great. I'd completely stopped reading the comments here for the last week or so, and I wasn't intending to come back. I just found it too depressing! The anonymous comments had actually convinced me that I had solidly overestimated the worth of the human intellect.

Registration does nothing to fix my shaken faith in humanity, but at least I can return to this board without risking further depression.

Thanks, Leslie!

Posted by: joshua4 | July 31, 2007 12:14 PM

futuremom, I've heard some couples that don't want to know the sex of their baby because as they put it "We want to be surprised." I've noticed that these types of parents more or less come from the anal retentive crowd, not that there's anything wrong with that, they just like "holding back" if you know what I mean.

And then it becomes a little anticlimatic because the couple gets either a boy or a girl. Not much of a surprise there.

If you are the practical sort, you probably want to know the sex from the sonagram. This is good for planning purposes, not only for you, but for other family & friends that want to give gifts at showers and such.

but be real careful. The most surprised parents were those whose baby was wrongly sexed. Although its not much of a problem when someone gets a girl when they were expecting a boy, if they got a boy instead of a girl, all the pink stuff has to be returned/exchanged for blue.

Posted by: Lil_Husky | July 31, 2007 12:14 PM

Great idea, Leslie! Thank you!

Posted by: vchandler | July 31, 2007 12:15 PM

Let this be a lesson to you in asking for a raise, LOL:

EAST POINT, Georgia (AP) -- The owner of a car dealership has been accused of killing two employees because they kept asking for pay raises.

Rolandas Milinavicius has been charged with two counts of murder in the shooting deaths of Inga Contreras, 25, and Martynas Simokaitis, 28.

All three are from the eastern European nation of Lithuania but had been living in Atlanta, Georgia, authorities said.

Milinavicius, who was having financial problems, told police he shot the two Thursday after they kept asking for more pay, said police in East Point, which is just outside Atlanta.

"He told us that he was under a lot of stress," East Point police Capt. Russell Popham said. "Unfortunately, he decided to take his anger out with violence."

Posted by: Megans_Neighbor | July 31, 2007 12:18 PM

I agree with MN. I really like knowing the sex of the baby before the birth, not so much for planning purposes, but because it gives this little person an identity. I now know I have a daughter on the way. I refer to her as a girl. My son knows he will have a sister (which he was none to happy about initially, but has since adjusted to the idea).

But people feel differently. I have a friend who wanted to know the sex and her husband did not. So she found out and kept the secret. They were both fine with that approach.

Posted by: Emily | July 31, 2007 12:20 PM

Interesting article here at WaPo entitled "Do It Yourself Delivery."

Kinda scary, too, that the woman featured in the article opposes immunizations for her children. I thought you needed records of these to enroll your child in school? How does this impact the health of other children, when exposed to non-immunized ones?

Posted by: JRS | July 31, 2007 12:26 PM

Regarding the Cheshire home invasion, it occurred about 5 miles from where we live. My 11 year old son was pretty upset and since it was a major topic at camp,there was a lot of community-wide hysteria that I couldn't monitor. I tried to convince him that things like this are really rare and that I am not going to change how we do things even he feels the need to check all the locks on the doors at night.

Any suggestions on restoring pre-adolescent peace of mind?

Posted by: sadiedog | July 31, 2007 12:26 PM

thank you Leslie!

Posted by: tjolnick | July 31, 2007 12:30 PM

thank you Leslie!

Posted by: tjolnick | July 31, 2007 12:30 PM

thank you Leslie!

Posted by: tjolnick | July 31, 2007 12:30 PM

It is my husband that wants to wait to find out the sex. He is normally not a super demanding-type guy, but this means a lot to him for some reason. I do relate to the "giving it an identity" and not calling it "it" after a certain week. At the end of the day, we would be thrilled with a boy or a girl - just seems to make sense to me to know ahead of time if you can.

Posted by: futuremom | July 31, 2007 12:36 PM

FutureMom,

We just called the baby the baby before he, she, she, he popped out!

You can always call the baby a male/female name like Francis/Frances (sp) or Allison/Alison

Posted by: Fred | July 31, 2007 12:37 PM

if tjolnick is done thanking Leslie . . .

sadiedog, the victimes of the Cheshire home invasion were prominent in the community and had all the trappings of wealth. Dad had a high-profile career as an endocrinologist. The family was active in fundraising for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Daughter graduated this past May from Miss Porters school - arguably one of the most prestigious girls' prep schools in the nation. Maybe the conversation to have with our children is, money, success, and a certain amount of fame - even if it's only local - can be appealing, but having those things sometimes make you a target for bad guys. With resources comes risk. Tell him about the Lindbergh baby kidnapping and explain why your family is at low risk for this sort of crime. Unless you are - if you are, then you explain how the alarm system works and the things you and your spouse do to secure your home and your family.

Posted by: Megans_Neighbor | July 31, 2007 12:41 PM

I have been reading this blog for a while and it was getting nasty, I hope the changes will keep things interesting and civil.

I have a question for all of you that is off topic but I would like some input:

We will be moving soon because my husband was transferred out of state. I am getting my house ready to be put on the market but I have a huge problem in that my immediate next door neighbor is a registered sex offender. It is illegal in my state to approach this man and tell him I know his history but I am not sure about any potential home buyers that might be interested in buying my house. I would not want to have a young family move in here and receive a nasty shock later but I would feel guilty about not telling anyone who is interested about his history. It would stop all interest for many would be buyers. So what do I do?

I have never had any problems with him, he keeps to himself and is very quiet but I do know his history so I am more aware of him and his movements then my other neighbors.

I did have another registered sex offender that lived across the street but he moved so that is one less that I have to worry about, but my immediate neighbor moved in two years ago after we had lived here already. Any suggestions would be great.

By the way my mom had a friend that delivered all her babies at home, not only do you have to worry about the health of the baby and mom but also the mess of the whole thing has to be cleaned up by the father (usually) with the afterbirth buried in the yard (as medical waste it cannot go to the landfill). Just another reason to have the baby in the hospital in my book!

Posted by: magnificent7mom | July 31, 2007 12:48 PM

Future Mom, I initially didn't want to know the sex and my husband did as he thought it would help make it all feel more real to him. So we found out, and I'm glad we did. It did help my husband prepare and feel more connected through the pregnancy. As for the birth, of course I have nothing to compare it to, but being able to focus on my little child not as a mysterious being but as a son that I had been thinking of for so long was very moving to me as I was laboring. Hope that doesn't sound too weird - I guess my point is just that I doubt knowing make the birth less moving, emotional, etc - just moving, emotional etc in different ways. But I don't know how that would apply for your husband, since he's the one who doesn't want to know.

Posted by: LizaBean | July 31, 2007 12:48 PM

Hello pATRICK.

I'm back, like a bad Texas cockroach, and I thought I was one of your favorites besides your boy, Nigel. But please, before you go off and kick a puppy or something, you can bash me instead. lol!

Posted by: GutlessCoward | July 31, 2007 12:53 PM

Hello pATRICK.

I'm back, like a bad Texas cockroach, and I thought I was one of your favorites besides your boy, Nigel. But please, before you go off and kick a puppy or something, you can bash me instead. lol!


Maybe another day

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 1:01 PM

Future Mom:

Most people I know chose to find out the sex beforehand, and none reported that it somehow lessened the birthing experience.

We chose to wait. When we were trying to get pregnant a second time, we decided we'd want to know in advance for #2, just so that we'd know whether to shop for new stuff or use the hand-me-downs from DD.

Doctors and technicians have been wrong! I'd keep things pretty neutral regardless, but then I've never been much for pink and blue.

Posted by: vegasmom89109 | July 31, 2007 1:08 PM

magnificent7mom, I think that if the people looking at your house were really concerned about sex offenders, they would already know about your neighbor because they would have looked it up.

The simplest answer is that you should tell them. Wouldn't you want to know if that new house you're moving into is next to a sex offender? It's the golden rule.

Posted by: Meesh | July 31, 2007 1:13 PM

". . . my immediate next door neighbor is a registered sex offender. It is illegal in my state to approach this man and tell him I know his history but I am not sure about any potential home buyers that might be interested in buying my house. I would not want to have a young family move in here and receive a nasty shock later but I would feel guilty about not telling anyone who is interested about his history."

Posted by: magnificent7mom | July 31, 2007 12:48 PM

All right, all you lawyers reading this. What's the law? What does the seller have a duty to disclose to the buyer? Like, if there are PCBs and cadmium sludge buried six inches below the grass in the back yard, does the seller have to disclose this? If there's a registered sex offender next door, does the seller have to tell the buyer? Does the broker have any duty to tell any of this to a prospective buyer? If the buyer calls for a home inspection, does the home inspector have any duty to search the State's database of registered sex offenders? Are there any cases? (I don't have access to Lexis or WestLaw.)

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | July 31, 2007 1:19 PM

Emily;

Yikes! That woman sounds crazy. I'm not against home birth, but the fact that she's eschewing prenatal care freaks me out. If I had her attitude, there's a good chance I'd have died last month. I had an ectopic that was caught millimeters from rupture, but only because I demanded prenatal care when something didn't feel right. I cannot imagine risking my or my baby's life by avoiding medical care.

Future Mom:

I never thought I'd find out the sex of a baby before the birth, until I actually got pregnant and realized I'm just not that patient.

The moment the ultrasound tech told me I was having a girl still counts among the happiest moments of my entire life, though I'm having a hard time articulating why. It's not because I wanted a girl more than a boy, it was just that identifying the gender suddenly made me realize that there was this little, soon-to-be-autonomous person in there.

Posted by: newsahm | July 31, 2007 1:23 PM

I don't see that you have any responsibility to tell potential buyers of your home about your neighbors. The point of having the registry is that the potential buyer can/should look into it. They should also do their own research on other things about the neighborhood like how good the schools are and what the tax burden is, how bad crime is locally, etc.

If you think you have to report the offender to potential buyers, then you should feel obligated to report any other felons that live near you, yes? Generally, I dislike "slippery slope" arguments but this one seems valid. If you think you need to disclose that, what other stuff do you feel compelled to disclose?

Posted by: ProudPapa15 | July 31, 2007 1:28 PM

magnificent7mom,

Each state's laws differ regarding who has to register and what can be done with the information from the sex offender registrations. I recently had a registered sex offender buy the house behind our house. The house was listed and sold by the broker/owner who did not know his sex offender status. I think the key to the question is, as Meesh said, "the golden rule." But the whole point of the registries is to provide the public with the information. I do think you can and should tell potential buyers about the registration and perhaps then offer to share your experience that he's been quiet and generally not a problem. You could direct people to the state registry web site for more information as well. The web site may clarify the statute to look at regarding what information can be dissemninated. And, when you move, you'll know to ask and/or investigate a new address. Because most of the state statutes specify that registration is for information purposes, I would think that it's permissible to share the information at a minimum. My state does not prohibit use of the information as long as it's not used to target the offender. So, we can't post fliers all over the neighborhood but I could go talk with the guy when he moved in to find out more about the situation. Although I wouldn't recommend that approach to everyone, it did help me rest a bit easier and it also let him know that we know about him.

Posted by: Stacey | July 31, 2007 1:31 PM

I don't know the law on disclosing that there's a sex offender nearby, but from a moral standpoint, I'd say there's no reason to make such a disclosure. In fact, I think once could argue that discussing the neighbor's status with a potential buyer is morally wrong. Who knows what the guy did to earn a place on the registry? Not every registered "sex offender" is a child molester or rapist.

As someone upthread noted, if a potential buyer is that concerned about living near a registered offender, he or she can search the database. Otherwise, I don't see any reason to disclose it.

Posted by: newsahm | July 31, 2007 1:39 PM

Future Mom, when my husband and I were in the process of adopting, we had the option to choose whether we wanted a boy or a girl. We decided to not choose either and be suprised when we reached the country. It wasn't until we got there and were told that there was an 11 month old girl available did we know what the sex was. Then we had the great fortune of emailing everyone 1/2 way around the world "It's a...girl".

Posted by: D_in_MD | July 31, 2007 1:47 PM

Screw the law, I would never tilt toward a child rapist's rights over the shattering of a child and their family. He did the crime and innocent people need to know.

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 1:50 PM

I am shocked by the moral cowardice of some of you. He WILL strike again and you knew and did nothing. ALL IT TAKES FOR EVIL TO TRIUMPH IS FOR GOOD MEN TO DO NOTHING.

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 1:53 PM

"I don't know the law on disclosing that there's a sex offender nearby, but from a moral standpoint, I'd say there's no reason to make such a disclosure. In fact, I think once could argue that discussing the neighbor's status with a potential buyer is morally wrong. Who knows what the guy did to earn a place on the registry? Not every registered "sex offender" is a child molester or rapist."

I disagree. Knowing something like that can be really useful, especially to families with children. I would want to know (and I would take the time to look it up). A registered sex offender moved into my parents' neighborhood. He lives about a block away. Early this spring, he began stalking my parents' neighbors children. There were a few incidents. On one occasion, he entered my parents' back yard and hid behind some trees, looking in the direction of the neighbors' yard, where their 3 kids play. My mother saw him and called the police immediately, but he had run off by the time the police arrived. She checked the registry online, and there he was, so at least they knew who to watch out for. The police did nothing intially. On a second occasion, he actually entered the neighbors' back yard while they were having a birthday party for the children. My parents did not pass out fliers, but they told all the neighbors about him, so that they could be aware of the situation. They also told his landlord (the owner of the house where he was living). I am not sure if he is still there anymore. They have not noticed him stalking anyone lately. But it is always good to be aware of potentially dangerous people.

Posted by: Emily | July 31, 2007 1:59 PM

Who knows what the guy did to earn a place on the registry? Not every registered "sex offender" is a child molester or rapist."

Now that is a bleeding heart liberal statement. Your compassion for molesters compared to potential innocent child victims is revolting!

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 2:05 PM

magnificent7mom, do you know what his crime was?

Posted by: LizaBean | July 31, 2007 2:09 PM

"Now that is a bleeding heart liberal statement. Your compassion for molesters compared to potential innocent child victims is revolting!"

But my point is, there may not be any "potential innocent child victims." The registries don't discriminate between child molesters and people who've done far less serious things. Kids are even being registered now for harrassing fellow students in middle school. Not that I think it's at all ok for kids to be harrassing anyone, but for god's sake. A registration is a black mark on them for their entire life, and that's a shame.

Anybody who wants to know who's living in the neighborhood can find out who's there very easily. If someone doesn't care enough to look it up, then I don't see a point in bringing the neighbor's status to his or her attention.

Posted by: newsahm | July 31, 2007 2:12 PM

magnificent7mom

Also ask your real estate broker before you decide what to do. Broker have had this situation before and like many facts that go into buying a house, they (should) know what is mandatory to be told to propsective buyers and and does or should not be told to buyer.

For the rest of us, a big point to remember when we are buying our next house.

Posted by: Fred | July 31, 2007 2:13 PM

I'm in (jlkirk = ParentPreneur)...

I've been away for a while and it sounds like I missed some juicy (or not-so-pleasant) exchanges...

Posted by: jlkirk | July 31, 2007 2:17 PM

When we were looking for a house to rent, the realtor we were using told us that they were not allowed to tell us anything about crime rates in the area, that it was up to us to inquire with the local community and/or do our own research. It is possible that registered sex offenders would be included in this. It is public record to locate this info. But, JMO, if I knew about one in the neighborhood, I think people should know.

Posted by: D_in_MD | July 31, 2007 2:17 PM

About the sex offenders- chances are, if it's a family moving in, they may think to check for sex offenders before they buy the house. At the very least, I'd tell the real estate agent. If it were me in that situation, I'd tell the buyers too. Sure, I'd want to sell my house, but it's not worth risking anyone's saftey over.

And yes, I know that people have a right to live peacefully. But if you landed yourself on the sex offender list, I got no sympathy for you. You chose to do it, you live with the consequences. One of them is getting your name and address listed on the internet for anyone to find. That's not saying that people have a right to harass the offenders by leaving notes, calling, breaking house windows or anything, but people absolutely have the right to know they live in the neighborhood.

Those folks didn't land on the sex offender list by accident. They committed a crime. Let's not forget that, and I fully agree that people should have the right to know if someone on the list lives nearby.

Posted by: Sitka1 | July 31, 2007 2:18 PM

Posted by: Sitka | July 31, 2007 02:18 PM

ABSOLUTELY DEAD ON. GOOD JOB!

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 2:21 PM

So, how about these boys? They're 13 years old. Is what they did worthy of a lifelong stigma? Do you think they're truly old enough to have understood that their actions could mark them for life?

http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/Story?id=3406214&page=1

Posted by: newsahm | July 31, 2007 2:27 PM

I believe there are three classifications on the sex offender list, so it's possible to ascertain whether the person in your neighborhood committed a serious crime and a less serious crime. Not that it's a guarantee. Some will escalate. Some were just stupid and will pay for it for the rest of their lives. Then there are the sex offenders that haven't been caught yet. Don't let the fact that there's a list lull you into a false sense of security.

There are people who are forced to register for life because they were stupid enough to have sex with their 17-year-old girlfriend while being the inconvenient age of 18. I don't think someone in this position should have to be regarded as a threat to society for the rest of his life, but unfortunately we've instituted a system that doesn't make the distinction.

Posted by: vegasmom89109 | July 31, 2007 2:29 PM

I'd been thinking about the Registration idea for a while, tossing around the pros and cons with Stacey at wpni. The devolution of the past few weeks into the dark zone worried me. Monday's obscenities were a bit a of a catalyst, but I think we would have gone to Registration eventually regardless.

Separately, I read the Free Birth article in today's Wash Post Health section too. Totally fascinating article. I completely understand the hypothetical appeal. I think doctors and hospitals at times make women more nervous than they should be. Childbirth is beautiful and life-changing. And terrifying, especially if something goes wrong.

All that matters in childbirth is a healthy baby and a healthy mom. Anyone who risks their own or their baby's health is a bad parent, in my mind. The "natural" rate of infant and maternal mortality in childbirth is quite high -- between 10-20%. So in my opinion, you are crazy to take those kinds of chances.

If we lived in a society where men pressured women to give birth at home, without medical care, I'd advocate putting those men in jail for cruelty to women. So I can't possibly support something that has the potential to be cruel and dangerous to women and children.

Posted by: leslie4 | July 31, 2007 2:30 PM

Posted by: newsahm | July 31, 2007 02:27 PM


Here's another, think that you should still look the other way?


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- A man from Ohio is accused of offering a Florida mother hundreds of dollars to "dunk" and torture her children under water in order to satisfy a bizarre sexual fetish.

Jeff Doland, of Uniontown, Ohio, was arrested by authorities after he flew to Miami, believing he was going to meet a mother of two girls, ages 9 and 12 years old, to pay her $550 to forcibly submerge the children under water until they became unconscious, officials said.

During multiple Internet conversations, Doland told the woman, an undercover agent with the U.S. Secret Service, that "dunking" was his particular form of sexual gratification.

Yep let's give him a pass....

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 2:32 PM

Yep let's give him a pass....

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 02:32 PM

No, let's call them equals.

Posted by: daves000 | July 31, 2007 2:39 PM

pATRICK:

No one's suggesting that we give horrible criminals such as Doland a pass.

But do we punish 13-year-old boys engaging in admittedly inappropriate behavior the same way as Doland? What about the high school senior who has sex with his 16-year-old girlfriend? Should he be punished to the same degree as Doland?

Posted by: vegasmom89109 | July 31, 2007 2:39 PM

When did I say anything about looking the other way? Or giving someone a pass? People who break the law should face the consequences. I'm just saying that the fact that someone's on the sex offender registry doesn't necessarily mean that they're a rapist or child molester.

Posted by: newsahm | July 31, 2007 2:40 PM

pATRICK:

No one's suggesting that we give horrible criminals such as Doland a pass.

But do we punish 13-year-old boys engaging in admittedly inappropriate behavior the same way as Doland? What about the high school senior who has sex with his 16-year-old girlfriend? Should he be punished to the same degree as Doland?

The point is that they went through the system and an innocent child is at risk. I will never put an innocent child's safety at risk to give ANY sex offender a break. PERIOD. Taking unusual cases and then trying to justify moral cowardice is disgusting. Look at emily's post. Take no chances with child molesters.

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 2:43 PM

But do we punish 13-year-old boys engaging in admittedly inappropriate behavior the same way as Doland?

Posted by: vegasmom89109 | July 31, 2007 02:39 PM

Did you read the article? Because they had many people (including some girls) who said they do the butt slapping thing (kids these days ;)). If everyone does it, why isn't everyone on trial?

Posted by: daves000 | July 31, 2007 2:44 PM

VegasMom, excellent points. I think states differ in how much information they provide about the crimes and how inclusive they are. I don't think the one here includes "statutory rape" and it provides the crime the person was convicted of. But I don't think that's true for all states. I also think that while these lists are useful and I have looked up my neighborhood, they can give a false sense of security. Most sex offenders don't get caught, and even those who do may not comply with registration laws.

Posted by: LizaBean | July 31, 2007 2:45 PM

"But do we punish 13-year-old boys engaging in admittedly inappropriate behavior the same way as Doland? What about the high school senior who has sex with his 16-year-old girlfriend? Should he be punished to the same degree as Doland?"

No, I agree that you shouldn't punish them the same way, but I would then add that the registry system should be fixed so that these kinds of offenses aren't listed. But in the meantime, I have no problem with disseminating public information on it, and letting people decide for themselves whether a particular person listed is actually a serious threat to the community.

Posted by: Emily | July 31, 2007 2:46 PM

The point is that they went through the system and an innocent child is at risk.

-pATRICK

This is just not true.

It's a sex offender list, not a pedophile list.

Posted by: daves000 | July 31, 2007 2:50 PM

Posted by: daves000 | July 31, 2007 02:50 PM

DAVE,, OK, so now let's include rapists and sexual offenders. NO breaks, NO slack, No RISKs TAKEN. NO innocent people put at risk. Period

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 2:54 PM

"I will never put an innocent child's safety at risk to give ANY sex offender a break. PERIOD."

So, patrick, you honestly believe that there is no difference between the boys in that article and an individual who actually rapes a child? They should be punished equally, with no regard to the serverity of their crimes?

And, by the way, exactly what do you think these offender registries accomplish? Do you think that knowing that someone in your neighborhood committed some sort of crime will innoculate you (or the "innocent children" you love to cite) from something bad happening to you? How would your actions and behaviors change if a sex offender lived next door?

Posted by: newsahm | July 31, 2007 2:54 PM

I can live with that!

Posted by: winjonnic | July 31, 2007 2:55 PM

Calling for a lifetime of punishment for "unusual cases" to tamp down society's media-stoked fears is equally disgusting pATRICK.

The punishment should fit the crime. No 18-year-old kid should be put in the position of not being able to live with his own future children because he had sex with his high school girlfriend. This has happened.

I read Emily's post and was horrified. I've also read cases such as the one in my previous paragraph and have been equally horrified.

The public needs to know that plenty of potential sex offenders are NOT registered because they haven't been caught. Just purchasing a home in a neighborhood free of an offended sex offender is not a reason to let your guard down.

The justice system needs to learn how to make a distinction. Not just burn all the witches that don't sink in the creek.

Unfortunately, I don't expect to change your mind on the pATRICK.

Posted by: vegasmom89109 | July 31, 2007 2:57 PM

NO innocent people put at risk. Period

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 02:54 PM

See, now this is true.

My opinion is, that if society feels the need to label these people, even after they have paid their debt to society, maybe the original debt wasn't high enough. Why do we let them out at all?

Posted by: daves000 | July 31, 2007 2:58 PM

I want to clarify something real quick: When I posted the comment "I can live with that!" it was in response to Leslie calling for responsibility on the blog. When I read the comment before mine made by "newsahm" that ended with "How would your actions and behaviors change if a sex offender lived next door?", I realized my "I can live with that!" comment might be totally misunderstood.

Posted by: winjonnic | July 31, 2007 2:58 PM

Do you feel the same about female sex offenders like the teachers who are caught having sex with the teenage boys?

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | July 31, 2007 2:59 PM

How would your actions and behaviors change if a sex offender lived next door?
And, by the way, exactly what do you think these offender registries accomplish? Do you think that knowing that someone in your neighborhood committed some sort of crime will innoculate you (or the "innocent children" you love to cite) from something bad happening to you?


Yes, because secrecy and anonymity is how these perverts thrive. On the unsuspecting and the foolish. A known is always easier to deal with then an unknown. It is not failproof but a good start. I would move, that's what.

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 3:00 PM

Well, I would want to know and I would tell people who were going to buy my house about the sex offender. Look him up on the site and see what he did. If he had anything to do with a child, chances are he will do it again. I could not have that on my conscious. If it was the case of a stupid kid making a mistake (think the one in Georgia) than I doubt he is a threat to children, but people still have a right to know.

With that being said, sex offenders are everywhere, everywhere. It is disgusting that people who abuse children are ever allowed to see the light of day again, but they do, so all parents can do is check the list and watch their children.


Posted by: Irishgirl74 | July 31, 2007 3:00 PM

See, now this is true.

My opinion is, that if society feels the need to label these people, even after they have paid their debt to society, maybe the original debt wasn't high enough. Why do we let them out at all?

Paid there debt huh?. So now we let vicious people roam in secret to prey on new victims? The chance of these perverts doing it again is sky high. i would put very, very long sentences on child molesters.

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 3:09 PM

Ok, so you'd move. And once you landed in a neighborhood without a single sex offender, you'd, what? Let your kids hang out unsupervised with your adult neighbors? Give them complete freedom to wander at will, without telling you where they're going? After all, if there isn't a registered offender nearby, you're perfectly safe in every way. No chance of someone harming your kids.

Posted by: newsahm | July 31, 2007 3:11 PM

I have a question about something I thought I knew, is it true that registered sex offenders are not permitted to live within a certain distance of a school? Do current residents of a particular neighborhood have a right to keep sex offender criminals from living in their neighborhood? Do these neighbors get a right to know that someone is moving in and have a choice to let them live there, or do they have no choice except the choice to move if they wish to. Do residents have a right to protest a sex offender moving in to their neighborhood if it is going to drive down the market value of their house? These are just questions that i hope someone can answer.

Posted by: D_in_MD | July 31, 2007 3:13 PM

"And, by the way, exactly what do you think these offender registries accomplish?"

I can tell you what it accomplished in my family's situation. Since my son spends a good deal of time with his grandparents, I was very concerned about the kid stalker in their neighborhood.

By looking at the sex offender registry, my mother was able to positively identify the stalker. By getting his name, we were able to find out his troubling past history (in 1998 or 1999) he was convicted of luring two young kids to a sewer tunnel where he attempted to molest them. He had been sentenced to 7.5 years in prison, and had only recently gotten out of jail when he moved into my parents' neighborhood. So the registry was a great launching point for identifying this character and getting more information on his past. It was a really useful tool. And knowing that he lived nearby and was stalking kids again, the neighbors were at least on their guard with their families and little kids. Plus, the police were notified and they knew who the suspect was, and his parole officer was also contacted.

BTW, the rate of recidivism among this kinds of offenders is very high. So the idea that they have paid their debt to society and should be left alone does not really apply, since many of them just begin to act up the minute they are free.

I am also a liberal, but I don't take risks with children, and I agree with Patrick that the rights of law abiding citizens trump those of people who have committed crimes.

Posted by: Emily | July 31, 2007 3:14 PM

"And, by the way, exactly what do you think these offender registries accomplish?"

I can tell you what it accomplished in my family's situation. Since my son spends a good deal of time with his grandparents, I was very concerned about the kid stalker in their neighborhood.

By looking at the sex offender registry, my mother was able to positively identify the stalker. By getting his name, we were able to find out his troubling past history (in 1998 or 1999) he was convicted of luring two young kids to a sewer tunnel where he attempted to molest them. He had been sentenced to 7.5 years in prison, and had only recently gotten out of jail when he moved into my parents' neighborhood. So the registry was a great launching point for identifying this character and getting more information on his past. It was a really useful tool. And knowing that he lived nearby and was stalking kids again, the neighbors were at least on their guard with their families and little kids. Plus, the police were notified and they knew who the suspect was, and his parole officer was also contacted.

BTW, the rate of recidivism among this kinds of offenders is very high. So the idea that they have paid their debt to society and should be left alone does not really apply, since many of them just begin to act up the minute they are free.

I am also a liberal, but I don't take risks with children, and I agree with Patrick that the rights of law abiding citizens trump those of people who have committed crimes.

Posted by: Emily | July 31, 2007 3:14 PM

"And, by the way, exactly what do you think these offender registries accomplish?"

I can tell you what it accomplished in my family's situation. Since my son spends a good deal of time with his grandparents, I was very concerned about the kid stalker in their neighborhood.

By looking at the sex offender registry, my mother was able to positively identify the stalker. By getting his name, we were able to find out his troubling past history (in 1998 or 1999) he was convicted of luring two young kids to a sewer tunnel where he attempted to molest them. He had been sentenced to 7.5 years in prison, and had only recently gotten out of jail when he moved into my parents' neighborhood. So the registry was a great launching point for identifying this character and getting more information on his past. It was a really useful tool. And knowing that he lived nearby and was stalking kids again, the neighbors were at least on their guard with their families and little kids. Plus, the police were notified and they knew who the suspect was, and his parole officer was also contacted.

BTW, the rate of recidivism among this kinds of offenders is very high. So the idea that they have paid their debt to society and should be left alone does not really apply, since many of them just begin to act up the minute they are free.

I am also a liberal, but I don't take risks with children, and I agree with Patrick that the rights of law abiding citizens trump those of people who have committed crimes.

Posted by: Emily | July 31, 2007 3:14 PM

Posted by: newsahm | July 31, 2007 03:11 PM

This is a nonsensical argument. You must be vigilant at all times. A list does not guarantee you safety, it guarantees you knowledge. Your leaps of logic are a sight to see.

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 3:17 PM

Emily, thank God nothing happened. Nothing happened becauase responsible people like yourself had the information they needed to keep their kids and other kids safe and act on that info.

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 3:19 PM

D_in_MD:

Laws vary by state on the school issue. In some states it's as little as 1,000 feat. In others, it's 2 miles or more.

I don't think neighbors or residents can pick or chose who may move in, whether the future resident is a sex offender or black or has unattractive lawn art (CC&Rs notwithstanding). I think there are fair housing laws on the books about this, but will defer to the lawyers in the group. This is the reason for the registry -- so that residents can arm themselves with knowledge and take the action they think is appropriate.

If a sex offender is required to live in a half-way house for a period of time, I think there are zoning laws that could be applicable, but that again will vary from state to state.

Posted by: vegasmom89109 | July 31, 2007 3:20 PM

This is getting very much like the pedophile argument we all had. I am done. I am NOT getting into that again.

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 3:21 PM

I don't know what the rules are about schools, but you can clearly see from the site that there are very bad offenders near schools and day care centers.

pATRICK, I am with you, I think that the laws are not strict enough. How can a man who sodomizes a child be let out ever? Yet, a young kid who gets caught selling drugs gets 20 years or worse.

Posted by: Irishgirl74 | July 31, 2007 3:21 PM

And of course you must be vigilant at all times. If you are at the beach, of course you are vigilant of dangers and have a lifeguard on watch. But if a shark is in the water, everyone is ordered out. I liken that situation to the situation in my parents' neighborhood. As long as people knew that this criminal was actively stalking kids, they did not let their kids play outside unsupervised. Not a great situation, but IMO, that's the only responsible thing to do under the circumstances.

Posted by: Emily | July 31, 2007 3:22 PM

Paid there debt huh?. So now we let vicious people roam in secret to prey on new victims? The chance of these perverts doing it again is sky high. i would put very, very long sentences on child molesters.

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 03:09 PM

Yeah, when we put someone in prison, we call that "paying their debt to society", when we let them out, it is because the debt is paid.

I agree with you about the long sentences, and in some cases would consider the death penalty to be too lenient.

But, our country supposed to be a free country, based on the rule of law, and recently we, as a nation, have been willing to sacrifice freedom for (perceived) safety. In the end, we will have neither.

Posted by: daves000 | July 31, 2007 3:23 PM

A few of you have asked today how to change your MyPost ID once you have registered on the site. This is an ID you can change/create only once on washingtonpost.com. So, if you've created one for another group, that will apply sitewide and can't be changed. Here's a direct link to do that:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/profile/create

Posted by: onbalance | July 31, 2007 3:23 PM

pATRICK,

If you could step back from the ledge long enough to approach this topic with the intelligence and focus with which you approach other topics, you'd appreciate that dave's point is well taken: if we don't consider that those on the registry have paid their debt, then maybe we should re-evaluate whether we are sentencing them in accordance with our values and concerns about adequately protecting the public. The more important point here is that people need to look at the registry with a an awareness that the scope of the crimes of those on it is broad, and includes both the now 40 year old guy who, when he was 18 years old had consensual sex with his then-16 year old girlfriend, and the 24 year old guy who, when he was 17, raped and killed his three year old cousin. All crimes do not beart an equal risk of repetition. What counts is protecting our kids, right? Not deluding ourselves.

Posted by: mn.188 | July 31, 2007 3:31 PM

I think the only debt that can be paid when you are a child molester is death. I don't care what happened to you in your childhood, I don't care that you think you can change and are sorry. I just don't care. I think child molestation and child rape should be the death penalty. If I was ever on a jury and the person was being tried for killing the person who molested or raped his child, you would get a not guilty verdict from me.

Posted by: Irishgirl74 | July 31, 2007 3:31 PM

pATRICK, was someone close to you molested as a child? I sense that this is a concrete issue for you, not a mere abstraction.

Posted by: mehitabel | July 31, 2007 3:34 PM

Posted by: mn.188 | July 31, 2007 03:31 PM

MN, you are out on a ledge. DAVE has some naive viewof criminal behavior. Like somehow a vicious molester somehow turns into a hard working productive citizen because he has "paid his debt to society". These perverts are not rehabilitated. They are just free. Your response was very wonkish and naive.

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 3:37 PM

"The more important point here is that people need to look at the registry with a an awareness that the scope of the crimes of those on it is broad, and includes both the now 40 year old guy who, when he was 18 years old had consensual sex with his then-16 year old girlfriend, and the 24 year old guy who, when he was 17, raped and killed his three year old cousin. All crimes do not beart an equal risk of repetition. What counts is protecting our kids, right? Not deluding ourselves."

Very well said, MN. Totally agree. I think people should be aware that the people on the registries do have very wide backgrounds and not all of them are violent offenders or child molesters. But with that caveat, I think that the registries are still very useful, especially for people who can conduct some research and do some analysis. The registries can be a really useful launching point, and can help you determine if someone listed is really dangerous or not.

But I do think the registries should be fixed to distinguish real predators from technical offenders such as teenagers who were sleeping with their underaged girlfriends.

Posted by: Emily | July 31, 2007 3:39 PM

pATRICK, was someone close to you molested as a child? I sense that this is a concrete issue for you, not a mere abstraction.

Posted by: mehitabel | July 31, 2007 03:34 PM

No, I wasn't and no one close to me. But I did have a close friend who was a policeman who was traumatized by these types of crimes. The stories were revolting and when I read these casual,give people a chance posts it disgusts me. I also have 2 small children.

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 3:39 PM

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 03:14 PM

Well, so much for the idea that registration will put an end to vile commentary. What a short-lived reprieve that was.

Posted by: LizaBean | July 31, 2007 3:40 PM

I think the only debt that can be paid when you are a child molester is death. I don't care what happened to you in your childhood, I don't care that you think you can change and are sorry. I just don't care. I think child molestation and child rape should be the death penalty. If I was ever on a jury and the person was being tried for killing the person who molested or raped his child, you would get a not guilty verdict from me.

Posted by: Irishgirl74 | July 31, 2007 03:31 PM

I agree, but the problem is if we have an automatic death penalty for people that rape or molest, in their minds, why not murder too. If you are already going to die for your crimes, you may as well try and cover up the crime the best you can. By not having the death penalty for rape and molestation, we are trying to give the criminal an incentive not to kill their victim.

Also, you should read John Grisham's A Time to Kill.

Posted by: MomTo2Kids | July 31, 2007 3:40 PM

"My opinion is, that if society feels the need to label these people, even after they have paid their debt to society, maybe the original debt wasn't high enough. Why do we let them out at all?"

daves000 makes a good point. The short answer is that these offenders have a very high rate of recidivism, as Emily pointed out, so they pay a debt but almost never get rehabilitated.

Maybe the original debt isn't high enough. Maybe children should be seen as special victims and crimes against them should always result in a life sentence. It's a tough question because what about sexual offenses against adults? Should a guy get life for raping a child but only 15 years for raping an adult? I don't think so. The crime is just as heinous. The victim is just as scarred.

Posted by: Meesh | July 31, 2007 3:40 PM

Could someone post the website for the registry? I thought I knew it, but maybe the site has changed?

Posted by: D_in_MD | July 31, 2007 3:41 PM

Take a breath, pATRICK. There are degrees to many offenses.

Here's the second part of mn.188's post that you may have overlooked:

The more important point here is that people need to look at the registry with a an awareness that the scope of the crimes of those on it is broad, and includes both the now 40 year old guy who, when he was 18 years old had consensual sex with his then-16 year old girlfriend, and the 24 year old guy who, when he was 17, raped and killed his three year old cousin. All crimes do not beart an equal risk of repetition.

Posted by: maryland_mother | July 31, 2007 3:41 PM

If you could step back from the ledge long enough to approach this topic with the intelligence and focus with which you approach other topics, you'd appreciate that dave's point is well taken: if we don't consider that those on the registry have paid their debt, then maybe we should re-evaluate whether we are sentencing them in accordance with our values and concerns about adequately protecting the public.

Posted by: mn.188 | July 31, 2007 03:31 PM

Thank you for stating my point better than I did.

I think child molesters should never get out of prison, alive anyways.

Posted by: daves000 | July 31, 2007 3:42 PM

Same old vile comments, pATRICK? Why did you return to this blog if your only contribution to it is going to be to continue to suggest that other parents' difference of opinion with you is going to result in harm to their children? Attaching a name to a comment doesn't somehow make it acceptable


You are very full of yourself these days MN. Get off your high horse, the truth is not vile and if people disagree with your highness that doesn't make them wrong. People like DOLAN do look for those types of traits to help them do their deeds. SO if you don't like those facts, tough.

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 3:43 PM

MN, you are out on a ledge. DAVE has some naive viewof criminal behavior. Like somehow a vicious molester somehow turns into a hard working productive citizen because he has "paid his debt to society". These perverts are not rehabilitated. They are just free. Your response was very wonkish and naive.

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 03:37 PM

There's nothing naive about suggesting that the solution is longer sentences. Geez, do you just do this to get attention? Racist comments on On Parenting. Comments here that everyone who disagrees with you is naive and their children will die. You are not spreading enlightenment, you are shreiking at other thoughtful people. Interesting that you don't ever want to comment on the large percentage of child abuse and molestation that is delivered at the hands of relatives and close family friends. THAT's where change needs to occur. People need to more honestly look at mom's boyfriend, dad's cousin, and sis' boyfriend's best friend and ask whether they know anything about the backgrounds and predilictions of these people. But it's oh so much more comfortable to check that registry and feel as though your kids are safe because you know who lives around you. What about who lives with you or visits your house regularly?

Develop a little respect for those who disagree with you and we can all have a gay old time. Otherwise, you're just a bully.

Posted by: mn.188 | July 31, 2007 3:45 PM

"The more important point here is that people need to look at the registry with a an awareness that the scope of the crimes of those on it is broad, and includes both the now 40 year old guy who, when he was 18 years old had consensual sex with his then-16 year old girlfriend, and the 24 year old guy who, when he was 17, raped and killed his three year old cousin."

Posted by: mn.188 | July 31, 2007 03:31 PM

Perhaps the entry for each offender on the registry ought to provide a list of all the crimes of which he shall have been convicted, with enough details so that the neighbors can distinguish between the kinds of cases that mn.188 describes.

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | July 31, 2007 3:46 PM

People like DOLAN do look for those types of traits to help them do their deeds

Do you know DOLAN? Or are you simply accusing someone of being a criminal, and a very particular kind of criminal at that?

Posted by: maryland_mother | July 31, 2007 3:47 PM

"As long as people knew that this criminal was actively stalking kids, they did not let their kids play outside unsupervised"

Thank you for answering my question, Emily. You're the first person who's ever been able to point out to me how they have or would act differently knowing there was a sex offender in their neighborhood.

I do still think that the presence or lack of a known offender in the neighorhood should not change the way a person parents (and yes, I'd tend to err on the side of caution), but I respect your opinion and your willingness to engage on it.

And with that, I have to go. DD is awake and tired of me neglecting her for the computer.

Posted by: newsahm | July 31, 2007 3:48 PM

mehitabel,

It is for me. My best friend was molested by her uncle and her mother wouldn't do anything about it. When he was 16 he tried to rape a 4 year old girl and when he couldn't he did something else to her that is so vile, I can't repeat it. Except to say that she had to have a hysterectomy at 4 and that her parents were so upset with the justice she got they left the state.

Because he was young, he got away with it only to grow up, have girls who he molested and molest his nieces too. You know who he didn't molest was the people who knew what he did and kept their children away from him with warnings that if he ever touched them they would kill him.

"Also, you should read John Grisham's A Time to Kill." I have and I think they got what they deserved and a lot of child molesters kill the kids anyway. It could go the other way too, if I am going to be caught and killed, maybe I shouldnt' do this.

Posted by: Irishgirl74 | July 31, 2007 3:48 PM

Racist comments on On Parenting. Comments here that everyone who disagrees with you is naive and their children will die. You are not spreading enlightenment, you are shreiking at other thoughtful people. Interesting that you don't ever want to comment on the large percentage of child abuse and molestation that is delivered at the hands of relatives and close family friends. THAT's where change needs to occur. People need to more honestly look at mom's boyfriend, dad's cousin, and sis' boyfriend's best friend and ask whether they know anything about the backgrounds and predilictions of these people

I never thouht of you as a hypocrite but strange you fought me tooth and nail about what YOU just advocated! 2. I said and still believe as do some black leaders like bill cosby that there is a culture of criminality among black males that needs to be acknowledged and addressed. 3. Your kids are not going to "die' but they can be put more at risk by burying your head and not eralizing criminals are out there and you should be prepared.

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 3:50 PM

"You're the first person who's ever been able to point out to me how they have or would act differently knowing there was a sex offender in their neighborhood."

You take that house off the Halloween stop.

You teach your kids not to go to that house or approach that person in an emergency.

You don't invite him over for the neighborhood potluck.

Your kids aren't permitted to petsit his pets.

If he ever volunteers to assist with swim team or other neighborhood organization, you step in fast and alert the board, and your kid does NOT participate as long as there is a risk he will encounter this guy.

scarry - I'm all for longer sentences, including life without parole, and in certain instances the death penalty. That's the only solution that makes sense to me for pedophiles.

Posted by: mn.188 | July 31, 2007 3:53 PM

There was a recent news story about a 13-year-old girl who shot her father in the face, killing him after years of battering and sexual abuse; he also beat her brother a lot. The neighbors would report the noise to the police, who never did anything that was long-term effective. Now the daughter has been arrested and charged with murder, and ordered to undergo psychiatric evaluation. (No explanation on the news about the mother's whereabouts, so I infer she was dead or permanently absent).

Posted by: mehitabel | July 31, 2007 3:54 PM

Please Patrick. I have no idea why you are arguing with MN. What she basically suggested is that not all of the people on the registry are child molesters or violent offenders (which is true, some were convicted of statutory rape), and that we should be aware of the broad range of crimes that such registries list (why is this a bad idea?), and that maybe real offenders don't get long enough sentences, and that we should revisit this issue with our legislators so that their sentences are more in line with our values.

I don't think any of those suggestions reduces anyone's security. They are thoughtful opinions. You are knee jerking unnecessarily here, and it is offensive.

Posted by: Emily | July 31, 2007 3:55 PM

Interestingly enough, many criminals specifically target people who are religious.

Anyone read Anna M. Salter's book, "Predator"?

Posted by: maryland_mother | July 31, 2007 3:56 PM

Hey, I have an idea. Why don't we accept the well-established fact that patrick cannot have a reasonable conversation on this topic and move on.

Posted by: LizaBean | July 31, 2007 3:58 PM

Hey, the offensive comment feature works. Cool.

Posted by: daves000 | July 31, 2007 4:01 PM

Guess not

Posted by: daves000 | July 31, 2007 4:04 PM

I thought we'd at least make it to the end of the week before the discussion degenerated to this point . . . . I was much too optimistic.

Posted by: vegasmom89109 | July 31, 2007 4:07 PM

Patrick and Dave,
Grow up or shut up. Your insults are old and stupid and both of you should be ashamed of yourselves.

Posted by: Emily | July 31, 2007 4:08 PM

Patrick and Dave,
Grow up or shut up. Your insults are old and stupid and both of you should be ashamed of yourselves.

Posted by: Emily | July 31, 2007 04:08 PM

But moooom, he started it. ;)

I'm done.

Posted by: daves000 | July 31, 2007 4:13 PM

Grow up or shut up. Your insults are old and stupid

I will endeavor to be more witty in the future..........

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 4:15 PM

Thank you.

Posted by: Emily | July 31, 2007 4:16 PM

What is the purpose of a criminal justice system?
Is it punishment: make the criminal pay for what he did?
Is it deterrence: make the would-be criminal refrain because he's afraid of what we'll do to him if we catch him?
Is it rehabilitation and redemption: change the criminal into a worthy, upstanding contributor to society?
Is it public safety: keep the criminal behind bars as long as he is physically capable of repeating his crime or doing a worse crime?

These are weighty questions of public policy. It's a pity that the one regular who has a Master's in Public Policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, viz., Baba Booey, is not here today to enlighten us.

But consider: Someone is convicted of armed carjacking, meaning that he pointed a weapon at someone and threatened, "Give me your keys or I'll kill you." If we let him out after ten or twenty years, he may try carjacking someone else. And the someone else may be too slow to give up his car keys. And the criminal may kill him.

On the other hand, if we lock the convicted carjacker up until he is an old man with a walker -- how many carjackings are commited by old men with walkers? -- haven't we wasted his life, when he might have turned into a worthy, upstanding citizen? Haven't we forgone any contributions he might have made to society?

Finally: How many young men from Baltimore are lying in their graves who would be alive today if Maryland had sentenced all armed carjackers, armed robbers, armed rapists, and attempted murderers to fifty years in prison with no parole and no time off for good behavior? Would it be worth it?

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | July 31, 2007 4:18 PM

Finally: How many young men from Baltimore are lying in their graves who would be alive today if Maryland had sentenced all armed carjackers, armed robbers, armed rapists, and attempted murderers to fifty years in prison with no parole and no time off for good behavior? Would it be worth it?

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | July 31, 2007 04:18 PM

Where were you when I needed you?

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 4:21 PM

Oh, my mistake Faith Hill and Tim Mcgraw. Some fan grabbed his package while she was on stage singing with him and she was livid.

Posted by: Irishgirl74 | July 31, 2007 4:22 PM

He was doing some research on Wikipedia.

Posted by: Emily | July 31, 2007 4:22 PM

The 13-year-old girl who killed her abusive father has been charged with murder as an adult. He reportedly had raped and beaten her frequently since she was 7, and the house was unspeakably filthy. Do people think a jury will (or should) convict or acquit?

Posted by: mehitabel | July 31, 2007 4:26 PM

Oh, my mistake Faith Hill and Tim Mcgraw. Some fan grabbed his package while she was on stage singing with him and she was livid.

That's funny

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 4:26 PM

"Do people think a jury will (or should) convict or acquit?"

I'd vote to acquit. I would also hope this kid gets some serious mental health care. She'll need it.

Posted by: Emily | July 31, 2007 4:28 PM

Finally: How many young men from Baltimore are lying in their graves who would be alive today if Maryland had sentenced all armed carjackers, armed robbers, armed rapists, and attempted murderers to fifty years in prison with no parole and no time off for good behavior? Would it be worth it?

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | July 31, 2007 04:18 PM

Where were you when I needed you?

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 04:21 PM

Maybe we should just kill them all.

Posted by: daves000 | July 31, 2007 4:28 PM

Well, I certainly looked at the registry before moving into my neighborhood, because it was there. Of course, I could very well have murderers, thieves, and burglars surrounding me.

I wonder if pATRICK's neighbors are murderers?

Posted by: dctony | July 31, 2007 4:30 PM

Maybe we should just kill them all.

I thought you left to go attend a prisoner's rights rally

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 4:30 PM

Well, I certainly looked at the registry before moving into my neighborhood, because it was there. Of course, I could very well have murderers, thieves, and burglars surrounding me.

I wonder if pATRICK's neighbors are murderers?

How many times are you going to post this, sport?

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 4:31 PM

"Do people think a jury will (or should) convict or acquit?"

I'd vote to acquit. I would also hope this kid gets some serious mental health care. She'll need it.


Posted by: Emily | July 31, 2007 04:28 PM

Me too (acquit).

Don't know the whole story, but if the mother was there and allowed this to happen, I would charge her.

Posted by: daves000 | July 31, 2007 4:33 PM

Do people think a jury will (or should) convict or acquit?

If was on the jury acquit, but who knows what will happen to this kid with some of the people out there. I hope she gets help.

Posted by: Irishgirl74 | July 31, 2007 4:37 PM

I posted: "Do people think a jury will (or should) convict or acquit?"

To daves000: Reportedly the mother had long been absent.

Maybe one of our lawyers can explain why the victim of CHILD abuse is being charged as an ADULT? It seems inconsistent.

Posted by: mehitabel | July 31, 2007 4:41 PM

Back to Faith Hill for a moment. If someone grabbed my husband's package, I think I would crack them a good one, but she can't do that because she is worth millions and would be sued.

But her statement was very funny. I saw it on TMZ.

Posted by: Irishgirl74 | July 31, 2007 4:43 PM

No jury in americais going to convict her. I certainly wouldn't

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 4:43 PM

Wow, everyone. It looks like "happy" hour came and went...

FWIW, the day someone can convince me that our legal system has no socio-economic or cultural biases is the day I will support punitive punishment as a deterrent. Until then, such reactive (not pro-active) means to regulating societal behaviors should be discarded, as they'll disproportionately punish those who don't have the money or connections get off with a slap on the wrist.

Yeah, that's a liberal viewpoint. If you're looking for me to be ashamed of that it's not going to happen.

Posted by: ProudPapa15 | July 31, 2007 4:47 PM

Maybe we should just kill them all.

I thought you left to go attend a prisoner's rights rally

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 04:30 PM

This is constructive how?

But, in your black and white world, YES, you would be safer if we just killed everyone convicted of a crime.

Posted by: daves000 | July 31, 2007 4:48 PM

Where IS that virtual bar?

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 4:49 PM

Posted by: daves000 | July 31, 2007 04:48 PM
Do you ever hold yourself accountable for what you write?
"Maybe we should just kill them all."

Now how is THAT constuctive?

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 4:50 PM

Maybe we should just kill them all.

I thought you left to go attend a prisoner's rights rally

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 04:30 PM

And I thought you left for the lynching.

Posted by: daves000 | July 31, 2007 4:52 PM

Posted by: daves000 | July 31, 2007 04:52 PM

YAWN

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 4:56 PM

"Maybe we should just kill them all."

Posted by: daves000 | July 31, 2007 04:28 PM

You can't execute a criminal who hasn't killed anyone yet. There's a Supreme Court case. Or, it could be that we'll find out later that he was framed, and if we've executed him, we can't bring him back to life and say, "Sorry."

Once the criminal has killed someone, it's too late. Nothing we do to him -- not even the death penalty -- can bring his victim back to life. Lock him up for fifty years, and at least during those fifty years those of us on the outside will be safe from him.

The purpose of a criminal justice system should reflect the purpose of government in general. Governments are instituted among men to secure our Creator-given, unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. At least, that's what it says in the Declaration of Independence. A government that does not put public safety first, that does not do all it can to secure our right to life, that puts Christian concepts like "redemption" and "rehabilitation" and "hope" ahead of public safety -- that government is not worthy to be called a government.

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | July 31, 2007 5:00 PM

Did I miss something? I've never read anything racist from pATRICK.

Posted by: Irishgirl74 | July 31, 2007 5:00 PM

First of all, I'm glad Leslie, or WaPo, started having posters register. I've been avoiding the blog lately, since it's gotten SO nasty. I hope registration is like Terminex for trolls.

I hadn't heard about Faith Hill's comment. Sounds like it should be on a NASCAR halftime video or something.

I have a cousin who was molested when she was about 9 or 10 (this was in the 1960's). My aunt and uncle moved from Howard County to the Eastern Shore after it happened. I don't know the whole story, but I assume that either my family wanted to prevent the publicity and trauma of a trial, or the perp wouldn't be going to jail and leaving the community. I certainly hope he died a slow, painful death.

IMHO, I think sex offender registries should be altered so that they are actually pedophile/violent sexual assault registries, and renamed as such, leaving off the 18-year-old having sex with his 17-year-old honey (which shouldn't be a crime anyway -- those kids should be grounded, not jailed).

Posted by: educmom615 | July 31, 2007 5:00 PM

And that girl who killed her slimeball father after years of molestation and violence should be given a medal, not put on trial!

Posted by: educmom615 | July 31, 2007 5:04 PM

Posted by: daves000 | July 31, 2007 04:48 PM
Do you ever hold yourself accountable for what you write?
"Maybe we should just kill them all."

Now how is THAT constuctive?

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 04:50 PM

Ooooh, big word, accountable, hmmm, what does that mean?

I stand by every word I have said here.

The "kill them all" statement was on topic with respect to the questions Matt asked that you agreed with (50 yrs w/o parole for all violent offenders). If we are going to put everyone in jail for life, why not just kill them instead, it will save the public money in taxes.

Posted by: daves000 | July 31, 2007 5:05 PM

Did I miss something? I've never read anything racist from pATRICK

IG, I responded to a poster on ON PARENTING who said all white kids were serial killers, rapists and republicans. MN blasted my bringing up of criminality in black culture as racist.

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 5:05 PM

Posted by: daves000 | July 31, 2007 05:05 PM

MATT, I will punt this to you.

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 5:08 PM

I'll go read it, but you do know that the hip hop community is partly responsible for the no snitching rule that is running rampant in black communities. I saw it on 20/20 and could not believe it. Many black church leaders and activist are trying to stop it, but they interviewed these young black kids and they were all for it because it is being glamorized. It was a very sad show to watch.

Posted by: Irishgirl74 | July 31, 2007 5:13 PM

Irishgirl,
It figures -- the adults (church leaders and activists) are having trouble controlling the children (young black hip-hop fans). So sad, especially since they will, in the end, probably be victimized by someone with a get-out-of-jail-free, no-snitching card.

Posted by: educmom615 | July 31, 2007 5:28 PM

The purpose of a criminal justice system should reflect the purpose of government in general. Governments are instituted among men to secure our Creator-given, unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. At least, that's what it says in the Declaration of Independence. A government that does not put public safety first, that does not do all it can to secure our right to life, that puts Christian concepts like "redemption" and "rehabilitation" and "hope" ahead of public safety -- that government is not worthy to be called a government.

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | July 31, 2007 05:00 PM

If this is the case, why even include the word liberty? There has to be a balance.

Posted by: daves000 | July 31, 2007 5:34 PM

I agree daves000. Liberty has to fit into the equation. If we see public safety as the only priority, instead of one among a few important priorities, we are in danger of giving up our liberty for safety. And once we do that and hand a government that kind of absolute power, we compromise both our safety and our liberty. Benjamin Franklin said the same thing.

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Franklin's Contributions to the Conference on February 17 (III) Fri, Feb 17, 1775

Posted by: Emily | July 31, 2007 5:55 PM

You are very full of yourself these days MN. Get off your high horse, the truth is not vile and if people disagree with your highness that doesn't make them wrong. People like DOLAN do look for those types of traits to help them do their deeds. SO if you don't like those facts, tough.

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 03:43 PM

What I am identifying is your need to go from blog to blog on certain days insulting everyone in sight and seeing whom you can get to respond. It's not constructive or instructive to anyone. I prefer facts over blustering, degrading insults. Most of us do. But on days when you merely want attention, there might be better sandboxes for you to play in unless you play with more respectful rhetoric.

Most of us thought that today would bring a break from this sort of personal abuse, but you'd done as much to ramp up the nastiness as any troll ever has.

Posted by: mn.188 | July 31, 2007 6:01 PM

I just found out that my parents' neighborhood pedophile is back in jail for violation of probation. Yay!!! So all those calls and complaints to the police department, parole officer, and prosecutor's office were not in vain.

Posted by: Emily | July 31, 2007 6:19 PM

No arguments from me daves000. These pedophiles are really scary, and they don't seem to be able to stop.

They guy who used to live in my parents neighborhood has been in and out of jail on these types of charges since the early 90s. He should be locked up permanently.

Posted by: Emily | July 31, 2007 6:30 PM

But I also think that sometimes, we are too willing to give up our liberty in the interest of security. Some measures that have been taken that impinge on the freedom and privacy of average citizens who are not suspected of any crimes, in the interest of catching terrorists, bother me. Like the illegal wiretapping bruhaha. There has to be balance.

Posted by: Emily | July 31, 2007 6:33 PM

What I am identifying is your need to go from blog to blog on certain days insulting everyone in sight and seeing whom you can get to respond.

That is your opinion and you are welcome to it. If disagreeing with wrongheaded comments is insulting, then so be it. Besides, who made you arbiter of all things?

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 6:48 PM

Patrick,
Disagreeing with people is not insulting. But you cross the line and go on attack mode when the disagreement isn't even real. It seems like you have no perception of nuance, and it makes your posts less thoughtful and interesting.

Perhaps MN is not the arbiter of all things, but a lot of people on the blog agree with her, including me. Perhaps you would benefit from a little introspection. When a lot of people are offended by you, it might make sense to consider that perhaps, just perhaps, you are behaving in an offensive way.

Posted by: Emily | July 31, 2007 7:01 PM

I am not the arbiter of all things, or of any things, pATRICK, and never have claimed to be. Unlike you, I also don't consider everyone's ideas with which I disagree wrongheaded. To label the ideas of those who disagree with me, "wrongheaded," would be not only the height of arrogance but delusionally dismissive.

We're not all here to provide target practice for you.

Posted by: mn.188 | July 31, 2007 7:02 PM

Emily and MN.188 - Standing ovation to both of you - BRAVO!!

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | July 31, 2007 7:06 PM

We're not all here to provide target practice for you.

And neither am I, where were you when someone wrote fu, or attacked my religion ? silent-, seems you are very selective

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 7:07 PM

OK, lets talk about something else. Robin Roberts has breast cancer.

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=3430554

Robin is a wonderful lady that I have had the pleasure to met. Her sis is also in TV in New Orleans. I have also had the pleasure to meet and correspond with her.

Posted by: Fred | July 31, 2007 7:10 PM

Patrick,
Now you are doing a Rosie O'Donnell imitation. Why is it MN's job to defend you when you provoke people to behave as foolishly as you do? She has not told you to f off. Why is it somehow her job to stick up for you, when without necessarily using foul language, you behave as vulgarly as the person who flung the f word at you?

Posted by: Emily | July 31, 2007 7:11 PM

And neither am I, where were you when someone wrote fu, or attacked my religion ? silent-, seems you are very selective

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 07:07 PM

believe it or not, pATRICK, I've had a busy afternoon and have not kept up with every post. While it's not my job to play hall monitor, I would have probably stuck up for you had I read an insult unrelated to the topic at hand. It's interesting that you're labeling my failure to defend you as somehow selective considering your posts to me this afternoon.

thanks, Emily.

Posted by: mn.188 | July 31, 2007 7:18 PM

pATRICK -- MN has defended you when you deserved defending. As have I.

You have been nothing more than a troll with a name today.

Posted by: vegasmom89109 | July 31, 2007 7:22 PM

I saw that, Fred, and was saddened by it. I hope for the best for her. If I recall correctly, Robin was in the DC market at some point earlier in her carrier.

Posted by: mn.188 | July 31, 2007 7:23 PM

Leslie/WaPo editors:

Thank you for removing pATRICK's offensive comment. I hope this means the board will be more monitored and offensive content removed promptly.

Posted by: vegasmom89109 | July 31, 2007 7:54 PM

more CLOSELY monitored, I should have typed . . . .

Just washed my hands and can't do a thing with 'em.

Posted by: vegasmom89109 | July 31, 2007 7:56 PM

Scarry, Educmom - I assume that I am one of the few people on this board able to speak from personal experience about what HipHop is and was. It is always aggravating to see things like:

"It figures -- the adults (church leaders and activists) are having trouble controlling the children (young black hip-hop fans)."

Exactly what is it that "figures"?? And why do you suppose these children should be "control(led)" by "church leaders and activists", not their parents? Do you not see that you have generalized all young black hip-hop fans as hard to control? Exactly why would you do that? Because your television said so? How many "young black hip hop fans" do you know personally? Because it is extremely likely that you've known enough to make such an inflamatory statement.

Scarry: "you do know that the hip hop community is partly responsible for the no snitching rule that is running rampant in black communities." First of all, because SOME black kids in SOME black communities are believe that reporting crime is snitching doesn't mean that (1) these kids speak for the "Hip Hop Community" and (2) that there is a "Rule" about "snitching" that governs the Hip Hop Community.

I take this personally because growing up in NYC in the '70s and '80s, I myself was part of the community of youth that invented Hip Hop as a culture. I know it intimately because I was there when it was born. When people who probably don't know the difference between Rap and HipHop profess to know some "rule" that supposedly governs the "hip hop community", it is offensive to me.

It is as offensive and ridiculous if I was to say that I saw an alarming expose on the news about how the Italian community is governed by a No-Snitching Rule about roving thugs who collect tribute and protection money from their local shopkeepers every week. Apparently Italian church leaders and activists cannot control those Italian kids. It figures.

Posted by: ProudPapa15 | July 31, 2007 8:43 PM

Patrick,
Now you are doing a Rosie O'Donnell imitation. Why is it MN's job to defend you when you provoke people to behave as foolishly as you do? She has not told you to f off. Why is it somehow her job to stick up for you, when without necessarily using foul language, you behave as vulgarly as the person who flung the f word at you?

Well first off, i can defend myself. it seems that people label things here offensive if they disagree with the poster. if they don't then well FU is just fine. Lastly, I will NEVER go along to get along when I see a position that strikes me as immoral or wrong. Fortunately this is a blog not a club. And with that, good night

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 9:05 PM

Proudpapa I didn't mean to offend you. I have to say though that it seems like a bigger problem then you would like to believe. I also think that the parents in these neighborhoods are also involved in the "no snitching" culture. Saying that I would no nothing about hip hop is a little offensive to me as well. I can't know about it because I am white? You may have started hip hop in the 70s and 80, but I don't think you can say that it is the same now as it was then. As I said before, I did not mean to offend you, but when I saw the program on the news, I found it very alarming and sad. Apparently, I am not alone and I went out after the show and did some research.

I really didn't mean to offend you and I am sorry that you took it personally.

Posted by: Irishgirl74 | July 31, 2007 9:28 PM

Once more with feeling:


A few of you have asked today how to change your MyPost ID once you have registered on the site. This is an ID you can change/create only once on washingtonpost.com. So, if you've created one for another group, that will apply sitewide and can't be changed. Here's a direct link to do that:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/profile/create

Posted by: leslie4 | July 31, 2007 11:08 PM

Proud Papa, you said it far better than I could have. Kudos.

Posted by: mn.188 | July 31, 2007 11:39 PM

Thanks MN and Meesh! I know the conversation is over now (I haven't installed internet at my new place yet so I only come on when I can), but I just wanted to say thanks for your support and advice. The cats did fine, they seem happy, and they're strictly indoors. Meesh, I'm not sure what the butter-on-the-paws trick is. Do you put it on their paws so they'll eat it and want to come home every night for more?

Scarry and Emily, hope you're doing well. How is everything going?

Everyone else, good to see you. ::tips hat:: Good night! I'll try to drop in tomorrow.

Posted by: Monagatuna | August 1, 2007 3:56 AM

signing in, better late than never...

Posted by: portuguese-mother | August 1, 2007 6:17 AM

Thank you Leslie!

I had given up on reading any comments on this blog long ago. I always like the original post, but couldn't hack the venom from the comments. Having to sign in will at least have people take responsibility for what they say.

Posted by: elyrest | August 1, 2007 7:07 PM

Just seeing if my registration and name change worked.

Posted by: ChicagoGal | August 2, 2007 11:55 AM

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