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Domestic CP - December 2007

Corpun file 19899

Havelock News, North Carolina, 5 December 2007

Some lawmakers need a good spanking

By Otis Gardner

Mark Twain said "truth is stranger than fiction." He explained the validity of the statement by pointing out fiction is obligated to stick to possibilities; truth isn't.

Those words bounced around my mind the other day when a news blurb mentioned a "truth" that I would've never considered possible. Sit down, folks. A proposed law submitted to the Massachusetts legislature would make it illegal for parents to spank their own children.

If that alone doesn't offend your sensibilities enough to make your ears ring, the proposed law actually forbids corporal punishment within the home!

I can't even begin to wrap my mind around that concept. Holy cow, is the country going absolutely mad?

I don't understand. Nobody wants kids beaten or abused, but corporal punishment in normal parental doses is basic avoidance conditioning. It's common throughout nature.

All thinking animals make behavioral cost/benefit choices that are vital parts of the learning and conditioning process. Charles Darwin is a strict taskmaster: "If you want to stay in the gene pool, you'd better learn the rules."

Most of us drive slower than we want to for a very simple reason. The cost of a speeding ticket (or death) outweighs the value of getting to our destination a few minutes quicker.

Morality aside, normal folks don't routinely walk out of a store without paying because the downside of theft outweighs the benefit of "free" merchandise. Laws are predominately based upon the effectiveness and logic of avoidance conditioning.

Many of today's parents are raising "creatures" that look like kids and act like demons. Little Damiens can be found in grocery store aisles everywhere. Ask any cashier you know for a few of his or her experiences. "Shock and awe" takes on new nonmilitary meanings.

So, in these modern days, how does a "progressive" parent stop little Johnny's bad behavior?

Many times I've seen a mommy jump around and make funny noises through her nose. From what I've seen, it doesn't seem to make much of an impression on the child.

Idle threats are nothing but hot air, and it doesn't take long for Junior to figure that out. I've heard mothers warn their spawn they'll "tell Daddy." I haven't seen much come of that. Most kids aren't very worried about Pop breathing funny through his nose either.

Getting past blatant nonsense, it's amazing how effective a good swat or two on the appropriate fanny is in certain situations. Its effectiveness spans time, having worked for thousands of years — most certainly through all my early ones.

I actually wasn't spanked that much. Oh, I certainly had more than a few, but they were all deserved and never for the same infraction. It's called "learning" in the real world, and I did.

Leather or hickory definitely wasn't the most powerful weapon in my parents' arsenal. I respected them. They were credible. What they said, they meant. I wasn't confused, and I slept well, had boundaries and lived a good life within them.

All of this seems basic common sense to me; however, a crop of loony "experts" righteously proclaims there's absolutely no excuse for violence of any sort toward a child. It sounds good, but if blatant hypocrisy were poisonous, they'd all be dead.

Those "loving and concerned" progressives who say we mustn't lay a hand on a bottom don't seem to have a problem with pounding a brain flat with pharmaceuticals. They replace the paddle with a mortar and pestle.

My goodness, don't smack a bottom but go ahead and slap a few million brain-cells to sleep. I surely wasn't spanked every single morning and afternoon and "in between as needed." I might also mention I never had to take a paddling "with food."

It's mindless. What on earth do you think this country will look like in a decade under such ridiculous idiocy? Thankfully, this particular law is only a proposal, and I hope there's enough good sense and Charmin left in Massachusetts to flush this pile away.

But, these days you never know. After all, this is the state that continues the perpetual care and feeding of Ted Kennedy. As you may suspect, I have no use for him. I'm old enough to clearly remember Teddy and his neck brace on television explaining how stupid he thought I was.

I'm so thankful such weird stuff wasn't going on when I was a kid. My dad would've died in prison. He wouldn't have been sent away for harming me. It would've been for pinching the head off whoever came into our home to stop him from raising his son as he saw fit.

Otis Gardner's column appears in the Havelock News each Wednesday.

Corpun file 19895

Tri-Valley Herald, Pleasanton, California, 12 December 2007

Spare the rod, spoil the child?

By Jim Ott


WHEN Danville resident Frank Hanna was growing up in a small Texas town, his mother used to swat him with a limb from a backyard peach tree for misbehaving.

My mom kept a peach switch on top of the refrigerator, said Hanna, 46, who speaks with a Texas accent. One night after everyone fell asleep, I climbed up and broke that switch into about 500 pieces.

Hanna was abruptly awakened the next morning by the whacking of a new peach switch his mother simply pulled from the tree.

As she administered the punishment, she suggested I never again break her switch into pieces, he said, smiling.

Hanna's experiences echo the memories of many who grew up with some form of corporal punishment, whether by teachers or parents.

Wayne Yeaw of Pleasanton recalls that in the 1950s his father used a long stick, carved with little faces like a totem pole, to punish him and his siblings when they stepped out of line.

"My dad would line us up," he said, "and if whoever was responsible for whatever happened didn't confess, he would swat all of us."

Whacking youngsters and even adults to encourage better behavior dates back many centuries. In the Middle Ages, corporal punishment was common in Europe and authorized by religious leaders who viewed the practice as a healthy way to discipline the wayward human body. This philosophy found its way into medieval schools, and was introduced into America with the first settlers, spawning in this country more than three centuries of discipline by such methods.


Still, Hanna observed that his fellow high school students did benefit from the occasional whipping by his Texas football coaches, and he credits his loving mother's peach switch with amending his own occasional errant behavior.

In the end, though, corporal punishment only goes so far. "When I was about 12," Hanna said, "my mother used one of my dad's belts to give me a whipping. Regardless of how hard she swung that belt it just didn't hurt much."

Hanna remembers looking at his mother when they both suddenly burst into laughter. "We nearly died laughing as we realized whipping me was no longer going to be effective."

Jim Ott is the CEO of UNCLE Credit Union and an English professor at Las Positas College.

2000-2006 ANG Newspapers

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