Monday, October 23, 2006

U.K.: Paedophile escapes school gym ban as it would breach his human rights

A convicted paedophile is being allowed to use a gym at a school because the authorities are worried that banning him would infringe his human rights. Andrew Baldwin, 43, was convicted in 1999 of molesting three girls aged 12 and 13. Yet he is a frequent visitor to a public gym on the site of Whitecross School, a comprehensive for 11-16 year olds in Lydney in the Forest of Dean.

Outraged parents, who raised the alarm four weeks ago, claim they were told the school was afraid to ban Baldwin in case it was accused of breaching his human rights. This is despite the fact that the gym is next door to children's changing rooms. Anthony Callaghan, 40, whose 15-year-old daughter attends Whitecross school, confronted Baldwin when he first saw him at the gym - and the child abuser promptly complained to the receptionist. Mr Callaghan said: "It's so ridiculous, you couldn't make it up. The gym is for over-16s but it is right on the school premises and you have to go down the corridor and past the boys' and girls' changing room to get there. "I use it five times a week and I've been walking down the corridor with girls in their PE kits and quite often the changing room doors are left ajar. The headmaster told me it was out of his hands because the solicitors say a ban would breach this paedophile's human rights. "Well, if that's the case, what about the human rights of the pupils?"

The gym is at council-run Whitecross Leisure Centre, which is in 'joint use' with the school. The majority of public use of the facilities, including squash courts and sports hall, takes place in the evenings or at weekends. But, crucially, the 'lifestyle fitness suite' is open to the public from 9am each day. Whitecross headmaster David Gaston and Forest of Dean District Council are now talks with legal experts on how to resolve the issue, with one option stopping Baldwin attending the gym during school hours. Mr Gaston said: "The safety of students is the absolute priority of the school and any decision will take their welfare into account." A council spokesman added: "We're unable to comment because the head at Whitecross is awaiting definitive legal advice from Shire Hall."

The child protection charity Kidscape called for immediate action. Director Dr Michelle Elliott said: "This totally defies common sense. Men who have been convicted of abusing a child should not be on school premises."



It's no secret that hurling names about is as common in the political world as it is in a grammar school playground. One oft-used pejorative is "fascist," which, along with racist, sexist, homophobe and others, tends to be least understood by those who utter it most. And because these damning terms are used wantonly, more to discredit than describe, they tend to be misapplied. Then, soon, calling someone a fascist becomes akin to calling him a snake: more a vague impugnment of character than a characterization of methods and goals. Rhetoric aside, however, I've come to realize that true fascists do exist in our time. But who are they? How can they be correctly identified? To discover the answer, let's start with a trip down Bad Memory Lane.

Another word that makes the rounds these days is "Brownshirts," which, as many know, harks back to the SA, a paramilitary organization that was instrumental in Adolf Hitler's rise to power in 1933. The Brownshirts were the adolescent Nazi Party's muscle, squelching opposition through violence and intimidation. Shout-downs and beat-downs were their stock-in-trade, making their name a metaphor for fascist intolerance and oppression.

Now for a little current events. There was a university, some speakers and an audience. The speakers had been invited to the university in the name of intellectual debate and free expression. The audience, however, would have none of it. Intolerant of the views being aired, they shouted-down the speakers and repeatedly called one of the black representatives "nigger." Then, in a final fit of hatred and rage, in quintessential Brownshirt style, they stormed the stage violently, squelching voices that would have contributed to a fruitful exchange of ideas.

But what was the university? And, more to the point, who were the speakers and the audience? Were the guests communists or advocates for illegal immigration and the audience right-wing ideologues? No, not at all. This fascistic display occurred at vaunted Columbia University, ostensibly a bastion of free expression. The speakers were with the Minuteman Project, the organization of citizen border sentinels. And the mob posing as an audience comprised those who despise such individuals: leftists. Leftists who did the Brownshirts proud.

Then, there once was a woman who traveled to the University of Arizona to give a speech. But members of the crowd didn't like what she had to say, and a couple of them attacked her, hurling pies. Now, this isn't the first time this lady has been targeted with violence, and she now travels with bodyguards. But who was this woman? Was she a member of GLAD beating the drum for the legal sanction of anti-marriage or a terrorist sympathizer criticizing US interrogation techniques? No, she was conservative pundit Ann Coulter, and her offense that night was to dare to defend the institution of marriage. And, needless to say, those who tried to silence her were her leftist foes.

And you don't have to be famous to feel the left's wrath. On more than one occasion conservative student newspapers have been burned, and even one of my editors related a story to me about being shouted down by colleagues during a previous career in academia.

Lest you think this is unusual, errant blips on the radar screen, know that this is standard practice on university campuses today. Liberals are afforded the right to speak mostly unfettered by disruptive voices, while conservatives are subjected to as much abuse as today's Brownshirts can get away with dishing out.

Getting back to the more fashion conscious fascists of yesteryear, once the Brownshirts had helped catapult the Nazis into power, the SS (sometimes called the "Blackshirts") was created. Among other functions, the SS served the regime's agenda by arresting, questioning and punishing those who expressed the politically incorrect thoughts of the day. It was effective enough so that many German people wouldn't even express dissent within earshot of their own children.

Fast-forward again, and we have the story of a 14-year-old working class girl in England named Codie Stott. Recently she said something in her classroom to which her teachers didn't exactly cotton. In fact, her words didn't find favor with the government, either, and she found herself cooling her heels in a jail cell for three and a half hours. Mind you, this wasn't for the commission of an untoward act, but for mere use of the tongue. So what was Codie's grave transgression? Did she threaten the life of the Queen? Was she a hippie advocating the replacement of tea time with a trip to an opium den? Perish the thought.

What happened was that Codie had been assigned to work on a project with a group of five Asian students, four of whom couldn't speak English. And the fifth was probably limited to the pidgin variety. After being seated with the quintet and instructed to discuss the subject matter in question, the foreigners commenced speaking amongst themselves in Urdu (don't ask), a language Codie couldn't understand, prompting her to approach the teacher and request placement elsewhere. The teacher's response was to scream, "It's racist, you're going to get done by the police." And she was. Suspected of committing a "section five racial public order offense," Codie was arrested, interrogated, photographed, fingerprinted and told to relinquish her shoelaces and jewelry and then imprisoned.

Now, do I have to tell you whose agenda visited this injustice upon the hapless Codie? Well, be assured that it's not the work of a "right-wing" boogeyman like Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell or the Vatican.

Be outraged, but not surprised. Like the Brownshirt activity that the left's useful idiots engage in regularly nowadays, SS-like government suppression of free speech has become rampant in the Western world. In Canada, Ontario man Mark Harding was convicted in 1998 of a "hate-crime" for distributing pamphlets critical of Islam. Further west in Saskatchewan, countryman Hugh Owens was forced to pay damages of 1,500 Canadian dollars after taking out a newspaper advertisement in which he criticized homosexuality and cited Bible passages. In April of this year in Irlam, England, a ten-year-old boy was brought before a judge in a criminal court after calling another student a "Paki" and "Bin Laden" in the heat of a playground argument.

And don't think that we in the United States are immune from such governmental infringement upon freedom of speech. But, wait, relative to other western nations America is supposed to be a citadel of rightist zealotry, a place akin to the Death Star in Star Wars with Darth Vader at the helm. So, perhaps our fascists really are the stuff of leftist nightmares. Well, it's time for one last story.

In 2004, two opposing groups confronted each other at the Outfest National Coming Out Day street fair, a celebration of homosexuality in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Each group was committed to its cause, and while stories differ regarding who cast the first stone, words were exchanged in what became a rancorous confrontation. However, despite the fact that the most dangerous weapon wielded that day was an acid tongue, arrests were made. And, despite the fact that both groups launched verbal salvos, only one group's members were arrested. Was the persecuted group a contingent of NAMBLA or ACT-UP? Not on your life. It comprised eleven Christians who dared espouse their traditional beliefs about homosexual behavior. And the homosexual group that locked horns with them, the Pink Angels, was left unmolested by the government storm troopers.

I want you to remember these stories the next time you hear leftist sophistry about how conservatives would visit fascism upon us. We hear liberal campfire tales about how the "Christian Right" is converting us into a theocracy, but I have yet to hear about someone being arrested for denying the divinity of Jesus, immersing a crucifix in a jar of urine (smut-peddler Andres Serrano) or using the Lord's name in vain. We're warned of neocon plots to secure rightist hegemony, but I've read no news reports about thinly-veiled ACLU communists or terrorist-sympathizing members of CAIR hauled in front of tribunals. The truth is that fascism has reared its ugly head in the Western world, but that head always, always, always tilts left.

So Brownshirts do lurk among us. And, ominously, as they continue to metastasize, voices of truth become fewer and fainter. But there are Americans who fancy themselves to be liberals who cannot be counted among them, individuals who still think this is the age of their grandfather's liberalism. And for these people, I'll present some points to ponder. Doesn't it give you pause for thought that fascist methods are ever more frequently employed in our time, and that when they are it is virtually always in the service of a leftist agenda? Then, a definition of liberalism from states: "favoring or permitting freedom of action, esp. with respect to matters of personal belief or expression . . . " So I ask you, don't you think that perhaps, just maybe, there's something wrong with the soul of today's liberalism when it has become so illiberal?

As for you Brownshirts, you are the initiated. I know I can't disabuse you of your misbegotten notions. I also know that you're winning the culture war in the West, and for good reason. You're meaner, more violent and more devious than people of the light, and above nothing. And you may smell blood as you look forward to your ascendancy as masters of the Universe. So, I have an addendum to my stories . . . just for you.

After the Brownshirts (SA) in Germany had served their purpose - giving the Nazis an iron fist of tyranny with which to rule - they themselves became victims of the monster they had created. Starting on the infamous "Night of the Long Knives," June 29th-30th, the SS began arresting the leaders of the SA and, ultimately, scores of them were executed. It seems that there is no honor among fascists. Besides, the pseudo-sophisticates in the Nazi hierarchy had no use for Brownshirts, always the most boorish of thugs. Useful idiots never get respect. They just get used.


Boy Scouts suffer another court setback: "Six years after the Supreme Court ruled the Boy Scouts could ban gay leaders, the group is fighting and losing legal battles with state and local governments over its discriminatory policies. The latest setback came Monday when the high court without comment refused to take a case out of Berkeley, Calif., in which a Scout sailing group lost free use of a public marina because the Boy Scouts bar atheists and gays. The action let stand a unanimous California Supreme Court ruling that Berkeley may treat the Berkeley Sea Scouts, a branch of the Boy Scouts, differently from other nonprofit organizations because of the Scouts' membership policies."

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