Spare the rod or be indicted

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has been indicted for child abuse, but I’m not sure what to say about this:

Adrian Peterson has been informed that he was indicted by a grand jury in Montgomery County, Texas for Injury to a Child. The charged conduct involves using a switch to spank his son. This indictment follows Adrian’s full cooperation with authorities who have been looking into this matter. Adrian is a loving father who used his judgment as a parent to discipline his son. He used the same kind of discipline with his child that he experienced as a child growing up in east Texas. Adrian has never hidden from what happened. He has cooperated fully with authorities and voluntarily testified before the grand jury for several hours. Adrian will address the charges with the same respect and responsiveness he has brought to this inquiry from its beginning. It is important to remember that Adrian never intended to harm his son and deeply regrets the unintentional injury.

Speaking as a veteran of being disciplined with a switch, I can say that this was one of the more traumatizing forms of punishment in childhood.

All of you out there know what a switch is, right? It’s a very thin branch, maybe a yard long that makes the most horrible noise, mini-whiplike, when you swing it through the air. As a kid, you make sure you aren’t wearing shorts, ever, because if you did something wrong and your mom told you to “Get me a switch,” you didn’t want to have any exposed skin.

That’s the other thing about the switch, you had to go to the bush and pick out the weapon that was going to be used on you. And getting hit by the switch was horrible. There’s no way to defend yourself. Your parent would go for the legs, and if you tried to block it with your arm the switch cuts into your skin. So you ended up running around and having your mom say “Don’t you run away from me!” If you had a choice between the switch and the belt, take the belt, because the switch really stung.

So, yeah. The switch was horrible. I felt its sting in Ohio and New York and South Carolina and anyplace else I screwed up as a kid and an adult was nearby. And I’m not the only one who knows about the switch:

So a lot of us know about it, but we would have never imagined calling the police. If that was the case, my mother, my grandmother, my aunt, my uncle, my father my cousin, my brothers, my sisters and an occasional babysitter would all have been in jail.

No, strike that. That wouldn’t have happened, because if I’d called the cops, the officers would have showed up, heard my parent say, “Hell, yeah, I used the switch because the boy did X, Y, or Z.” And the result would be the cop would agree with the adult and probably get a switch and use it on me, too.

That said, I never used a switch on my kid. That was one of those things from childhood that I swore I would never do as an adult. But I’m not surprised that it’s still used as a form of discipline.

I guess what surprises me most about the Adrian Peterson indictment is that this happened in Texas. That’s like “spare the rod and spoil the child” ground zero. I’d think switches were the state flower. (Yeah, OK, it’s the yellow rose, but you get the point.) I can’t see this going to trial in east Texas. The jury would say “Not Guilty” in a heartbeat and get a switch to use on the kid for calling the police.

There’s actually a pretty good piece on the Vikings blog Daily Norseman that comes to the same conclusion as I do. Unless Peterson went overboard and left bleeding welts on the kid and put him in the hospital, I don’t see how he gets convicted. And I’m as anti-corporal punishment as you can get.

But don’t get me started on being whipped with an extension cord. That’s what we kids got when the switch wasn’t available.

Sports Illustrated cover girl

agvtvdhnngr1swtnmj9oBet you weren’t expecting a 13 year old Little Leaguer from Philadelphia, but here she is.

Mo’Ne Davis is the first Little League player to ever make the Sports Illustrated cover. If you saw her last Thursday, you saw why. A two-hit shutout against a powerful Tennessee team. Don’t know if her team will get to the finals, but you should watch her pitch tonight at 7:30 against Las Vegas. The winner goes to the U.S. Championship game, but the loser has one more chance to get into the finals with a game tomorrow because it’s double elimination. The U.S. Championship game is Saturday. And the World Series final is Sunday.

Expect a huge crowd tomorrow. On Sunday, without Mo’Ne on the mound, the Philly team drew more than 30,000 spectators.

Here’s the last inning of the Tennessee game:

The kid is good. And she knows how to handle an interview.

How Ferguson, Mo., police got out of control

The Ferguson police have been reigned in, for now. The governor sent in the Missouri highway patrol.

But the Ferguson police aren’t finished riling up the populace (via DailyKos):

6:53 AM PT: Via CNN: According to sources, they say they believe Michael Brown is in a video of a convenience store robbery and that a “description of the suspect was given.” Presumably of a young black guy.

7:03 AM PT: A Ferguson police report, after Michael Brown had been shot, calling him a “primary suspect” in the convenience story robbery.

7:07 AM PT: So for six days Ferguson police have claimed that Darren Wilson simply told Michael Brown to “get on the sidewalk.” Is that the usual procedure for dealing with robbery suspects? (Deep sarcasm.)

Just a few thoughts:

1) If the police are saying Michael Brown was a suspect in a robbery, why did they wait more than a week after the shooting to say that. This is a diversion from the shooting. If he was stopped for a robbery, that is the first thing the police would have said.

2) Are more information dribbles out, the latest is that a guy was seen in a videotape shoplifting cigars. If that was Michael Brown, when did shoplifting tobacco become a capital offense.

The family cannot sue this police department enough. A major overhaul is needed. Especially after we see a police department (and I emphasize a police department) turn a community into a war zone.

Demonstrations in D.C.

A very busy day in the nation’s capital yesterday (From the Washington Post):

Demonstrations drew thousands of people from around the country to the White House and the streets of downtown Washington on Saturday afternoon in peaceful protests.

In one, participants called for an end to the continued violence between Israel and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. At the same time, advocates converged in the District to urge President Obama to take administrative action on issues involving undocumented immigrants. Both groups ended up at the White House in the afternoon, seeking a stage to voice their concerns.

The larger group, supporting the Palestinians, arrived by bus from big cities and many others drove hundreds of miles to participate, organizers said

“Free, free Palestine, killing children is a crime,” the crowd chanted. Several people held Palestinian flags, cardboard boxes representing coffins or posters with graphic images of the wounded. …

… At the same time, hundreds gathered — first at the Mall, and then at Freedom Plaza and at the White House — to push for ­immigration-policy reform..

I don’t usually go around the White House on Saturday, but I was biking to Northwest Washington to see a friend headed off to China, and just saw mobs of people everywhere and a huge police presence around 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. For some reason, there were also a lot of people lined up to go on the White House grounds, and I didn’t think they had tours on the weekend.

And I will say that although this story gives the impression that both demonstrations drew equal attention. the reality is that the immigration gathering was nothing compared to the Gaza demonstration. I biked by Freedom Plaza and saw a very small group of people for the immigration rally. And to be honest, I’ve seen more people at the regular Sunday night tango sessions in Freedom Plaza than at the immigration rally.

For those of you who never pay attention to international news, you are aware, in the abstract, that people are getting killed as Israel and Gaza exchange rocket and missile fire. There are pretend cease-fires, but the minute one is announced, it’s broken. This is the death toll so far (click to enlarge):

Gaza-deathsThis is what the Gaza demonstration was about. The slaughter of children. No one would be demonstrating if it was just soldiers and militants killing each other.