I read Dear Abby every day. My wife thinks I am a nut. No problem there. On 12/15/13, the title of her column was “Grandson’s bullying behavior needs professional evaluation.” Her answer for that wasn’t too bad, but it was definitely weak. But I think Abby (i.e. Jeanne Philips), needs “profession evaluation.” I don’t mean she needs a psychiatric workup, but she needs more consultation. I was very upset by the second letter, written by a 17 year old female who sent some nude pictures to her boyfriend, who proceeded to send them on, and show them to friends and co-workers. Even her male boss got a peek.
I have been reading Abby for decades. Things are changing out in the world, and the dilemmas people find them in are more complex. Whether you are a teacher, counselor, law enforcement officer, or a column writer, you need to keep growing, learning and honing your profession. Abby is absent from the process sometimes. The whole electronic and social media revolutions are changing how we relate and the problems that can develop. This teen who found her “sexting” get out of control was surely in an embarrassing situation. Abby had suggested telling her parents and possibly getting a lawyer, because she may have a sexual harassment case. Sounds good doesn’t it!
This is where Abby was absent from her post. If you are in the media limelight, it carries with it certain responsibilities. Millions read her, (or them) everyday! One thing is that a professional writer shouldn’t do any harm to the innocent. The other is to try not to be as stupid as the social fabric that surrounds you. The truth is, and Abby would know if she were willing to consult before she hits the send button, if you send nude pictures of a child under the age of 18 on an electronic device, it is illegal and it is distribution of child pornography. It is a good law but people won’t know it unless writers write about it or famous people get busted for it.
Pornography and stupidity seem to be growing problems. We can either decrease the demand for them both, or make people aware of real consequences for conduct. I’m not saying some of the idiots should be locked up, but a big fine (thousands of dollars that is put in a victim’s fund), or at least some type of electronic monitoring. We know from the NSA that electronic monitoring isn’t that hard, and they are already doing to some folks. Porn people need more observation, and to be held accountable for anything related to children.
Does Abby bug you too? Send her a letter like I have done. I have never received a response, but this is America and it is good to use your right to free speech. But remember, although we have the right to free speech, it doesn’t make the speech right. Sometimes, like Abby, it is just wrong!