by Chris Dorin
The war on sex offenders makes sense only within a large historical context. My generation grew up practicing air raid drills in classrooms where the teachers made us crawl under our desks in case the real thing took out Cleveland or Buffalo. Neighbors were stocking their bomb shelters with canned goods and ammunition. We lived through the Cuban Missile crisis unsure if hour by hour the human race would survive.
There was a doomsday pressure on everyone. Sen. Joseph McCarthy tapped into it to wield as much power as President Eisenhower for a brief time. His aggressive Senate hearings on Un-American activities blackballed dozens of alleged communists in labor unions and Hollywood. Even a Pulitzer Prize winner like Arthur Miller fell into temporary disgrace.
The Colonists hanged 20 accused witches in Salem in 1692 and crushed another under tons of stone. Consorting with the devil was a sexual offense in those days. The judges and juries were dealing with huge stress from failed crops and the fear of Indian raids.