Clowning around? Maybe not.

Gacy Clown

http://weirdnews.aol.com/2011/06/02/clown-licenses_n_869968.html

Oh my gosh. Clowns freak me out, especially ones like these. But I’m sure it’s nothing compared to the horrors children (and parents) experience when they find out their entertainer is…a pedophile?

Or worse, a serial killer.

Pictured on the right of the above photograph is John Wayne Gacy, a notorious serial killer who dressed up as a clown for birthday parties and such. Plus, there have been many cases of clowns committing child abuse while on duty. Will you dare to employ a clown again?

That’s why people are now calling for laws mandating clowns be licensed (see article.) But is this really necessary? Yes, clowns are creepy and some are nasty, but that doesn’t mean the entire industry has to be licensed. Clowns are employed so often both casually over the Internet and in professional agencies that it’s neigh impossible to monitor all hirings of clowns. And most clowns don’t have the opportunity to be alone with the children for long – the event that precedes most clown child abuse incidents. What’s for certain is parents should not leave their children alone with clowns, or with anyone they don’t trust. (Note: Babysitters SHOULD be required to have licenses.) The ultimate responsibility of taking care of the children belongs to the parents. They decide who takes care of their children. As for clowns possibly doing wrong things to children at parties, as long as parents keep their eyes on the kids, they can’t go wrong. Forcing clowns to get a license for that is like asking people to get a license to walk on the street. There’s always a chance strangers have bad intentions, no?

Update: And even IF you require clowns to have licenses, you can’t guarantee there won’t be child abusers / clowns lurking at your door. Not all of them have criminal records, and there’s always a black market. Parents should attack the heart of the problem – being responsible for looking after their kids, and not hope that enforcing laws will keep their children safe. The people that really benefit from this are the companies that do the licensing. They’ve got a lot to gain.

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How married are you?

Marriage Confidential: Why More Couples Are

http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2075201_2075195_2075196,00.html

Are you joking? What type of question is that?

Honestly, I thought it was some joke when I first read the title of this article. But as with most articles with brow-raising titles, this one turned out to be a provoking read.

The article is based on a book by Pamela Hang, Marriage Confidential, where she defines five types of marriages that are becoming increasingly common in the modern era: the Semihappy marriage, the Parenting Marriage, the Workhorse Wife, the Ed McMahon Syndrome, and the Semimarried. The Workhorse Wife is a marriage where the husband goes off chasing his dreams attempting financially pressured jobs, while the wife is the breadwinner of the family and often has to do the chores as well. The Ed McMahon Syndrome is like the Semihappy marriage, except that the spouse is so eager to maintain the stability of the relationship he/she will agree to nearly everything the other half says. Which will likely send relationships down the drain.

Pamela Hang argues that modern marriages are all about responsibilities, partnership, and even conveniences. And she may very well be right – not all marriages are without love and consideration, but more and more marriages are ending in divorce. In fact, the divorce rate in America is a whopping near 50%, with couples aged 20-24 most likely to separate. (See http://www.divorcerate.org/)

As a teenager, I don’t think I can criticize these people for being rash – I am often rash with my decisions – but I just hope that people will take marriage more seriously in future. It’ll be better for the couples, and, perhaps, their children.

Australia will send children to Malaysia in asylum deal

January 2010 photo released by the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project shows a young boy, one of nine children belonging to a single mother fleeing an abusive situation in Amman, Jordan

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-13637307

Yep. The Australian government is going to send unaccompanied children (asylum seekers only, don’t worry about leaving your child in McDonalds when you take a trip to the washroom) to detention centres in Malaysia to discourage people smuggling to Australia.

First of all, what is an asylum seeker? An asylum seeker is simply another way of saying refugee, more narrowly defined by the United Nations as  “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.” Whew.

I understand Australian immigration minister Chris Bowen’s concerns about people smuggling: it causes deaths, and ultimately puts Australians at a disadvantage. But must he put the lives of these vulnerable children at risk? As the article says, young children, especially girls (and women), are in great danger in Malaysian detention centers, where sexual harassment and violence are common. It’s trading the lives of minors with the benefits of Australians: which comes first?

Moreover, this plan may not successfully curb the problem of people smuggling into Australia. Suppose the smugglers had connections inside Australia to receive the children, or paid couples to do so. Would that work?

Okay, maybe not. But I still believe Bowen should investigate more into this problem before announcing such an inhumane policy. Yes, he’s sending a strong message now – not only to potential smugglers and refugees, but to the world.