Friday, August 15, 2008

Great Moments In Lifetime Achievement Awards

So you're a Babe Ruth league umpire, which means you spend a lot of time around boys aged 13-15. Then you get arrested, convicted, and sentenced to four years in prison, 35 years probation and a lifetime on the state's sex offender registry for sexually assaulting teenage boys. What's next on the agenda? Well, if you're in Torrington, Connecticut, you get a lifetime achievement award for the work you did with teenage boys:

Members of a Torrington baseball umpires’ group are defending a decision to present a lifetime achievement award to a convicted child sex offender. Tom Barbero, 58, received the award earlier this month from the Torrington Board of Approved Baseball Umpires. He umpired for the association at area baseball games from 1970 to 1998 . . .

. . . Board members said they knew about Barbero’s criminal record and chose to honor him because his service and work as an umpire deserved recognition.“Tommy was one of the greats. He really was,” Board President Lou Fracasso said Thursday when describing Barber’s umpiring experience.
I'll be honest and say that I am extremely uneasy with the direction our society has gone with respect to people like Barbero. As a father of small children, I support relatively draconian investigation, apprehension, punishment, and incapacitation measures when it comes to sexual predators, but even my emotionally-driven lust for vengeance towards these types pales compared to that of many otherwise reasonable people.

Policies currently in place regarding sex offender registry and notification and restrictions with respect to where they can live upon their release have become so extreme that it's easier for a released sex offender to drop off the grid out of sight of any reasonable support or deterrence system than it is for them to abide by the rules and try to fly right in the clear light of society. There are even people who call themselves Americans who are seriously debating whether we should ever release sex offenders to the public -- even if their sentences have been served -- and even worse, who want to try and identify and incarcerate would-be sexual predators before they even commit an offense. It's madness, I tell you, driven by an unholy mix of hysteria, political calculation, and genuine ignorance, all of which threatens to stretch Constitutional liberties beyond recognition.

But Jesus, do you really think giving a pederast umpire a freakin' lifetime achievement award is a good idea?

7 comments:

Mark Runsvold said...

Isn't this like making a priest convicted of similar things into a bishop? My point being: you're rewarding the dude for his performance in the very job he obviously wasn't cut out for. Mind boggling.

Chadillac said...

I guess the Torrington baseball umpire's group is able to separate his good qualities like the ability to maintain a good strike zone from his lesser traits such as the molesting of young boys.

This has to be the worst idea since Greedo shooting first. Disgusting.

Rob said...

God I'm glad there are some liked-minded people in here. I mean for chrissakes... Greedo shot first?!? No f_cking way. Thanks for ruining one of the great films of all time, dipshit.

rob said...

(In case it's not clear, I'm writing "dipshit" at Lucas, not chadillac...)

Oh, and yeah... Rewarding pederast umpires are not a good for positive press.

Osmodious said...

Far be it from me to defend pedophiles and their activities, something so reprehensible and indefensible (and any other negative 'ible' that you can think of) that it can't even be adequately expressed in our pitifully limited language...so please don't read that from my comments.

That being said, one thing that often gets lost in discussions of the 'registry' topic is that the laws are not adequate in defining what a 'sex offender' is. As a result, people who are not necessarily guilty of the worst of these crimes are put in the same 'bucket' as those who are 'guilty' of things that many of us would consider fairly normal behavior...to wit, in some states, an 18 year old who has sex with his 17 year old girlfriend and, because of the anger of the parents (and, occasionally, because of a bad breakup between the kids, or the interference of an outside party), the 18yo winds up with a statutory rape conviction, and the label 'sex offender'.

When you consider that there are states that have an age of consent of 14, and others where you can actually get married at the age of 13, it seems a bit ridiculous that a guy can get arrested across a state border (which are sometimes somewhat arbitrary) when his girlfriend is 17. Now, I am not one to say what the 'age of consent' should be for anyone, male and/or female, anywhere...but you have to admit that the inconsistency is disconcerting, especially when you bring 'sex offender' status into the mix.

Obviously, what I'm talking about above is a hell of a lot different than a person in a position of authority and/or trust using that to physically, and perhaps more important, emotionally, damage someone under their care or supervision (hello, Catholic Church, ya hear me?). But as we're talking about ruining someone's life, recognize that blanket laws that are not carefully written can snare the innocent (or, at least, not necessarily guilty in the 'spirit' of the law) as well. Some states actually have addressed this by having age-differential codicils associated with their sex laws (i.e. the scenario of the 18 & 17 year old would not trigger the same penalties as a 25 & 12 year old). But not enough of them do.

In this instance, though, I'm all for whatever y'all want to do with the guy...chemical (or physical!) castration, lifetime of ostracism, throw him in jail and make him play the role of 'Betty' to the guy nicknamed 'The Pipe Layer'...whatever. What he did is, again, reprehensible...and the actions of this group are unconscionable.

Motherscratcher said...

What's a pederast, Walter?

Craig Calcaterra said...

Shut the fuck up, Donnie.