A look at certain pages of the Daily Post on Thursday would quickly bring you to the depths of despair.
Lead on 11A: A 20-year-old maintenance worker is arrested, accused of sexually assaulting, stabbing and beating to death a 7-year-old girl and then throwing her body in the trash. Below that: Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State coach already facing numerous counts of child molestation, is back in jail (and is now out again) after more alleged victims came forward, one describing in testimony events so horrific that it's nearly impossible not to cry when reading.
On the World & Nation page: Several people, including the boy's mother, are arrested in the sexual assault and beating death of a 5-year-old in Venezueala. And on 7A, the trial begins in the shooting death of a college student who was murdered over $700.
In fact, looking at the past few years, it would seem the adult population of the world has turned on its children. I know that's an exageration, but every time you turn around another predator has used, abused and/or disposed of an innocent child. I don't know if we hear about it more often because we live in an age in which the information is more readily available, because it's reported more often or because it happens more often. I suspect it's some combination of the three.
Whatever the reason, the more I see it the more outraged and sickened I become.
Our children ought to have a right to be safe. Safe in their homes, safe in their schools, safe on the playgrounds -- safe wherever they are from the prurient designs of sick and depraved monsters.
It shouldn't have to be a cause celebre. We shouldn't need some Children's Bill of Rights or equivalent legislation or decree. It ought to just be.
For it to happen, it requires work on the part of adults, the ones still left in the world who don't view children as playthings to be used up and thrown away. It requires responsible, ethical people to not just talk but to act.
We must educate our children to the dangers of this world. Given the choice between risking their innocence or their lives, innocence must take the hit while we explain to them that there are evil people in this world who can not resist their twisted urges, who can not respect fellow human beings. We must teach them in no uncertain terms at a young age to tell, to yell, to fight back, to scream, bite and punch if necessary against these monsters.
We must also make the consequences more harsh for the worst of these cowardly predators that are caught and convicted. These people are not curable. They are not sociological projects that will suddenly become stand-up guys after years of rehabilitation. They're animals, and should be treated as such. In the same way we put down mad dogs, repeated sexual abuse of children should be punishable by death.
Yes, I said death. Not long prison terms in which the years are filled with group therapy and jailhouse religious conversions. Death.
I have no illusions about the death penalty being much of a deterrent to murder. I assume people who've made the decision to kill don't think much about the consequences anyway. But as much as the threat of execution may not deter crimes before the fact, it certainly deters them afterward. Once that needle goes in, they are not killing anyone anymore.
It's time we did the same to these people who leave dozens of permanently scarred children in their wake in the name of deviance. Establish a high standard for imposing that penalty if necessary, but make it a legal option for dealing with these maniacs. Don't just get them away from our schools or off our streets.
Get them off this earth.
Email Nate McCullough at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Fridays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/natemccullough.