Monday, March 16, 2015

Savage World Too Close to Home

I live mainly in a civilized world. Occasionally I face awareness of the savage world—or at least more savage than acceptable to me. But I’m relatively insulated. Beheadings are tragically going on in the insanely savage world of ISIS territory. Far away.

So sometimes it shocks me when the savage world shows up close to home.
Waco sting yields 29 arrests
photo from
The story out of Waco, Texas, last week, was the arrest of 29 individuals in a sex sting operation. The highest offenses are conspiracy to commit human trafficking. There were nine of those. Lesser charges included underage prostitution (seeking to pay for sex with a child), prostitution, and online solicitation. Among the were a couple that got media attention:, a Ft. Hood sergeant on the human trafficking charge, and a McClennan County deputy on underage prostitution.
Another of the human trafficking conspirators was a third year law student at Baylor. This is a classmate of son Political Sphere. Not a friend, but someone who seemed pretty normal among the class. The guy was specializing in criminal law, ironically.
I’m trying to understand why someone with a livelihood depending on reputation, such as these three, would risk everything to do something so clearly evil.
I think the sergeant is likely to suffer the full force of the law, as well as a dishonorable discharge. He is 48, so nearing completion of a full career in the military—now losing the retirement he had earned. There’s nothing but prison and ignominy ahead. The deputy sheriff will be prosecuted and will never work in law enforcement again. All of these, when/if they get out of jail, will spend the rest of their lives as registered sex offenders. A number of the arrested were already registered sex offenders, so that designation does too little to protect the public.
I’m feeling the most shock about the law student. Law school is a huge sacrifice. Only A students with excellent LSAT scores get into Baylor. Baylor has the highest bar pass rate in the state—in a state with one of the most challenging bar exams. Baylor is a private religious institution. Ethics are required, with a background check, for anyone going into law. Such a background check is required for any law graduate. But Baylor, because of its religious mission, probably more fully emphasizes ethics. A person doesn’t normally go to Baylor if the higher religious standards contrast too deeply with his beliefs. If a person aims to become a sleazy lawyer, why wouldn’t he go somewhere less rigorous?
Law school is expensive. It’s typical to get a scholarship for half tuition. The other half, plus all living expenses, come from student loans, which would be somewhat less for a single person than a married person with family, but can still approach $200,000 by the time they get out. The Baylor law student has already worked hard for an undergraduate degree, and has since gone through nearly three years of long hours, little sleep, heavy reading and work, and probably unpaid summer internships.
The third year includes what is called Practice Court. The first two terms are preparing for and going through simulations of real court situations. It’s hard, challenging, time consuming, and kind of scary, since the future depends on figuring out how to do it well. The third term of the final year is still hard for the normal person, but feels like coasting for the post-Practice Court student.
Graduation is just a month and a half away. Then comes studying for the bar.
This student who got arrested will not graduate. He will not be allowed to sit for the bar. He will have no future after prison likely to pay off those student loans—which cannot disappear with bankruptcy. It’s all wasted.
Why? Why would someone risk so much for a purpose so putrid? What does such a person tell himself? I’m imaging a few things:
·         I am the source of what I determine is moral.
·         If I want to make money by enslaving gullible children and forcing them to do sex, for which I will get paid, it’s my valid lifestyle choice.
·         I am above the law.
·         I am too smart, so I won’t get caught and punished by those who disagree with my valid choices.
·         Other people are insignificant, except for what I can get from them.
·         Other people don’t deserve freedom or safety as much as I deserve money any way I can get it.
·         Sex is just sex; no big deal. If I can benefit because some people are willing to pay for it, I should go for it.
I’m thinking about what I wrote last week, about the latest generation being taught that there are no moral truths. If you teach young people that morality is just a matter of personal opinion, and one person’s opinion is as good as anyone else’s, you produce a generation of moral relativists—which means immorality on a grand scale.
As shocking as this Waco sting case is, it’s not uncommon. There was a similar sting in the same county, with 20 arrests, just last November. After the dust settles from this one, the undercover team will set up again, and catch the next network of miscreants. The goal is about 20 arrests per sting, every few months. Other counties, in other states as well, are doing the same.
There are rumors that there is more slavery today than before the Emancipation Proclamation—between 21 and 36 million worldwide. Some of the victims are immigrants seeking a better life, putting their trust in people who betray them and enslave them, either for slave labor or forced prostitution.
Additional victims in this country result from reckless young people taking chances online—most of those in this sting. Typical would be a young girl making risky connections online with someone posing possibly as a teenage boy who wants to meet her, and it sounds exciting and enticing. But when she turns up to meet the person, she is kidnapped and victimized. It’s the kind of storyline that shows up on episodes of Criminal Minds.
Mental illness, the kind that results in psychopaths who victimize young innocents, isn’t widespread enough to explain the extent of human trafficking. This multi-billion-dollar-a-year savage evil is the result of a lack of morality. If no one was willing to “buy” sex with another person—and, worse, an enslaved captive child—then prostitution would disappear.
Every person involved in the buying and selling of sex, ever, anywhere, at any time in history, is a savage. But they don’t always look like savages. They may dress in suits or casual wear. Maybe they drive a nice car, have a job in the offices where we work, shop at the same stores we do. Maybe they go to the same law schools we do.
I have never knowingly met or associated with anyone who has gone to a prostitute, let alone anyone who thought human trafficking was just another business choice. But the numbers seem to reveal that I’ve probably met a few slimeballs unknowingly.
 “These people come from all walks of life,” McClennan County Sheriff McNamara said. “No socioeconomic class is immune. It seems to cross all barriers.”
If we want to live in a civilized world, this evil cannot be tolerated. It’s already against the law. We can praise the skill of the law enforcement officers who continue to capture dozens of the guilty. We must continue to seek the wrongdoers and hold them accountable, and put more resources there. Protecting life and liberty is the proper role of government.
Sheriff McNamara said, “These creeps love to prey on our young people. And we’re going to do everything we can to stop it.”
There are organizations working to bring attention to the issue, and to help the victims recover their lives after regaining their freedom. UnBound was invited to the Sheriff’s press conference following last week’s sting. Assistant National Director Natalie Garnett said, “It’s so exciting for us to see these people arrested because we work with the victims. When they see things like this, it will make them feel more hopeful.” The victims will need to heal, to learn that not all the world is the savagery they have suffered. They can choose and experience a better, civilized future.
Elizabeth Smart talked about work on the issue last week, on Glenn Beck’s show. And Beck has had other advocates on as well, from Operation Underground Railroad. They do heroic work.
As for the rest of us, what needs to happen is a change in culture. The rules of civilization work. Civilization requires that we honor God, and keep His commandments: honor family, value life, value truth, value virtue. Live moral lives—according to what God’s word tells us is moral. There may be specific belief differences, but the basics are clear. Protect life, liberty, and property. Have everyone equal before the law.
Civilization starts in our individual hearts. From there we extend civilization to the family in the home. And to the extended family and community as opportunities arise.
Never tolerate savagery. Spread civilization.
Darkness cannot exist where bright light shines.

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