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March 29, 2009

"Heckuva Job" award goes to ...

The morality police have come up with another really smashing idea: prosecute teenagers who send sexually suggestive photos of themselves to friends.  (When done by cellphone, this is "sexting.") The Wall Street Journal reports that district attorneys in Ohio, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and  Wisconsin have tried to stop this practice by filing charges against teens who send and receive the  pictures.

Hunter's Heckuva Job Award, though, goes to ... Wyoming, County, PA prosecutor George Skumanik, who opined that teens who sext are accomplices to the charge of producing child pornography. Mr. Skumanik now has to defend the lawsuit that he so richly deserves.  According to the ACLU, which represents three of the teens and their parents:

In February 2009, Skumanick sent a letter to the parents of approximately twenty Tunkhannock students, including the ACLU's clients, threatening the students with criminal felony charges if they did not agree to be placed on probation and participate in a counseling program he devised. A course outline indicates that the program will help the girls "[g]ain an understanding of how [their] actions were wrong," "gain an understanding of what it means to be a girl in today's society," and "[i]dentify non-traditional societal and job roles."

The district attorney told a group of parents and students in February that he has the authority to prosecute girls photographed in underwear, like the ACLU's clients, or even in a bikini on the beach, because the photos are "provocative."

There are so many things to love about this strategy. First, it's obvious from the description of these re-education camps that they aren't planning to do any for boys. What a surprise.

Second, the primary targets - sexually precocious teenage girls - are a group who society just loves to punish in order to protect. Think of the many wonderful disciplinary strategies developed in their name over history. Parental consent laws! Curfews! Long ugly skirts!

My favorite aspect of the anti-sexting campaign, though, is its wonderful counseling program, the one being set up so that these wayward types can "gain an understanding of what it means to be a girl." Including free lessons in "non-traditional societal roles." And people wonder why feminist has become a dirty word. This sounds like cultural revolution as devised by a team made up of Phyllis Schlafley and Catharine MacKinnon.

You're doing a heckuva job, George.

UPDATE: The federal court issued an injunction against George's plan.

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