Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Thoughts on Kara Borden and David Ludwig

Julie Ann says it best!! Thanks Julie...

My brother -- who has been covering the Borden/Ludwig case for the Sunday News -- discussed with me tonight about an article he wrote for this weekend's edition.
He interviewed teenagers with blogs and parents alike, and what struck him was how FEW of the parents had any idea what a blog even was.
The words "Xanga" and "Myspace" may as well have been Greek words, because the adults were clueless.
Not only that, but a number of parents called my brother at the paper to ask how to find out if their kids maintained blogs or not.

This does not surprise me in the least. My family got their first computer when I was only 14. That was before America Online included the internet, it was just a community in and of itself, but even back then there were plenty of ways in which a young teen could get herself in trouble.
In addition to running up my parents' phone bill so high they nearly sent me away to boarding school (this was in the days when AOL charged about $.35 per minute after your free hours were used up each month), I found boys online. Lots and lots of boys! I found harmless teen guys in far away states and all we talked about was Jesus and music.

I found brothers from Altoona, who were both church youth leaders. They showed up to my house in a big white van, and I, having known them live and in living color for all of 5 minutes, walked out the front door and went with them in the van. My mother let me go but must have quickly realized her mistake, because my father followed our vehicle to the nearby restaurant we were going to. Upon seeing that I had not yet been thrown in a dumpster, he left us alone to eat our ice cream.

After the ice cream, we went back to my high school and I fooled around with one of the brothers on a baseball diamond while his other brother drove off in search of iced tea. I'd say we made it to about third base.

I met a 25-year-old man when I was 14 and I walked out of my house to meet him while my mother was hosting a luncheon. We met behind an office complex and fooled around. He offered to drive us to a park where we could walk around and "get to know each other better."
It didn't end well. I won't go into detail, but I think you can figure out what happened. I never told a soul about it until I was in my twenties.

And to illustrate how little my parents knew about the computer, well... Let's just say when I went away to college, I had to write down instructions for them on how to send an e-mail.

All of this proves two important things:
1. Teenage girls are impressionable and somewhat dumb
2. Not knowing what your kids are doing is really, really dangerous

Any parent who believes their child "isn't like that" and that they don't have to worry about what their kids are doing online have been gravely deceived by the devil himself.
(Actually, I would have to say that anyone who doesn't know what their SPOUSE is doing online needs a reality check.)

The older generation is a little bit scared of techology. That certainly is the case with my folks. Take Y2K, for example. Neither of them had any concept of what Y2K actually was, or how it needed to be fixed, they just stocked up on bottled water and bought a hibachi grill and hoped for the best. There's almost this sense that they should "leave it to the younger ones" because they're freaked out by this stuff. Well, nobody expects parents to be computer programmers, but it's not too much to ask that they learn how to check e-mail and familiarize themselves with the internet.

The responsibility lies with Ludwig (I know, I know, innocent until proven guilty), but I have a hard time believing there were no red flags. C'mon, wasn't there SOMETHING obvious, something glaring that was nearly impossible to miss? Or were all the signs there, but no one was around to notice? I mean, isn't it almost comforting to think there were all sorts of signals, and the important people were just preoccupied? I think it's comforting, because I find it terrifying to think that anyone could be that deceptive AND be that believable. We're all deceptive to a point, aren't we? I'll be the first to admit it. I'm a Christian author & speaker, and I struggle with my thought life and with my language. But I don't get how someone can read their Bible during breaks while working at Circuit City, and then turn around and kill his girlfriend's parents? What kind of dude goes to a Christian concert, blogs about it, and then plots to break into a house in the middle of the night and kill a whole family? And what kind of person says "God Bless" all the time, then has sex with a 14- and an 11-year-old girl? (Yep, apparently he was sleeping with Kara AND her little sister, or that's certainly what was implied in the court papers.)

I started out feeling somewhat compassionate towards David Ludwig, but as more and more time goes on, I find myself feeling angry. Angry, because he's turned this town upside down and made all of question many of the things we've always held dear. Angry, because it's guys like him who make all Christians look like crazed hypocrites. And I'm also angry because homeschooling is getting a bad rep, and it's unfair. My brother said it best tonight: homeschooling didn't cause this crime, but it sure didn't stop it, either.

Nobody is immune to this.
It's time to learn how to turn your kids' computer on.

I think Julie has read my mind and says it best!



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