Thursday, December 10, 2009


I wish I hadn't clicked on the link at Instapundit.

EMILY BAZELON: Hope Witsell’s Sexting Suicide.

But I did. It led to a story in Slate:

In September, a 13-year-old girl in Florida named Hope Witsell hanged herself. Raised in a rural Florida suburb, she was the only child of a church-going couple who met in the post office where they're both employed. "She often went fishing with her father in her big, white-framed sunglasses," according to the excellent reporting in this story in the St. Petersburg Times.

Not just any rural Florida suburb, my little town. There are about 9,700 people here spread out among the fish farms, orange groves and tomato farms. Weekends are for fishing, the Florida Gators and church. And family. One of our kids shouldn't be hurt like that.

Hope had a made a terrible mistake and once made she didn't know how to undo it and didn't know how to live with the consequences. She sent a topless picture of herself to a boy she liked. A girl who didn't like Hope borrowed the boy's cellphone, found the picture and sent it to everyone she knew. The school found out, her parents found and her fellow students teased her relentlessly. At only thirteen years old she thought her entire life had been ruined.

Every single ounce of our society sexualizes children. It is no longer just popular media, but as we've learned from Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit, even our schools promote sex to our children. But does anyone stop to consider if our children have the emotional maturity to handle the consequences of their sexual actions?

Hope's story isn't one of a bad kid from a bad family. Just the opposite. Yet she succumbed to pressure and made a bad choice. We can promote sex until the cows come home but only time leads to maturity. The only way our children will have that time is if we, as parents and grandparents, say "enough." Don't wait until it comes to your small town.

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