Opinion Columns & Blogs

We should work against pollution of young minds, too

Many cases have been made for the need to protect our natural resources. Keeping Puget Sound free of contaminants for future generations is a cause for which nearly everyone in Washington can rally. Countless policies have been passed, billions of dollars spent, and local and regional councils have been commissioned to prevent and monitor environmental pollution.

Shouldn’t public policies aimed to prevent the pollution of the innocent minds of our children also be considered as a proper role of government? Are their minds less valuable than a tree, a gopher or a bug? Are we cognizant of the unhealthy mental stimuli prevalent nearly everywhere we look? Have we forgotten how to blush?

Passing laws to keep our streets, schools and businesses free of adulterated material is no different than the current laws against dumping poisonous chemicals into storm drains. Only in this case, the poison is distorting the human mind.

The studies are conclusive, and the facts are not pleasant. Working in a slaughterhouse would be a cake walk compared to the life of a sexually abused child. In “Effect of Pornography on Women and Children” – a survey provided by John Rabun, then deputy director of the National Center for Missing Children – it was confirmed that of the 1,400 arrested pedophiles, pornographers, pimps, etc., 100 percent of those offenders had some style of porn in their possession at the time of arrest.

In the world of pornography, the ugly facts we’re not told result in a failure to communicate the true impact of porn on society.

Through groups like Engage WA, Shared Hope International and many others, I’ve learned that children exposed to such material at an early age can form warped ideas about what a healthy, intimate relationship should be. These young and innocent children are then more likely to grow into adults who believe that rape is justifiable, or that using drugs and alcohol to manipulate women is acceptable.

Studies also show that for some people, exposure to such materials leads to the development of self-esteem, self-control and sexual dysfunctional problems. These problems feed into each other and lead to the development of maladaptive social skills. The person is then moved to retreat into a private, pornographic fantasy world. The longer a person dwells in that world, the more likely they are to push their fantasies beyond moral limits.

The strength of pornography addiction has been compared to the strength of heroin addiction. Pornography is a factor in more than half of the marriages that end in divorce. Having a happy and healthy marriage is the best thing parents can do for their children. The family is the cornerstone of society. Porn destroys the family.

Now you know the basis for my passion to work on ways to limit the amount of incidental exposure of sexually explicit adult materials. One of my ideas highlighted in the article, “Pierce County councilman wants stricter regulation of adult magazines, DVDs” (TNT, 9-13), is to tighten existing regulations so that sexually explicit DVDs can’t be sold with adult magazines or by themselves in convenience stores. That practice is already illegal, but rarely enforced.

I am not interested in being the “morality police.” To the contrary, I am arguably one of the county’s biggest proponents of individual liberty and freedom, and in no way should my efforts be construed as an outright ban on anything.

It is our duty to care for and protect the vulnerable members of our communities. To me, that means we must work proactively to prevent the spread of adult-oriented material into neighborhoods with schools and families as fervently as we would against the spread of a disease. This does not apply to cities or towns, only unincorporated Pierce County.

Pierce County Councilman Jim McCune is chair of the council’s Public Safety and Human Services Committee.