The spectre that haunts us …

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It takes a special kind of man to carefully select a slender lithe tree branch, to carefully strip it of its leaves and then to whip it swiftly, repeatedly and vengefully against the skin of a four-year-old child. But then we all know Adrian Peterson is no normal guy.

Peterson is the premier running back in the National Football League, a man amongst men, a pretty nice guy and good in the community. Heck he’s poster boy for how talent, determination and hard-work can overcome a rough, sometimes brutual upbringing.

Maybe that is why we hear so many sympathisers spouting the line “… I got whooped and it did me no harm …“; maybe not. Whatever the case the fact that Peterson and equally reknowned personalities such as Charles Barkley for instance find the beating of children such a mundane event as to merit no concern is … well deeply concerning in and of itself.

That implicit acceptance of spare-the-rod-spoil-the-child discipline – or abuse, as it is now more commonly and accurately named – is a direct result of the jarring mental effect that such violent punishment, from a trusted and loved source, has on the developing mind.

Course neither Peterson nor Barkley, nor you nor I can see that mental impact. At least not for many years, when perhaps by chance we hear that once small child taking a stick to his own son.

It’s a self-evident fact that abuse like this is self-perpetuating as the victim assumes it’s the norm and hands the punishment out to their own kids and so on down the line.

Turning a blind-eye, shrugging and accepting that “…it is the way it is, always was…is condoning and perpetuating child abuse.

Few of us will not have not wrestled with our own demons at times when it comes to the discipling of their own children; yet thankfully we do not all seek a weapon to mete out justice.

Taking a slipper, a stick, a switch, a cane – a weapon – to any child is not discipline, it is abuse. Pure and simple. Rationalise that how you will

Uncomfortablle as it may be, it is right that America is deeply disturbed right now; it looks in the mirror and sees how, in so many parts of the nation, this punishment is the norm. Only by shining a light on this practise, by making an example of its proponents, by drawing a line and saying “it may have happened to me, but it won’t happen to my child” will any progress be made.

Peterson himself, a personable and seemingly intelligent guy,  may be just the person to help start turn this tide; but as a respector of discipline he must surely know that there’s usuallly a price to pay before you get to make amends.

It’s time to stand strong, be firm and fair in our disciplining of – in this instance – Adrian Peterson and then get to work helping make amends.

Or are we content to be beaters of children? At least we no longer sacrifice them to the Gods.


Police release photos: report

Peterson cleared to play: report