For the first time since the absurd Gomeche affair in 2002, www.corpun.com has been attacked. As in that case, the attacker (a lady this time) wants my website taken down. So far, however, the attack has been confined to a series of abusive e-mails, to which I have replied. I thought it worth reproducing this exchange below, to show readers how difficult some people evidently find it to address the subject of corporal punishment in a calm and rational manner.
Perhaps this will also clarify my views about CP for the benefit of anyone else out there who is thinking of getting angry about my site!
The first salvo arrived on 21 March 2007:
Date: 21 March 2007 01.55
Subject: Web Page Pic
I really do pity you, that you enjoy the humiliation and pain of other people. The British have abused their kids for so long and I'm glad its been outlawed in the UK. But unfortunately you spread your brutality to other countries. Lets face it the courts never rule against the criminals (those that beat kids). Arkansas ranks 2nd for hitting students and 49th in education. GREAT EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM ! Its a joke. These people are so damn backwards. The South is backwards, their schools are not ranked high in education. The US is 29th in Math and 25th in Science. If these schools were so great they would be number one. The cops in Ohio have no business hitting anyone.And no it won't keep them out of prisons. Jordan Riak works with prisoners most have been subjected to being beaten (oh I'm sorry you like most sadistics think its discipline or spanking, no its beating!). And it is disgusting that you have that on your front page. But I believe you are a twisted perverted sadistic. You enjoy the visuals like a voyeur watching sex. No one has the right nor are they entitled to hit kids! I hope the UN outlaws it worldwide!!!! And your website pulled down.
As someone who went through the US public school system and has witnessed CP in schools by those morons who think they are educators I'll I have to say is may God Damn all of the schools that hit students, and may God judge all of those idiots with their own judgment. They were abusive and they physically pushed and shoved kids around. People like you and those in so-called education do not and will never have my respect. Tyrants are never respected, yes they are feared and then they are hated until rage comes out. I would like to see all teachers, those cops and you taken out stripped naked and beaten bloody. You all deserve it. Yes I want vengence. People like you are cowards.
I immediately replied as follows:
From: C. Farrell
Date: 21 March 2007 07.57
Thank you for letting me have your views. Contrary to what you appear to think, my website is not a campaign in favour of CP but a collection of factual resources and documentation, together with some links to opinions on all sides of the argument. I wonder how many of the site's 2,500 pages you have actually read.
You are of course entitled to your opinions, for I believe in freedom of speech. I find it a little disturbing that you, in wanting my website pulled down, clearly do not.
If you want CP abolished in Arkansas schools, you should address your remarks to the Arkansas authorities, not to me. I am not responsible for the education system in Arkansas. I merely report the facts.
You write that you would like to see me "stripped naked and beaten bloody" just for running a factual website. This intemperate response suggests to me that you have bottled up a lot of anger about something, and that you ought to seek help with your mental health.
Back came the following riposte:
Date: 21 March 2007 13.43
You are clearly in favor of corporal punishment. All of your web site predominately reports only those who support it or who are so proud of beating kids. Factual? Hardly, no where do you have people like Jordan Riak or Jeff Charles anywhere to refute your facts! I have read several of your pages. It does not show all the bruses and anger and rage it has produced.
Again, when you show this degradation and humilation you are in fact supporting it. Free speech, yes, I agree, but you do not have many people who refute your so called facts on the damage done. Contact Jimmy Dunne or look at the pictures of people who have been beaten in the name of discipline.
Corporal punishment is abuse and assault and battery. Nothing more.
As for my mental health, thanks so much for your concern, ha! Tyrants are not respected, abuse does not earn respect, it produces anger and rage.
No my human nature wants revenge on these people for this brutality. Lucky for all those tyrants vengence belongs to God. But don't worry there are many more people who feel the way I do, we will work to outlaw it. I don't care if its the UN.
So I tried again:
From: C. Farrell
Date: 21 March 2007 21.04
In fact, there are quotes from Jordan Riak and other anti-CP activists, such as Peggy Dean, scattered through numerous news items in my website, and I have long had several links to his website on my external links pages, including links to some of his pictures of bruises. I do also have a link to Jeff Charles's site and one to Jimmy Dunne's site. The views of numerous other anti-CP campaigners are also mentioned in many of the news items reproduced. One anti-CP campaigner even told me she found my collection of documentation quite useful. So you are completely wrong to say that my site reports only those who support it.
Nevertheless, the anti-CP view tends to dominate the internet and there is no shortage of websites reflecting those views; other views also exist and are sincerely held, probably by rather more people in fact, and I report those too. You can hardly claim your position is under-represented.
My own opinion is that both sides of the argument are mistaken in attaching so much importance to the issue one way or the other. Frankly, most of the people who campaign in favour of CP seem to me to be slightly dotty, and so do most of the people campaigning against it. Your intemperately abusive remarks about me, for instance, make you appear to be a little unhinged. CP is clearly on its way out anyway in most places, so it hardly seems worth making such a fuss about it.
I grew up with CP in my British schooldays and I don't remember a single instance in which it produced "anger and rage". I remain completely unpersuaded that any damage was done. It would be a non-starter in the UK culture of today, but it was accepted in the culture of the time and that is all I am reflecting. You must not rewrite history and you should stop trying to shoot the messenger. By talking so hysterically about "tyrants" and "abuse" you merely make yourself look ridiculous.
Your statement that I am "clearly in favour of corporal punishment" needs some qualification. I am not against moderate formal CP, properly administered, but I am not in favour of brutality or anything that causes injury, and I am dead against teachers and parents lashing out angrily. Much of what is described as "corporal punishment", especially in the Third World, is clearly unacceptable and I do not regard it as proper CP, which as far as I am concerned should be carefully regulated. The phrase "corporal punishment" is nowadays being used too loosely in many quarters.
I state these views on my website and I make clear that they are just my personal views. See my About this website page. I am also personally dubious about CP for girls, especially from adolescence onwards (see my conversation with Jeff Charles reproduced on his site); and I think in any case that parents (and older students) should be able to opt out of it, as indeed is increasingly the case in those US schools that use it at all. Offering the student a choice of punishments, e.g. paddling or detention, seems to me a reasonable compromise.
Finally, since you seem to be having a lot of trouble grasping the concept of freedom of expression, may I remind you that www.corpun.com is just my private hobby website. Nobody is forced to take any notice of it. It is not accountable to you or anyone else. It doesn't claim to represent anyone but me. I can say what I like on it. If you don't like it, all you have to do is avoid reading it. That is how the internet works.
Anyone else can start their own website and say what they want. If you want to propagate your views, you are entirely free to operate your own website.
I then got back another rant, repeating some of the things she had said before, but ending "We will simply agree to disagree". Phew!