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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Sunday Journal: Truth is where you find it
By Rodney Page, Times Staff Writer
Published October 7, 2007
For the eight-plus years that we have been parents, my wife and I have tried to be honest with our children. We have tried not to shy away from any question they might have, be it obvious or complicated. If they are going to grow to be responsible adults, thenit starts with us. We take the responsibilityseriously.
Q: Where do babies come from?
A: When the mommy and daddy feel the time is right, they order a baby from a book at the library. They then return the book so that other mommies and daddies can use it.
Q: Why do we kill animals and eat them?
A: I'm not sure where you got your information, but we don't kill animals and eat them. Hot dogs aren't really dogs. They grow on trees, mostly in the damp, cool climates of the Midwest. Bacon is nothing but dried, cured tomatoes.
Q: How does Santa Claus visit so many houses in one night?
A: He has crazy-strong super powers. He could beat up Superman and the Incredible Hulk with one punch.
If there is a follow-up question, we usually answer it with, "Have you cleaned your room yet?"
That being said, life threw us a curve ball the other day, and this time I was prepared to step up to the plate. I was driving home on Fourth Street in St. Petersburg from Zoe's dance class she is 6. Radio Disney was playing as Zoe sang a song from High School Musical and Aaron (the 8-year-old) was asking me what would happen if a bolt of lightning struck our car and knocked it all the way to the moon and the only thing we had to live on was water and moon rocks.
As we approached Central Avenue, I could see a group of people on both sides of the street carrying signs. "Stop the War Now!" "Get out of Iraq." "No More Killing." "Send our Troops Home Safely." I hoped the light would stay green, but it shifted to yellow. The protesters moved their signs up and down and shouted slogans as we sat idle.
"Daddy, why are they holding those signs?" Aaron said.
I held my breath for a second.
Okay. Time for one of life's lessons. I'm going to use this as an opportunity to tell him about the freedoms we have in America. Free speech is the cornerstone of our country. From now on, if he asks, I'm going to tell him the best way I know how.
"Well, you know how there are people in the Army and Navy and they're called the military, right? Well, some of them are in a country called Iraq because we believed some of the Iraqis were doing some bad things. Sometimes, when countries don't get along and they can't work things out, they unfortunately end up going to war. So President Bush decided we needed to go to war. He thought it was best for our country. The people with the signs don't agree with the president, so they are exercising their . . ."