The Spirit of Lent: Food and Fasting

Fat Tuesday has passed (or Pączki Day as we called it in southeast Michigan) and thus begins the season of Lent for Catholics.

Let was my favorite time of year (when I was a devout Catholic). The whole notion of the season was to remember the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert and the temptations the devil presented him during his weakened state.

At it’s essence, Lent was all about giving something up (chocolate, soda, cigarettes, etc) and, something that’s forgotten, but was stressed at our church by the priests, was the idea of also taking on a heightened awareness of committing acts of good. It was the inversion of selfishness and narcissism. Not only will you give something up yourself, you will take on the burden of others.

Around 14 I started fasting for Lent. Just on Fridays though. Since it was fish only that day I thought I might make it the day I give up food during the day as well.

As I got older, the more I’d dwell on the notion of Jesus and his fast, I wanted to try and emulate him as much as possible. That’s when I started fasting for two days at time. Then three… toward the end of high school I would fast for the month; eating one small meal at night and only water during the day (although there were many a time I remember my mom would chase me out of the house with a SlimFast, waving it at me like I was off to  war, “Please drink this for the vitamins and calories”, she’d say).

By the time I hit college, I was so in love with the idea of Lent (give something up, take something on), I would extend the season for myself and essentially was constantly fasting and eating as little as possible to further my relationship with God.

This is what I would psychologically dub “religious based anorexia”.

No one knew about this either. I would only tell my mother as the same bible story was read every year before Lent with Jesus warning his disciples, “And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you” [Matthew 6:16]

Fasting was my little secret for myself to build my relationship with God. But mom knew. If she does not insert herself into her child’s business, is she a mother?

As an atheist now, I reflect on that time and think about the meaning of it all, the lessons learned while I fasted. When I talk with friends about this they ask, “Did you think about God more”?

“No”, I reply, “I thought about food more”.

While fasting, it severely altered my relationship to food. For starters it made me more grateful for any meal I eat. Even in my poorest times, while first moving to LA, when my lunch, for years, was an apple and a can of tuna, there was a still an appreciation for the idea I ate anything. I certainly eat more quickly. People often say to me, “You ate your food so fast you didn’t even enjoy it”. In my head I’d think, Well, I’m literally starving, ya pike, let me eat the food! But I was a good Catholic, and only judged them in my head instead of telling the truth (because I wanted my reward in heaven (as a side note, it seems goofy to me now Jesus was telling people to do something for a reward from God, like a treat to the dog from the master for being a ‘good boy’))

When you fast you essentially are starving yourself by choice. It’s a great lesson in empathy (and if the woke reader notes; privilege). Your thoughts go to those who do not starve by choice but starve for any other means. Your thoughts become more morose as your stomach growls, you grow tired, and energy fades. In a way, you’re killing yourself in a form of self abasement, and essentially forcing others to be around you while hangry all the time. The idea that I kept any humor about me and didn’t let on to others what I was doing or why I was doing it is beyond me now.

Even as an atheist now who thinks it’s fine to tell people about your actions, not in the way of a braggart, but just as a means of sharing information about yourself with friends and family, my appetite has never gone back to the days when I could eat an entire five dollar hot-n-ready on my own in one sitting.

My stomach remains small, my appetite nonexistent, and can see a certain resentment in the eye of my date when I say I’d be happy with eating anything for dinner that night because truly, to have any food in front of you is a good day. People often ask how I stay so skinny and I respond, “Just starve yourself for a period of years, that’ll do the trick”, and they laugh.

This is the first year since my early 20s I decided to start fasting again. Not as a relationship builder with God, but simply to get back in the mindset. Again, I’m an atheist now, and don’t believe in the specifics of any religion, but what I can respect is the sentiment behind it. The test of the inner will, “Can I go 40 days without [thing], without cheating”?

My Grandma Gert smoked cigarettes for well over 70 years, and every Lent she dropped them for 40 days, cold turkey. I respected her testament to will power as a child, and still as an adult. I want to test once more if I’m as strong as my grandmother (I’m not).

To give something up and to take something on. That is the spirit I saw in Lent, and it is the spirit I try to keep with me, not just for the forty days preceding Easter, but for all the days I walk.

“The Walk”

Saturday I was at the tutoring center with the kids doing “the walk” down Skid Row.

“The walk” is when the tutors walk down San Pedro from 7th to 5th and pick up the kids at the Union Rescue Mission.

Normally the walk is very fine and safe, although you do see some wild stuff.

One time on the walk back, outside the Mission was an ambulance flashing their lights, people all in the streets, shouting… and there’s a man standing with his whole face and neck drenched in blood. The kids are trying to get closer, “Whoa, cool…”

One time, there were two guys beefing, yelling this and that at each other. The specifics are irrelevant. The essentials were there though, each one was upset and a fight was about to happen. One guy starts yelling, “You wanna go!? You wanna go”, and pulls a metal sword out of his pants. It was a katana, the kind that sits in the closet of a 15 year old nerd who thought THAT’S what he needs in his life. And, honest to God, the guy getting yelled at, with the sword pointing at his chest, gets that crazy, Denzel, calm before the storm type look, and he’s like, “Oh it’s like that? That’s how it’s gonna be? Okay. Okay… well I GOT A SWORD TOO”, and he pulls out a similar looking sword—AND THEY HAVE A SWORD FIGHT!! And the kids are all like, “Whoa, cool”, and it’s one of those moments as an adult where you want to stay and watch because it is cool, but you have to be “responsible”, and “get them to safety” from the sword fight.

This past weekend was one of the weirdest moments I’ve ever experienced on the walk though. While walking from the Mission to the tutoring center, I was taking the rear of the line, making sure no kids were behind me, and there’s a small group of girls at the back ages 6 to 12. We’re talking about going to see Black Panther later in the day when I notice rapid movement in my periphery. A homeless woman runs a Log-curve right at me, gets two inches from my face, and says, “I swear to god, you touch one of them girls, I will end you”, spittle comes off her lip. She’s pointing fiercely at me without touching me. The rage pours from her eyes and mouth, “I will end you”.

I said, “Ma’am, I would never harm them, and I will make sure no harm comes to them”. She held her finger up at me for a beat, the fire in her eyes dying. She stormed off as fast as she came.

This one girl, hiding in her hoodie, pulls her head out like a turtle, “Oooookay”.

“What’d she say to you Mr. Peter”, a girl in pink asks.

I had to think quick and careful since I knew the woman was most likely referring to sexual assault and didn’t feel the need to go down that road as a volunteer tutor, “She was just making sure your safety came first”, I said.

“You weren’t scared”, asks Hoodie.

“No, I’ve been in intense situations before”.

“Like what”, asks Pink.

“Well, I’ve had a gun in my back. I was in a store while it was being robbed. And I had a man try and choke me out when I stopped him from attacking a woman”.

A girl, with her hair in two poofs, goes, “I can’t believe you didn’t knock her out”.

“I should have knocked her out”?

“She got all up in your face like that. I didn’t know what she was doing, I would have hit her”, says Two Poofs.

“What good would that have done”?

“I don’t know”.

“Isn’t what just happened the best possible outcome? No one got hurt. Everyone is safe. Nothing mean was said…”

“But she disrespected you”, says Hoodie.

“She didn’t disrespect me. There’s something about my look, or the image of me with you kids that lit something inside her which lead to her compulsion to come and say that to me. She wasn’t angry at me specifically, she was angry at something in her past or in her mind and she was throwing her anger on to me”.

“I don’t know. I still think I’d have hit her”, Two Poofs says.

“Okay, let’s say I hit her. She would 100% begin attacking me back. Now we’re in a fight. One of us is bound to get hurt, they’d never have me back as a tutor, and worst of all, one of you might get hurt in the process. Aggression when met with aggression leads to aggression. Only when anger is met with a calm and controlled demeanor is when everyone wins. When someone jumps up to 10, you have to drop down to 10 to create the balance, and bring it back to zero. It’s really just math. The other scenario, where I hit her, nobody wins”, by this point we’re near the tutoring center’s door. “See? We’re already here, talking about what happened, when we could have been back there”, they look back, “fighting for no reason. We’re instead here”, I point my feet at the ground, “about to eat cereal. I say that was the best outcome”.

I hold the door open for them and think. I pause them right before I let them in, “In fact, my only regret is that I didn’t refer to her as ‘Miss’. Women her age hate being called ‘Ma’am’”.

The Rise in Mass Shootings…

Someone posted the rise in mass shooting over the last 30 years correlates with the decrease in parents disciplining their children, a loose association at best. If you’re going to look at arbitrary associations over the last 30/40 years then the rise in mass shootings would also correlate with…

The stagnate wages of the average American, the ever burgeoning gap in income inequality, the rise of mass incarceration, the rise of money allowed to influence our elections, our democracy slowly slipping into oligarchy, the resurrection and tolerance of white supremacists/nationalists/kkk/nazis, our ever sliding standards in education (especially around math and science), our tolerance for teaching creationism in 14 states as fact in our school systems, and the general increase in the notion that “personal beliefs” are comparable to the laws of thermodynamics (i.e. anti-vaxers, Hobby Lobby, etc.)…

It’s almost as if an increase of social injustice and the allowance of hateful ideology combined with economic depravation, lower education, rising sensation of existential hopelessness, and easier access to guns over the last 30 years has lead to more mass shootings.

Or you know, maybe it’s cause we don’t beat the shit out of our kids anymore. That answer is simple, I’ll give you that.

Don’t Rape

No one’s ever told me not to rape.

That’s weird. That’s very weird.

No one’s ever said to me, “Hey, don’t rape anyone”.

I’ve been told not to touch the thermostat. I’ve been told not to talk to strangers. I’ve been told not to stare at people in wheelchairs. Not to touch the stove, not to eat before swimming, not to have more than one soda a week, not to hit my brother, not to hit my sister…, but never once, “Hey, don’t rape anybody”.

I think it’s weird, that I was allowed to grow up in a community with friends, family, parents, teachers, priests, bosses, boy scout leaders, the whole gambit of moral authority figures, and never once, did anyone tell me not to rape.

I think it should be said to young men and women. Explicitly. Don’t rape.

People often push back on this idea saying, “Peter, it goes without saying”.

I don’t think it does. If it went without saying, it’d go without being. But since it exists, I think it should go with some saying.

“But Peter, no one ever had to sit you down and tell you not to steal and not to murder”.

Are you kidding me? You just named two of ten laws I had to memorize as a child. I was sat down and told not to murder, not to steal, not to lie, not to disrespect mom and dad, not to say god in public, or worship cattle… I had to memorize ten of these commandments. I had to take quizzes on them. They were spoken about in church, I discussed it with family, in fact, they’re listed outside some of our nations’ courthouses in honor of some of the first and most important law to “man”.

And you know what, all that memorization, contemplation, and discussion made me less prone to commit such acts. Why? Because when the situation arose, I was mentally prepared with the voices of many loved ones that I shouldn’t steal, curse out god’s name, have jealous thoughts, etc. given the opportunity.

Again, I don’t understand the push back on the topic of speaking to children about rape during the sex talk. You may deem it an awkward conversation, but I think it’s even more awkward explaining to children why 1 in 6 women in America have been raped or attempted thereof. That’s 58 million women. An endemic. And that’s not even including other forms of sexual assaults.

So why not talk about it? What’s the harm? Why not take away every excuse a perpetrator has to commit such a crime?

Why not sit every child down in their sex talk, make eye contact, and directly, explicitly say, “Don’t you ever rape anyone”. That can lead to a whole larger conversation about the subject of sex and sexuality, but at the minimum that sentence must be uttered.

By talking about it more people with think about it. By thinking about it, there’s more mental preparation for when a sexual situation arises where a new layer of caution will reside as individuals second guess brash moves in wondering if the act they wish to commit is fully consented to or in an appropriate region of activity.

Now, as I referenced earlier to religion benefiting me with a more morally inclined conscious, I do not want any praise going to religion on the topic of rape. Nowhere in the entirety of the Torah, Gospels, or Qur’an does God communicate himself, to his prophets, “son”, or messenger and archangel Gabriel (who in turn spoke with Muhammad) that people, and women in particular, should not be raped.

“Why”, you might be wondering. Why wouldn’t God, this “all-loving”, “all-knowing” deity explicitly leave out that detail when going into such banal detail as to not plowing with a donkey and ox yoked together and to not… cross dress [Duet, 22:5]…

The answer is all three Abrahamic religions (Jewish, Christian, Islam) consider women property.

Again; all three Abrahamic religions consider women property. This is clearly read in Exodus, “You shall not covet thy neighbor’s house; you shall not covet thy neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbors”.

What a curious word; belongs. It’s never explicitly said that women are property, it’s implied at the time, it was common knowledge women were things; objects to be owned, traded, and stolen. The definition of property is “a thing or things belonging to someone”.

In the same way you can own a book, car, or desk, and how if you own it, you could rip up the book, smash the car, chop up the desk, and no one could tell you different because that is your property that you own. In that same respect, that’s why it’s never mentioned in the bible or qur’an to not rape women. Rape implies the exertion of will power over someone and the notion that sex is a consenting act between man and woman which can be violated if treated like a one-way street.

But how can you rape your property? How can you abuse an object you own? How can you violate the will of a will-less entity? Why mention in Leviticus not to have sexual relations with and/or sodomize an animal, yet still exclude women on the rules of sexual restriction, and make it a sin to act upon them without consent?

[Credit must be given where it is due. The greatest irony of Islam is that of the three Abrahamic religions, today it is chided the most for being anti-woman, yet it is the only one to mention women as people and grant them rights involving testimony, inheritance, etc. But still, God does not take the time to tell Gabriel, to tell Muhammad, to tell his followers as the last prophet, directly and explicitly, “don’t rape women”, given a host of other teachings Muhammad is to pass on]

“But Peter, times have changed”, but the word of God remains the same. Humans, with our adaptation to an exponentially changing environment, have had a wonderful burst of enlightenment, moral and ethical progress in the last few hundred years, but that is all credit to the evolution and insight of human rationale. The word of God is from his mouth and law to his peoples. No amount of human rationalization can change what is recorded as his saying.

Religion is the foundation on which all patriarchy rests, and where the roots of rape, rape culture, and the objectification of women begin. It is here, at the temple steps of religion that feminists should begin their discussions on the dismantling of the patriarchy. The slights against women from religion are numerous and you have to read no further than the first book of Genesis where Eve, the first woman, is depicted as a trickster and a liar, attempting to access the fruits of knowledge and cursed for disobeying God the father (a man), while at the same time being made of a man’s rib, making her inherently less than, not only God, but the only other talking mammal she knows.

The story of Adam and Eve is part of all three Abrahamic religions as well as a part of Creationism which is taught as fact at schools in fourteen states in America as of this writing. We teach our children that God created women to be less than men and we wonder why women get less respect and acknowledgement everywhere from the bedroom to the board room.

It’s a psychopathy to be sure.

If we as feminists truly wish to dismantle the patriarchy, might I recommend starting with the dismantling of religions first, as religion and patriarchy are one and the same.

The battle is a virtuous one to be sure, as we are no longer fighting male chauvinists on Earth, but a celestial one as well.

Perhaps together we can twist God’s arm enough that he adds an eleventh commandment to his people, an explicit and direct one; don’t rape.

Adaptation of German Law Strafgesetzbuch Section 86a: A Letter to My Representative

Dear Representative Gomez,

The hatred and bigotry of the Nazi party is no secret. The values and core rhetoric espoused by their group since it’s inception is of disgusting, wholly un-American values.

After World War II, in an effort to combat the spread of objectively evil ideology and actions, Germany passed “Strafgesetzbuch section 86a”, which prohibits the distribution or public use of symbols of unconstitutional groups, in particular, flags, insignia, uniforms, slogans and forms of greeting outside of the contexts of art or science, research or teaching. This law makes such gestures, salutes, symbols, and speech punishable by law with fines and/or jail time. Only a week ago, two Chinese tourists were arrested in Germany Saturday after they performed a salute praising Adolf Hitler. America should show it’s great ally solidarity in such clear-cut efforts to make it known words and actions of hateful, violent, and genocidal nature will not be tolerated in a modern society.

The events witnessed in America this past weekend are some of the most disturbing I’ve witnessed in my time alive. The globe knows the Nazi organization to be composed of entirely backward thinking, non-scientific, amoralistic, and, specifically, violent individuals without an ounce of humanity within them.

Both of my grandfathers served in WWII. Both of my grandfathers gave their lives to America’s fighting forces to prevent the very spread of what we see today. The allowance America gives to let such a party exist within its own borders is a slap in the face to every American WWII veteran.

One may argue, as it often is, that Nazism is free to express themselves under the guise of First Amendment rights; it’s a freedom of speech or expression. Incorrect. As a person of government you probably know full well there is no pure freedom of speech. We have laws concerning speech against libel and slander which prevent the spread of lies and erroneous attacks on individuals and their character. Nazism should be restricted and punished as such. Nazism does not express or cherish free speech, it is freedom to violence. Violent ideology leads to violent action and it is time as a nation we say no more.

There should be nothing controversial about this stance. Some might challenge you to limiting their freedoms, as I’m sure some made the case taking away the “right” to own slaves was a limit to freedoms as well. Allow such nonsense no more. There is no place for these archaic thoughts in a 21st century, and it’s time the American government took a step Germans so easily have.

My request is the drafting of a law similar to Strafgesetzbuch Section 86a, in which violators are greeted with jail time, severe fines, and, hopefully, mandatory psychoanalytic rehabilitation.

We may never fully root out the tree of hatred and bigotry, but as Americans, we as individuals, and you as the government who represent us, should make our best attempt to stymie the growth of such weed with all available resources, every time it sprouts its head.

Thank you for your time.

A conscience citizen,

Peter Banachowski

A Diplomatic Shift

If the fight against terrorism means 44 dead children in four weeks, America needs to rethink it’s strategy.

122 ISIS fighters were killed in the same time meaning America’s actions read as, “3 dead ISIS fighters are worth 1 dead child”, never even comprehending that 1 dead child probably generates 3 new, future ISIS members. We’re in a constant cycle of generating future terrorism for ourselves.

Ideologies can’t be bombed or shot. They’re a kind of mental tunnel vision, only broadened through experience, education, and compassion.

War is to the country as torture is to the individual. It doesn’t work in achieving the goal. The US Government’s own research has validated this point saying the best way to get something you want from someone else is “rapport building”.

Without America taking the role of leader in an international, diplomatic shift, we’re bound for more of the same, and Billy Preston’s “Will It Go Round In Circles” plays on repeat in my head.

Talk To Your Son About Rape

Growing up, a male, in Small Town, America I had many authority figures in my life. Fortunate was I to live a life with authority figures of parents, older siblings, extended family, teachers, priests, boy scout leaders, etc.

Of all those people, of all their teachings, of all their advice and guidance, not once did a man ever sit me down, look me in the eye and say, “Don’t you ever rape a woman”.

As an adult male, it fascinates me that we let such a short sentence with such an important message, go unspoken. In America alone, a sexual assault occurs every 107 seconds. In the amount of time it takes boil water for tea, microwave a bag of popcorn, or watch your favorite youtube video, a sexual assault occurs in America.

In Canada over 1 in 3 women has been sexually assaulted.

In Denmark only 1 in 5 reported rapes results in a conviction.

In Egypt 96% of women have suffered genital mutilation.

In Ethiopia 60% of women have been subjected to sexual violence.

In South Africa a woman is raped every 26 seconds.

In China marital rape is not criminalized.

In Pakistan over 1,000 women per year are victims of “honor killings” after being raped.

In the United States 17.7 million women have been raped.

The facts and figures go on and on. Country after country, it is beyond clear the size and scope of rape, rape culture, and a society’s underwhelming reaction to rape could be defined as a psychological pandemic.

There can be no finger pointing, “Well at least we’re not like them”, “They live so differently from us”, “It’s their cultural thing”, “It’s part of their religion”. This problem extends far beyond any one country, culture, or religion.

When I was taking courses on becoming a teacher in college, my favorite lesson came from a professor who’d been a grade school, middle school, and high school teacher, and was now a professor with a PhD in behavioral science and education. She would tell us, “There’s no point in bringing up an issue, complaint, or defect if that’s all you’re going to do. Anyone can point out what’s wrong. As a teacher, you must always provide a solution, or start the discussion towards a solution. One conversation is a spiral down, and the other reverses the course, tending back towards the positive”.

I pointed out the problem, I listed several statistics from various organizations which track these statistics and facts, now here’s my solution…

If you are a father, talk to your son about rape.

Explicitly tell your son to never rape a woman, or anyone, or anything else for that matter.

The idea sounds simple enough, right? Isn’t this obvious?

It is not.

I personally was never told not to rape anyone, of the hundreds of men I’ve asked from cities and states all over the United States, from close friends to random strangers in bars, not one man I ever met was told not to rape. Not before or after the age of 13.

If your son is old enough for the sex talk, he is old enough for the rape talk.

I once proposed the problem and solution to a girl I was on a date with (I know, weird topic matter, this is who I am though), and her reaction was one of defense, “But it just goes without saying”.

As if the subtext of her comment was, “We don’t need to do that, everyone just knows”.

Not only is this clearly not the case, but I was shocked at her immediate rejection of my idea as something not even worth trying.

Of course the psychology of such acts has many other developmental reasons such as environment, no solid base in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, a thirst to quench some mental or physical void of power or control…

My concern here though, is a very practical, simple solution, which anyone who reads this could enact, AND is a solution I have yet to see enacted.

Why not try something that has never been done? Especially something so very cost effective? The most it will cost any family is a half hour to an hour of time. There’s no tax increase, no purchase of equipment, no need to travel anywhere… just a simple conversation between father and son—heck, why not bring in the mother and other siblings? Why not have one big sit down and talk about the subject of rape together as a family? Why not exchange the discomfort of an uncommon conversation for lower sexual assault statistics?

For too long, women have been objectified by men. When I used the word objectify, I mean to say women are no longer considered human beings by the man objectifying them. Women are stripped of their thoughts, feelings, emotions, and basic human rights.

India’s Daughter is a documentary on Netflix about the 2012 gang rape, and ultimate death of young, medical student Jyoti Singh. When interviewing the men who gang raped Jyoti, (which after six men conducted the act, her intestines were pulled out through her vagina, and her entire body disposed of on the side of the road where she died in a hospital not too long after), the rapists and defense attorney’s involved often compared women (overall) to diamonds, gems… flowers, “A flower on the street will be trampled, but a flower in the temple will grow”.

The analogy here was not cute and of admiration. This reasoning implies a woman needs protection. A woman needs to be kept safe and sheltered. It implies a woman on the street by herself will get what’s coming to her for being out past a certain time, dressed a certain way, or accompanied by someone other than a male family member. But–if she were to stay home and remain indoors, she will not be raped, and in fact, this is how best for women to prevent rape (which is also not true as marital rape is also a large problem in impoverished India).

[If you have any doubt of the psychology of such men, please watch India’s Daughter]

This line of reasoning and line of thought is a psychopathy where one human being either cannot, or will not, recognize another human being as an autonomous individual.

This is an ideological problem.

This is a problem of ideas which reside in the minds of men.

This is a mental condition (which is also at the root of racism and xenophobia among others) which should be treated as a mental illness. If a human looks at a human and doesn’t see a human… that’s a psychological and mental illness.

This is a problem as old as written word, both literally and figuratively.

The oldest evidence I ever discovered of such reasoning was a huge blow to me mentally and faithfully. It came from the Catholic Bible my mother gave me.

Growing up I was told by my parents, my priest, and my children’s bible that the tenth commandment was “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house”, where the adults broadly explained to me, philosophically it meant, “Not to be jealous of other people’s things, be satisfied with what God gave you”.

Directly from my adult version though, “You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour”, Exodus 20:17.

This is not to besmirch a holy text or offend a religious group; it is simply a quote from the Bible. If one is to read any Bronze Age text involving traditions, culture, or law, one will be quick to find most societies, all over Earth at the time, viewed women as a kind of livestock, as objects, as possessions for the use of their owner. Women were (and in some places still are) bargaining chips under the contract of marriage to be exchanged for other goods and services such as livestock, land, or an upgrade in class status.

That is why in the Old Testament and New, in over 1,300 pages of God’s literature and law for well over one billion people of Earth, God himself does not outright tell his people “don’t rape”.

This is The Patriarchy at its zenith.

How do we begin the end of such an atrocious mind set? Of such an abominable and deplorable act? By talking about it with our children.

The conversation must start, and it must start early.