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Discretion Will Ward Off Monsters from the Pit of Hell
Gregory J. Rummo
THE LATEST MONSTER from the pit of hell to appear on our television screens and across the front pages of the nation’s newspapers—Roy Ratliff—met his Maker in the high desert of California last week.
Ratliff had abducted two teenage girls at gunpoint around 1 A.M. from a “Lover’s Lane” in Lancaster, CA. After tying up the girl’s boyfriends, he drove off with the girls, raped them and was “hunting for a place to kill them and bury them,” Kern County Sheriff Carl Sparks said on CNN’s “Larry King Live.”
When Ratliff was finally apprehended, he refused to go quietly. Two deputies pumped a total of seven shots into his body, killing him instantly and saving the rest of us from the agony of having to listen to the pundits debate ad infinitum the reasons for such monstrous behavior.
Fortunately, this story had a happy ending unlike some of the other recent cases of child abduction.
The two girls will live to tell about this tale. But one is left to wonder if it could have been avoided in the first place.
It has been reported that Ratliff had a long criminal history including the rape of a teenage relative. Why was he out roaming the streets like a rabid animal and not serving time in a penitentiary somewhere? Such failures of our criminal justice system seem common. Most of these sickoes are repeat offenders.
But there’s another ‘failure’ in this story that no one has focused on: What were a sixteen and a seventeen-year old girl doing out with their boyfriends, parked on a “Lover’s Lane” in the wee hours of the morning, when they should have been home, in bed and asleep?
I think that’s a fair question not only for the girls but also for their parents. And not just those parents but every other parent with a teenage son or daughter.
What is a proper curfew for a teenager? And should a sixteen-or a seventeen-year old daughter be allowed out on a date with a guy whose sole intention is to satiate his raging hormones?
If you ask, “How can I possibly know this in advance?” Then you have already admitted you are not as involved in the lives of your children as you ought to be.
I don’t know exactly what was going on in the cars between the couples but I can assure you they weren’t playing Trivial Pursuit in the back seat. Lover’s Lanes have always been magnets for promiscuity. This time, however, it wasn’t just the guy inside the car whose passions were aflame. There was another, on the other side of the window, stalking from the shadows.
Ratliff was a monster who knew that if he went to the right place at the right time, he’d find “fresh meat.” His two victims who just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time meshed with his malevolent intentions.
And being at the wrong place, at the wrong time is the crux of the issue.
Solomon warned his son, “Discretion will preserve you; understanding will keep you. To deliver you from the way of evil, from the man who speaks perverse things, from those who leave the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness.”
Now there’s a word we don’t hear often — discretion.
That’s exactly what teenage girls need to exercise, and if they refuse, then mom and dad should exercise it for them. “My house, my rules,” comes to mind.
And if more moms and dads would take it
upon themselves to become actively involved in the lives of their teenagers,
maybe, just maybe, there’d be a lot of empty Lover’s Lanes this evening across
America, and a lot less chances for some demon-possessed monster to prey upon
young teens unsuspectingly.
Gregory J. Rummo is a syndicated
columnist and author of "The View from the
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