The sad, sad story of Bernie Ward has been at the forefront of my mind for the past several days. If he were just anyone, I might not give the matter a second thought. But when you've listened to him on the radio as long and as much as I have, corresponded with him on occasion, and come to feel as though you know him so well that he could almost be a friend or even a member of the family, one can't help but feel virtually consumed with disappointment toward Bernie, sadness for him and his family, and anger toward those who seem to be reveling in his suffering and earnestly say the ugliest things about what they'd like to see happen to him.
There are those who believe that he deserves to go federal prison for a very long time (and to suffer the stereotypical indignities thereof) for briefly possessing and sharing three pornographic pictures involving minors with an online dominatrix while cyber-chatting with her. He claims that he was conducting research for a book. However, the police transcripts of the sordid chats cast this in doubt.
In any case, the law says motives don't matter, and supporters of this strict law, in tandem with Bernie's detractors, say that the government must be merciless with child predators and with those who aid and abet them in any manner.
Is Bernie a child predator? He wasn't charged with child molestation, and his children are still living with him. Did his actions support child predator-pornographers to any degree? I think it would be exceedingly difficult to argue that his reinforcement of child pornography was anything more than vanishingly small.
But that's just what I think. Many if not most of those who've discussed this in public forums disagree, and I guess there's no point in my fretting about Bernie's fate or arguing with others about what it should be. What will be will be. However, I hope it turns out better for him and his family than it now looks like it will.
Genius of Jazz - Wynton Marsalis is an internationally acclaimed musician, composer, bandleader, educator and a leading advocate of American culture. He is the world’s fi...
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