Two 5-year-olds, an August afternoon and a lemonade stand.
It's the stuff of Norman Rockwell -- marred by that fear every parent knows.
Whose car is that slowing? They know not to get in -- right? Could I sprint the 40 yards from here to there before . . . ?
"Hey, girls. Time to close the stand."
In my case, the anxiety is brought on by a 2006 documentary on Netflix I watched the night before, "Deliver Us From Evil." It's about a Catholic priest named Oliver O'Grady who raped possibly dozens of children in California beginning in the 1970s. The youngest known was 9 months old.
O'Grady was shuffled from parish to parish after each incident. The local bishop testified in the film that he knew O'Grady was a recidivist pedophile, yet he ignored it.
It's not just the Catholic Church. Orthodox Jewish communities has covered it up, too, as have other denominations. In some ways, we all have; we don't want to know about these things. We don't want to use the words that accurately describe the acts committed. We say "molest" as a catchall, when we mean something more specific.
Jerry Sandusky raped young boys in shower stalls and in his basement. Coach Joe Paterno, a man who did more good than most in life, learned of it and cast it from his mind. Penn State University officials knew it. But they let Sandusky walk free, day after day. It was easier to ignore him than to face what he is. No thought of the next victims.
Every time there is a high-profile story about prepubescent sex abuse we wring our hands -- and, ultimately, do nothing. Is it because prolonged thought of such acts would cause us to tear out our hair in grief? Is it because we can't bear to believe such cruelty is possible? We deem pedophilia "unthinkable" because it is. It is too horrifying to think about for longer than a few moments. So we don't.
Oliver O'Grady readily admits his crimes in "Deliver Us From Evil." He speaks almost cheerfully of his inclination to rape little boys and girls. O'Grady -- I refuse to call him "Father" -- was interviewed for the documentary in Ireland, where he had been living as a free man. Then last January, after he was caught with pornography featuring children as young as 2, he was sentenced to three years in an Irish prison. But when he gets out, it is impossible to believe he'll do anything other than what he has always done -- pose a threat to little kids.
It's not politically correct to wish for vigilante justice for O'Grady -- that would make us monsters. So what to do?
New York State's sex offender registry was a step forward, if only to illuminate how many fiends are out there. I have two living within a half mile of me -- one directly across the street from a playground. There was a push once to make that illegal. The State Senate passed the legislation a few years ago, but the Assembly refused to take up the bill. Too bad the screams of captured children weren't available to pipe into the Assembly chamber. Had they been, any bill could have been passed to make the horror stop.
Recidivist Virginia pedophile James Jenkins took matters into his own hands in 2003. He got hold of a razor in prison and castrated himself in the shower room. He was right to do it. Some studies show a dramatic decline in recidivism for pedophiles who have been castrated, surgically or chemically. A Danish study cited in a Washington Post story reports the rate of repeat offenses dropping from 80 percent to 2.3 percent after surgical castration. Not a cure-all, but maybe as close as we're going to get.
A few states, including California, are now requiring the chemical castration, through use of hormones, of recidivist pedophiles. New York should follow suit.
I dare any reader to view "Deliver Us from Evil" and disagree.