Lessons from history can teach us the future.
Have you read "Generations: The History of America's Future, 1584 to 2069” by Neil Howe and William Strauss? The following is from page eight of the Preface: "This book presents the ‘history of the future’ by narrating a recurring dynamic of generational behavior that seems to determine how and when we participate as individuals in social change or social upheaval. We say, in effect, that this dynamic repeats itself. This is reason enough to make history important..."
According to Howe and Strauss, history demonstrates that the American society has had forty-year cycles, starting in 1584, and they project these cycles through 2069. The two dominant cycles are the Civic and the Idealist.
In the 1920s, society was in a Civic Cycle: "The good of the whole is more important than the needs of the individual." During this time, the U.S. went to war in Europe to defeat the threat of Hitler. At home, we attacked the threat of gangsters, such as Al Capone.
In the 1960s, the pendulum swung back to an Idealist Cycle where the needs of the individual became paramount: “I can be all I want to be.” Facing that era’s threat was more of a philosophical exchange than a call to arms. Our country’s peace rallies and lack of support for the war in Vietnam reflected the "individual's rights" over "the good of the whole."
Right on schedule, in the 2000's, society once again swings into the Civic Cycle. What is the threat of today’s Civic Cycle? On the international front, it’s terrorists, like Al Qaeda. And the threat on the home front? Sexual Predators.
Historically, sexual abuse of children has always been around, but it was kept behind closed doors. Denial was rampant and even if abused girls and boys spoke up, they were quietly told to just live with it. On the whole, children grew up in small communities, with mothers or family members close by, so crimes against children were less common. Nowadays, as our sprawling urban society grows, the average family moves every three years, the family structure has become the extended family with few grandparents or other close relatives actively participating; and with over 80% of women in the workforce, the safety net around our children has slipped away. With social change has come increased opportunity for sexual predators. Observe the history of society’s responses to protect our children from sexual predators.
In 1981, “stranger danger” grabs our attention: The abduction and murder of John Walsh's son, Adam Walsh brings to light stranger abduction, and the closed door of denial creaks open slightly. Society’s response: the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is founded in 1984, and people begin to think about "stranger danger".
In 1993, stranger danger comes into our homes: Polly Klass is abducted from her bedroom and murdered by a convicted sex offender. He is still a "stranger", but shock pushes open the door of denial even wider, and the first Three Strikes and You’re Out Law is enacted in California.
In 1995, it’s not just strangers who are a danger: The abduction and murder of eight-year-old Megan Kanka by a neighbor – also a convicted sex offender – brings sexual abuse within our circle of friends, and we must think carefully about whom we let come in through our door. In 1996, Megan's Law is passed requiring convicted sex offenders to register their place of residence after release from prison.
In 2002, not only acquaintances but trusted authority figures are recognized as a danger: CBS’s The Church On Trial reports on a gathering in Dallas of leaders of the Roman Catholic Church for what many believe is one of the most important meetings in the long history of the Church. In nearly every major American city, priests are under investigation for committing sex crimes against children, and bishops are being sued for facilitating those crimes.
As a result, the Church creates The Safe Environment for Children Program, pays billions of dollars to victims, and endures jail sentences for offending priests. A place we never before feared as unsafe for our children now leaves us feeling totally vulnerable. The door of denial is vanished.
In April 2003, with danger on all fronts, citizens demand a national approach to stop the victimization of our children: Created as a legacy to 9-year-old Amber Hagerman of Arlington, Texas, who was kidnapped and brutally murdered in 1996, the multi-state AMBER Alert (America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response) system becomes a national program, signed into law by President Bush. This program addresses non-custodial kidnappings as well as stranger abductions. Now, AMBER Alert sirens chillingly sound over the airwaves, ticker tapes flash across TV screens and electronic billboards, and e-mails instantly alert every corner of the nation.
In May 2005, spurred by the killing of 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford, Florida passes one of the toughest child-sex laws in the nation. The Jessica Lunsford Act was quickly drafted after Jessica's death was discovered in March and was pushed through by lawmakers outraged that the man accused of killing her was a registered sex offender. It passed both the Senate and House unanimously. It establishes a mandatory sentence of at least 25 years behind bars for people convicted of certain sex crimes against children 11 and younger, with lifetime tracking by global positioning satellite after they are freed.
Likewise in the Fall of 2005, citizens come together more forcefully than ever: Hurricane Katrina destroyed the records of over 4000 sex offenders who, as required by Megan’s Law, had registered their current residences. Many of these predators are still in parole violation, their whereabouts unknown. The Civic Cycle response: Oprah offers rewards of $100,000 for tips to rid the streets of these parole-violating sex offenders. Legions of mothers respond by following her lead. This month, over 400,000 parents will log in at National Alert Registry to view and pay for online maps showing the locations of convicted sex offenders living in their neighborhoods.
Mobile Home Court Evicts Sex Offenders
Questions still remain about where offenders can live.
Do any of us really want a sex offender living next door? When it's personal, the answer is bound to be heated. How are we going to handle our rights and theirs (since they have served their sentence), particularly when so many re-offend? What message do you want to send to our legislators? More...
Sex Offender Data To Expand: Texas is Fourth Best In The Nation
At least 5 million unique visitors go to the criminal history section of the Texas state's database each month, most to the sex offender portion. This year, www.toptenreviews.com, a Web site that reviews online registries, listed the Texas state agency's sex offender registry as the fourth-best in the nation. More...
As we fight the threat of the current Civic Cycle - not gangsters, but sexual predators - history dictates that the coming years will generate a growing civic wave in support of child safety. Yello Dyno is riding the crest of this wave, bringing you research-based programs that work in real time, in real life. You can get the New Year off to a great start by teaching this history lesson. All of us at Yello Dyno are here to help you do it.
Yours for child safety,
Yello Dyno Founder
My thanks to Roy Williams for his research and presentations on the Forty-Year Cycles.
P.S. Educators, Non-profits, Churches and Law Enforcement: To have a Yello Dyno Curriculum sent to you for a thirty-day review, call me at 888-935-5639 ext. 100 or email me at email@example.com
Right now 200,000 children are learning The Yello Dyno Method of Safety in Texas, 500,000 in New York State, and over a million more have grown up with Yello Dyno.
P.S.S. More information on reviewing our curricula.REdS, Research and Educational Services recently conducted an evaluation of the Yello Dyno Curricula with 778 students in public school settings. The students were in K, 1st and 2nd grade. 51.3% were females and the sample was relatively balanced in the three grade levels. The findings show that 80.8% of the students tested demonstrated an increase in knowledge after one cycle of the Yello Dyno Curriculum.
Comments? Ideas for future memos? Contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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