Letters to the Ethical Spectacle

I have just been reading Satan's Silence, by Debbie Nathan and Michael Snedeker, a book on the ritual child abuse cases of the 1980's and 1990's. In cases where there was no physical evidence or corroborating adult testimony, scores of day-care employees and parents in all parts of the country were convicted of strange Satanic ritual behavior (including improbable acts, such as slaughtering elephants and giraffes, and impossible ones, such as flying around the room) based on the testimony of children who were led and even bullied by investigators. Transcripts of the interviews include unambiguous scenes of the investigators overcoming a child's truthfulness with threats, inducements, social pressures, offers of reward, and the like. In one Utah investigation, suspicious cops fed a social worker invented details, which the children she interrogated began echoing back immediately after. This is much less surprising than the fact that the cops every where else were not suspicious. Judging by the gaps and contradictions between some of the taped interrogations and the written reports based on them (in which children who had only replied "Yes" or "No" to lengthy leading questions were given revealing monologues), many cops and prosecutors were recklessly disregardful of the possible innocence of the accused, or were downright malicious, building political careers on the prosecution of innocents. (Janet Reno had a couple of these cases under her belt when she became Attorney General.)

In many of these cases, defendants were accused of photographing the children they molested, but in none of them was a single photo ever found. Children described secret rooms and tunnels under day care centers, which imaging and excavation then revealed not to exist. Some of the time the system worked; in some of the most notorious cases, such as the McMartin preschool in California, juries refused to convict after watching the interrogators bully the children on videotape. In others, such as the conviction of Kelly Michaels in New Jersey, appellate courts intervened to reverse. However, there are other defendants who are still in prison, people whom the system has locked up and forgotten, who have exhausted every due process right.

Another salient fact: the accusers were not unwashed hysterics, though some were psychotic. In many jurisdictions, the moms who brought down their local day care centers were highly educated. At least one was a journalist. Similarly, the men and women who invented the highly unjudicial means of eliciting "truth" from the children were well-trained mental health workers, driven more often by ideology than by ambition. Some sacrificed their own mental health as they destroyed the life of others.

The fall out from the ritual abuse cases, in addition to innocent people spending life in prison, was the disruption of families, and, ironically, the abuse of children who had never before experienced any. These kids were now required to act out imagined scenes with investigators using anatomically correct dolls, and who fed them stories about being fellated, forced to eat excrement, and to participate in the sacrifice of babies (in jurisdictions where none were missing and no bodies ever found).

The only conclusion to draw from all this is that nothing has really changed in the American psyche since the Salem witch trials.

Jonathan Wallace jw@bway.net

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I really like reading your web page concerning Lying and would like your permission to post it on my bulletin board.

Thank you so much for having taken the time to write such an excellent article.



Dear Mr. Wallace,

I read your Military Tribunal piece online. I'm an American, too, but you, sir, are an idiot. Anyone who is willing to give Al Qaida "its day in American court" represented by red diaper doper baby lawyers who are as anti-American as those they represent is no friend of this country. bin Laden represented by the likes of Johnny Cochrane and Alan Dershowitz? I don't think so.

I worked in the World Trade #1. I had many friends there. I don't feel that enemy combatants who have and by their terrorist acts and plans and statements "declared war" on this country deserve anything less than a military tribunal. You are quite mistaken. George Bush and the Pentagon have been, if anything, weak in not handing out tribunals to every one of those Guantanamo terrorists. Nothing less than swift military justice (hanging or a firing squad) is needed in these cases. While it would not be "a deterrent" to your Islamo-facist friends like al Qaida, Hamas, the PLO and other murderous foreign thugs who took an oath to kill Americans and destroy America wherever and whenever possible, nothing less than the death penalty is due every Islamo-facist thug we capture. If nothing else, the world will be a safer place without them.

We are at war. War was declared on us long before 9/11. It was declared by Islam. Islam is the enemy. It is a religious war. Ours is a crusade.

Sincerely, David Levin levin_david@msn.com

Dear Mr. Wallace:

To find and understand God, you must read the Bible. You can not depend on others to make you see and understand by human means. God is a spirit and only through reading the Bible with an open mind, truly seeking his truth will you ever find the wisdom needed to understand God and his saving grace.

Evil men understand not judgment; but they that seek the Lord understand all things. Psalm 51:6

You will find a personal relationship with God only by seeking, by reading both the Old and New Bible Testaments.

Good Luck


Dear Mr. Wallace:

Fantastic!!! Good work!!!! Time someone did this!!!!

Re Democracy and Stupidity:

you don't become president of the united states without being very intelligent

by reading your article, it is very clear you are one of those pompous morons Who thinks he has all the right answers about intelligence.

it's no wonder the only thing the democratic party has given us in the last 30 years is Clinton, and carter and i don't have the time to even go there


Hello Mr. Wallace,

Let me start off by saying that I enjoyed reading your well-written and opinionated essay on Interview with the Vampire despite the fact that I completely disagree. You say, if I don't like it, don't go to your website. Well, if you don't like Interview with the Vampire, don't watch it. Don't condemn Rice fans for enjoying a story - which by the way you haven't a clue what it's really about since you didn't even bother to read it before spouting off your opinion. The movie is an adaptation of the book, not everything in the movie is accurate compared to the book, so why assume things about it's author, Anne Rice? The series of books are fantastic stories about good vs. evil and morality and you make them sound like trash. Also, I find it insulting of you to assume that because I liked... make that loved the movie, and I am a woman, that I must enjoy being beaten or have a death wish, for neither is the case.

I don't want to take up a lot of your time, I simply wanted to suggest that you may want to read the books, then compare them to the movie before you go and degrade the brilliant woman who created them or the brilliant women who love them.

Thank you, Angela

just like to say what a great site

thank you