As a former resident of Escanaba, I would like to share my brief feelings about what I have read in the Daily Press lately. Some interesting Letters to the Editor have touched on the topic of God and accountability for one's actions, followed by a shocking finding: the Ward Johnsen's sex-related charges.
When I moved to Florida, I knew I would be in a completely different environment than Escanaba. It is more dangerous, there is much more diversity and clashing beliefs and cultures. But I always thought, 'At least my family is safe in Escanaba. My sister and four brothers are growing up in a decent town.' Then I read that a man who pleaded guilty of indecent exposure, sending sexually explicit material online and accosting minors is out on bail of a pathetic $250.
As far as I'm concerned, for the residents who are worried about God or accountability or both, Johnsen has a lot of paying to do. To exploit children is one of the worst crimes one can commit. Here was a teacher, a coach - a man people are supposed trust their children with, and children are supposed to look up to as a role model. What did this man do to the children of our town, and what does it say that he is not sitting in jail now?
Johnsen's charges read "attempted" many times. He may not have actually done considerable physical damage to any children, but statistics show that this pedophilic behavior would have eventually lead to it. In God's eyes, there is no doubt about that what he did is wrong. As for accountability, he pleaded guilty. And I believe he should pay the maximum price allowed.
There should be no sympathy for people who try to take the innocence away from our children. What if your child's face was on his computer, his camera? He may be banned from having any contact with minors, yes, but the law prohibited sexual acts with minors before and he did not abide to that either. Who is to say this behavior will end now or when he has finished his sentence. It just makes me sick that for the price of an iPod this man was able to walk out of police custody. Who is accountable for something this tragic?
North Miami Beach, Fla.