The Death of Shame

By: Warner Todd Huston

There was once a day in America when a convicted child molester might find that his life was ruined, dogged forever by the shame of his evil deeds. Today, though, one might be a child molester on one hand, but a celebrated member of the community for being a great kid’s little league umpire on the other. Such a skunk might even find that he is given awards for his efforts behind the plate despite his serving behind bars.

For this is a day when shame has been killed.

Can anyone imagine a lower human being than someone who would force themselves upon a child, physically and mentally raping them, forcing them to deal with the shame and fear of it for the rest of their lives?

Unfortunately, the folks of the little league umpire association in Torrington, Connecticut can’t seem to imagine why anyone would find a child molester such a bad fellow. Because, instead of heaping shame on one that is in their midst, they’ve raised him up to celebrate his life’s deeds.

The Torrington Board of Approved Baseball Umpires, at least, feels that convicted child molester Tom Barbero is a fine example of the umpire’s art. They think so much of him that they’ve given him an award for his umpiring because he “deserves” such recognition.

Oh, sure Barbero was convicted and sentenced to four years behind bars and 35 years probation for sexually molesting three teenaged boys in 1994 and 1995. But, hey, he was a great ump, nonetheless.

Even after this creep was convicted in 2000 for the molestation, the Umpires Board gave him this award anyway. Then, three weeks later they tried to revoke it after pressure from the public came to bear.

Certainly it was the right thing to do to revoke this rapist’s award. But that they gave it at all knowing what he did was a perfect example that too many in our society today suffer from the disease of “relativity.” All things are “relative,” morality is meaningless. They’ve allowed the concept of shame to die a whimpering death.

At first the Umps rejoinder to those shocked at their initial decision to honor this cretin was that despite his crimes, he was a great umpire. You see, they had separated Barbero’s work as an umpire from his crimes as a rapist of children. And, if morality is removed from the picture, this might seem a sensible action. Chances are, he really was a great umpire. But his crimes should make void his work, the shame of his child rape should tarnish his entire life and make even mention of his name summon a feeling of scorn.

We cannot separate great evil from the perpetrator. It would be like claiming that Hitler was a great fellow except for all that “Holocaust stuff.” Hitler should never be separated from his crimes. His name should be anathema for all eternity by all people.

That is the proper use for shame.

Who can doubt after his conviction why Tom Barbero wanted to be an umpire of kids’ baseball in the first place? Was it not to eventually misuse his position as a figure of authority among children in order to sate his diseased desires to rape a child? Was his desire to help kids or exploit and harm them? So, even if he were a good umpire, his ultimate purpose for being an umpire is tainted with his disgusting lusts.

Of course, Tom Barbero is no Hitler and I am not saying he is. But that the umpires of Torrington cast morality and shame aside to honor a man who’s sole desire was not to help kids but to harm them, well that should cast shame on all of them.

In their defense the Umps also claimed that Barbero had served his time and should be given another chance. Certainly if he were convicted of say drunk driving, few people would be against giving him a second chance in life. But, no one would think it a good idea to make him a school bus driver! But even that comparison does not fully highlight the issue here.

Tom Barbero wasn’t just a jaywalker or a drunk driver. He was a rapist of children. His crimes are not forgivable, his evil not forgettable. We cannot just let bygones be bygones. He is a destroyer of lives, not a petty criminal. Sometimes evil should not just be allowed to be forgotten.

Instead of being celebrated, Tom Barbero should have had his name ceremonially removed from the rolls of the Torrington Board of Approved Baseball Umpires and then been drummed out of the association in a public manner for all to see. His name should have shame forever heaped upon it. Let this reptile slink off into a hole, never to be seen again.

That would be the proper use of shame. Who cares what it does to Barbero? It is what it does for everyone else that matters. It stiffens the spines of the righteous, soothes the souls of the wronged and serves as a warning to others who might follow in the criminal’s footsteps.

THAT is the proper use of shame. It’s something we seem to have forgotten in this society.

So, let’s not give a child molester the honor of an award, shall we? Let him taste shame.

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