Double Standard?

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I expected to awaken this morning with a mailbox full of e-mails complaining about us (and every other cable network and show) covering the Debra Lafave case. I did get many e-mails, but as posted below, they were not about the amount of coverage but the treatment Lafave got in the court system. The Lafave case is one of those stories that many of us watch, but would like to deny watching to our friends and co-workers.

It is easy to dismiss the story in one's mind as not newsworthy, but what does and can go on in our school system is not unimportant. Likewise, how we address criminal conduct in our court system is not unimportant. Sometimes it takes a captivating (unusual) story to grab people's attention to the topics to generate debate. Yes, Lafave's beauty and her gender make this story more captivating than it would otherwise be. While in the past other women teachers who have had sex with their students have received coverage, Debra Lafave has gotten more than anyone else.

Of course many wonder about the Debra Lafave case and wonder if there is a double standard. Would a man under similar circumstances get the same treatment in the system? No, he would not — or at least I don't think so. Should he? What do you think? Please e-mail me. And, while you are e-mailing me, include your thoughts about whether you think a jury would have found her not guilty by reason of insanity. Legal insanity means that she did not know that what she was doing was wrong, not whether she has some emotional problems or hardships in life.

Now for some e-mails from you, including some suggestions about ideal places to live. I noticed that no one mentioned in an e-mail my hometown of Appleton, Wisconsin, as the ideal place to live.

E-mail No. 1

I’m going berserk listening to Debra Lafave. She is a pedophile! Plain and simple! She sought employment that put her in contact with children. She seduced a 14-year-old child! Her “pinky-promise” conversation with him is calculating and manipulative. Listen to how her voice changes when she asks about the time. Her sentence is outrageous and her defense is an insult to all those who suffer with a bipolar disorder.
Debra Lafave is the most evil kind of predator: pretty face, dark, ugly heart.
Enraged in California,

E-mail No. 2

Can you tell me why the 16-year-old victim in the case was not subpoenaed to testify against Lafave? I can't believe that a person can decide whether or not to testify in a criminal matter.
Something really stinks with this deal.
Bob Parquette

ANSWER: Yes, he could be subpoenaed but it is a nightmare for a DA to have an unwilling complainant. The DA does not know what the witness will or will not say and the witness could throw the case. Trials are very expensive and taxpayers don't always want to pay for a trial that the victim does not want pursued. Plus, don't forget that another prosecutor in another county did get her to plead guilty.

E-mail No. 3

That boy only suffers not because of the media but because of her actions! I can't believe she has been set free!

E-mail No. 4 — The e-mailer from above sent me another email right after the first. Here it is:

Oops! Forgot to sign my name!
K. Falls, OR

P.S. Martha Stewart got a worse sentence than her!

E-mail No. 5 — This next e-mail is interesting. I think it was meant for Sean Hannity and not me, but it was sent to me so I am posting it:

The system isn't broken. It simply fails to recognize the differences between men and women. Look, I'm as big a patriot as you... totally conservative and we see eye to eye on virtually everything... except sex.
Time was fathers took their sons into town and got them w/a hooker and that was the night they became a man. We've just screwed around w/sexual identities so much in this country that today most men haven't the faintest idea who they are sexually.
Damaged? Please! Every red-blooded teenaged boy the age of the Lafave's victim wishes he could trade places with him, and frankly your interviewer is right: They'll be dreamin' about Debbie at the mall.
Sean, you're one of the top debaters in the nation. I don't think anybody could go up against you and win unless the subject was sex. I've seen you fall apart in front of Laura Schlessinger for cryin' out loud!
Of course there's a double standard, always has been, always will be until we can face and fix it, and the repair has to be with the law. The brightest thing the system can do is to recognize this... that men and women are wired differently and each gender knows it... we just don't want to admit it anymore.
Your pal and supporter,
Curtis Brubaker
Monarch Bay, CA

E-mail No. 6

When Lafave’s lawyer said that people with “illnesses” shouldn’t be held accountable for their actions, shouldn’t people with “illnesses” all be locked up then, before they commit a crime? I think it is a terrible excuse, it sends the message that if you have an “illness,” then its OK to commit a crime because you don’t know what you are doing, which I think is a bunch of B.S. Also, if Lafave knew she was bipolar and says she shouldn’t be held accountable due to her “illness,” why did she teach at a school?
Tacoma, WA

E-mail No. 7

Debra is a real piece of work.

E-mail No. 8 — Blair also sent a second e-mail:

Her passion was teaching? It was taken away from her? She threw it away. She lost it. She is responsible and she is making herself out to be the victim her. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe she should be in prison.

E-mail No. 9

I am watching FOX News and listening to the alleged child rapist Debra Lafave with astonishment and outrage! Bipolar disorder? Christian woman? Un-freaking-believable! I think I'm going to hurl... this woman is a child sexual predator. She is no different than any male and should be in jail right now. If it were my daughters or my son she did this to, I would make sure that the court system made her pay for her crimes. She would not just get away with this. To me it sets a horrible precedent and does not bode well for future cases.
I have two friends with bipolar disorder and they say they have never desired to have sexual relations with a child. Nor do they try to use their illness to justify immoral or illegal behavior. The very thought of this sickens us all and to be honest I truly doubt Lafave's claims of being mentally ill. It's just a little too "Andrea Yates-ish" and convenient for me. Wrong is wrong and excusing it only allows it to continue.
What about Mary Kay Letourneau? Why can't/didn't she claim the same illness? She might have gotten away with no prison time herself. At least I can have a smidgen of respect for her because she didn't try to excuse her behavior and she did marry the guy. Sick as that still is...
Okay, I'm off my soapbox for now. Take care and keep up the wonderful work!
Belynda Fruge
Big Lake, LA

E-mail No. 10

Dear Greta,
I can't help but wonder if Debra Lafave weighed 300 lbs. with dirty stringy hair would they have dropped the charges against her!

E-mail No. 11

Greta, I gotta tell you that I think that "Debbie" Lafave's attorney is a bit of a magician to pull off what he did! That's a piece of work, that is — I think that, "little Debbie" is one lucky lady! Of course, I do expect her ex-husband to be quite bitter, he's still licking his wounds and, I know that he wished that she would do time. Oh well...
Las Vegas, NV

E-mail No. 12

Hi Greta,
We wouldn't suspect that there was some sort of agreement/deal/settlement between the teacher and the victim's mom now would we? Maybe I have too much time on my hands. Keep up the good work, kid.
Wayne Manwarren
St. Helena, CA

E-mail No. 13

The whole business of soft-pedaling the case against Debra Lafave because she is 'bipolar' is absolute hogwash. As you pointed out, the question in dealing with a defense of insanity is, did she know right from wrong? She was a licensed teacher. Of course she knew that she was doing wrong to have sex with one of her students! We all know that if she were a male who had molested a 14-year-old boy, she would have done time. It's a real shame that the state dropped the charges. It sends a message that if you're young, female, cute and seductive, and claim mental illness, then you can't be held responsible... kind of a helpless, blonde female tactic. The jails, as you well know, are filled with people who carry a psychiatric diagnosis. This girl should be in jail right along with the rest of them.

E-mail No. 14

I can't believe what happened in the Lafave deal! What message does this send to future predators? OK, now men will claim they are bipolar when they rape/molest/murder little kids? This burns me up! That gal wanted to fire back so badly today; and she even blamed the "media" for her sick acts! She needs an old fashioned "butt whipping" if you ask me!
Fiance: really stupid!
Sherri Heflin
Philadelphia, MS

E-mail No. 15

Dear Greta,
Boy did the system drop the ball on this one. I am outraged that Lafave is not being prosecuted. I don't care if she thinks she's too beautiful or the Queen of Sheba, she broke the law and she belongs in jail. I know bipolar people, and what she did would be the last thing on their minds. I guess being attractive makes you above the law. And as far as her being a Christian woman, as she claims, even the priests that commit these crimes are prosecuted. Shame on her for calling this a "bump in the road," that she wants the world to see that this disease is real. What the world is seeing is a cheap woman who is a child rapist, plain and simple. She is using bi-polarism as an excuse. I feel bad for her victim and his family, but he is 16 now. He should have been made to testify. Hundreds of women are raped everyday and no one seems to care if they are brought before the court. I guess those of us that are only semi-attractive should watch our Ps and Qs, heaven forbid if anyone is downright ugly! (Life sentence?)
Newport News, VA

E-mail No. 16

I am a faithful viewer and I am pleased with what I see being reported! However, I am extremely angry with the Florida prosecutor who surely dropped the ball in the Ms. Lafave case! How can a prosecutor be that inept? I am fairly certain that there would've been alternative ways to get the young 16-year-old man to testify! This to me is just laziness on the prosecutions part! As for Ms. Lafave to blame her illness is pathetic. She is a pedophile, plain and simple. She not once took full responsibility for her actions! Then when she revealed she's taking a journalism class online, it's just a matter of time when we will see a book written by her after probation has ended!
OK, I feel somewhat better now by being able to vent... keep up the good work!
Karen Cutlip

E-mail No. 17

Please stop calling men "sir." It is not ladylike. Why does Bernie almost always start his answers with, "Well, I mean"?

ANSWER: Huh? Why in the world would it upset you that I say "sir?"

E-mail No. 18

Hi Greta,
In answer to your question of the best place to live w/o one kind of disaster after another is Clayton, Georgia. Although the winters have a cold spell or two, they keep getting warmer and warmer and in the summer, the humidity is bearable, and it cools off a little at night. The country is gorgeous in all seasons, especially the fall. There are lakes and waterfalls, etc. We are located in the NE corner in Georgia, 10 miles south of North Carolina and 10 miles west of South Carolina. You must come to see to appreciate it, seriously!
Clayton, GA

E-mail No. 19

Hi Greta,
I just thought I would send a response to your question where to live. I have lived in Washington state for my entire life. I have family in all the sunny places like California, Florida, etc. Sometimes I think it would be nice to live somewhere that wasn't so damp, but I have a terrible phobia of storms and things that Mother Nature controls, so I stay put. While it is soggy here a lot, we do not have the severe weather that most places have. While we might have an occasional earthquake, they are not anything compared to the devastation that people in the other states suffer, and to be honest, I have only felt two quakes in my 41 years of life. Another reason I stay here: We don't have big bugs or big snakes.
Have a great day!
Julie Arlington

E-mail No. 20

I am a practicing meteorologist. Jim makes a nice suggestion and Wyoming is a pretty state, but it fails for you on the 'cold' category. Casper, Wyoming, drops into the teens at night in the winter.
Your inquiry is a tall order to fill, but I'll try. Let's reduce it into the components and see where the chips fall:
a) No hurricanes: avoid Gulf Coast, Florida, Southeast Coast
b) No tornadoes: avoid Plains States
c) No snow, no sleet: avoid Northern states
d) No freezing cold: avoid Northern states
e) No earthquakes: avoid California
f) No brushfires: avoid southern California and interior West
g) No excessive heat and humidity: avoid Gulf Coast, Florida, Southeast Coast
So, most of the eastern USA is ruled out for you.
You would ideally want to live in Hawaii to meet your requirements, but since you probably want to live in the continental USA, I'd say you are a candidate for living in northern coastal California, where temperatures are moderate year-round, and there is enough precipitation to keep things green (wet winters, dry, sunny summers). Far enough north to be out of the major earthquake zone from San Francisco to Southern California.
Although northern California fits most of what you want, if I know my Greta correctly, suspect you might prefer Las Vegas or Phoenix in the winter (more sun, less rain, and a little warmer), then migrate to northern California in the summer. You might just have to have two homes to be a happy camper! Or maybe three homes since we need to see you periodically on the East Coast for your show — unless FOX builds a nice in-home studio for you out West!
Paul Heppner
Marlton, NJ

E-mail No. 21

Hi Greta,
If you're chronically cold and need some warmth and sunshine you should come down under to the Land of Oz. I grew up in California where it was usually nice, lived in the south of France for a few years where it was even better, came back to live in Baltimore where I was up to my hips in snow, freezing my buns off in winter and sweating to death in summer. Now I am in the sunshine paradise, especially during summer (which is just ending) when it's light from 6 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Our winters are very mild and warm, though from watching the locals you'd think it was 20 below the way they all rug up... to me it's warm and wonderful... 65 degrees is not cold in my humble opinion and it's amusing to hear them whine about how cold it is.
BTW, we don't get cyclones down here in New South Wales, that happened in Queensland. As long as you avoid the northern tropical states you don't have to deal with that sort of thing. We don't get many earthquakes, either — something I'm used to — being from California. Sounds pretty good to me! If you can't do Oz, I would recommend Maui, too... paradise on Earth, the smell of flowers in the air, the clear aqua sea, eating papaya for breakfast. I was there for two weeks in February 1992 and it was 85 degrees the entire time. I loved it so much I didn't want to go home!
Julie Murphy
Wollongong, NSW, Australia

E-mail No. 22

You asked on the air last night where the best place is to live. Even though you mentioned Arizona, you said the wild fires scare you. Well, we live in Surprise, Arizona and just love it! The summers really do get hot... but then you said you are cold most of the time. The winter days are beautiful, however, the winter mornings are cold, brrr! Lows perhaps in the upper 30s to 40s. When the sun comes out, everything warms up! The wild fires occur not in the cities but the outskirts and forests. Both my husband and I are native Ohioans, first moving to Las Vegas in '98 and then Arizona in '04... here to stay!
Jeanne Armstrong
Surprise, AZ

E-mail No. 23

Jim Clark must have been asleep in the dead of night when he crossed Wyoming. While it's true they may not have hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, excessive heat or humidity, they do have snow (in July), wind, sleet, wind, range fires, more wind, mudslides (but only if you happen to be where one takes place) and freezing cold (but only nine months of the year).
On second thought, it might not snow in Wyoming. It might just blow across from Montana, Idaho and Utah.
Jerry Clausing
Woods Cross, UT

E-mail No. 24

Every one talking about the teen shot by the old man are focusing on the crime of the old man (rightly so) but it does shadow an issue that I deal with routinely as a large property owner. It seems that teens don't know how to respect other peoples' property. I think it is in part a parenting problem. I have been told directly by mature adults that I own enough and their kids have a right to use and mess-up my property. Our local sheriff is frustratingly inadequate, either not showing up, or to late to do anything, and always not caring. I am not suggesting that violence is acceptable, but this man lost his grasp on reality for some perceived reason, I think the parents should be examined for their part in this as well as the boys. This should be a great opportunity for a defense lawyer's career and a wake up call to parents. Is it possible that the moral latitude about people and property in video games is contributing to an overall respect issue; that comes down to an even more interactive parenting requirement then has been envisioned in our dreams...
Daniel Culver

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