Grrr! Protect Your Children

Mark Lunsford (search) is right. It's time to get mad.

With his 9-year-old daughter "home now" and "close to him," Jessica Lunsford's grieving father had these words for his little girl's accused killer, John Evander Couey (search):

"He needs to stand up and be a man now and take his death penalty," Lunsford said. "Just go away now and rot in hell."

Lunsford went on to make a plea to the federal and state governments to make changes in the laws that protect children, calling for a mandatory death sentence for child killers. "It's time we all get hopping mad" he said.

It's high time in this country that child killers and sexual predators be afraid of their own evil nature. Commit a crime such as murder against a child, and face the ultimate penalty.

Raping a child should carry longer sentences, mandatory.

Lunsford's plea and this heinous crime comes just as the accused rapist and killer of 5-year-old Samantha Runnion, Alejandro Avila, faces trial in the California girl's 2002 death. Samantha's story garnered national media attention after she was abducted, raped and her nude body was found in the mountains some 50 miles away from her home.

Prosecutors say Avila grabbed Samantha after asking her to help find a lost puppy.

The case shocked the nation then as much as Jessica's case does today.

It's not enough to register sex offenders after they get out of prison. Do you know of any sexual predators in your neighborhood? Have you gone down to your city hall and asked for list of known sex offenders living near your home? It's about time you do. And it's about time for a national registry accessible on the Web, where convicted child sex offenders and their addresses are posted for the world to see.

"Love your children this much," Lunsford said, fingers separated by a mere quarter inch, "and no one and nothing will get between you and them."

Do you teach your children regularly about how to behave in front of strangers? Do you lock your doors at night, protecting your children in the one place they should be safest? Do you have an alarm on your doors and windows? You can have a monitored alarm in your home for less than $20 a month.

Is the price of a few movie tickets, a couple of packs of cigarettes, Internet access, premium cable, you fill in the blank — too much to sacrifice for the safety of your children?

It's time we all get hopping mad, but it's also time we do something about it, like take our own precautions to protect our children from the evils that lurk in this world.

Mario Vazquez — Brilliant or Afraid?

Part of me thinks "American Idol" quitter Mario Vazquez (search) is brilliant, and part of me thinks he's just a coward.

Now that we know that Vazquez is a previously recorded artist, many questions about his participation in the show come to light, including:

What was Vazquez doing there in the first place?

This season, "American Idol" (search) raised the age limit to 28 for participants. That may have been a mistake. How many more like Vazquez are out there — failed recording artists who brilliantly plan to use the show to jump-start their slow-starting careers by using the "American Idol" juggernaut for publicity and exposure?

Vazquez was on Letterman reading the Top Ten list, for crying out loud. If that isn't brilliant planning on his part, I don't know what is.

But then I start to think he's just a coward — one who knew he would quit and subsequently stole a spot from another kid with a dream.

I think when it came down to the Top 12, Vazquez looked around at people like Bo Bice and Carrie Underwood and thought, "I might not win this thing." So he did the next best thing: He quit, citing "personal reasons" that he refused to elaborate on.

Any American who watches television or reads the Internet knows that quitting under mysterious circumstances would be bound to drum up mega-publicity.

And it did. Well Mario, I, for one, won't be buying your album.

What Goes Through the Mind of an Oblivion?

— Who are all these people beeping at?

— Oh look, there's my next-door neighbor Bob — whom I never talk to even though he lives right next door. Let me stop right here in the middle of the grocery aisle and catch up on the last few years with him. Funny, we never talk as we cut our lawns side-by-side.

— Excuse me! I'm just standing here minding my own business as I stepped off the escalator and you've bumped into me. Watch where you're going.

— Boy, that shopping excursion took the life right out of me. I must have walked five miles in that store. I'm just going to leave my cart right here in my parking spot. Somebody will move it.

— Oh look, the sign says, "Employees must wash hands before returning to work" on the bathroom mirror. Well, I don't work here, so I'm not going to wash my hands.

— Oh, the movie is just about to start. I better run and get some popcorn!

— Three squirts of pure perfume or strong cologne for the office should do the trick.

— Elevator's coming. Gonna stand right in front of the doors so I can get right on.

— The flight attendant at the gate hasn't called for my row yet, so I'll just stand two feet in front of her and stare intently at her. Ouch, don't bump into me with your carry-on bag, sir. I'm standing here.

— I love to whistle. I know that everybody in the cubicles around me loves to hear me whistle, too.

— Judy is so nice to put candy out for everybody. I even take some home for my husband.

Grrr!-Dendum ...

Went to the Beacon Theater in New York City last night to see The Allman Brothers Band jam. Man, what a show. If you can catch these guys live you won't be disappointed.

We were treated with the appearance of the original "Jessica" keyboardist, the great Chuck Leavell, who played like it was old times with Greg Allman. "It's been a while since I played with those guys and it's always an honor" Chuck told me after the show.

Leavell joined guitarists Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes (also on vocals), and together they all made some great music.

I've always been a fan of The Allman Brothers and to see them live was awesome.

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Mike Straka is the director of operations and special projects for, and contributes as a features reporter on "FOX Magazine," and occasionally as a news cut-ins anchor on FOX News Channel. Read Mike's Bio.