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The McMartin Preschool Hysteria

Contributed by Alex Shrugged

Manhattan Beach is a cozy little California town. It's main products are sand, beach ball and surfing. These days it requires two incomes to survive, so children must be dropped off at grade school, or a good preschool. McMartin Preschool looks quirky, but it's part of the charm of beachfront living. There is a 6 month waiting list, so it must be good, but instead of waiting, a mother drops off her two-year-old son and drives away without a word. The preschool takes him in. She'll be back. Oh yes. She will certainly be back. To be fair, Judy Johnson is emotionally distraught. Her teenage son is dying of cancer. Her husband has left her, and she is drinking too much. Yet, despite these handicaps, when her two-year-old reports abuses at the McMartin Preschool, she springs into action. Satanic rituals. Secret tunnels. BELIEVE THE CHILDREN! Yeah. OK. But where is the evidence? Panicked parents grill their children for details. By the time the authorities get there, the kids have unintentionally rehearsed their replies. Thus begins a 3-year investigation with childhood experts waving dolls, and sweetly saying, "Show me where he touched you." After 5 years in jail and a massive trial, no convincing evidence will be produced. All charges will be dropped. It all disappears in a puff of smoke. Have a nice day. [1] [2] [3] [4]

"I felt uncomfortable and a little ashamed that I was being dishonest. But... whatever my parents wanted me to do, I would do."
-- A child witness, now an adult, recalling the investigation. [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I've left a lot out because you are probably eating lunch. In the Los Angeles region it was wall-to-wall coverage for years. Every little nuance was discussed. The McMartins were totally unprepared for the media frenzy. When they misspoke, suddenly the reporter had uncovered "the real truth" whatever that is. Why wait for a trial? Let's hang them now! The whole circus exposed how useless a child psychologist's "expert opinion" can be in a court of law. Such opinion is often based on intuition and subliminal suggestion. It's almost Voodoo and I mean that in the most respectful way possible... which is NOT RESPECTFUL AT ALL. I know child psychologists. They can be extremely helpful. What they cannot be is 100% sure whether a child is telling the truth. It's his truth for sure, but that doesn't cut it in a court of law. It is too easy (even for an expert who knows what he is doing) to lead a child into telling you what he thinks you want him to say. That is the lesson learned here. Oh... and the other lesson is to make sure you have millions of dollars stashed away in case a drunk accuses you of child molestation. You're going to need every last penny.

Iraq uses a weapon of mass destruction

Contributed by Southpaw Ben

UN specialists confirmed that Iraq was using chemical weapons against Iran, and then checks and confirms this in two seperate, addtional attacks in 1986 and 1987. Iran Since September 22nd, 1980, Iran and Iraq have been at war. Starting with the invasion of Iran, the Iranian forces had pushed back and into Iraq by June of 1982, and hope to topple Saddam Hussein as dictator. In a 1991 CIA report, the estimate was that there were over 50,000 Iranians causalities as a result of the chemical attacks, with current estimates suggesting over 100,000, though the CIA estimates did not include civilian casualties, unlike the current estimates. During his 2006 trial, Hussein took full responsibility "with honor" for all attacks, conventional and chemical, against Iran during this war. [6][7]

My Take by Southpaw Ben
"a chemical, biological or radioactive weapon capable of causing widespread death and destruction." I remember in elementary school arguing with a friend over the fact that no WMDs were found in Iraq despite intelligence reports that sparked the invasion. During that time, my best friend was a staunch democrat, though he claimed to be open minded and independent... Despite agreeing with everything the democrats did, and I was a staunch supporter of Bush. Looking back, I realize that I was an idiot for supporting Bush so much, but such is life. I remember learning in high school about the Iran-Iraq war and the fact that Iraq had used chemical weapons before, and still wonder why so many people still say Bush lied about there ever being WMDs in Iraq, despite the fact that everyone agrees that he used them against Iran. And given that Iraq already knowingly violated the international rules of war, I doubt Saddam's chemical weapon project was affected by being told off by the UN. While I now know that was more an excuse to invade Iraq than the actual reason, I also think critics should have their facts straight.

The Subway Vigilante Shoots 4 Urban Youths

Contributed by Alex Shrugged

Violent crime in New York City has tripled, and the police seem helpless to stop it. Bernie Goetz has been attacked before, and yet when the police grabbed the man who had thrown him to the ground, the perpetrator was out on the street before Bernie could fill out the paperwork. He applied for a gun permit because he carried expensive equipment and large amounts of cash, but his application was denied for insufficient need. With no other option, he bought a Smith & Wesson while in Florida. Now, on the subway, Bernie is confronted by 4 young men no older than 19. They are hiding sharpened screwdrivers because you never know when an arcade game cash box might need... well... repair. Things get stuck. You know how it is. These urban youths surround him and demand money. They are menacing. At this point the account gets a little fuzzy, but Bernie is packing and suddenly 5 shots ring out. 4 hit their targets. Non-fatal. One man is paralyzed for life. Bernie will go on trial for reckless endangerment of the public and attempted murder. The jury will acquit him of all criminal charges except illegal possession of a firearm. He'll get 8 months for that. A later civil trial will find him guilty of paralyzing one man. The judgement of 43 million dollars is purely symbolic. Bernie doesn't have that kind of money. So why not a billion? 2 billion? Make it 3. It makes no difference. The gesture has been made. Bernie makes a gesture back, and everyone goes home. [8] [9] [10] [11] [12]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
OK. This is a tricky case because a lot of it depends on what Bernie was thinking at the time... or rather what the jury thought Bernie was thinking at the time. Bernie testified that he believed they would do him harm. After firing 4 shots, one man was still uninjured, so Bernie shot him saying "You seem all right, here's another." That seems like a mistake. I will defer to experts, but the perception of the civil jury was that the additional shot was uncalled for, and betrayed a mind set as something other than self-defense. But he was in the heat of battle, and I hate second guessing. As the years have passed, Bernie believes his actions helped to stem the tide of violent crime in New York. Jury instructions were changed to be more favorable to a person defending himself from violent crime. In any case, he still feels fine about it, and that seems reasonable to me. [13]

Notable Births

  • Kim Jong-un: Supreme leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). (That's North Korea.--alexshrugged) [14]
  • Mark Zuckerberg: Co-founder of Facebook and the 5th richest person in the world. [14]
  • Prince Harry: The younger child of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. [14]
  • -- In Sports LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers). [14]
  • -- In Music Avril Lavigne and Katy Perry. [14]
  • -- In TV America Ferrera (Ugly Betty), Trevor Noah (The Daily Show), and Meghan McCain (Co-host of Outnumbered on Fox News). [14]
  • -- In Movies Scarlett Johansson (Ghost in a Shell), and Olivia Wilde (Cowboys & Aliens). [14]

This Year in Film

  • Beverly Hills Cop: Eddie Murphy as a rough-and-ready Detroit detective. [15]
  • Ghostbusters: Bill Murray slam dunks this. [15]
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom: Harrison Ford and Mrs. Spielberg (Kate Capshaw) go chasing through India. [15]
  • And....: Gremlins, The Karate Kid, Police Academy, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and Amadeus. (An amazing film.--alexshrugged) [15]
  • The PG-13 rating comes into use: They say that Gremlins and Indiana Jones are too violent. (I agree that pulling the heart out of a man's chest and showing it to him before he dies is a little more violent than Goonies, but I think Gremlins is on par.--alexshrugged) [15]

This Year in TV

  • V: This sci-fi alien invasion series is the most expensive TV production ever. [16]
  • Wendy's "Where's the Beef?" commercials begin: Clara Peller makes them millions until she does a spaghetti sauce commercial and says "There it is." She gets the boot and Wendy's sales plummet. [16]
  • -- In Comedy: The Cosby Show, Who's the Boss? and Night Court. [16]
  • -- In Drama: Murder, She Wrote and Highway to Heaven. [16]

This Year in Music

  • The Careless Whisper (of a good friend): George Michael. "I'm never going to dance again, the way I danced with you." [18] [19]
  • I Just Called to Say I Love You: Stevie Wonder. [18] [20]
  • Girls Just Want To Have Fun and Time After Time: Cyndi Lauper. [18] [21] [22]
  • Born in the USA: Bruce Springsteen. (Complaints about the USA.--alexshrugged) [18] [23]

This Year in Video Games

  • Data East releases Karate Champ: One-on-One fighting games are here. [24]
  • The IBM PCjr competes with game computers: And fails utterly. [24]
  • Please note: Alex Shrugged is about to become a video games programmer. He has been injured in an auto accident. He needs to change careers from an earthwork construction inspector to something else. The insurance company suggests electronics factory work or Cobol programming. He suggests they shove it. They pay to finish up his college education, and he will get a job programming video games.

In Other News

  • 1984 is the year George Orwell's famous novel takes place: "1984" is required reading, as distasteful as it can be at times. The government, your schools and the TV news are "Orwellian" at times. [25]
  • The TED conference has begun: "TED Talks": Technology, Entertainment, Design. In 6 years it will be an annual event. [26]
  • Chrysler introduces the first "minivans": The Town & Country, Dodge Caravan, and Plymouth Voyager. (I owned a Voyager, but only after my Ford Aerostar burned to the ground in my driveway. Don't get me started.--alexshrugged) [26]
  • Radio talk show host Alan Berg is shot dead outside his home: The white supremacist group called The Order believes that the American government is controlled by the Jews, and since Berg is Jewish... well... now he's gone. Two men are convicted to violating Berg's civil rights. No one has been convicted of his murder. [26] [27]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1984, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. IPT Journal - The Beginning. ipt-forensics.com (1995). Retrieved on 14 April 2017. “Buckey did not know that Johnson's odd behavior on the day she left her son was the act of a woman who had a history of emotional problems serious enough to affect the judgment of any mother. Johnson had been out of money since separating from her husband for the second time two months earlier. On top of those problems she was despondent over her other (13-year-old) son's inoperable brain cancer. Sometime during the summer, according to friends, Johnson began to drown her problems in alcohol.”
  2. McMartin Preschool: Anatomy of a Panic - Retro Report. retroreport.org (2017). Retrieved on 14 April 2017. “Accusations soon led to reports that hundreds of children had been abused at the prominent preschool, and set in motion one of the longest and most expensive child molestation cases in U.S. history. It also fed a national panic about child sex abuse, satanic rituals and child pornography that enmeshed dozens of day care centers across the country.”
  3. WHAT WAS UNDER THE MCMARTIN PRESCHOOL? A REVIEW AND BEHAVIORAL ANALYSIS OF THE "TUNNELS" FIND (PDF) 29-39 (2002). Retrieved on 14 April 2017. “In 1990 an archeologist was hired to determine whether tunnels had existed under the school because some of the children had alleged that some of their abuse took place in tunnels under the building. The archeologist's report was issued in 1993. It concluded that evidence of back-filled tunnels had been found. This critical analysis of the archeologist's report concludes otherwise, that what the archeologist found was actually the filled-in remains of a rural family's trash pit that pre-dated construction of the school. Regarding artifacts discovered in soil under the preschool, alternative interpretations to those of the archeologist are given. A theoretical functional analysis of the variables that may have accounted for the archeologist's evident misinterpretation is presented.”
  4. What Fueled the Child Sex Abuse Scandal That Never Was? - The Daily Beast (August 3, 2015). Retrieved on 14 April 2017. “There were reports that McMartin teachers slaughtered animals and babies in front of the children before abusing them. Five McMartin teachers were ultimately arrested and charged, along with the school's administrator, Peggy McMartin Buckey, and its 76-year-old founder, Virginia McMartin, with what detectives and child therapists determined was ritualistic satanic abuse. The school shut down for good in January 1984. But no evidence—no pornography, no semen, no corpses—was ever recovered.”
  5. Ray Buckey - Little Bits of History (March 22, 2012). Retrieved on 14 April 2017. “I said a lot of things that didn’t happen. I lied. … Anytime I would give them an answer that they didn’t like, they would ask again and encourage me to give them the answer they were looking for. … I felt uncomfortable and a little ashamed that I was being dishonest. But at the same time, being the type of person I was, whatever my parents wanted me to do, I would do. – a child witness, speaking as an adult When you once believed something that now strikes you as absurd, even unhinged, it can be almost impossible to summon that feeling of credulity again. Maybe that is why it is easier for most of us to forget, rather than to try and explain, the Satanic-abuse scare that gripped this country in the early 80s. – Margaret Talbot …the kids involved in this hysteria have indeed suffered, but not at the hands of their teachers. And the abuse perpetrated against them by the child-protection movement gone mad are every bit as awful as the tyranny of incest. – Debbie Nathan I felt everyone knew I was lying. But my parents said, 'You’re doing fine. Don’t worry.’ And everyone was saying how proud they were of me. – Kyle Zripolo, a child witness speaking as an adult”
  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran%E2%80%93Iraq_War#Use_of_chemical_weapons_by_Iraq
  7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraqi_chemical_weapons_program#Iran.E2.80.93Iraq_War
  8. Alex Shrugged notes: As we get closer to the present, many of the events I write about are from my personal experience. Thus I may not feel as compelled to provide extra references as I have previously.
  9. "POLL INDICATES HALF OF NEW YORKERS SEE CRIME AS CITY'S CHIEF PROBLEM - NYTimes.com", January 14, 1985. Retrieved on 14 April 2017. “Even more, 60 percent, cited crime - or crime in combination with some other problem, such as housing or schools - when asked which problems were the city's most important. The second choice, housing, was cited by only 15 percent, while 8 percent named public transportation and 7 percent listed public schools.” 
  10. www.nycsubway.org: The New York Transit Authority in the 1980s (2012). Retrieved on 14 April 2017. “In the 1980s, things got worse before they got better. Decades of deferred maintenance, going back to Subway Unification in 1940, finally caught up with the system. From Unification, through the Board of Transportation era, from the day the New York City Transit Authority was born in 1953, through the MTA's birth in 1968 -- political pressure kept both fares and government funding so far below what it cost to maintain the system that maintenance was just not done. The term 'deferred maintenance' became accounting jargon to pass the maintenance burden further out into the future. In the first half of the 1980s, service, infrastructure and crime were abysmal. There was no preventative maintenance - components were fixed as they failed - which was often. Breakdowns occurred an average of every 6,200 miles; down from 15,000 in the mid-seventies, also not a figure to be proud of. Signage was very poor, or unreadable due to the graffiti. By early 1981, one quarter of the trains were out of service, and thirty minute commutes ballooned to one and a half hours.”
  11. New York Magazine - Google Books. books.google.com (Feb 18, 1985). Retrieved on 14 April 2017.
  12. 1984 New York City Subway shooting - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 14 April 2017.
  13. "Bronx Jury Orders Goetz to Pay Man He Paralyzed $43 Million - The New York Times", APRIL 24, 1996. Retrieved on 14 April 2017. “Still, one juror interviewed after the verdict yesterday, Elba Torres, insisted that race was not a factor in the decision. She referred instead to testimony indicating that Mr. Cabey was not threatening the defendant when he was shot -- indeed, he may have been cowering in fear. Mr. Goetz admitted to thinking, or speaking, the words which have since become famous: 'You don't look so bad -- here's another.' For Ms. Torres, those words appear to have been decisive.” 
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 14.5 14.6 1984 Births - Wikipedia (1984).
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 1984 in film - Wikipedia (1984). Retrieved on 27 January 2017.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 1984 in television - Wikipedia (1984).
  17. Apple 1984 Super Bowl Commercial Introducing Macintosh Computer (HD) - YouTube. Retrieved on 13 April 2017. “Iconic 1984 Apple Computer Macintosh commercial conceived by Chiat/Day and directed by Ridley Scott was nationally aired on television only once - during the 3rd quarter of the 1984 Super Bowl football game.”
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 1984 in music - Wikipedia (1984). Retrieved on 30 January 2017.
  19. George Michael - Careless Whisper (Official Video) - YouTube. Retrieved on 13 April 2017.
  20. Stevie Wonder - I Just Called To Say I Love You - YouTube. Retrieved on 13 April 2017.
  21. Cyndi Lauper - Girls Just Want To Have Fun (Official Video) - YouTube. Retrieved on 13 April 2017.
  22. Cyndi Lauper - Time After Time - YouTube. Retrieved on 13 April 2017.
  23. Bruce Springsteen - Born in the U.S.A. - YouTube. Retrieved on 13 April 2017.
  24. 24.0 24.1 1984 in music - Wikipedia (1984).
  25. Orwell, George. Nineteen Eighty-Four. Penguin. ISBN 0140009728. 
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 1984 - Wikipedia.
  27. Alan Berg - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 14 April 2017. “Berg was known for his largely liberal, outspoken viewpoints and confrontational interview style. On the evening of June 18, 1984, Berg was fatally shot in the driveway of his Denver home by members of the white nationalist group The Order. His provocative talk show sought to flush out 'the anti-Semitism latent in the area's conservative population'. He succeeded in provoking members of The Order to engage him in conversations on this talk show and his 'often-abrasive on-air persona' ignited the anger of The Order.”

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