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We Believe the Children
We Believe the Children: A Moral Panic in the 1980s | Richard Beck
5 posts | 3 read | 27 to read
In the 1980s in California, New Jersey, and New York, Michigan, Massachusetts, and Florida, Tennessee, Texas, Ohio, and elsewhere, daycare workers were arrested, charged, tried, and convicted of committing horrible sexual crimes against the children they cared for. These crimes, prosecutors said, had gone undetected for years, and their brutality and sadism defied all imagining. Whats more, the abusers had photographed and videotaped their victims, distributing the images through a sophisticated international network of child pornographers. More often than not, violent satanic cult worship had also played a central role, with children made to watch forced abortions in cemeteries and then eat hacked-off bits of the little corpses. In just over a decade, thousands of people in every part of the country were investigated as child sex abusers, and some one-hundred and fifty of them were sent to prison. But, none of it happened. It was an epic decade-long outbreak of collective hysteria on a par with the Salem witch trials or the red scares of the 1950s. Using extensive archival research conducted in Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and elsewhere, and drawing on dozens of interviews conducted with the hysterias major figures, Richard Beck shows how a group of legislators, doctors, lawyers, and parents, all working with the best of intentions, set the stage for a judicial disaster. A number of opportunistic journalists helped to carry the story from state to state, and the silence of their colleagues, who should have known better, allowed it to keep spreading long after it became clear that the story was simply unsupported by evidence. Beck reveals how a small group of skeptics finally began working to slow the runaway train in the last half of the decade, and he explores the fates of those accused and convicted of these unbelievable crimes, the casualties of a culture war. It is this culture war that is the books pervasive subtext the conditions that made possible the demented frenzy of accusations were very specific, and at the root of them were competing visions of society and the things that threatened it most.
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No clear or set protocol on how to interview children led to suggestive interrogations which led to truly off-the-wall accusations, social panic, and so on. This was a somewhat fascinating read, but it definitely could‘ve been better organized. I‘m not sure I‘d recommend it. I think a quick google search might give you enough to get the gist of what occurred.

readordierachel There's a good documentary, Capturing the Friedmans, that examines a specific case like that. 2y
britt_brooke @ReadOrDieRachel Good to know - thanks! They are mentioned in this book. I‘ll have to look for it. 2y
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About 50 pages to go. I feel like this is taking me forever to read. It‘s super crazy and very interesting, but kind of all over the place.

theresidentromantic Great bookmark! 2y
MicrobeMom I love that bookmark!! I wish I could stay fit just by reading. 2y
britt_brooke @MicrobeMom Me, too. Wouldn‘t that be amazing?! Instead, I get some of my best reading done at the gym. 😬 2y
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Arcana What a great bookmark! I had to put Icy Hot on my arms just a few minutes ago, to ease the ache from holding books in bed. ‘Just one more chapter‘ seemed like such a good idea at the time! 2y
britt_brooke @Arcana 😆👏🏻 I have to do that to my neck sometimes. I love to read it bed, but it‘s such an awkward thing! 2y
Arcana @britt_brooke, My cat won‘t get anywhere near me! She scrunched up her nose and took off! Can‘t blame her, though😂 2y
britt_brooke @Arcana 😹😹😹 My dog hates it too! 2y
AshleyHoss820 @Arcana I don‘t know why, but my black cat is a FREAK for Icy Hot (and, for some reason, peppermint oil)! She won‘t leave you alone! But my Siamese and my Husky want no part of it! 😂 2y
Arcana @AshleyHoss820 How funny! I love how different each animal is, and how quirky their little personalities! 2y
AshleyHoss820 @Arcana Me too! And people want to act like animals don‘t have souls! 😊😊😊 2y
Cathythoughts 😃💓💓 2y
britt_brooke @AshleyHoss820 That is too funny!! 2y
Reviewsbylola I have the same bookmark! 2y
britt_brooke @Reviewsbylola 💪🏻💪🏻 2y
Megabethey I want that bookmark haha 2y
Megabethey That burn is real though. 2y
britt_brooke @Megabethey Isn‘t it?! 😆💪🏻 2y
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This book is pretty 🍌👖. #booksandbooze

Rachbb3 Whatcha drinking? 😁 I'm about to crack open some red vino. 🍷 2y
britt_brooke @Rachbb3 A little Pinot Grigio - cheers!! 2y
Zelma Nom nom nom, my favorite wine. 😋 2y
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britt_brooke @Zelma Mine, too ... but it goes down way too easily! 😜 2y
Zelma @britt_brooke it really does. And doesn‘t seem to matter wha size bottle I buy. 😳🤭😉 2y
britt_brooke @Zelma EXACTLY. 😆 2y
134 likes3 stack adds6 comments
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I saw @mdhughes72 recent review and knew I had to get this. Found it on eBay for $4.50 + free shipping. 👌🏻👌🏻 #blameitonlitsy #bookmail #bookhaul

Reviewsbylola Read the blurb and all I can say is what . . . the . . . fuck. 2y
emilyhaldi Wow. I second @Reviewsbylola 😳 2y
Kaye I remember that happening. It was crazy. Devil worship, sacrificing babies, molesting kids... just a few years in a row of hearing this stuff from all over. I thought it was all a bunch of hogwash. They had people interview the kids who actually directly asked them if this man did this to you, etc. We sometimes have a spell of insanity in the country , then it quiets down a bit. (edited) 2y
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StacksNShelves @Reviewsbylola seriously! ☹️ 2y
AmyG I remember a case in NJ. Horrible. 2y
Pruzy Wow, sounds like Facebook-style Fake News of the 1980s 2y
LisaJo I remember this happening at a daycare in California. The Los Angeles area where I lived at the time. When all was said and done it turned out that none of it was true, but by that time the owners of the daycare center had been villainized in the media, lost their business, and probably much of their livelihood. 2y
tournevis Ahhh, the memories.... Sheesh. 2y
Kristy_K I‘ve seen articles about this. Didn‘t know there was a book. Can‘t wait for your review! 2y
britt_brooke @Pruzy Exactly! 😱 2y
britt_brooke @mdhughes72 That‘s the damned truth! 2y
britt_brooke @Kaye @AmyG @LisaJo @tournevis @Kristy_K I really don‘t know very much about it, but I both look forward to, and dread, reading this craziness.. 2y
tournevis @britt_brooke When people remember the 80s with fondness, I think back to the nuclear scare, that and other moral panics, and so many others, and I wonder how. 2y
mdhughes72 This book was such a trip! Now I‘m on the hunt for the next read that will intrigue you @britt_brooke. One name check from you and my notifications lit up with follows and likes! What sorts of things should I be looking for? 2y
britt_brooke @mdhughes72 That makes me so happy!! Hmmm, let‘s see .... I‘ve been reading a lot of cult type books lately. I highly recommend The Road to Jonestown. The audio was particularly fantastic. 2y
britt_brooke @mdhughes72 Right now, I‘m listening to (edited) 2y
BarbaraBB That blurb... WTF?! 2y
britt_brooke @BarbaraBB I know!! Pure crazy. 2y
BestDogDad This sounds really good. I remember the Satanic Panic and Tipper Gore going after musicians back then, too. Backwards masking on LPs was indecipherable unless someone gave you a suggestion, just like the unintelligible garbled crap current day ghost hunters try to pass off as communications from the dead. 😂 2y
britt_brooke @JeffKoeppen 😆 The power of suggestion makes fools of people. 2y
BestDogDad @britt_brooke Exactly. Well said! 2y
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A scattered but ultimately satisfying and revealing book about a fascinating but now largely forgotten episode in recent American history — the 1980s panic over day care centers and the possibility of ritual (Satanic) child abuse. It seems that everyone got swept up in the panic, and since then, everyone has swept the entire phenomenon under the rug. So many lives ruined and wasted! So many children harmed by overzealous investigators! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

LazyLimaLife I‘ve never forgotten this! The whole phenomenon was weird and so over the top, it‘s amazing how it permeated the culture at the time. 2y
mdhughes72 And now it‘s coming up in other things I‘m reading, like 2y
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britt_brooke PS. Great review and cute reading buddy. 🐶 2y
mdhughes72 @LazyLimaLife you‘ve never forgotten this because you lived through it? I lived through it but don‘t have any recollection of it, aside from all the goofy satanic panic in churches from that era. Like backward messages in music etc. 2y
mdhughes72 Thanks @britt_brooke! He‘s a cuddle bug! 2y
LazyLimaLife This and the McMartin preschool thing happened while I was living in Orange County. I was in an education program at the time and we talked about it all the time. OC is the perfect place for all these fears to take root and grow out of proportion, for some reason. 2y
kspenmoll I was working in a day care center in Boston at the time & it affected us all. Not sure I want to read this. (edited) 2y
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