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Making Sense of These Times
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Suzanne's Take: A Social Commentary

February 13, 1998

I am on the side of Mary Kay LeTourneau. I have some of the same feelings I had for Karla Faye Tucker, where an outmoded code of justice is moving events into tragedy.

People fall in love. It's beyond the mind. That's what makes "Romeo and Juliet" a great play. Here, our Calvinist society thinks it has a shaping role to play in what otherwise could be a chapter in an anthology of great love affairs. How odd this romance is to the rest of us. And that should be the end of it. Far from being child rape, this "child" is the initiator. Apparently he is very mature. Aren't we seeing stories these days about nine-year old college graduates? As we watch the agony that is rippling among the whole cast of characters, who are we protecting by so brutally punishing this woman?

Let those who know better talk to one another. From "two or more" and "ten brave men" who are spoken of in sacred texts, to an idea of Bucky Fuller's about "trimtabs" and of Margaret Mead's about "small, thoughtful groups," it is commonly understood that new patterns of social behavior birth in small enclaves. It can begin with me and you.

Echo back.

FROM: Mandy Taylor ( 8/26/99

First and foremost, creative website! It is much different than other websites I have seen over the past few years.

What you say about Mary Kay [LeTourneau] is intriguing. I believe that sometimes in our lives we all do things that we may not have thought through. I believe Mary's love for Vili was/is real, and that she believed in her heart that this love was meant to be. But on the flip side, I also believe that Mary has a problem. I don't think she fully understands the consequences of her actions. In my mind, I may not have been able to see the person that I was "in love" with until after he was 18 (which in their case would've been 4 - 5 years), but I would rather wait than sit in jail. I wish that Mary could find love and happiness in herself. I believe that that's where it all comes from anyway, within. Your words are inspirational...

FROM: Chris Johnson 1/27/00

Mary Kaye LeTourneau is a child rapist. If a man can be convicted of rape for "falling in love" and having sexual contact with a 13 year old girl, then so can she. If a man was in the exact same position as LeTourneau, you would not be singing the same tune. A man that has sex with a minor should be punished, as should LeTourneau.

Suzanne Replies:

How's about another angle? Here's a favorite quote that describes the world I'd like to live in:
"In a society built on prevention, rather than retaliation, there would be very little crime. The few exceptions would be treated medically, as of unsound mind and body."
See my response to James, below. Things are not black and white.

Chris replies:

Are you saying that if it were a man, and he had sex with his 13 year old female student, and both of them said it was love, then you'd forgive the man? There is a double-standard that would punish a man in this situation, but wants to go soft on the woman.

And was she really in love? Or lust? We are talking about a street-wise punk who was 13 years old at the time for crying out loud. I could not even begin to imagine being in love with, not to mention having sex with, a 13 year old girl! That is disgusting!

But I'll digress, my original point was that you, and others, display a double-standard when it comes to how you treat women as opposed to men in the exact same situation. The man that has sex with a minor should be locked up and castrated, Mary Kay should be forgiven. Or do you not believe that having sex with a child is wrong?

I wonder if Mary Kay would have liked a 35 year old man having sex with her daughter when she was 13....she'd have him in court with the highest possible sentence requested.

Suzanne Replies:

I don't want to argue. I just want to point to other possibilities. Right vs. wrong has its place, but a world run on those lines is a violent one. Better to open ourselves to unifying wholes.

Have you gotten on the "official" Mary Kay site? Lots of food for thought there.

FROM: 1/30/00

I saw the movie about Mary Kay LeTourneau. I don't how much truth there is in such movies but I think there is enough make the assessment that she is not a villain who should be shut up in box. I don't believe teachers should date students and I'm sure things happen. Her father dated his students. I think when people fall in love truly, which seems to happen so rarely, and their minds and spirits are at a high enough level there is nothing wrong with that.

The movie shows Mary Kay LeTourneau as trapped. Her family is overbearing and controlling, Her husband is an unloving, abusive crumb that never loved her. Vili, the 13 year old man, seems as a savior that lifted her up out of the toilets of despair. Maybe so. In our society we have narrow ideals of right and wrong and politically correct ways one should think, feel, and believe. If someone does not stay with in this narrow field of being, that person is labeled a misfit, pervert, or A kook. I recall in the movie Mary saying if she could get to tell her story maybe people would understand. I would like her tell her story.

When I was in school I had some beastly teachers that would make Mary Kay look like a saint. I don't think think she is a bad person at all. When I was Vili's age, I was labeled a misfit and treated very badly because I did not fit in with the other kids. I rarely had someone like Mary Kay in school to talk to and say I feel alone. She reached out to children and helped them. She doesn't seem like the child molester-beast I keep hearing about. She just got caught on the outside of the narrow lines society expected her to stay in.

Suzanne Replies:

"I wish I could tell her not everyone wants to crucify her for being a human being." Yes, I like that thought. People who have been through a lot, like you have, can wise others up.

Poor Mary Kay. Not smart to do what she did, but the treatment she got for it is from a harsh world. Our justice system is black and white, while Life is all shades, and we would be better served by a healing perspective rather than a criminal one. Hopefully seeing complex beings up so close, as happens now thanks to our news media, will help soften all hearts.

For more thinking along these lines of the Nisargadatta quote above, have a listen to my new WebRadio show, "Making Sense of These Times."

FROM: James Pasko 1/30/00

There is something seriously wrong and evil with a so-called "civilized" and "democratic" society that puts a woman -- pregnant and a mother as well -- in prison because she has made love to a guy!! My heart goes out to Mary Kay.

First of all, there is a BIG difference between a criminal act and an immoral act. A criminal act results in a person spending some time in jail, perhaps all of their lifetime in jail. An immoral act results in a person hopefully feeling guilty about what they have done -- such as committing adultery and fornication. These are not crimes, but they are immoral acts (something that Bill Clinton is unable to distinguish and/or comprehend). Even Mary Kay admitted that she had sinned against GOD, but what she has done should only involve herself, her lover and GOD. Prisons are meant for criminals -- very bad people who are violent and harmful to society. I look at Mary Kay LeTourneau and I see a woman who is gentle and actually very, very loving. She is not a criminal. It certainly is not a crime to be in love and to fall in love. And that is exactly what happened to Mary Kay and her young teenage lover. This is no one else's business. They were into each others' worlds, and only those two really know what was going on inside of them.

Oprah kept calling him a "boy" 'when she interviewed Mary Kay on television, like he was this two year old kid. Even Bill Maher on politically incorrect pointed out that what they did is really nobody else's business and we should never have interfered with their love life and relationship. I can only imagine the bitterness that her two daughters will feel towards society and the American justice system in general when they get older, knowing their loving mother was put in jail for being pregnant with them. They will also feel bitter, because they missed out on bonding with their mother at an early age. I can only imagine the horror that Mary Kay felt when they took her two babies from her. She was deprived of her rights as a mother and as a human being. Some wacky judge and a misguided nation somehow decided to step in and break them up. Mary Kay had a very abusive ex-husband who was a total jerk and he was obviously a complete moron. She gave him 4 babies and he treated her like she was garbage. OJ belongs in prison, not Mary Kay LeTourneau. Somebody needs to read the Constitution over again.

Suzanne Replies:

I think you and I are in the same race. We made all sort of rules that add up to "society," because you cannot run a system with many parts without order. Then, we forget it's not Divine order, but what we imposed. In older times or in primitive cultures, this age thing would not have been an issue. However, since we are where we are, we could safely say these two folks were very foolish to defy the rules by engaging in criminal behavior. But then, what was done was done, and the hand of justice that came down was heartless and horrible in the ways you articulated very well.

We need philosopher kings, and we have Clintons, who not only can't see beyond the culture, but use it in ways where they stay free for behavior comparably bad to what gets Mary Kay locked up.

FROM: Cathy Robinson ( 2/8/00

Rape, What Rape? When a thirteen year old kid takes a gun to a bunch of kids at a school, he's considered to be smart enough to know what he was doing. In fact, many people will go to great lengths to see him tried as an adult. But when they have sex, something a lot of races are subjected to quite early in life, all of a sudden they are children. Well I don't buy it. If this boy was intelligent enough to see a easy score and knows how to manipulate people the way he does, well, as I see it, this was not rape and it is really not anyone's business -- including the law.

What about the abusive ex-husband? Now there's a good role model! She should be home with all her children. Period. They need her and she needs them and they do not deserve the hell they have been through. All the lousy parents out there that don't give a damn about their children, and here's one that just wants to love hers and can't. What goes around comes around and the people that have made these very bad judgement calls will at some point in there lives regret the decisions they made. Why aren't more people in the United States not fighting for this woman? We all make mistakes. I just don't get the justice system at all anymore, like the other guy said -- OJ still gets to play golf and this womon can't be with her kids!

FROM: April Gilley ( 4/29/00

Hi Suzanne. I am a 17 year old from Central Texas. Earlier this year, I saw All-American Girl: The Mary Kay Letourneau Story and became an instant supporter. Ever since her story hit the news, in the back of my mind, I thought that she didn't deserve what she got, but it didn't hit me as to how wrong it was until January of this year. My website url is a site entitled The Unofficial Mary Kay Letourneau Website. The title of it is that because I know that Steward has the Official site. I know that I'm only 17 years old and most people think that I'm incapable of understanding a case like this, but I think that a major injustice has occurred in her case. Putting MKL in prison has not only hurt her, but has hurt Vili, their two daughters, and her four older children. Putting it simply, she's a woman who fell in love with a younger man and is paying for it. In my book, she shouldn't be in jail, she should be with Vili right now. At the time, Vili was only 13, but he was obviously mature enough to make the decision he did. He was/is in love with her, and she with. God bless Mary and Vili, I hope that they are reunited soon. Someone else we should pray for is Laurie Flower. She is a woman that is in basically the same situation that Mary is in. She fell in love with a younger man and is on her way to jail. I hope that all Mary supporters will pray for this woman too. She and Mary will really need it!

FROM: Tish Humbarger 11/18/00

First of all, Mary Kay is not misunderstood. I think most people DO understand her. I just think that the stupid government has to have thier way. Vili's own mother made a plea wth the jude to release Mary. She even believed that they were either in love or that her son was in no danger. It is strange that in this world of murderers and liars that they decide to pick on two people who can't defend themselves: a pubscent teen and a bipolar teacher. Mary and Vii deserve each other and whatever privacy they can get. I think that when she gets out of jail, they will still see each other and he will be 21 and too old for the law to make such a fuss over.

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