In blogging, we have the special position of not being required to blog about things we don't want to talk about. If our friends - political or otherwise - get bad press, we don't have to repeat it or mention it at all.
Today, though, a friend forwarded to me (and The Roundup linked to) what is likely the worst news I've woken up to this year and probably for many years.
Today, the Los Angeles Times reported that an Ex-Davis aide testified that he molested 2 boys over 30 years ago. Reading the headline, I was wondering if I'd even know the person referenced since, though I was always a Davis fan, I never worked in the Horseshoe.
But I did know him.
The man is John Stevens, former Chief of Staff to former Speaker Herb Wesson, my boss, and a fellow camp counselor and staffer at Camp Whittle.
The same camp at which I grew up and worked since the age of 5.
I can't remember how we discovered our common ancestry, but I remember thinking how great it was, since my memories of the camp are fond ones, it was such a major part of making me who I am today, and there are - I believe - few higher callings than camp counseling. If it weren't just a week per year, I'd make it a profession in a heartbeat.
John Stevens is also a ragger. That sentence means little to anyone unfamiliar with YMCA camping and everything to those familiar with it. He is, as I recall, a purple ragger. I bought him a ragger pin on my last trip to Whittle.
Camp Whittle is a sacred place. More can be done in a single week there to change a child's life than in an entire school year or an entire year in the child's home. The LA Metro YMCA serves, as you can imagine, a large population of underprivileged kids for whom camp is the highlight of the year, the only vacation they get from drug-addled neighborhoods, troubled homes, or just the regular stressors of kids' lives today.
As I write this, I'm not angry at John. Perhaps I will be. I think I should be. Thirty years is a long, long time. Then again, it is also a long time for those 2 boys.
My legal education and political upbrining, combined with a skeptical nature, usually put the breaks on accepting allegations as facts. But he admitted to these acts, so I don't even get to protect myself in the "alleged molestation" legal fiction. It is there in a court record and now in the newspaper and that's that.
You've noted by now, I'm sure, that this post has no direction and no point. But it had to be posted because I know this news hurt many people in the capitol who read it today. John Stevens was - is - I don't know- widely respected and admired. I felt privleged to count him as a contact and enjoyed that he knew me and would chat with me about various capitol goings-on. We started out at the beginning of Herb's Speakership over in the L.O.B. He, the biggest upcoming cheese, me the cheesiest young Fellow. And knowing we shared our camp experiences . . . that made it all the more special.
So I'm not angry. But I am tremendously, heartbreakingly sad.
Thirty years may give a molester time to work out his issues. But no number of years ever gives the victims back what they lost at his hands. A small part will always, always, always stay missing. And these aren't just words.
Two sacred areas of my life clashed here today in a manner I never could have expected - and the world is a lesser place for it.