COLUMBUS, Ohio (CAP) - Citing the need for the community to come together in an effort to curb the poor behavior of unruly youngsters, the Ohio Legislature is close to passing a law that would make it legal to spank other people's children.
"Well, it's obvious the parents aren't going to do it," said state Sen. Harold Shotmeyer, R-Canton, who sponsored the bill. "Frankly, what we really should be passing is a bill that would allow us to smack the moms and dads around a little bit.
"But being able to give the kids a little whack when they deserve it is the next best thing," he said.
The bill comes in the wake of 2009 incident in Cincinnati where a woman was arrested after paddling another woman's child inside a Salvation Army store.
"By all accounts, the child was being very annoying," said Shotmeyer. "The other shoppers actually applauded when she bopped the kid.
"But the mother calls the police, and suddenly this poor woman has a police record," he explained. "What kind of country has this become where smacking another person's child makes you a criminal?
"I blame Obama," he added.
Shotmeyer's bill, which would require a two-thirds vote of the Legislature in order to pass, would make legal "one to three firm swats to the buttock area" should a child's behavior extend beyond "bothersome" and become "disruptively obnoxious."
Asked how the average citizen would be able to determine when a child has reached that threshold, Shotmeyer said, "I realize it's subjective, but it's sort of like pornography - you know it when you see it."
He quickly added, "Not that I am in any way advocating child pornography. Boy, did I learn that the hard way."
Not everyone has embraced Shotmeyer's proposal, however. The watchdog group Mothers Against Everything (MAE) has come out strongly against the bill.
"We don't see a need for anyone to be using physical punishment against a child, particularly a non-relative," said MAE President Darlene Fortenski. "We recommend that people instead approach the child and, in a firm voice, suggest that the boy or girl start making better choices."
Fortenski did admit that the last time she did that, a 6-year-old girl poked her in the eye with the stylus from her Nintendo DS.
And Francis Rothchild of Edelman Public Relations, speaking as spokesperson for the nation's 7-year-old boys, said that his clients "greatly resent the idea that they could be struck indiscriminately by members of the general populace."
The boys themselves were screaming Poop! and knocking cans off supermarket shelves as their parents wandered ahead obliviously, and were unavailable for comment.
- CAP News Staff