A few hundred years ago, thieves, vandals, and other petty criminals were publicly humiliated by being put in the stocks (picture below) where they were passers-by pelted them with eggs and rotten vegetables. And of course there’s Hester Pryne, the adulteress in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlet Letter, who was forced to wear a red A on her dress to announce her crime to everyone who saw her.
But a full decade into the 21st century, we’re back to publicly humiliating people.
Two completely idiotic stories in the same week. In New Mexico, a pregnant 15-year-old girl was kicked out of school, then forced to stand up in front of the entire student body and tell everyone she was pregnant. I’m by no means in favor of teen pregnancy, but does anyone really think that this kind of thing will get people to keep their pants on?
And in Florida, a dad who was fed up with his 15-year old son getting bad grades, forced him stand on the sidewalk with a big sign asking cars to honk if they think 3 F’s on a report card is bad. Again, I’m not in favor of kids getting Fs, but this kind of punishment is more likely to produce a delinquent kid who takes out his anger at his father by robbing liquor stores, than a straight-A student.