October 21, 2003

A final CBS spoof... Okay I know CBS is old news now, but this came into my mailbox this morning from a homeschool support group and I can't help but share it with you for a few good laughs. At first reading I had a hard time getting through it because it was so ridiculous. Then I thought it through and as a debator could see it is the same logic (or lack of logic) basis that CBS used in their report and this very nicely shows how ridiculous it truly is:

"The Dark Side of Homegrown Vegetables - Part I
[a response to CBS news, two-part series on A dark side to homeschooling
and Home schooling nightmares aired October 13 & 14, 2003]"

Received via e-mail on 10/17/03 from:

Brian Hill
Associate Professor of Chemistry
Bryan College

Good evening, I'm (NAME-OF-ANCHORMAN).

You've seen the success stories: A prizewinning pumpkin at the
state fair grown in backyard suburbia. Your Aunt Mary's squash casserole
that melts in your mouth. Smiling faces out in the sunshine surveying
freshly tilled earth. Indeed, there are millions of Americans today who
garden in their backyard with nothing but the best of
intentions. Unfortunately, there is also other stories; stories about
backyard gardening turned deadly, even fatal. (NAME-OF-REPORTER) has this

(Photos from a high school yearbook of a smiling young lady)

Reporter voiceover: At 17 years of age Amy X. had everything
in life to look forward to. Validictorian of her senior class, active in
glee club, volunteer at the local hospital every weekend. Her sister

(Amy's sister talking from the living room of her house)

Amy's sister: "She could always make me laugh, I could sit
and talk to her for hours. We never argued. I don't think she ever had a
mean thought in all her life. Everybody loved her."

(Photo's of a college age man)

Reporter voiceover: Unfortunately for Amy, after she
graduated from college she met and fell in love with this man, John Y. At
first, at first it seemed a perfect match.

Amy's sister: "They were definitely a fun couple. You would
always see them together holding hands."

(Photo of a young couple at their wedding)

Reporter voiceover: At first, it was a storybook wedding
leading to a happily ever after marriage, but then something went wrong.

Amy's sister: Yes, in those first few months I'd run into Amy
at the supermarket. She would be picking up and looking at their tomatoes
very carefully. John loved fresh tomatoes, you see. Anyway, she would
always go on and on about how fulfilled she felt as a wife, how much she
loved John.

(long pause)

An then, after a few months, I stopped seeing her at the
grocery store. I would call her up and ask her what was wrong. She'd just
laugh and say how John was starting to grow his own tomatoes in our back
yard. I could tell something was wrong, because I'd suggest we get
together and see each other, but she's always say she was too busy...

(longer pause)


(Amy's sister turns away from the camera and hides her face,
tears streaming down her face)

(Reporter in the middle of a large backyard garden)

Reporter: Yes, here, in their suburban backyard, John started
his garden. At first it was only tomatoes and green beans, then he went on
to lettuce, broccoli, squash, you name it. Only John Y. had a terrible
secret he was effectively hiding from everyone: John really didn't like
tomatoes. He was just using his garden as an excuse to prevent Amy from
going to the grocery store. He then started ordering all his canned goods
over the internet, and having them delivered straight to his door by
UPS. Pretty soon Amy was not going to the grocery store at all. And then
the beatings started...

(Cut to a young, competent-looking police detective)

Detective: We had several neighbors call us up with
complaints about noise, but none of them were specific enough to be able to
issue a search warrant. We had the idea that something was going on, but
without any actual evidence... (shrugs) We spoke to Mr. Y. several times.
He was definitely a typical controlling personality type, we knew
that. There just wasn't anything we could do, until it was too late, until
we found out that she had been murdered.

(Photos from the crime scene, along with voiceover description
of thesensational details of the grisly murder. Cut to footage of a
defiant John Y. being led away in handcuffs.)

(Amy's sister, again sobbing)

Amy's sister: If it hadn't been for gardening, my sister would
be alive today!

(Detective's office again)

Detective: I've seen other cases like this one, but this one
haunts me. Usually, when a victim of wife abuse goes to the supermarket,
we get some witnesses who are able to tell us about the huge bruises they
see on her face. This time, though, there was no one there to see
it. There was just nothing we could do.

(Reporter again in the middle of a large backyard garden)

Reporter: Home gardening has been legal in this country for
many years, and most home gardeners are normal people who garden with the
best of intentions. Yet experts warn that an alarming number of people are
using gardening as a means of maintaining social isolation in order to hide
their spousal abuse.

(Cut to a man identified as Gilbert Z., president of the local
chapter of the home gardeners association. Gilbert Z. has a bad hair cut
and looks uncomfortable being on camera.)

Gilbert: ...there are only a few isolated instances; I know
of thousands of gardeners who are really nice people. I don't see how this
is connected to gardening...

{Gilbert's statement is obviously a sound bite captured from
the middle of a long interview.}

Reporter: No one knows exactly how many gardeners there are
out there, much less how many are actually abusing their wives. Until now,
there has been no federal mandate to collect data on gardening in
America. Its an environment that allows men like John Y. to thrive.

(Cut to footage of John Y. being taken into court.)

John Y. is currently serving 5 years in prison, since the
charges against him were plea-barganed down from murder to
manslaughter. John Y.'s lawyers declined our request for an interview.

In tomorrow nights report, NAME-OF-REPORTER will tell how nationwide, wives
are being put in danger, even killed, while gardening.

{You now have 24 hours to imagine just what is meant by the word
"while". You probably now have this mental image of a husband and wife out
together in the field, the wife smiles and says, "Honey, could you pass me
the shovel?", and then the husband grabs the shovel and hacks her to death
with it. What you actually see in the next report, though, shows that
"while" simply means that they beat their wives and they happened to have a
garden at the time.}

The Dark Side of Homegrown Vegetables - Part II

Good evening, I'm NAME-OF-ANCHORMAN.

It is estimated that there are BIG-NUMBER of homes in America
today that have backyard gardens, and the overwhelming majority of these
people have only the best intentions at heart. Yet home gardening is
essentially unregulated. NAME-OF-REPORTER has uncovered dozens of cases of
gardening husbands who have been convicted or accused of wife abuse when no
one was there to regulate them.

Reporter: John Q. shot his wife one night and buried her in
the backyard. Yet since his wife hadn't been seen in the grocery store in
months, no one noticed.

Charles R. had his wife chained up in the attic for over a
year, away from the prying eyes of people at the local grocery store who
might have turned him in.

Both men were home gardeners.

And then there is the imfamous cases of Bob S. and Harry
T. Both had large vegetable gardens at the time of their conviction.

Detective: The genuine gardener is a person who grows
wonderful vegetables. There is, however, a subgroup within this group that
is only using gardening to cover up their wife abuse.

Gilbert Z.: ...I don't see any trend here. There's no
connection. These are definitely isolated cases that have nothing to do
with the gardening community...

Reporter: Yet no one knows exactly how many cases there are,
because at present there are few government regulation covering home
gardening. Home gardening is legal in all 50 states and the District of
Columbia, with only the requirement that the gardener refrain from growing
marijuana, opium poppies, and certain types of mushrooms. All but seven
states have no zoning restrictions outside of major cities which require
reporting gardening activities to local governments. No states require FDA
approval, permitting, and monthly inspections of each and every home
garden, or any other requirements that are currently in place to cover
commercial farming activities but for some strange reason have not yet been
applied to people who just want to grow a few squash at home. Until these
garden inspections start uncovering hidden cases of wife abuse that are not
being uncovered by the grocery stores {darn that fourth amendment anyways}
this cycle of violence will undoubtedly continue.

John Q. now faces life in prison. The question remains for us
how to prevent tragedies like this from ever happening again ever anywhere
no matter what the cost.

{Oh, and I note in passing that even though dozens of cases
have been related which involve those "convicted or accused of wife abuse",
only four cases were mentioned which actually involved conviction. How
many of the rest were spurious unsubstantiated accusations remains a
mystery.} ###


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