Jim Taylor's Columns - 'Soft Edges' and 'Sharp Edges'

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22

Jul

2018

Mobs don’t distinguish fact from falsehood

Author: Jim Taylor

Fake news didn’t start with Donald Trump. He merely raised it to an unprecedented level. Dare I say to an un-presidented level? And that’s the last time I shall refer to him in today’s column.

               Because on July 19, 1692, 326 years ago this last week, the infamous Salem witch trials in Massachusetts had their first mass execution. They hanged seven women and one man.

               One woman, Bridget Bishop, had been hanged a month earlier.

               Wikipedia lists 110 people executed as witches, mostly in Europe. By the 1600s, the hysteria had started to fade in Europe. But not in the Puritan colonies on this side of the Atlantic.

               Salem had a reputation as a fractious town, divided by local feuds. Town meetings tended to turn into physical fights. Most histories now portray the witchcraft trials as an extension of those feuds.


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12

Feb

2017

The problem in polygamy is power

Author: Jim Taylor

At long last, a Blackmore has been convicted of a crime.

            To refresh your memory, the Blackmores are, quite literally, the “fathers” of the community of Bountiful, an idyllic patch of farmland in B.C.’s Kootenay region, close to the U.S. border. Winston Blackmore alone is father to 147 children, by 27 wives.

            Most of the 130 or so students who attend the school in Bountiful are Winston’s children or grandchildren. The B.C. government turns a blind eye to his polygamy, providing $637,000 a year in school funding.

            On February 3, Justice Paul Pearlman found Winston’s older brother, Brandon Blackmore, guilty. But not of polygamy. Rather, of child trafficking. In what seems to be have been a common practice, various Blackmores took underage children from their community across the border into the U.S. to become child brides for Warren Jeffs, head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

            Jeffs, now serving a life sentence in the U.S. for child sexual assault, instructed Brandon Blackmore and his wife at the time, Gail Blackmore, to bring their 13-year-old daughter to him.

            They were “married” on July 3, 2004. Six days later, 49-year-old Jeffs recorded for posterity his consummation of the marriage.

            Yes – sex with a 13-year-old.


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