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Posts by: "Mark Olshaker"
Papyrus

Gospel of Jesus’s Wife papyrus

If there is one attribute you are likely to acquire once you’ve been studying criminal investigative analysis for a while as I have, it’s skepticism. You learn never to take anything at face value and look to the evidence before forming any theory of the case.

This skepticism tends to permeate every aspect of your life. So when news reports surfaced that scholars and scientific experts from Harvard, MIT and Columbia had examined a small fragment of a document written on papyrus that purported to be “The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife,” and declared it genuine, I was intrigued . . . but skeptical.

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Alex Hribal

Alex Hribal

The grim ledger of criminal justice does not account itself by the same principles as some other realms of life. There is never a completely positive outcome. All entries are judged on a scale of how bad they are, against how bad they could be.

And by this metric, yesterday’s tragedy at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville, Pennsylvania, offers some instructive perspectives.

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du Pont heir Robert H. Richards IV

du Pont heir Robert H. Richards IV

Our correspondent and close friend Meg Warren, a highly accomplished psychiatric nurse in Canada, is properly outraged by a sentence recently handed down by a judge in Delaware. So is my close friend and almost-cousin Emily Bazelon (we share an aunt on opposite sides of the family), a Slate senior editor and Truman Capote Fellow at Yale Law School.

“They can’t be serious!” Meg posted on my Facebook page.

“What is wrong with Delaware Superior Court Judge Jan Jurden?” Emily demanded in her Slate column.

What are both of these highly intelligent and insightful professional women talking about?

The fact that Judge Jurden suspended 48-year-old du Pont heir Robert H. Richards IV’s entire eight-year prison sentence for raping his three-year-old daughter because he “will not fare well” in the slammer.

To which Emily Bazelon responds, “To ask the obvious, so what?”

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Kamryn Renfro

Kamryn Renfro

Erin Cox and Adrionna Harris, meet Kamryn Renfro.

Erin, as we recently mentioned, is the high school honors student and volleyball star in Massachusetts who was punished by her school for not letting a friend drive drunk, and therefore exposed herself to a party where alcohol was being consumed. Adrionna is the middle school girl in Virginia who was punished by her school for stopping a friend from cutting himself and therefore possessed a blade for about ten seconds before she could throw it away.

 And Kamryn? Well, she is a nine-year-old in Colorado who was punished by her school for showing profound compassion and empathy.

What, in God’s name, are we teaching our children?

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Adrionna Harris

Adrionna Harris

Remember Erin Cox, the honors student and star volleyball player from North Andover High School near Boston who was suspended for five games and demoted from team captain for responding to a friend’s request to be driven home from a party where alcohol was being consumed? Everyone else thought Erin deserved a medal for not letting a friend drive drunk. But the school system felt she needed to be punished for violating the zero tolerance policy of being present where alcohol was being served.

Well, now comes Adrionna Harris of Bayside Middle School in Virginia Beach, Virginia. You decide whether her recent actions deserve high praise. . .  or severe punishment.

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