The Crucible is a riveting play written by Arthur Miller about the Salem witch trials. While fictional, it is based on historical fact. Sadly, throughout history, man’s inhumanity to man has been reflected in his zeal to find scape goats, witches, communists, anarchists, traitors, pedophiles, blasphemers, and all manner of social undesirables according to the fashions of the day. For the most part, the ‘crimes’ can be categorized as malum prohibita rather than malum in se. e.g. It’s interesting to note how Lewis Carol not only courted and pursued the real 11 year old girl (Alice) for her hand in marriage (she turned him down), but was an avid photographer who took full frontal nudes of young girls (including Alice’s younger sister) with their parents’ consent. Although Carol was never accused of molesting any of his young models and the Englishman’s countrymen presumably thought little of it or his bid for matrimony to a prepubescent child at the time, he would doubtless be incarcerated for the same activities, were he alive, in the U.S. today.
Modern Witch Hunts
Many Americans have read of or recall the Senator McCarthy hearings that savaged so many lives of those falsely accused of Communist sympathies or affiliation before the Congressional House of Unamerican Activities committee. In the midst of the Cold War, many lives were ruined and reputations destroyed by a self serving political opportunist and demagogue.
Similarly, lifestyle (A)narchists in the U.S. and Pacific NW are not only given to labeling others, but obsessed with snitch hunting.
Although Senator McCarthy and his memory have largely been discredited, the American impulse to find witches/boogie men seems unabated in the U.S. and with our British Cousins in the UK as well.
by Cora Van Olson
Brian Davies had moved to Accrington in the U.K. in June 2009 and was befriended by two local girls, who asked if they could walk his dog. The disabled man and his wife Debbie, 44, accepted the offer and the visits from the girls that followed, but when one of the girls asked to sleep over, Davies said no. He was soon accused by the girls of exposing himself to them and sexually touching them. Police investigated the allegations against Davies informally and questioned his accusers. Davies willingly let authorities examine his computers. Davies was clean and the girls’ stories didn’t add up. Finally, one of them confessed that they had made the whole thing up. Some in the community, however, would not accept Davies’ exoneration, even after police circulated a pamphlet explaining that the accusations were false, “without any foundation whatsoever.” Even so, Davies’ property was repeatedly vandalized, haters hurled insults and threats at him and his wife in public. By August Davies had suffered a stroke over the stress, claimed his doctor, and was ready to file suit against his accusers, but died of a massive coronary before he could clear his name. The heart attack, his widow claims, was brought on by the stress of wrongful persecution by members of the public.