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Police Boycott "Harry Potter"
January 24, 2002 9:34 AM   Subscribe

Police Boycott "Harry Potter" Police in Penryn, PA (near Harrisburg) have refused to direct traffic at a YMCA event. The police claim that because the YMCA reads "Harry Potter" to local children that they are promoting witchcraft. Fire Police Capt. Robert Fichthorn says "I don't feel right taking our children's minds and teaching them (witchcraft). As long as we don't stand up, it won't stop. It's unfortunate that this is the way it has to be."
posted by terrapin (47 comments total)

 
what's unfortunate is that this guy is a captain. i mean c'mon people, kids use their imagination. it's what makes kids kids. this is just stupid.
posted by chrisroberts at 9:40 AM on January 24, 2002


I wish there was more of a Pagan/Wicca presence in the US. And I wish that such groups would pull their children out of _public_ school each December when children are putting on nativity plays.

As JK Rowling said in her recently-aired interview on BBC, not a single child—of the millions she has met—has told her "I want to be a witch when I grow up."

Nobody challenges the occult that is popular religion. I wish these people would mind their own business.
posted by terrapin at 9:47 AM on January 24, 2002


Once again, the Amish prove their nefarious power -- they've clearly bought out the local police force.
posted by malphigian at 9:51 AM on January 24, 2002


a nearly identical AP story calls the 'police department' a ' volunteer group that directs traffic at fire scenes.'

this makes a big difference. if they are a tax-payer-funded police force, i wanna know where i sign-up for the class action lawsuit. if they are volunteers, more power to them for standing up for their (stupid) beliefs.
posted by danOstuporStar at 9:57 AM on January 24, 2002


It never ceases to amaze me that so many people can be so incredibly dense. I think the Penryn police (and countless others of their ilk) need some more book-learnin'. Fercrissake.
posted by woodge at 9:59 AM on January 24, 2002


danO, they didn't sign up to be in a "volunteer group that directs traffic at fire scenes of which they approve." I say can the bastards. Although I'm not sure how you "can" a volunteer.
posted by pardonyou? at 10:01 AM on January 24, 2002


Salon may be a bit mistaken here... It quotes Fire Police Capt. Robert Fichthorn. There is a difference in rural PA between fire police and police in that fire police are volunteers.

They volunteer their time for training, and for events. Usually they assist firefighters and EMT's in vehicle control at incident scenes. Occasionally (and usually for a donation to the Fire company that hosts them) they provide event security and traffic control at small carnivals and local events. They are not paid for their time, and usually not reimbursed for their expenses.

As an ex-volunteer firefighter I know alot of these people. Most of them buy their own equipment and invest alot of their own time. Since they are volunteers, I would think they can choose what they wish to volunteer their time for, even if their reasons are a little dim...
posted by revbrian at 10:01 AM on January 24, 2002


Perhaps one of the children will turn the stupid ass into a stone. :)
posted by onegoodmove at 10:04 AM on January 24, 2002


This makes me think of the best James Carville line ever:

"[Pennsylvania] is Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with Alabama between."
posted by Harry Hopkins' Hat at 10:06 AM on January 24, 2002


[danO, they didn't sign up to be in a "volunteer group that directs traffic at fire scenes of which they approve." ]

Did you notice in the article we aren't talking about a fire scene here? Most Fire Police I know are firmly in the lower tier educationally which may explain their issue with Harry Potter. Still, I don't think we need to force them to work events they don't wish to.
posted by revbrian at 10:06 AM on January 24, 2002


Here's some Pennsylvania law info about "Fire Police".
posted by bkdelong at 10:40 AM on January 24, 2002


not a single child—of the millions she has met
Millions?
posted by matteo at 10:52 AM on January 24, 2002


Pretty bold move by folks who practice ritualistic deophagy.
("Deiphagy"? Trying to coin a neologism for "eating a god", but my spelling is failing me...)
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:03 AM on January 24, 2002


Thank god I am moving out of this state soon.
posted by adampsyche at 11:04 AM on January 24, 2002


What boggles my mind is that people think witchcraft actually exists, as in magic. I mean, come on. The books say nothing of Wicca or an occult religion. They're chlidren's fantasy books about magic. I can't believe adults out there actually think the books are teaching kids how to conjure up spells. We do agree that the magic represented in the books is fantasy, right?
posted by cowboy at 11:05 AM on January 24, 2002


The Harry Potter books came out in 1999. That's about two years ago, or 2,628,000 seconds. That gives JK Rowling, inbetween her writing of course, roughly 2.6 seconds with which to spend each of one million children; that's more than enough time to determine the kid's vocational plans. I.e.: "Do you want to be a witch?" "No, I..." "Next!"
posted by greensweater at 11:16 AM on January 24, 2002


Looks like the kids struck back.
posted by adampsyche at 11:34 AM on January 24, 2002


These guys give ass-ignorant rubes a bad name.
posted by Ty Webb at 11:37 AM on January 24, 2002


Ah, 3 cheers for small minds! Yeah!
posted by aacheson at 11:40 AM on January 24, 2002


Maybe the kids were just kidnapped.
posted by revbrian at 11:53 AM on January 24, 2002


Oy, what a monumentally stupid thing.
posted by Modem Ovary at 11:57 AM on January 24, 2002


The Fire Police are drunk with their own power, as anyone who has ever passed by a fire scene can tell you.
Luckily they are not armed.
posted by Slagman at 12:31 PM on January 24, 2002


What a bunch of idiots! What... does the YMCA have to be doing "Gods Will"?? Not that banning Harry Potter would be "Gods Will". Zealots!
posted by racer271 at 12:48 PM on January 24, 2002


actually, greensweater, the first book came out in 1997, so she's had a couple more years for those millions of children.
posted by witchstone at 12:52 PM on January 24, 2002


Cowboy- Do you also know that actual occult spells are used in the book? I have friends who are into the whole occult/wicken stuff, and it is something not to be so easily dismissed. I think wicken is something to stay away from, but there is something difinitely out there beyond the realm of the physical.
posted by jmd82 at 12:57 PM on January 24, 2002


Racer, "YMCA mission: To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all".YMCA
posted by tomplus2 at 12:59 PM on January 24, 2002


Sorry for the paraphrase. I couldn't find the exact quote. I am pretty sure she used "million" but that isn't to say she wasn't using hyperbole as well to demonstrate just how sily these folks are being. The point still stands: No child ever commented to her that they wanted to be witches or do witchcraft.

And if anyone else saw the BBC interview the first week in January they might be able to see how she might think it was such a high number. JK visits schools, does book signings, and speaks to large assemblies of children. There was footage of her speaking to a large group of children after the release of Goblet of Fire. She said she had to wear earplugs because the noise was so deafening, but that she removed one of the earplugs near the end just so she could experience the crowd.
posted by terrapin at 1:00 PM on January 24, 2002


I wasn't aware of that... Thanks tomplus2.
posted by racer271 at 1:02 PM on January 24, 2002


...just to add to that, YMCA means The Young Men's Christian Association and was founded in London, England, on June 6, 1844. :)
posted by tomplus2 at 1:05 PM on January 24, 2002


Perhaps a little context:

The YMCA was originally the Young Men's Christian Association.

Obviously, Christians have a huge problem with witchcraft, and would rather entertainment/studies be focused on the glory of God and the given duties of a Christian.

I assume the police had moral convictions.

Let's not judge them for this.
posted by aaronshaf at 1:07 PM on January 24, 2002


jmb82: wicken: is that a simple mistake or are you trying to impy something about wicca with that spelling?
posted by danOstuporStar at 1:11 PM on January 24, 2002


Sorry for the repeat.
posted by aaronshaf at 1:16 PM on January 24, 2002


I assume the police had moral convictions. Let's not judge them for this.

Why not? They are the ones passing judgment on people who read Harry Potter. And I bet they have never read it themselves.

So they are the ones judging despite the fact that their religion tells them to not judge lest they too be judged.
posted by terrapin at 2:04 PM on January 24, 2002


Re: the missing bus:

I just heard on the news that the bus driver's name is Otto.

Yes, Otto.

Too funny.

[/tangent]
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:04 PM on January 24, 2002


It smells like Otto's jacket
posted by terrapin at 2:06 PM on January 24, 2002


--"I assume the police had moral convictions.

Let's not judge them for this."

I'm not judging them for having moral convictions, I'm judging them for being a bunch of bass-ackward self righteous rednecks. The last thing the kids in this community need is to be told to read less.
posted by Ty Webb at 2:06 PM on January 24, 2002


If the kids would just be up front about it and fly in on their brooms, there wouldn't be any need for traffic control.
posted by Mack Twain at 3:59 PM on January 24, 2002


now im wishing that damn book did have some witchcraft in it.

it'd get me to finally read it.
posted by tsarfan at 4:18 PM on January 24, 2002


I wouldn't want to be that cop's kid. Can you imagine, living down the legacy of being of that boneheaded weenie's child? I would guess the dopey cop believes that famous ghost story about the guy who's crucified and then returns from the dead really happened. Now that is one I wouldn't want my kids to read. It's too fucking ghoulish for words.
posted by TeejNSF at 7:09 PM on January 24, 2002


Damn Muggles, always getting in the way of people living their lives.

Really, lets go to the text of the book (fiction as it may be). You are either born with magic powers, or are a muggle (a non-magic person). No amount of teaching can make a muggle a wizard or witch.

This is what we call "bandwagon jumping". People jump on something they think they believe in, whether they have all the facts in.
posted by benjh at 7:40 PM on January 24, 2002


Big difference between not supporting a cause that includes no-no's as a result of moral discernment rather than judging the hearts of men.
posted by aaronshaf at 10:18 PM on January 24, 2002


I wish that idiots could be held responsible for their idiocy in this country.

ESPECIALLY when they hold positions of power and influence.
posted by rushmc at 9:00 AM on January 25, 2002


Do you also know that actual occult spells are used in the book?

Um, having both read the Harry Potter books, and read a bit about Wicca and the occult, I can tell you that the "spells" in the Harry Potter books are not occult in origin. They're just bits of latin and gibberish that sound fun. The books have absolutely nothing to do with the Wiccan religion or the actual practices of occult "witches" - as they themselves would gladly tell you.
posted by dnash at 9:17 AM on January 25, 2002


[ESPECIALLY when they hold positions of power and influence.]

What about in this case when they don't.
posted by revbrian at 10:03 AM on January 25, 2002


So what are these guys doing wrong? They're boycotting something they are being offered to do as off-duty cops. I doubt anyone would care if some local hicks decided to not do security for an Aerosmith concert because they thought what-his-face looked a little fruity or refused to do security at party of a wealthy individual because they disagree with her politics.

All I'm seeing is that the surprise that crazed fundies happen to have jobs as police officers and firemen.
posted by skallas at 11:12 AM on January 25, 2002


There was footage of her speaking to a large group of children after the release of Goblet of Fire. She said she had to wear earplugs because the noise was so deafening [....]

Well, there ya go, then. With her earplugs in, she couldn't hear the kids screaming, "Tell us how to do the bidding of the Great Horned Beast, O Master!"
posted by webmutant at 1:05 PM on January 25, 2002


dnash is right, the only thing these kids are being exposed to is the creative use of Latin. Mabye they will learn some root words and do better on the SATs.
posted by eckeric at 1:21 PM on January 25, 2002


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