Those of us in the MHRM work in a world that at times seems to be full of assholes. There are gender ideologues who insist that all men are potential rapists and other kinds of abusers. There are politicians that pass all manner of corrupt and oppressive legislation in order to pander to an ill informed and misled electorate.
There are countless academicians that churn out one mendacious line of agitprop after another disguised as scholarly pursuits and valid research. And of course there are legions of twisted commentators on blogs and more mainstream outlets everywhere fueling the fires of this rampant sickness.
So, one must assume, it is not an easy job to sift through all these assholes to find one that somehow rises above the others; one whose actions somehow distinguish him or her as specially deserving of our recognition and repugnance. We might argue endlessly, comparing the relative damage they have caused and measuring the level of depravity in their indifference to it.
For me, however, there is no argument needed. If we are to look through the hoard of possible candidates and force ourselves to name one person, one asshole that is a shoe-in for such recognition, we need to look no further than Sparkman High School Principal Michael Campbell.
I will vote for the asshole with blood on his hands every time, and Mike Campbell’s hands are soaked in it.
As most all readers here will know, fifteen year old Christian Adamek, a young man in the educational care of Principal Campbell, hanged himself a week after streaking through a high school football game.
What started, and should have ended, as a mischievous – but largely harmless — prank by a somewhat impulsive youth, became a tragedy that snuffed the very life from him; that cut a swath into the soul and spirit of his family from which they will never recover; that sent a community spiraling into the depths of grief and confusion.
Michael Campbell could have prevented all of this. Instead he stands out as the primary reason that it happened.
What do we expect from an educator with thirty years of experience with the well-being of young minds and young lives? Well, I for one expect wisdom, forbearance and the sensible comprehension of compassionate justice as it applies to molding young lives. I know that is what Christian needed; that he deserved, and he certainly did not forsake his right to it with a simple lapse in judgment, even if what he did could be called that.
What he needed was a measured and appropriate response by the adults responsible for his life. What he got was a career administrator playing the gender politics of the day, taking part in an administrative witch hunt — building a public altar on which this boy was to be sacrificed. And sacrificed he was, in the most literal meaning of the word.
Michael Campbell had the choice to teach this young man a lesson; to help him grow into adulthood. He could have issued thoughtful and instructive consequences for something that in my youth did nothing more than raise eyebrows and cause laughter. Instead he gave statements to the press and implied the coming criminal prosecution that could have branded this young man forever. Instead he persecuted a young life, and that young life was lost.
His willingness to speak to the press stopped for some reason at the same time Christian’s heart did the same.
I understand, we are not in the days of my youth any more. What was once considered the normal antics of adolescence is now, at least where it concerns boys, considered vile and predatory. We have hung a target directly on their young backs, and Mike Campbell, seeing the opportunity, recklessly took aim and fired. In doing so, he robbed Christian Adamek of the future for which he was supposed to help him prepare.
Campbell might have imagined he was doing heroes work in the new gender zeitgeist. Perhaps he was going to show all his contemporaries that he was abreast of the times; that he was aware of the threat, particularly sexual, that all young men represent. Maybe was going to show the world that he by God knew how to deal with this sort of thing, and Christian was going to serve as the example to prove it.
One has to wonder, though, at what point in Mike Campbell’s mind did Christian Adamek cease being a student for which he was responsible and start being his professional convenience, or if he was ever anything else.
Though Christian’s family will never have the luxury of forgetting, the rest of the world sadly will. In time, pitifully short at that, he will just be another stone marker in a world that does not tarry long on the untimely death of young men no matter how egregiously or senselessly we lose them.
Mike Campbell will undoubtedly have the condolences of those who love or fear him. Well-wishers and sycophants will stroke his back and assure him there was no way for him to know. Undoubtedly he will hear many such lies. He will swim in them, even as they lower this young man into the ground.
Perhaps in time Campbell’s work will garner more recognition for excellence. His schools have already been the recipient of such accolades. He might, as he nears the end of his career, even receive some sort of lifetime achievement award.
A lifetime. How short and fleeting that can be in the wrong hands.