Behind the arrest Saturday of 31-year-old Andrew Mitchell O’Brien, a soldier on active duty at Fort Riley, there is a story that needs to be told, the story of how the often praised “sexual revolution” is costing lives and dollars on a grand scale.

According to PBS, “At the core of the sexual revolution was the concept — radical at the time — that women, just like men, enjoyed sex and had sexual needs. Feminists asserted that single women had the same sexual desires and should have the same sexual freedoms as everyone else in society.”

Like most “revolutions,” this one bulldozed traditions and values that had, with minor variations over time, been in place for centuries. With the introduction of the pill and the legalization of abortion, the leaders of this revolution felt fee to sneer at those traditions and mock those values. The media celebrated the sneering and the mocking.

One hopes that Andrew O’Brien now knows that suitors ought not show up with condoms and handcuffs.

Parents of teenage girls have long been a counter-revolutionary force. They have a better feel for human nature than do their alleged betters. As reported by KATV, parents of a 16-year-old Mountain Home girl alerted authorities when they learned O’Brien and their daughter had been exchanging sexually explicit messages and photos.

A Baxter County Sheriff’s deputy arrested O’Brien when he came to Mountain Home for a planned rendezvous with the girl. He is now being held at the Baxter County Detention Center facing “charges of engaging children in sexually explicit conduct for use in visual or print medium and contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile.”

As KATV reports without comment, “Handcuffs, vodka, condoms, and multiple cell phones were found inside O’Brien’s vehicle.” Comment here is required. As late as the 1950s, it would not have seemed altogether inappropriate for a 31-year-old to court a 16-year-old. The average age of marriage for a girl throughout that decade was 20.

One pop song after another celebrated “16” as the year young love should be taken seriously. In 1958, the 32-year-old Chuck Berry was singing “Sweet Little Sixteen.” As late at 1973, the 32-year-old Ringo Starr was reprising the 1960 classic, “You’re 16, You’re Beautiful and You’re Mine.”

In the fifties, however, pop songs often ended up with the couple at the altar, and in the fifties a would-be beau showed up for a first date at the parent’s home with flowers or candy, not in a deserted parking lot with condoms and handcuffs. 

This revolution has been an expensive one. Despite revolutionary insistence on condoms–even an apparent creep like O’Brien brought his–the number of new cases of sexually transmitted diseases has spiked over the last five year. A CDC estimate from 2013 put the cost of treating STDs at nearly $16 billion in direct medical costs alone.

“The United States continues to have the highest STD rates in the industrialized world,” David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, told WebMD. “We are in the midst of an absolute STD public health crisis in this country. It’s a crisis that has been in the making for years.”

Someone has to pay for a revolution, and it is not the young people contracting the diseases or the predators getting incarcerated. It is, as always, the taxpayer.

 

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