03/10/2006 09:54 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

It's Jon Stewart's World, We Only Live Here

Sometimes, I can't believe that the real news isn't fake. A recent Google Alert brought me this gem from the St. Petersburg Times.

Apparently, the head of Florida's Department of Juvenile Justice is trying to blame the death of a fourteen-year-old boy following a beating in one of its boot camps on lack of financial support from the state legislature.

He told the legislature's Juvenile Justice Committee, apparently with a straight face, that boot camp staffers are suffering from low morale, saying, "They just feel like they've been beaten up. . . . They've had it."

Wait a minute! Isn't that supposed to be good for them? Shouldn't they be benefiting from being attacked, just like the kids they serve? Mightn't they be learning to take personal responsibility for their actions by being battered and worn down?

Oh, I get it now. Accountability, growth through suffering, accepting consequences--those are fine for bad kids, for poor kids for "other people." When it's people "like us," being beaten up is demoralizing and respectful treatment--like adequate financing and decent care-- is helpful. Responsibility and blame--like boot camps, those are for lesser folk.

As are "pain compliance" methods that can maim and kill. I only wish these stories were made up--they'd be quite funny.