It's necessary to turn our heads from the obscenity of Washington, the Middle East and Arizona's economic struggles long enough to protect the home front.
The creep of porn is always there, always waiting. If you care about family and kids, you stay on top of this insidious, social problem. While distracted by a weakened economy and other politics, our children and relationships are vulnerable and remain under attack.
In surfing our satellite television service, already narrowed when we cancelled HBO due to porn programs, I stopped at Starz's original series "Spartacus." Within minutes, the show involved violent, graphic sex with frontal nudity, male and female. Aghast, I checked online reviews. One described the show this way: "Sex is everywhere... it punishes the audience with astonishingly, grotesque sex scenes."
Sexual "art" can be a hook to hell. And, many are easily baited. Americans spend upwards of $14 billion a year on the junk and it's the top seller on the Web. The addiction is so insidious, experts tell us it creates changes within our brains.
Parents, it always comes back to us. Always. We're the real "homeland protection." Don't ever assume that porn warnings are just another wild-eyed opinion that threatens free speech. And, don't assume it's an OK adult pastime.
Here's a personal story shared by a family friend. The names are changed for obvious reasons:
Bobby was exposed to his first porn during his elementary years. His dad didn't hide it, nor were the dad's lewd pictures of himself hidden. Bobby's long, contagious road of sexual addiction began.
After the impact of pictures wore off, as a young man, he turned to flashing his genitals. Grade school children were his first targets. Eventually, he was kicked out of the military after being arrested on lewd charges. All while his wife, Cheryl, tried to create a normal family. By this time, Bobby was into hard porn.
Researchers confirm what common sense tells us: Even soft porn carries the infectious virus, as do provocative ads found in virtually every magazine and newspaper.
Ever wonder why there are so many full page bra and panty ads in major newspapers? Sex sells. Porn is a real cancer eating into families, destroying relationships and dulling individual potential.
The Rand Corporation, several years back, issued this report: "Adolescents who watch large amounts of television containing sexual content are twice as likely to begin engaging in sexual intercourse as their peers who watch very little TV."
And this: "There's little difference if a TV show talked about people having sex or portrayed them having sex. ... Both propel adolescents' own sexual behavior."
ABC's 20/20 reports on the devastation of cyber sex: "One click can ruin their lives."
Predictably, Bobby's porn addiction led to affairs and prostitutes. Then, reality came along: "It escalated, in my face," Cheryl told me. "His problem gradually permeated our lives. I could no longer pretend it wasn't there." She ended the marriage.
And, this next point is directed to those who think porn is a victimless habit: Cheryl's six children have been tragically tainted by their father's sickness. All of his adult daughters had to seek counseling.
One counselor told Cheryl that "beating alcohol addiction is like a walk in the park, compared to sexual addictions."
While we're distracted by national and world crisis, porn sewage continues to infect our homes. Have we given up on this battle?
Recognition of the severity of the problem is the first step. Reconsider that unprotected access to the Web in your child's room, that porn magazine under your mattress, or the everyday cable/satellite programs feeding your TV. They're all destroyers. Be the defender. No one else will do it for you.
• East Valley resident Linda Turley-Hansen (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a syndicated columnist and former Phoenix veteran TV anchor.