The Randy Turner Case, Part 2

You will no doubt remember the Joplin middle-school teacher, Randy Turner, who, among other things, has been accused of corrupting the local youth by allegedly urging them to read and discuss some “obscene material he authored.”

Now it appears the school district has recently found additional reasons to fire Mr. Turner (yet another book is involved), but the most scurrilous charge remains essentially the same, that Turner provided and promoted a book, or two,

that contains graphic depictions of sexuality rape, infidelity, profanity, domestic violence and school violence to twelve, thirteen, and fourteen year old children…

As I have indicated before, Mr. Turner has denied that he provided and promoted the material to the kiddies, and he will presumably put up a defense on May 23 before the Board of Education, but when I was thinking about this again, I decided Mr. Turner shouldn’t take all the blame for corrupting the youth.

There are other stories out there that “twelve, thirteen, and fourteen year old children” are potentially exposed to every day that are even better than Turner’s stories because, for many, many people, they are true stories. One such story goes like this:

A long, long time ago, a priestly fella decided to take himself a mistress. And when I say “take,” I mean take. You could do that in those days because, well, women weren’t really people like they are, at least in some places, today.

At some point, the woman apparently screwed around with another guy and left the priestly fella. She went back home to her dad and was there for four months, when the priestly fella decided he wanted his mistress back.

So, he went to her dad’s house and tried to win back her affections. At first she resisted, but her father insisted she go back home with the priestly fella. Soon, the couple were together again and headed back to their home.

Alas, because home was a long way off, they couldn’t get there in one day. They had to stay overnight in a strange town. But they didn’t want to stay in some kind of sin city. They wanted a town they could trust. A town that shared their religious beliefs. So, they picked such a town.

But it turned out they had a hard time finding a place to stay in the town. Luckily, though, a stranger, an old man, offered them lodging, and things were looking up. Except this was a very strange town. In fact, the place was so strange, that the men of the town were accustomed to banging on the doors of local houses and asking for—no, demanding—sex. And, although you couldn’t have guessed it, in the case of the priestly fella, these men wanted to have sex with him!

Well, the old man who owned the house wasn’t about to let that happen. He apparently thought homosexuality was a very grave sin. So, he and the priestly fella, who had very priestly principles, came up with a plan to avoid trouble and the disgrace of homosexual rape. The old man offered them his virgin daughter for the night! And, to boot, he offered them the priestly fella’s mistress! A two-for-one deal! “Do what you want with them,” the old man pleaded, “just leave the priestly fella alone!”

But the ravenous men were not satisfied. So, our priestly fella acted fast. He brought out his mistress for them to see. And, voilà, that did the trick. She must have been exceptionally hot. The men who had been clamoring for a piece of the priestly fella, suddenly accepted the offer of his mistress.

The men repeatedly raped her all night long. All night long. In fact, they did such violence to her that she barely made it back to the old man’s porch, where she collapsed. Our priestly fella found her there the next morning, and said, “Get up! Let’s go!” But he got no response. So, he loaded up her apparently lifeless body and took her the rest of the way home.

But the story doesn’t end there. Our priestly fella had a message to send. When he got his mistress to his house, he got out a big, big knife and cut her into twelve pieces, limb by limb. Not eleven, not thirteen, but twelve pieces. He mailed the twelve pieces to various places around the country to remind all of his religious brethren just how much evil there is in the world and to fear God.

That grisly story, I would bet, is more lurid than anything ever conceived in the mind of a middle-school teacher in Joplin who has been charged with, essentially, exposing children to sex and violence in his books. And I would also bet that just about every middle-school kid in Joplin has a copy of that story on the family bookshelf, available to all eyes and minds.

It can be found in the book of Judges, Chapter 19, of the Holy Bible.



  1. ansonburlingame

     /  May 8, 2013

    GREAT RESEARCH, Duane, absolutely spectacular. I credit your evangelical past for such insight.

    But so what?

    The last time I checked ANYONE would be fired for teaching Bible lessons in a public school, today!!

    I went to Bible school, Sunday school, etc. as a kid and have been “exposed” to the Bible most of my adult life. NEVER before had I read that passage or considered it as well, in 71 years. So assuming “all kids” or most kids are exposed to that portion of the Bible is, well a stretch, perhaps.

    Acutally, when first reading the post I suspected you had copied it out of a news or magazine article. But, yep, you go me on that one, you ole Bible thumper, of long ago!!

    But back to Turner, for real, the crux of the matter, perhaps.

    Was Randy Turner a “good teacher” (forget this incident)? If you tell me yes, please tell me wny you take that positon. For me I have no idea but am taking steps to find out as you may read in a little while.

    As well, have you now read NO Child left Alive, one of the books in the accusations, and the only one that I have read, cover to cover. I consider that book to be utter TRASH, pure and simple, but have no problems with Turner writing it or having it published.

    And once again I ask you, would YOU want YOUR 12 or 13 child to be introduced to that book without your knowledge, perhaps holding a conversation about the details in that book by another adult, without your knowledge?

    I know for me at least, if that ever happened with MY KIDS when they were that age I would have “accosted the adult” with…….. Actually I MIGHT have really beaten the shit out of him or her that exposed my own kid to such TRASH. For sure I would have done so, verbally, when I was young and strong.

    Give that book to a “kid” and chances are he or she will think those kids in the book were “really cool” and “why can’t I act like that”??? A little adult supervision for KIDS, please.

    They grow up fast today, and many in the WRONG direction, simply because of such TRASH all around them with little or no adult supervision, which ANY kid reading the Bible in Sunday School would certainly have, I hope!!!



    • So your argument is that there is stuff in the Bible that nobody ever reads, and that is therefore irrelevant? I take it you wouldn’t argue that the Bible is divinely inspired and all true, then? Given that, what are we expected to believe in and what are we supposed to ignore? However will we decide? Is the Flood story to be discounted? How about Genesis? The Ten Commandments? It’s either God’s word or a bunch of old fables.

      As for Turner, I’m not familiar with his work, but he would have to be a real idiot to write “trash,” as you put it, and promote it to his young students, wouldn’t he? If so, why did the school hire an idiot to teach there? Isn’t this the administration’s fault?


    • You miss the point of the Bible story. Just because, like Turner’s books, a child has easy access to it (you show me a home in this area that doesn’t have at least one Bible, Anson), doesn’t mean they are going to read it. In fact, even younger kids than Turner’s students are exposed to such “trash” in the Bible, for God’s sake.

      And the charge against Turner is that he promoted the books to his students. Well, I would ask this: By having a Bible in the house, does that mean that parents are promoting stories about cruelty, rape, and torture?

      Finally, as far as my kids and what they have been exposed to, think about this: Constantly, throughout their entire lives, they have been exposed, in various ways, to the idea that a Supreme Being will send them to eternal torment–eternal torment–if they don’t believe this or that doctrine. Now, if you want to talk about something that should piss off rational parents, that is it.



  2. angelfire

     /  May 8, 2013

    I too spent years in Sunday/Bible schools. My think-for-myself attitude got me into trouble even as a child… many questions… much of the Bible made absolutely no sense and forget the way the men who wrote it treated and thought of women. They had to be the 1st Republicans.

    There is a lot of trash in the Bible….but then it is a book about people so it only stands to reason that it would have a lot of trash.

    As for Turner he should have realized when he wrote this crap where he was and that his writings would not be condoned in the Bible belt. Sad but true.

    He just needs to go find other work or ….write. Or sue. Or whatever but he’s not going to change anything in the 7th district….these people never change. Inbred is forever.


    • I like your idea of conceiving of the women-trashing Bible writers as the first Republicans. I would clarify that a bit and say they may have been the first conservatives. After all, there was, once upon a time, good and decent and rational Republicans.


  3. RDG,
    Perhaps you should take a page from your self-appointed sidekick and send Turner an email asking a series of questions to determine whether or not he is a “good teacher.” Since you are a “local liberal and union man” who has gone “viral” against the R-8, Turner might respond to such a bibulous demand for attention:


    • For the life of me, Juan, I just can’t understand why Turner doesn’t submit to an examination by Superintendent Anson Burlingame. Why, he must be guilty if he doesn’t, right? Right.


  4. Why Randy Turner did not use another nom de plume for his fictional work is a question. Had he used R. Ronald Flowers it would have made tracing his identity more difficult. Replacing Randy for William makes his attempt at disguise half-hearted. However, the burden of proof is on the administration to prove that he knowingly shared his fiction with students. Turner denies this charge, as well as another claiming he personally profited from “Scars from the Tornado”, a compilation of stories, essays and comments written by his eighth grade class.

    One can argue that Turner exercised poor judgment by making “No Child Left Alive” accessible via the Daily Kos “Room 210 Discussions” diary, as he would have no way of knowing if students were visiting the site and reading material deemed “sexually explicit and violent.” I do not know if teachers publishing adult novels on their own time violate a morals clause in their contract. If not, then the case against Turner rests on evidence that he knowingly exposed students to unsuitable material. This will be determined at the upcoming hearing.

    Attempts to use a serious situation where a teacher’s career is on the line as a vehicle for union bashing or tossing out unsavory character assessments based on preconceived prejudices are inappropriate. Turner has a right to defend himself. Anyone whose job and reputation is in jeopardy should have the opportunity to fight back, and Turner is doing so.


    • Quite a reasonable take on it, Juan.

      The burden, as you say, should be on the prosecution, which ultimately is C.J. Huff. But I’m afraid that the elements involved in this case, the sex, language, and the kids, makes this an easier one for the district because of the inherent bias involved. I just hope he either has a good representative, or has prepared a systematic and thorough defense and doesn’t get sidetracked. He needs to stick to and then refute (if he can) the specific charges and not get caught up in the other stuff.



  5. ansonburlingame

     /  May 9, 2013

    In general, not a bad discussion above. I make only two “corrections” to what was shared by others.

    Writer: In no way do I believe (for what it is worth) that the Bible is ABSOLUTELY correct, divine if you will, everywhere, all the time, etc. It is a compilation of thoughts written by MEN over thousands of years and contributions thereto STOPPED about 1500 years ago. Hmmm?

    Juan makes reasonable comments as well except for characterizing my questions (published in the linked blog) to Turner as “bilbulous”. I had to look it up and found:

    bib·u·lous/ˈbɪbyələs/ Show Spelled [bib-yuh-luhs] Show IPA
    1. fond of or addicted to drink.
    2. absorbent; spongy.

    Now what was your point, again, Juan???? Arrogant, bullshit, etc. I might understand, but bibulous, well that baffles me!

    The crux of the matter remains, in my view, was Randy Turner a good or bad teacher, throughout his career in R-8? At least ONCE, in my view, he became a “trashy author” of a book. But that alone is not a firing offense, as far as I can tell. More needs to be revealed, publicly, before I can judge the matter and HOW I make such judgment is beside the point. It is the BOE that is on the hook for this one, whether or not I agree with them being beside the point as well.



    • I will stick with bibulous.

      What baffles me is why you would expect Randy Turner to complete your questionnaire. Did it occur to you that his reaction after receiving the email might be along these lines: Who is Anson Burlingame and why is he asking me to answer questions?

      Complaining that Turner is “stonewalling” you by not replying is disconcerting. There is absolutely no reason why he would take the time to indulge a meddling request. You are being disregarded, not “stonewalled.”


  6. ansonburlingame

     /  May 10, 2013


    Obviously you just don’t get it, the whole purpose of public writing. Take a side, defend it all you like and then get on with life. To public make proclamations and then just ignore or censor replies, further questions, etc. is just STUPID in my view if it is a general way of doing business. And when ONLY replies to supportive commentors, well that is a strong indication that he or she does not really like or encourage debate, discussion, etc and his in general cowardly if it is done all the time.

    For sure Duane is no coward. And yes, I can accept that he just got “sick and tired” of some comments on his earlier blogs. Fine, don’t read them and don’t comment for sure, but not censorship in my view at least.

    I have not been a follower of Turner’s Report until this case came up. So I have never bugged him on his blog. But I am on it now due only to this very public case, the important matters at stake that go far beyond JUST Turner and R-8 (in my view), and particularly because Turner and his anonymous commentors (for sure teachers probably) is “ripping” the other side with great venom, PUBLICLY. I don’t ignore that kind of crap.

    Read Turner’s report and the many comments to it, by and large, EVERY ONE of them supportive comments. You want to know why there have been no letters to the editor in the Globe on this matter? Simply because one must put a name and address on such letters, in my view. Thus the public discussion, so far, has been on blogs only and one it is one-side, well that is NOT a discussion or debate for sure.

    My the way, sticking with bilbuous is STUPID as well. You just tried to pick a “bad word” and used the wrong one, according to reasonable interpretation of a dictionary.



  7. Michael D. Gaden, BSNE, MBA

     /  May 14, 2013

    Hmmm. More capitals, but also more provisional language in Mr Burlingame’s posts.



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