We've all read the headlines and seen the press reports, and I'll tell you why I think they're salacious and misleading.
Forty-one out of 463 is 8.8%, according to my desktop calculator. That has to be less than the usual number in a normal population.
But maybe my family wasn't normal. I had five kids, and they all survived to adulthood, although there were times when I was sure some of them would never live to see 21.
Let's see, my oldest boy at age 10 broke his arm when he fell off the roof. I know, that's prima facie evidence of child abuse and neglect right there. What was he doing on the roof, you might ask. Disobeying his father. I told him not to go up there.
My oldest daughter spent two days in a hospital with a concussion when she fell off a pool slide when she was a toddler. What was she doing on a pool slide? Well, she thought she was going to have a bit of fun. Mom and Dad turned their backs for a few seconds and she made a break for it. She was sure she could climb that ladder no problem.
When my third child, second son was 2 1/2 he broke his leg when he fell out of the back of the neighbor's pick-up. What was he doing in the back of a pick-up? Well, it was parked in front of the neighbor's house and a half-dozen neighborhood kids were playing in the back of it, including my boy. He got bumped into, lost his balance and toppled over the tailgate, after catching his foot on the side rail momentarily. I didn't see the accident, but that's what the kids who were there told me. The doctor at the hospital had some questions for me as he filled out a questionaire after my son was admitted.
My fourth child, third son made several trips to the emergency room, as did the other two boys, to get patched up or stitched as the result of various accidents, most of which involved bicycles, skateboards or swingsets. The emergency room doctor at the Payson hospital got so he knew my boys by name because we were in there so often.
My youngest daughter had an accident on her bicycle when she was nine, and she had a skull fracture and spent some time in the hospital. My ex-wife had moved out of state with the younger kids, and she never told me about this. I learned about it nearly a year later from one of my kids. Apparently my ex had not wanted to worry me.
At any rate, I don't think my kids have had anything but a fairly normal life for middle-class American kids. And I think it's accurate to say that 300% of my kids have required emergency medical attention due to a fairly normal array of minor and semi-major accidents that have occurred in their lifetime.
So to me, the 8.8% of FLDS kids in custody who've had broken bones that could possibly indicate physical abuse is clearly salacious and misleading. And keep in mind that one of the kids broke her arm while she was in state custody in San Angelo. They're kids. They break a lot of stuff, including the occasional bone.
Texas is running this salacious PR offensive because they need some cover, and if they can inspire the rest of us to hate the members of this cult, America will turn a blind eye to the injustice that is being perpetrated by the state of Texas.
I thinks it's working.
Check out these links for more background: