Friday, May 2, 2008

Forty-One FLDS kids with broken bones, oh my!!

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:

The thief doesn't always run away, as in the commercial
Suspect in St. Paul break-in caught by homeowner
by Pat Pheifer

Jon Sokol wasn't trying to be a hero when he confronted a burglary suspect who had brazenly broken through the front door of his home in St. Paul.

Sokol, 49, said his adrenaline was flowing as he crept up the stairs, revolver in hand, from the basement bedroom he shares with his wife.

His wife had been awoken at about 4:45 a.m. Wednesday by their alarm system and initially thought Sokol had -- again -- opened the door to get the newspaper without turning off the alarm. But there he was, sleeping right next to her.

Then she heard footsteps. "I think there's somebody in the house," Sokol recalled her whispering. "I'm thinking to myself, 'Noooo.'"

Sokol said he'd gotten to the second step when he saw somebody cross the room upstairs. "Oh my, there is somebody in our house," he thought.

"I grabbed our gun, which we keep for protection," he said.

"As I stepped around the corner, he hit me ... right between the eyes," Sokol said. "And I fired the gun.

"Down on the ground he went and I insisted, in a not very nice way, that he not move," he said. "I held him at gunpoint until the police arrived."

Michael G. Spencer, 31, of St. Paul, has been charged in Ramsey County District Court with two felony counts of burglary. He has a lengthy criminal record, including convictions for theft and burglary as recently as last year.

According to the criminal complaint, Spencer feigned "unconsciousness, but finally responded ... that he had not been shot" after police arrived at 5 a.m. Wednesday at the Sokols' home in the 1400 block of Carroll Avenue.

Spencer is being held in the Ramsey County jail in lieu of $50,000 bail.

Sokol said the burglar had a knife, but Sokol doesn't know if he was hit by that or a fireplace poker that he noticed had been moved.

He ended up with a small cut on his forehead and a somewhat shattered sense of security. He and his wife dead-bolted themselves in their bedroom Wednesday night, and still he stayed awake all night keeping watch while his wife slept.

The neighborhood has been on guard lately, he said. Two vehicles were vandalized a block from the Sokols' house last week, and on the night of the burglary, two other vehicles were vandalized and a porch was broken into.

Sokol said he doesn't know the defendant and doesn't know why his house was targeted. It's well-lit, he said, and has signs front and back about the alarm system.

"It's a happy ending, I guess," Sokol said. "The good guy's still alive, for the time being. And the bad guy is captured. It turned out like you see in the movies."
Pat Pheifer • 651-298-1551

Have more than an alarm system. Have a gun and be prepared to use it.

Here's why the YFZ raid is no Short Creek '53

CPS has much more power now than they did in 1953. Now CPS is terrified of returning a kid to an abusive situation and having that kid wind up dead. They'd much rather break up a thousand families than have one kid get killed.

CPS actions are under the radar because they are considered civil actions and don't have to comply with Constitutional prohibitions against illegal searches and siezures or abide by rules of evidence or any of that silly legal stuff. They don't have to prove criminal activity by the parents, only that they believe the evidence shows that the kids are being abused, or that they might be abused in the future, and if they can convince the judge of that, that's all it takes.

The YFZ parents are never going to see their kids again until they age out of the system. The fathers will never be allowed to see their kids. The only chance the mothers have of regaining custody of their children is if they leave the ranch, divorce or renounce their husbands, and renounce their religious faith, and convince the case worker assigned to their case that they're sincere, and not just going through the motions. This is about religion, and has very little to do with saving the children from harm. If you're a member of this sect, you'll not be allowed to keep your children by the State of Texas.

The only criminal prosecutions that will come of this case might be the two men who were arrested during the raid and charged with interference or disorderly conduct. No one will be charged with rape or incest or abuse of any kind, because the criminal due process threshold of evidence is higher and Constitutional prohibitions have to be complied with in criminal cases, even in Texas. All of the evidence siezed in the raid will be inadmissable because the warrant was based on a fraudulent phone call, and it won't stand up in court.

What will happen to the YFZ ranch? They'll probably go on. The men will probably quit marrying underage girls, but the polygamy will continue, they may just claim their "spiritual wives" are just girl friends and the sex is consentual. Unless the state of Texas can successfully criminalize other aspects of their behavior, I don't see much more happening between Texas and the FLDS.

And BTW, Texas has a 180 year history of older men marrying teen-agers as young as 14. No one ever considered it sexual assault on a minor. It was simply a grand old pioneer tradition. There are tens of thousands of teen-age girls having sex with older men in Texas right now. Texas is never going to go after those men. Only if they incorporate underage sex into their religion will Texas lift a finger to put a stop to it. There's just too much history behind the practice. This statute was aimed specifically at the FLDS, and they are the only target of this law.

So let's face it. Texas has succeeded in making the FLDS sect a de facto illegal religion. I didn't think that was possible in the United States of America. Not in my lifetime.

But then I forgot. In the late eighteen-thirties the governor of Missouri ordered the state militia to exterminate the Mormons and drive them from the state. They were forced out of their homes and off their lands, at gunpoint. A few years later the Mormons were driven from Illinois after Joseph Smith was assassinated. In the 1880's, Idaho passed a state law that Mormons couldn't vote in elections. State legislators were embarrassed a few years ago to find that those laws were still on the books and had never been repealed.

America will turn a blind eye to this, and the abuse of power will just keep getting worse. Texas DFPS is convinced if they can get you to hate this group of people enough, they'll be home free and out of the woods. They're going to get away with this because not enough people care about the rights of a wierd offshoot Mormon cult to get very fussed about it.

Check out these sites for more background.

Have a nice day. Thanks for reading.