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Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Lone Star State: What's Wrong With America

I have refrained from commenting on the raid of the FLDS compound, despite serious qualms about Fourth Amendment issues regarding the seizure of 450 (or does anyone know the true number?) children. I have refrained because I did not wish to raise hell without cause and serious contemplation, and without more facts. I write now because I finally have enough to form and express an informed opinion.

Furthermore, as a Mormon, I find myself in very strong disagreement with some fundamentals of the FLDS belief system. I do not approve of a number of their beliefs, and few were as happy as I when Warren Jeffs, their leader, was rendered a guest of the state, hopefully for the rest of his natural life. My extreme distaste for their leader aside, I write today on a matter of principle, and what are we if we do not have our principles, those lines we simply do not cross and cannot tolerate the breach of?

As stated in a ruling by a Texas appellate court panel, it turns out my deep concerns had a basis in fact. In my view, either through woefully insufficient or completely absent judicial oversight, the state of Texas is guilty of the abuse of these 400+ children, or at the very least, complicit in said abuse. In this case, the abuse has taken the form of forcibly removing children from their homes and placing them into foster care without just cause, and alienating them from their parents, friends, and family, all on the word of someone suspected to have actually been in Colorado, not Texas. Did the "good" people of El Dorado, Texas' "finest" lack the wit to recognize a 303, 719, 720, or 970 area code? For Christ's sake! Police had Caller ID before it became available for public consumption, and they allegedly couldn't recognize that those four area codes were not from within Texas, couldn't even be bothered to go to Yahoo or Google or a number of other resources in case they were confused or didn't have a phone book with its area code map handy?

I remember earlier on in this coverage, I saw an official with Texas' "child protection" services refer to the forcible removal of children as the "death penalty" of family court. Let's take him at his word. By extension, then, it could be argued that the state of Texas showed all the subtlety and consideration of jack-booted thugs rounding up a couple of thousand people and putting them before a figurative "firing squad", only the "bullets" with which these people were peppered was the shattering of their family units, and unlike an execution, this pain lingers on.

Again, I disagree deeply and fundamentally with the FLDS. Again, I'm VERY happy their leader is a guest of the state and will probably be so for the rest of his natural life, because of his abuse of children and his complicity in the same. However, the very fact that the government assumed that type of power based on the flimsiest of evidence is something we should all find terrifying.

I was going to do something with the Texas flag, but apparently, I have a lot of stuff to learn about GIMP before I will be able to use it effectively. I suppose that'll be part of the fun. Just know that it'll be unexpectedly offensive when I finish with it.

Enjoy the show.


Snave said...

I disagree with much of what the FLDS does.

"However, the very fact that the government assumed that type of power based on the flimsiest of evidence is something we should all find terrifying."

I couldn't agree with you more. This is a tragedy for families.

I tend to think a good way to start with this bunch would be to bust the guys who are marrying and procreating with underage teenage girls. To not do so is to suggest that because someone's religious beliefs say it's o.k., then it's o.k. I don't think it's o.k., not at all. That gets into the touchy area of religious freedoms, but if someone's "religious freedom" allows them to grossly violate the laws of the land, I think maybe they need to move to a different land.

The polygamy bugs me too, but not nearly as much as grown men having sex with underage girls.

I agree, behind bars is the best place for Mr. Jeffs.

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

At this point, I seriously wonder if any successful prosecutions will even be possible from an investigation into these allegations. The Fourth Amendment states the following: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." It could be argued that the appellate court and Texas Supreme Court ruled that the seizure of reams of documents and the raid on the FLDS compound was, indeed, unreasonable. Furthermore, if this raid were as the result of a hoax, as is being investigated, ALL of the evidence seized may fall afoul of the "fruit of the poisonous tree" rule, rendering every last bit of it inadmissible.

From a libertarian perspective, I have absolutely no problem with polygamy, polyandry, or other forms of polyamory. I can't say I understand it, and I certainly don't understand how it would be workable, but if informed, consenting adults are involved, and no form of force or abuse is present in the relationship or its inception, then as they say during Mardi Gras, "Laissez les bon temps rouler!" Whenever there's abuse, or fraud, or force, or especially the harm of children, however, I have no tolerance for that. In those instances, I want every "i" dotted, and every "t" crossed, so that when the bastard(s) responsible are convicted, their lawyers haven't a single ground to have their convictions overturned.

Perhaps paradoxically, I'll close with a quote by Larry Flynt, “You've got to see that this Justice Department keeps chipping away at our rights. The American people are so ill-informed that that they don't realize what's going on. And they won't until it's too late.” But it isn't just the DoJ. In the end, I'm far more frightened of a legion of the government infringing upon my rights and the rights of the ones I love than I will ever be of a couple of thousand isolationist weirdos in the ass-end of Texas. If they use this excessive force without cause in this instance, with little in the way of punishment, what will prevent others from going after a less-hated group? Didn't Martin Niemoeller write a poem about that very concern?

I just have to include this video. Gotta love NOFX. Enjoy.

Sheryl said...

Hi Mandelbrot. Haven't followed any of this, even though it's in Texas. Mainly just dropped by to say hello because I saw your comment in my blog.

Hope the diet is coming along well. I need to do that too.