Friday, February 21, 2014

Land of the Free: where the government can kidnap your child and lock her in a psych ward for a year

I would just like to generally summarize this post: Matt Walsh is opposed to abortion, but he does not want to take any action against children suffering and dying from abuse.

Let me explain in more detail.

I tried to do a little more research into the circumstances surrounding Justina Pelletier's case. The problem is, it is hard to find any information at all, aside from a couple short local newspaper stories lacking many details, and fringe right wing websites. From what I understand, it was Glen Beck who tried to bring publicity to the case.

To start off, Matt, you use one paricular case about which we have little objective information to make a very broad argument condemning child protective services as a whole.  (Actually, you start out with hyperbole... a completely exaggerated scenario unrelated to this case, designed to play at your readers' emotions.)

However, even the known facts of the case don't accord well with your argument. It was the HOSPITAL that decided to keep her in the psych unit. You are so blinded by your own ideology that you fail to see the obvious power wielded by non-governmental institutions, like the private health care industry. Well, sometimes you suddenly become aware, but then you quickly forget. The government does not have a monopoly on power.

But let's look more at how this process really works.

If hospitals uncover evidence of any kind of abuse, they have a legal duty to report it. Just like teachers and many other professionals, for that matter. I was once in a situation where a child told me about abuse she was receiving from her parents and started point out bruises. I was legally obligated to report it. There may, of course, be times when suspicions are false. However, when child abuse is so prevalent that more than 4 children in the U.S. die every day as a result of abuse, there is much greater harm in underreporting than overreporting. You may think that it is not the government's responsibility to get involved... but if you prevent any authority from intervening, you are tacitly allowing children to die every day. I would merely have to redirect you to your own posts about abortion to show you how hypocritical that is.

Second, if a hospital (or anyone else) reports abuse, then the applicable agency is obligated to act on that report. They must investigate, and usually they must temporarily extricate the alleged victim from certain siutations (where abuse may be occuring) while the investigation is ongoing. Once again, there are justifiable reasons for this. Many of the allegations will be true, and it is in the victim's best interest to be removed from an abusive situation as quickly as possible. We're talking about preventing deaths here! (What was that again about the inherent value of human life, Matt?

Yes, there may be circumstances here and there where things don't work as intended. Allegations may be false from time to time. Perhaps a hospital may be allowed too much authority in the handling of a case. Maybe an investigation occurs too slowly. (The exact extent to which any of this applies to the Justina Pelletier is still a little unclear, in the absence of more information.) These can have negative consequences, to be sure. However, any process, in the private sector or public sector, will be mismanaged from time to time. That fact does not invalidate the processes themselves.

To be against child protective services is completely insane and irresponsible. That is blind ideology at its worst. Too many children are suffering abuse to sit idly by. I can't find any data about CPS abuse, but the absence of data alone indicates it is very likely that any abuse at the hands of CPS is incomparably less prevalent than the amount of abuse by parents, relatives, and others.

And setting up an email address is a GREAT way to verify your unsubstantiated, ideologically-driven beliefs. *eye roll* Your blog gets a lot of traffic, and it is very easy to send emails. As we all know, people never use email to send false information, and it is oh so easy to substantiate people's claims. (/sarcasm)
Matt Walsh writes:
Imagine this scenario. You’re sitting in the living room with your daughter. Suddenly, a large man shows up on your porch. He starts banging on your door and demanding to be let inside. You don’t comply. He goes around to the side of your house, smashes a window, and crawls through. You tell your daughter to run and lock herself in her room. It’s too late. The man grabs her and starts to run off.

Are you imagining this? Have you put yourself in this situation in your head?

Now, what do you do? How do you react?

I can tell you my answer: with brutality. I’d fight this man, wouldn’t you? If I had a knife I’d stab him in the heart. If I had a gun nearby I’d put a bullet in his head. I’d kill him. I’d end his life without hesitation or remorse. This man is in my home. He is trying to take my child away from me. I don’t need to know why he’s there. I don’t need to ask him about his intentions. I don’t need to consider his motivations. I need to react, and react harshly. And that’s what I’d do, wouldn’t you?

Wouldn’t anyone? Wouldn’t any parent literally kill to stop someone from taking their children away?

And wouldn’t they be justified? Wouldn’t they be morally and legally justified?

I think the answer is yes, on all counts.

OK, let’s slightly alter this hypothetical.

What if the man isn’t so large at all. What if he’s wearing a suit. What if he doesn’t break in through the window? What if he knocks and waits for you to open the door? What if he says he’s going to take your child, but he’ll let you visit every once in a while? What if he says he’s taking the child for her own good? What if he explains that he’s merely trying to protect your child from you?

Would that change anything? Probably not, right? You’d probably react in much the same way that you’d reach to the burly man who came through the window, right? After all, it doesn’t matter how nice or professional the kidnapper might be, the point is that he is trying to take your child, and you cannot allow this to happen. He is attempting to do something which he has no right to do, and which gives you the right to visit swift and merciless violence upon him.

But what if we change one small, superficial detail about the kidnapper — namely, we make him an official with Child Protective Services. What then?

Well, the substance of the situation doesn’t change. He’s still a guy trying to do something which he has no right to do. He’s still someone trying to take your child from you. But now you are completely helpless. There is nothing you can do to save your daughter. Nothing. You can’t call the cops — the cops are probably there, and they are on the kidnapper’s side. You certainly can’t pull out a gun or start any kind of physical altercation. You’ll lose, you’ll go to prison forever, and you’re guaranteed to never see your child again. You have no recourse. You are neutered and hogtied. You can only watch as strangers steal your child and ride away. If you ever want your daughter to be returned, you must meet all of their ransom demands. In the mean time, you can’t even count on the sympathy and support of the community. Most people will assume that you deserve to lose your parental rights. They assume you deserve what has happened, simply because it happened. Suspicion automatically becomes guilt.

The government has no evidence against you, but it doesn’t matter. You are presumed guilty until you can prove your innocence — a task that is fundamentally impossible.

This is the situation as it has unfolded for thousands of innocent Americans. The latest case in Boston is just one example.

Justina Pelletier is a young teenage girl with mitochondrial disease. The doctors at Tufts Medical Center diagnosed her with the condition a few years ago. They put her on a series of medications and vitamins, and her condition seemed to improve.

This is when the story gets long and somewhat complicated, but I’ll give you the basics.

Back in February of 2013, Justina came down with a bad case of the flu. She was taken by ambulance to Boston Children’s Hospital. The folks at BCH did a work up on Justina and came to a conclusion that conflicts with the doctors at Tufts; they said that she doesn’t have a physical condition at all.

They said that she has a psychological problem — in other words, it’s all in her head. It’s a psychosomatic issue. They recommended that her medication regimen should be “simplified” and that she should be treated for the mental problem that causes her to think she’s in pain.

Her parents disagreed. Strongly. They attempted to remove her from the hospital and take her back to her doctors at Tufts. But Boston Children’s Hospital would not tolerate such defiance. They refused to release her, called the cops, and accused the parents of “abusing” their child by “overmedicating” her.

Child Protective Services — or “the Department of Children and Families” — seized custody of Justina. She was locked in a psychiatric ward at the hospital, taken off most of her medications, and her parents were only allowed supervised visits once a week. A gag order was placed on her family, but her father has gone against it.

Good for him. I enthusiastically applaud any effort he makes to break the rules set by these kid-stealing crooks.

To me, the medical questions are irrelevant to this conversation. I don’t know if Justina has mitochondrial disease or not. Some doctors say yes, others say no. Maybe she has a combination of mitochondrial disease and psychological disorders. Maybe she has one and not the other. Maybe she has neither. The point here is that the State has seized the tyrannical and unconstitutional power to take a side in a medical debate, and then kidnap your child because you disagree.

Yes, kidnap.

Sure, there are certainly cases where parents abuse their children in unspeakable ways. In those situations, the parents need to go to prison and the kids need to go somewhere else. But the power the State must have in certain specific and limited cases should NOT grant them the blanket authority to forcibly impose their subjective opinions about private parental and medical decisions.

Have Justina’s parents committed a crime? Have they been charged with child abuse? No. No, because taking one doctor’s advice over another is NOT child abuse. This is where we are in America, everyone. Are you paying attention? Are you as angry as you ought to be? You can have your children removed from your home EVEN IF YOU HAVEN’T COMMITTED A CRIME.

And we call this freedom? We call this a free country?

What a joke. You are not free. You are not free as long as government bureaucrats have the power to obliterate your parental rights simply because they personally don’t approve of the choices you’ve made.

This reminds me of a case in Sacramento last year. A 5-month-old baby was stolen right out of his mother’s arms because she had the audacity to check him out of the hospital, after deciding that she didn’t like the way they were treating her baby. The hospital called the cops, the cops showed up alongside some CPS officials, grabbed her baby and drove away. They wouldn’t tell her why; they wouldn’t even tell her where they were taking him.

“I’m going to grab your baby. Don’t resist and don’t fight me.” That’s what the police officer said to the helpless, scared mother, before prying her child from her arms.

Eventually, her son was returned to her. As far as I know, nobody was ever held responsible for this grave injustice.

Nobody ever is.

I know I’ll hear plenty of apologists tell me about the wonderful deeds of CPS workers. Let another blogger write that post. I don’t personally feel it necessary to take time out of my day to puff up government agencies. They have the force of law, billions of dollars, and a bunch of guys with guns on their side. They don’t need my help. The people who NEED a voice are the innocent Americans who have been victimized by these agencies. That isn’t to say that ALL people have been victimized, but it is to say that many have been. Many, many, many law abiding citizens have watched as their children were ripped away from them, even though they’d done nothing to deserve such a fate (and even though the government had no proof that they’d done anything to deserve it).

In fact, if you are in this camp, I want you to know that I know you exist. If you’d like to share your story with me, email this address:

Children that are wrongfully abducted by the government might not get an Amber Alert, but they are still victims, and so are their parents.


  1. Bella: I think "Discussions... based on insults and mischaracterizations of opposing points of view" would be better placed as the motto for this blog -- it certainly is accurate. At first I was intrigued, having stumbled across this site in a backwater google search immediately after reading one of Matt's more recent posts. I expected to find conflicting perspectives (of course) and disagreements yes, but wow, this is nothing more than a cheap copy/paste job plastered with those very insults you claim to abhor. If you want people to consider what you have to say and listen to your arguments, perhaps you should come up with some creative writing of your own... instead of breaking up someone else's work with your own spiteful interjections. Think engaging, think enlightening, think 180-degrees. Perhaps Matt could give you a few pointers... he seems to be engaging enough to have your attention.

    But then again, maybe you simply are Anti-Matt Walsh the man, not Anti-the bigger issue. Which makes sense: this is just a rant blog anyway.

    1. My intention was never to present different points of view, certainly not my own. I am not using this blog as a platform to espouse any particular ideology or viewpoint. My concern is about the types of arguments that people like Matt Walsh make. A couple of my facebook friends like to link to themattwalshblog, and after reading a few of his posts, I was very troubled by what I saw, specifically: using personal insults, using incorrect or misleading information, and purposefully distorting other people's points of view. I have, in fact, defended points of view that were not my own, in order to point this out. I often adopt his rhetorical stylings, on purpose, because I think the sort of dialogue it creates highlights the absurdity of it all. However, in terms of doing exactly what I criticize, I am not so sure. While, I criticize Matt Walsh's arguments and his prioritization of ideology over evidence, I do not believe I have ever criticized him as a person (I've never used the types of insults he uses against other people - never called him an idiot or a sociopath, etc.) In fact, I recognize when he makes good points. I try very hard to obtain accurate information, and I also try very hard to accurately interpret his point of view (I'm not even interpreting, really, just responding directly to what he says).

      At any rate, this post is a bit of an exception. I did find it irresponsible to make such uninformed accusations against an agency that is responsible for the wellbeing of so many children. If people were to actually jump on the bandwagon, I would hate to think of the consequences. So yes, in this post I actually did have a sense of a stake in the discussion.

      Also, I think that in general it is hard to respond to a person in a critical way without sounding angry or ranty to someone else. For example, your comment on this post could very well be taken as an angry rant. :) We all can get emotional, or speak with a sharp tongue, but that is not my biggest concern. My concern is the structure of the arguments themselves.