Support your local child-snatchers: Combat-ready paramilitaries from the Midland County Sheriff's Department chill next to their LESO-provided APC during the raid on the YFZ Ranch.
Judge Walther has ruled -- and wasn't the suspense terrific? -- that the 416 abducted FLDS children will remain in "temporary" state custody.
This, despite the fact (as explained below), that the abuse report that provided the pretext for the raid was contrived. This, despite the admission, under oath, of Bruce Perry of the ChildTrauma Academy -- an "expert" witness on behalf of the state -- that the foster care system "would be destructive to these kids."
As what follows will illustrate, Perry isn't exaggerating one whit.
So ... the warrant was based on a lie, the raid was therefore illegal, the children face the prospect of certain harm within the state foster care system -- and Judge Walther is OK with this.
This underscores one of the reasons why it's a bad idea to let women be judges: You can't take a female judge out for a good horsewhipping when one is warranted.
(See the previous updates at the bottom of the essay)
The children suffer behind an iron curtain of corrupt secrecy. That curtain was lifted a few years ago, long enough to get a brief but terrifying glimpse of what was being done by people who had placed themselves beyond accountability.
Scores of children were killed, poisoned, beaten, and otherwise abused each year. Child rape was terrifyingly common: The largest group of victims were between 12 and 15 years of age, but thirteen percent of the victims were three years old or younger.
An official investigation of this secretive system was undertaken, but soon foundered over obstructions thrown up by those who had the most to lose if the full truth were revealed. But before the portcullis was slammed shut, the investigator learned that a child being raised in that system was four times more likely to die of criminal violence than a child in the general population.
The obvious course of action would be to mount an armed raid to liberate those children, but whatever necessary means, from the abusive system in which they're being held.
Unfortunately, the entity that would carry out such an operation also presides over the systematic abuse. The findings described above are from an abortive investigation of the Texas Foster Care System conducted by Carole Keeton Strayhorn on behalf of the state Comptroller's office.
"In April 2004 I said I would give our forgotten children in foster care something they need -- a voice," recalls Strayhorn. "I have been and will continue to be their voice. This Governor's Health and Human Services Commission continues to stonewall my investigation and this governor continues to hide the truth.
Missing Christian: Ray and Jessica Nieto and their son Logan remember Christian, Logan's older brother, who was taken into the Texas foster care system and shuttled between five different families over the course of a few months -- before dying, in foster care, from head injuries at 16 months of age.
The data describing the various forms of abuse inflicted on foster children were compiled from information provided in 2004 by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services -- the same agency that abducted 416 children belonging to the Fundamentalist Latter-day Saints (FLDS) Church.
The pretext for seizing the FLDS children was an alleged report of sexual abuse from "Sarah," a 16-year-old "plural wife" in that community. That purported victim was supposedly impregnated at age 15; this meant, quite conveniently, that the procreative act violated a law passed by the state legislature specifically to criminalize the marriage practices of the FLDS community.
"Sarah" has not been found. I'm quite confident her supposed rescuers are displaying the same diligence in trying to find her that George W. Bush has manifest in hunting down Osama bin Laden.
That comparison isn't fair, of course: Bin Laden does, or at least did, exist. "Sarah" almost certainly does not. And the various spokespeople for the state of Texas who are responsible for massaging public perceptions of the atrocity at YFZ Ranch, have made it clear that it doesn't matter whether or not "Sarah" is found.
They've done what they intended: They've stolen the children, and they're not going to give them back unless they're literally forced to do so.
"I think some people have really focused on that [Sarah] but the reality is that her phone call is the reason we went out there, but it was not the reason for the removals," claimed DFPS shill Greg Cunningham. "The removals happened based on what we saw out there."
What, pray tell, did they see "out there"? We won't find out until a court-appointed "Special Master" has had a chance to review -- or, if necessary, contrive -- the "evidence."
Here's what the public has seen:
We witnessed a military assault, with armor provided by the Department of Homeland Security, against a peaceful, unresisting religious community.
We have seen happy, healthy, well-adjusted children who have been separated at gunpoint from loving mothers.
We have seen and heard women who have experienced the single worst thing that can happen to a parent -- the loss of a child or children -- present themselves with dignity and reserve in the face of arrogant aggression by a corrupt state bureaucracy (as if any other kind existed).
What we have not seen is any evidence that children were being abused in the FLDS community.
But there is ample evidence of systematic abuse of the most heinous kind in the foster care system into which the child-snatchers seek to place the FLDS children.
Front-person for a collectivist criminal syndicate: Marleigh Meisner, spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Family and Child "Protective" Services.
In 2004, noted Strayhorn, 38 foster children were killed; 48 were killed the following year. In addition, "about 100 children received treatment for poisoning from medications; 63 foster children received medical treatment for rape that occurred while in the foster care system; and 142 children gave birth while in the state foster care system."
"As alarming as these cases are," she continues, "we can only imagine how much worse the Fiscal 2005 data is because Gov. [Rick] Perry's Health and Human Services Commission has refused to provide the data needed to complete my investigation."
During 2004, "four-year-old twins living in the same foster home received medical treatment in the hospital for rape," recalled Strayhorn. "A five year old boy in the same foster home received medical treatment in the hospital for rape two days later. A 15-year-old girl who was not pregnant when she entered our state's foster care system in 2002 gave birth in February 2004....[A] 12-year-old boy died in December 2005, while in our state's care, at a facility that treats children with learning disabilities and emotional problems. The boy suffocated while being restrained from behind by an employee of the facility."
"The crisis is minute-by-minute and child-by-child," concluded Strayhorn. "I renew my call [to Gov. Perry]. He must act now to save children's lives."
Perry, or at least the government over which he presides, did eventually act to "save" children -- by conducting a potentially lethal military raid against a community where they weren't being abused, for the purpose of delivering them into a government-run system in which children are routinely killed, molested, and poisoned.
As an ABC News analysis points out, the DFPS legal strategy is to treat the people living in the YFZ enclave as a single household. In this fashion, under what the Texas government is pleased to call the "law," finding a single case of abuse within the community would be enough to justify keeping all of the children in permanent state custody.
Which means, of course, that they would become the property of a single collectivist "household." We could envision it as sort of a polygamous union between various foster homes and the state government, in its role as Parens Patriae. And in that collectivist household, abuse is widespread, frequently lethal, and protected by "law."
As legal proceedings in the FLDS custody battle began today (in -- as the bitter ironies continue to accumulate -- the Tom Green Courthouse), the presiding judge, Barbara L. Walther, was praised by all and sundry as the very soul of equity.
Judge Walther will give the FLDS "a fair shake," insisted attorney William Moore of San Angelo, where the case is being heard. Fellow attorney Guy Choate praised Walther for her command of details. And Robert Post, whom Walther defeated in the 1992 election in which she won her seat, insisted that the judge won't be a "rubber stamp" for the state bureaucracy, but rather will "make them prove it up."
Judge Walther may be the embodiment of competence; she may be the essence of good intentions made flesh. But either through professional blindness or something more sinister she failed her first, and perhaps most important, test today:
She did not issue an order to the DFPS commanding them to produce "Sarah," with an inflexible and immediate deadline to do so.
Walther is the judge who issued an extravagantly overbroad warrant on the basis of "Sarah's" alleged report. Today she admitted into evidence documents seized in that raid without confirming that there was a legal basis for the warrant.
This time they didn't burn down the sanctuary: It must have been a long, disappointing ride home for the raiders....
By relieving the DFPS of the responsibility to produce the alleged witness that was the basis of that report, Walther has graduated from commonplace offenses against the Constitution to participation in a criminal conspiracy -- assuming, as I think by now we should, that "Sarah" doesn't exist.
The criminal conspiracy in this case involves the attempted -- or, better put, not entirely consummated -- theft of children by a state bureaucracy with a financial interest in enlarging the ranks of its foster care system, however miserable or dangerous that system is to its enrollees.
A quick postscript....
Obviously, the FLDS child abduction scandal is an incredibly important on-going story. At the risk of trying the patience of those who don't find it as compelling as I do, it's my intention to devote a lot of coverage to it, while doing my best not to become monomaniacal.
UPDATE, April 18
It now turns out that Swinton was arrested on Wednesday night -- before the hearing began in Texas -- and that she called a defector from the FLDS Church with her claim to be 16-year-old "Sarah."
She doesn't look like a Mormon fundamentalist "child bride" to me.
"Sarah" may have been found. If this lead is reliable, the abused 16-year-old FLDS child bride imprisoned at YFZ ranch in Texas is actually a 33-year-old prankster from Colorado Springs, Colorado named Rozita Swinton.
The FBI and Texas Rangers reportedly traced the call to Swinton, and the Rangers were in town to interview her Wednesday night -- that is, the night before the legal hearing began in Judge Walther's courtroom. This tends to italicize the point I made above: Judge Walther should have made confirming the validity of "Sarah"'s charge, or at least her existence, the first order of business on which everything else was contingent.
If Swinton is "Sarah," the entire rationale for the raid is invalid, of course. Not that this would deter the state of Texas from keeping the FLDS children anyway.
I remarked above about the manifold and ever-multiplying ironies of this case. We learn now that it was an adult black woman who most likely made the "Sarah" call, an irony best understood by those who know that the FLDS sect, like pre-1978 mainstream Mormonism, teaches that people of African ancestry bear a divine "curse" and thus they must not "mix their seed" with the elect.
Here's an audio recording of Warren Jeffs teaching that point a few years ago.
Here's Jeffs quoting a sermon by Brigham Young on the subject.
Here's a photographic reproduction of an August 1954 address by LDS apostle Mark E. Petersen (he's the official who first described schismatic polygamists as "Mormon fundamentalists") laying out this doctrine in some detail.
To their credit, the leaders of the mainstream Mormon Church changed that doctrine in 1978.
(Hat tip: Grits for Breakfast.)
I'm greatly indebted to Connor Boyack for bringing this video to my attention:
This is the kind of horrifying, Soviet-style psychological torture regularly perpetrated by the child "welfare" system in Texas. Oh, but according to the testimony of Commissarina Angie Voss of the Texas DFPS, what is really scary is the sight of polite, cooperative, well-behaved children living in a small, insular, crowded, but peaceful religious community:
"Angie Voss testified she was escorted onto the YFZ Ranch in nearby Eldorado the night of April 3 by law enforcement officers. She was accompanied by a dozen case workers investigating complaints initially lodged by a 16-year-old girl named Sarah....
Voss said investigators hoped to find her among what they believed were about 150 people on the ranch.
In reality, there were more than 600 people there.
The supervisor testified that two men willingly let them inside after they had passed what she described as a guard tower several stories high with stairs leading to the top. She said there were men stationed at the tower.
She said she asked if there were any girls named Sarah living at the ranch. `They shook their heads and said there were no Sarahs living at the ranch,' Voss said....She said the girls filed in and appeared polite and respectful, but she was nevertheless concerned.
`It was a very scary environment — intimidating. I was afraid. I saw men all over. It felt like the schoolhouse was surrounded,' she said, `It was a fearful kind of environment.'
Six hours after being on the ranch and talking to a variety of girls, Voss said the decision was made to remove some of the children from the complex."
The situation was "scary" in what way? Well, y'see, there was this palpable sense of incipient violence hanging in the air like the scent of an impending thunderstorm:
"`I heard a report that a tank was coming on the property. Things were getting more scary to me. It was a situation of a very huge magnitude with so many law enforcement officers around,' she testified. The case workers wanted to interview the children in an environment that didn't seem `so scary and dangerous.'"
Which is to say: The situation was "scary" because of the presence of the paramilitary Berserkers who had been sent to help Voss and her comrades kidnap the kids!
So we're back to the old Bastiat formula for totalitarian government intervention -- creating the "poison" and the "antidote" in the same laboratory. Or, if you will, leaving the arsonists in charge of the fire department -- or the abusers in charge of the child "protection" apparatus.
Oh, and one last, and very important tidbit: Miss Voss has "worked" with the child survivors of the last significant venture in armed child "protection" to take place in Texas, the 1993 annihilation of the Branch Davidian community at Mt. Carmel.
On sale now!
Dum spiro, pugno!