Taking the children out of the picture: This FLDS couple was able to rescue their children from State-funded kidnappers in Texas. Thanks to the Supreme Court's refusal to hear a case in Illinois, other parents across the nation won't be so fortunate.
James Redlin, a high school teacher from Illinois, will never know the name of the conscientious citizen who disrupted and nearly destroyed his family. All he knows is that when he came home from a brief trip on a train with his six-year-old son his wife Susan, told him that an official from the Department of Child and Family Services had paid a visit.
Using the threat of seizing the son and sending him into foster care, the DCFS official had
extracted from Mrs. Redlin an agreement to sign a family "safety plan." The plan required that James be subject to 24-hour supervision of all contact with his son. A typical household would be hard-pressed to meet that demand. The Redlins confronted the additional difficulty posed by the fact that Mrs. Redlin was confined to a wheelchair.
Mr. Redlin's supposed "offense" was tickling his son during a train ride.
The child "protection" worker determined that the Redlin home was unsafe through the use of a 15-point checklist called the Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol (CERAP).
Checking a box next to any of the 15 "safety factors" is considered sufficient justification for state intervention in the home. No tangible or objective evidence is necessary in order for that threshold to be reached: The subjective and self-ratifying perceptions of a child "protector" are sufficient.
Once a home has been deemed unsafe, the investigator now has the option of imposing a "safety plan" on the household. This can be done through an ex parte communication with a family member who is not a suspected abuser, as was the case when DCFS extracted a "safety plan" agreement with Mrs. Redlin.
And as the Redlin case demonstrates, the preferred method of securing parental agreement is blackmail. The standard "safety plan" document contains language stating that "failure to agree to a plan or to carry out the plan may result in a reassessment of my home and possible protective custody and/or referral to the State's Attorney's Office for a court order to remove my children from my home." (Emphasis added.)
This form of intervention can be triggered by an anonymous hotline call involving either parent, any child residing in a home, or any resident relative or non-relative. Not surprisingly, nearly every parent or caretaker confronted with a "safety plan" backed by the threat of kidnapping the children ends up signing the agreement. To the child "protectors," it is of little moment that more than two-thirds of all investigations conducted in this fashion are determined to be unfounded -- something akin to a miracle, given the expansive and capricious definitions of "abuse" and "evidence" employed by child-snatchers across the country.
It's common for "safety plans" to continue, along with the threat to remove the children from their homes, even after the accused abuser is cleared of all charges. And of course, even when normalcy is restored, parents are left with the formidable task of reconstituting a family that has been torn asunder through state violence -- even when the children are permitted to stay.
Stacey DeLaFont didn't have her children seized by the state, nor was anybody in her household charged with abuse. Instead, the child "protectors" ordered Mrs. DeLaFont to evict her husband Stacey, a pre-school teacher, because he had been anonymously accused of abusing children at school.
Although the DeLaFont children were not taken away, the teenage son (who was never charged with a crime) was initially required to stay outside the home. After being exiled from his home for a few weeks, the son was permitted to return as long as he had no
"unsupervised" contact with the younger children.
This meant, among other things, that Mrs. DeLaFont remain awake all night long to "supervise" her son until he left for school.
How the child-nappers see themselves: A 19th Century illustration depicts a stern but kindly caseworker sheltering a shattered child from his deranged termagant of a mother. The sex roles may have changed, but the conceit remains consistent. For the reality, see the Waco photos below.
Tactics of this kind are familiar to even the most casual students of the ongoing child "protection" atrocity in Texas involving the FLDS Church. But it must be understood that incidents of this kind happen across the country every week, probably every day.
With their children under the threat of being kidnapped and -- perhaps permanently -- sent into foster care, parents are compelled to sign documents that ratify the abduction, legitimize continued state control over the children, and amount to an admission of abuse by the parents. And this is done before a formal investigation of the charges begins; not only are the parents in such situations not guilty of any crimes, they're not even formal suspects.
A week ago, shortly after a divided Supreme Court issued a flawed but necessary decision recognizing the indispensability of the habeas corpus guarantee, the High Court to use the familiar awe-encrusted expression we're expected to apply to that body of unremarkable lawyers) refused to hear an appeal in the case of Dupuy v McEwen, a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of thousands of parents whose children had been kidnapped and used as blackmail leverage by child "protection" officials in Illinois.(.pdf)
This means that the Court left unmolested, as a controlling precedent, a Seventh Circuit Court ruling written by former federal Judge Richard Posner, a reliable exponent of totalitarian State power.
Writing of people confronting demands made by people who can kill to enforce their demands, Posner blithely dismisses the idea that parents given an ultimatum to sign a "safety plan" or lose their children are subject to coercion. In either feigned ignorance or genuine dishonesty -- in his case, it's difficult to tell which of those traits is on display -- Posner professes puzzlement that "giving people more options" is seen to make them worse off:
"We can't see how parents are made worse off by being given the option of accepting the offer of a safety plan. It is rare to be disadvantaged by having more rather than fewer options. If you tell a guest that you will mix him either a Martini or a Manhattan, how is he worse off than if you tell him you'll mix him a Martini?"
How easily disingenuousness degenerates into depraved dishonesty.
A victim of child "protection" zealotry: These are the charred remains of a two-year-old who died on Mt. Carmel, April 19, 1993 (see below, left).
A genuine host doesn't obtain a "guest" at gunpoint, as the state does when its agents thrust themselves into a home and confront the parents with a "safety plan" ultimatum.
A "guest" isn't forced to select between alcoholic beverages at gunpoint; every demand made by those employed by the state, on the other hand, is accompanied by the threat of lethal force. And of course, it would be a singularly unsuitable host who would compel a teetotaler to choose an alcoholic libation in the first place.
It is the state, not the parents, that has the advantage of "more rather than fewer options" where blackmail is used to extract a "safety plan." This should be obvious to any mind not polluted with incurable dishonesty or irretrievably hostage to statist assumptions.
Posner is regarded by many to be in possession of a subtle legal mind. I've yet to encounter any evidence that he is better educated, or more persuasive, than an unexceptional high school debater. He is the author of a recently published assault on reason entitled Not a Suicide Pact, in which he sets out a doctrine of wartime presidential dictatorship that is, in some ways, more ambitious than that pronounced by the Bush Regime.
Reduced to its evil essence, Posner's view of government power is that the state draws its legitimate authority from necessity -- as perceived by those who execute that power -- rather than the Constitution. Under Posner's variety of positivism, whatever action a government official deems "necessary" must therefore be legitimate.
Posner has written that the president "can do anything if the emergency is dire enough." The Bushi'ites have extended that principle to include the sexual torture of children in order to coerce the parents into confessing terrorism-related crimes, or providing intelligence about the same.
(One imagines Posner protesting that characterization: "How is it `coercing' the parents in that scenario to be offering them more options? They can either confess or inform on their friends, rather than simply refusing to cooperate and thus enduring the anguished screams of their child as his testicles are crushed.")
Under the reign of an administration that claims the power to torture children in order to secure the cooperation of his parents, the use of actual or threatened child abduction to compel parents to surrender their parental rights is hardly a surprising development.
If there is something you value, or someone you love, the State's agents can and will use it, or him, as a hostage against you.
This is particularly true for those who are engaged in the singular adventure of raising a family. For parents, the endeavor is in many ways an unguided tour through the dismal landscape of their personal inadequacies -- a venture laden with those awkward and embarrassing displays of poor judgment and inexperience we can, with sufficient time and distance, recall as "learning experiences."
It's never too early for parents to learn that the State will seize their children on the basis of a single anonymous tip and blackmail them into admitting something as a price of getting them back.
A personal note...
My family just returned from a business trip to Los Angeles that turned into something of an unscheduled vacation: We took a tour of the Eastern Sierra mountains on the way home. Please excuse my lengthy absence, and be sure to check in for new essays over the weekend.
On sale now!
Dum spiro, pugno!