Tuesday, August 29, 2017

On Parental Rights

Years ago the Progressive magazine had a despicable article titled "Invasion of the Body-Snatchers". What made it so despicable is that the message of the article was that social welfare people swoop in and remove kids from their parents, without good reason for doing so.

I knew from available stats that nationwide only about 30% of abuse and neglect claims get confirmed by the social welfare people. And in my state, Kansas, the figure was only 12%!

I further knew that even for cases that were able to be confirmed, public policy mandated that the children were to be placed with their parents if at all possible. Temporary placement with relatives or foster care was sometimes an option, but the resources of the agency were always to be directed toward "reintegrating" the kids with the parents.

After that horrid article I personally boycotted "Progressive" magazine. However, now comes a similar article in "The New Yorker". An article in the August 7th and 14th issue, entitled "The Separation", reveals its bias when it starts out, "What should you do if child-protective services comes to your house. You will hear a knock on the door, often late at night. You don't have to open it, but if you don't the caseworker outside may come back with the police." The whole article is written from the point of view of the parents, and as such is hopelessly biased.

In point of fact, caseworkers have a horribly thankless job in trying to protect children, while still showing proper deference for the rights of the parents who have abused those children. They deserve our gratitude, not our condemnation.

Follow-up note.  To its credit, "The New Yorker" in a subsequent issue published three letters making the same points I make above.  From the first:  "Although preserving families is a noble goal, it is not always in the best interest of the child....The heartbreaking truth is that termination of parental rights is sometimes in the best interest of the child."

From the second:  "Confidentiality laws don't allow caseworkers to speak about their cases; however, I wish MacFarquhar had done more to give them a voice".

From the third:  "MacFarquhar sees a system that's rigged against parents. Rather, it is a system that, day in and day out, believes parents' denials and excuses, spends taxpayer dollars to provide services for problems that are largely intractable, and fails to protect children."

All I can say is, a big AMEN.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Some NFL Issues

Two players dominate sports talk radio these days--Ezekiel Elliott and Colin Kaepernick.  The Elliott matter just came up a few days ago when Commissioner Roger Goodell handed down a 6-game suspension for a series of domestic violence incidents a year ago with his ex-girlfriend.

Some commentators whine vociferously that this is unfair because Eliot was never charged with a crime. This is a totally irrelevant point.  The NFL conducted an intensive year-long investigation, and went into the matter in considerably more depth than a city prosecutor ever could have.  It seems some people don't understand that we have prosecutorial discretion in this county, meaning that prosecutors get to pick and choose which cases they want to pursue with criminal charges, and which ones are not worth the expenditure of their limited time and resources.

One especially ignorant commentator on CBS sports radio complained that the NFL should turn over all of its evidence to the city prosecutor for prosecution. The idea that any prosecutor would want to pursue this at this late date is ludicrous. What would be the point? We are talking about  misdemeanor violations by someone with no prior criminal record, meaning the defendant, even if found guilty, would surely get probation, or perhaps a deferred prosecution agreement would be entered into prior to trial. We are not talking about a serious felony here.

The NFL proceeded correctly by doing an exhaustive investigation.  Perhaps the 6 games is too long of a suspension, but certainly the NFL wants to send a message that domestic violence simply will not be tolerated. And it might turn out to be just the wake-up call which Ezekiel Elliott needs, in order to grow up and become the good citizen which the NFL wants its players to be.

And somehow, the Colin Kaepernick saga continues to receive hour upon hours of air time. This is an absurd phenomenon.  What gets commentators (and callers) all riled up is that Kaepernick has yet to receive a job from another NFL club, after he left the 49er's at the end of last season.

People argue that he is one of the 96 best quarterbacks in the country, as if that should settle things.  Of course Kaepernick had the right not to stand for the national anthem, which is what started this whole controversy almost a year ago now.  And of course NFL owners have the right not to hire him, if they feel he is not a good fit for their organization for whatever reason. End of story, let's move on to something worth talking about.