[AKidsRight.Org] Ignoring 'best interest of the child' - maybe we are wrong?

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From: John Murtari (jmurtari@AKidsRight.org)
Date: Fri Apr 06 2007 - 11:41:37 EDT

Good People & People of Faith,

Sometimes an experience makes you re-think your beliefs.  I believed
our goal, briefly: 
Good, average, and poor are all equal & fit parents.

When I hear a case, I try to apply that and see if I can accept the
result.  So far, I've always felt confident we were on the right
track, we had a Civil Right that was worth sacrificing for....

Well, I heard one a few days ago that made me think. It should make us
all think.  Maybe we are not succeeding because we are just plain
wrong?  Sacrificing for a goal that just isn't right?

Sometimes the facts are vague, a lot of 'he said' and 'she said' --
but I've got this one on a good record.  Pardon the disjointed list,
but here are the UN-CONTROVERTED FACTS:

1. Aging man marries foreign woman 24 years his junior in an arranged
marriage and brings her to the United States.  She has no family here.
She doesn't speak English.

2. The man, an earlier immigrant, never completed any schooling.  The
woman only elementary training in her home country.

3. They live in a small rural town. The man is a manual laborer. They
do not drive a car, no phone, no bathtub or shower.

4. The woman conceives at the age of 38 and doesn't know she is
pregnant.  Gets no prenatal care, miscarriages.  Becomes pregnant from
the man again and the child dies in delivery.

5. At the age of 40, becomes pregnant again! Only through a C-Section
is the child delivered.  They are kept in the hospital for over a week
before being sent home.  Neighbors report the child is 'occasionally'
bathed in the kitchen sink.

6. Father is proud, does not want any 'social services' help.

7. The child is 'hyperactive'.  The mother, on advice of her husband's
sister, tried tying the toddler to a table with a rope to keep him
from roaming.

8. The child starts elementary school and neither parent ever makes an
attempt to talk to a teacher or come to a school event.  Teachers
report he has clean clothes, but smells bad due to limited/no bathing.

9. Discipline is still a problem at home. The mother hits the child
almost weekly with a razor strap until he cries.  However; there are
no long-term marks, never a doctor visit required.

10. The child does not recall his father every saying, "I love you."

11. With no car, the child, at about age 7, is given money and rides
his bicycle into town for quick grocery trips.  He is given money to
buy his father cigars and a local merchant supplies them.

12. The father goes to a local bar almost every Sunday and walks
home drunk.

13. On other weekend outings they are driven by the child's Uncle to
another relatives homes where all the men play cards and get drunk.
It is about an 8 mile drive, and when coming home the child, mother &
father, drive back with the Uncle who is clearly DWI -- but has never
yet been caught by police.


I went back to the goal we have 'promoted' for reform:

--------- http://www.AKidsRight.Org/approach.htm
That you and your spouse are both considered Fit & Equal parents
(equal in terms of both physical and legal custody).  If anyone (a
spouse, relative, social services) wishes to challenge that, you have:

1) The right to counsel.
2) The right to be presumed a fit parent, innocent, and deserving of
an equal relationship with your kids.
3) The right to protection of a jury.  The "state" needs to prove you
were a demonstrated serious and intentional threat to your child's

I try to apply that here.  A lot of stuff bothers me, the razor strap
and the DWI -- but there is no 'malintent' here.  No one is trying to
hurt the kid, just doing what they think is right....

I know we all hate 'the best interest of the child' -- but what about
this poor kid. He's got a mother who is 47 and a father at 71!
Shouldn't we 'force' and get a Social Worker in there?  Tell the
parents what to do -- give them a plan and also support services.
Finally, if they don't comply, shouldn't we move this child before his
life is ruined?  If the child does make it to be a teenager, when he
is 16, his dad will be 80! Not going to play a lot of baseball there!

Let's be real.  You know I want Congressional Hearings, if
Sen. Clinton were to review the facts above and then ask you -- "Do
you want this committee to believe these are fit parents, that social
services does not have the right to intervene to help this child?"
What would you say?

Well, this case is actually a few years old.  There was no intervention
by Social Services, no court order.  Here is what happened to that
innocent 7 year old boy that has made me stop and think:


14. The child loves both his mother and father dearly.  When asked,
both mother and father say they love their child very much.  That he
means the world to them.

15. The child is President of his Senior Class in High School.

16. On his own initiative he completes an application for a
Congressional appointment to the USAF Academy -- he is accepted.

17. He is an Honor (Cum Laude) Graduate of the Academy with a degree
in Astronautical Engineering (real 'rocket science'). When the caps
are thrown in the sky during graduation, both his mother (age 62) and
his father (age 86) are in the stadium.

18. He completes Pilot Training, flies an Air Force jet at supersonic
speeds.  Becomes a jet instructor pilot.

19. On his own initiative, with no pressure from his aging parents, he
abandons his AF career (and dreams of becoming a Space Shuttle Pilot)
to care for them.

The 'rest of the story'
That former 7 year old boy, who smelled bad, is the one typing this
email message.  My uncle was never caught DWI by the cops and I have
since improved my bathing habits!  Please don't be afraid to stand
next to me at our rally in May!

To those 'uncontested' facts, I can obviously add many more instances
of love & caring from friends and relatives, but especially both my
father, Domenico, and my mother, Caterina.  You can guess, they are on
the home page of my family web site, http://www.murtari.org/

I would not hesitate to tell Sen. Clinton, or anyone else who asked,
'NO, the government has no right to intervene in my families life.'

At times I count myself lucky that I was born 50 years ago.  I don't
think I would have survived with my family today.  I worked off my
ADHD by running around fields -- I would have probably been medicated,
psycho analyzed, and with great sadness, separated from my parents.
What a terrible tragedy.

Many of you wonder why I go to such risks for reform?  I knew what
great love is from my parents, my dad never had to say it, because he
showed it EVERY DAY of my childhood.  Many of you know the same
torture I have been through all these years since my contact with my
son, Domenic, was limited by a court deciding 'best interest'.  All
the love I wanted to show him -- and was not able to.

It is only in 'action' and more specifically, NonViolent sacrifice,
that I have found peace of heart and converted that anger & hatred
toward the 'system' into powerful actions based on love.

When more of us really BELIEVE, perhaps we will become ready to
sacrifice some of our future and comforts to guarantee our children
never experience this type of treatment.

Today is 'Good Friday' -- little bit of an oxymoron?  They nail a
living man to a cross and we call it a good day!  Whether you believe
he was the Son of God or not, we all should admire Jesus of Nazareth.

He did more than just 'say' the right things.  It was a 'Good' day for
all of us when he had the courage to convert those great words into
loving self-sacrifice.

Happy Easter!
                                       John Murtari
Coordinator                            AKidsRight.Org
jmurtari@AKidsRight.Org                "A Kid's Right to BOTH parents"
Toll Free (877) 635-1968(x-211)        http://www.AKidsRight.Org/
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