The FLDS raid is certainly hot news. I admit I am interested, though not in the “freak show” mentality many seem to have about the FLDS and their quaint (or many would say “oppressive”) lifestyle.
And so, while watching Nancy Grace last night, I was disturbed, and grew more so as the show wore on.
For me, the climax was probably this statement:
“Keep in mind these are 416 abuse victims we are talking about here,” thus authoritatively declared the talking head, citing his justification for taking them from their homes and keeping them as wards of the state. (The name and position of the talking head is irrelevant. Suffice it to say he was as distanced from the scenario as I am.)
I wondered “Do they really have hard evidence for 416 specific cases of abuse? How about soft evidence? Do they have any evidence to cover even half that number? A fourth? A tenth? Evidence of even one instance of abuse?”
The answer is no. They have nothing more than an unsubstantiated accusation from an unknown individual, supposedly not in the compound at the time of the call nor in Texas currently. The accused (Dale Barlow) has not been in Texas for some time. And this necessitated the break-up of 139 families? Why was this necessary? Isn’t there something about warrantless searches and seizures in the Constitution? Due process?
As if in response, the talking head told us that the justification for the raid (again, from his authoritative high ground) is that these individuals are brainwashed. Their leaders tell them what to do, and apparently every action they make is through following direction. Apparently, they have no present capacity or ability to make their own choices. (How do we know this? What is our evidence for these accusations? Why are they unquestioned?)
Let me be clear that I oppose abuse in all its forms: sexual, physical, emotional, etc. Nor do I condone polygamy as a lifestyle. But to me, those are not the issues at stake. The issue is what the government may or may not do with barely a shred of evidence. Where is the evidence of abuse here?
Nancy Grace and her pundits were shocked that these women would leave their children alone to go back to the ranch. They neglected to mention that this was because they were forced to do so. They also neglected to mention how their cell phones were confiscated.
The most disturbing question has come to me since this viewing experience. I wondered if an anonymous tip from an anonymous source (yet to be located but presumably wasn’t even in the compound at the time of the call, and is now presumed to be outside of Texas) accusing a man who wasn’t there (Dale Barlow) of something untraceable could provoke the tearing apart of 139 mothers from their 416 children, what would it take to tear my wife and children from me? What would it take to get them back? These are disturbing questions with more disturbing answers, in light of this recent FLDS raid.
I encourage those interested to visit Connor Boyack’s article, Brooke Adams’ polygamy blog for the Salt Lake Tribune, and especially Guy Murray’s blog. All is not well here, and I don’t just mean in the compound.