April 18, 2008

Amerika, America…

Category: News — Ira @ 6:30 pm


“The right to be left alone is indeed the
beginning of all freedoms.”

—Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas

There’s been much fussing lately in the news and on the Net about the remote relig-ious compound raided by authorities in Eldorado, Texas. According to breathless news reporters, police received an anonymous call from a 16-year old girl inside the com-pound who claimed she was abused and raped. They descended in full force and re-moved more than four hundred children. Shipped them out by the busload.

Now the dust is settling on the raid. Seems like that call from the abused 16-year old may have been a fake, and the man the authorities claimed abused her was not in the compound or even in the state, and may not have been for decades.

It’s also come to light that the authorities had a contingency plan in place for some time. A plan to do exactly what they did, swoop in and raid the compound and forcibly remove its inhabitants. All they needed was a call precisely like the one they claim they got. Interesting.

If a splinter Mormon group wants to move to a remote desert area and establish a compound, that’s none of my business. It’s not how I’d live. I figure such people are probably a little kooky, but that’s about it. It’s a free country, in theory, at least. They are bothering no one. It’s their property. They should be secure on it.

So it’s none of my business if people want to establish their own little “heaven” on earth. Even a polygamous one. It shouldn’t be the authorities’ business, either.

Raids like this on religious separatists (and tax protestors) always make me uneasy. These people are obviously different. Very different. And very unsympathetic figures. It’s not hard to shrug and think they probably got what they deserved. That they should be compelled to re-enter the “real” world with or without their consent.

And who knows, perhaps bad things were happening in this particular case. I’m sure we’ll see pictures of all kinds of horrors. Hear solemn recitals of terrible accusations. Released strategically over time, in a trickle to keep our horror levels high.

But who takes the pictures? And who makes the accusations?

All details about the case are released from one source, the government. And I don’t much trust many governmental claims of any kind, let alone claims of this nature. The government surely isn’t going to admit it if a mistake was made. Or admit it if the children inside were not being abused, other than being forced to live in a remote communal compound with their parents.

The stark fact remains that four hundred children have been torn from those most naturally inclined to provide them security, nurture and love, their parents. Especially their mothers, who are heartbroken. Absent hard, serious evidence of real abuse, the children should be returned, and the trauma of separation ended. But I won’t hold my breath, because it likely won’t happen.

The children will be coached to say they were “abused.” Mark it down somewhere. The lurid stories will emerge. Duly recounted by breathless perfectly-coifed newscasters.

They will be medicated and “reprogrammed” into lifeless little model citizens. In the cold strangeness of unfamiliar foster homes. And that’s a shame.

Take four hundred kids at random from a mixed segment of our society and chances are high that a few of them are being abused at any given time. At least by today’s expanded definition of abuse. Whatever abuse happened in that compound, the same or worse is happening every day in the state-run high schools all across the country. Where contraceptives are dispensed to 13-year olds. Think about that.

So why were these particular four hundred children taken from their parents? Because of a single phone call that may have been faked?

It’s because their parents are visibly different. Because they separate themselves and practice a form of religion abhorrent to those who dictate what “normal” society should be.

It’s nobody’s business if people want to remove themselves from society and take their children with them. Certainly not the government’s. The freedom to live one’s life according to one’s conscience must be granted to all, regardless of religious affiliation.

Including separatist splinter-group Mormons. And people like the Branch Davidians, who were incinerated in Waco, Texas by Janet Reno in 1993.

Kooks, nuts, wackos all, in my opinion. But they had the right to be left alone. Instead, the Branch Davidians were burned alive.

If you’re thinking that fringe groups like those in Texas deserve to be targeted and are the only ones that will be targeted, think again. There are other groups out there that might be considered strange by mainstream societal norms. Groups that separate from mainstream culture and keep to themselves. Groups that dress different and teach their children who knows what in their own schools with uncertified teachers.

Like the Amish.

And no, I am not comparing the Amish to separatist Mormons, so don’t even go down that little bunny trail. Except to point out that both groups are different and both wish to be separated from the “world” in their own way. To be left alone.

If an intrusive government can move in, invade remote compounds and carry off the young children of Mormon splinter groups, how long do you think it will be before its agents remove children from, say, home-schoolers or the Amish? Amish lifestyle, romanticized as it is in the major media, could actually be considered pretty kooky by any modern standard.

It just depends on who’s judging. And who’s got the power.

It ain’t us. It’s usually some nameless faceless unaccountable bureaucrat.

The government, or state, wants malleable, compliant citizens. People who dare not resist as the state erodes our rights and freedoms, and confiscates more than half of what we produce through taxation. Taxation to support the very tyranny that oppres-ses us.

That’s why it must go out periodically and produce a show of brutal force as it did in Texas. Ship off kids in buses. Separate screaming, terrified little children from their helpless parents. Demonize groups and institutions considered outside accepted societal norms. To show the rest of us what happens if we dare get too far out of line.

The state wants dispirited, spineless slaves. And it wants your children. And it can take them at any given moment. Simply by launching vague undefined unproven accusa-tions of “abuse.”

It happens every day. It’s happening now in Texas. If you are a parent of a minor child or minor children, it could happen to you.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.


Hobbling painfully, she slowly pushed her cart into the checkout aisle as I was walking up with my two small items. I hoped she’d see how little I had and wave me ahead. She didn’t even look up and began unloading her cart onto the conveyor belt. Squelch-ing a mild twinge of irritation, I relaxed and observed.

It was a Friday evening and Amelia’s Discount Groceries was crowded with shoppers. Pay day, and most were loading up on Amelia’s specialty, items that have expired or are about to expire at a steep discount from regular grocery store prices.

She was an Old Order Mennonite of some sort, wearing a dark blue checkered dress and small, angled bonnet. She was old, in her eighties, at least, I figured. Her hands were bent and cracked from decades of unceasing toil. Hunchbacked, tired and worn, she peered through thick heavy glasses as she labored in slow motion to unload her cart.

The cashier greeted her cheerfully. She said nothing. Perhaps a bit hard of hearing, I thought to myself. She struggled to lift a jug of milk. I almost stepped forward to assist her, but thought better. Stay out of it. She might be startled or intimidated by an “English” man abruptly intruding. I observed her items.

Besides the milk, a few boxes of crackers. Bread. Some other packages of this and that. Then she lifted a plastic bag of meat. Cut-off ends from packaged slabs, various brands and flavors. A couple of bucks for what appeared to be three or four pounds. Scraps.

I knew people fed such scraps to their dogs. Somehow, I didn’t think she was buying them for her dog.

She finally placed the last item on the counter. I wondered if she was a widow. Maybe. Probably. No way of knowing, really.

The cashier rang up the total. Nineteen bucks and change. She fumbled with her purse with stiff thickened fingers and extracted a worn little money pouch and withdrew a crumpled $20. The cashier returned her change and helped place the loaded plastic bags into the cart, and pleasantly thanked her.

She replied dully, “thank you.” The only words she spoke during the entire transaction. As I placed my items on the counter, she hunched over her grocery cart and hobbled slowly toward the exit.


Emboldened by my bean soup success a few weeks ago, I have been expanding wildly into the vast exciting world of crock-pot cooking. After the first success, I decided that Ellen’s old crock pot wasn’t up to par. It was tall and narrow and the on/off switch was broken and had to be manipulated with pliers. So I went to the mall and bought a new one for twenty bucks. Oblong and more shallow, at four quarts plenty big enough for my needs.

I shared the second batch of soup with my friends Paul and Anne Marie Zook. They made all the appropriate noises of appreciation and claimed they liked it. Cody, their son, told me flat out, quite honestly, that he didn’t care for it at all.

When I was at their house last Sunday evening, Adrianna, their five year old daughter, leaned over to whisper something in my ear. I bent down to catch her words.

“Cody and me fed your beans to the dogs,” she whispered conspiratorially.

“You did WHAT?” I exclaimed.

“We fed your beans to the dogs,” she repeated, giggling.

“All right, time to ‘fess up,” I said sternly, turning to her mom. Anne Marie looked em-barrassed. Paul was suddenly very interested in how things were going for me at work. But I stuck to my interrogation. What had happened to my bean soup?

Turned out that after serving the beans for two meals, she had discarded the remnants that remained. Sent the children out to feed them to the dogs.

Of course, I made a huge fuss, roaring loudly about the futility of giving good food to ungrateful people who won’t eat it. And feed it to their dogs, yet. Wild threats were made about not sharing any future dishes.

The children claimed the dogs wolfed the beans right down. I don’t doubt it. It WAS good soup. I expressed snide appreciation that something had enjoyed my culinary skills.

It was too funny. We laughed until we almost cried. Out of the mouths of babes….

Summer weather is here. Summer itself approaches. The hiking trails call. Last Saturday I mowed the yard for the first time this year. Unhappy with the new “mulcher mower” purchased last year, I returned it to the young Amish dealer. He cheerfully applied my purchase price to a slightly used but very serviceable Honda. Not self-propelled, with no bells or whistles. And definitely NOT a mulcher. It hummed along beautifully. The yard looks great. Even stripped of the tree out front.

The PA airwaves are clogged these days with Hillary and Obama ads, urging primary voters to the polls next Tuesday. I’m so sick of their pandering tripe that I mute the radio when their ads come on. Both promise to take from the “rich” and expand social programs, a sure-fire recipe for disaster. And a sure-fire expansion of government powers.

I finally lost the five pounds gained over the holiday season. Down to 202 pounds again, which seems to be my natural plateau.

This site has now passed 50,000 hits. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Reminder to those who promised to write out and send me their memories of Elmo Stoll. Please get them to me. I will need them soon.



  1. I couldn’t help but wonder how Cookeville TN would have responded if we would have been raided and all the children taken.

    I shed some tears for that old Mennonite woman. Staying with my Dad and watching him grow more feeble by the day gives me a soft heart for old people.

    Comment by Katie Troyer — April 19, 2008 @ 9:20 am

  2. At least every time they announce the name of the religious group they carefully point out it’s “in no way connected the the Morman faith.”

    Crockpot cooking can be fun and rewarding. I’m perfecting my own brand of chili.

    Comment by Reuben Wagler — April 19, 2008 @ 3:32 pm

  3. Amen on the whole Texas situation! When I tell people that was totally uncalled for, they suddenly look very horrified and start backing away and muttering something about young females being molested. I don’t believe one tiny bit about the young female that called the police.

    Fellow Americans, it’s time to wake up and show some back-bone.

    Great post!

    Comment by Andrew Yutzy — April 19, 2008 @ 4:36 pm

  4. I warmly disagree with you on this one. Anytime I am content to be a part of a harem, please do not try to stop anyone from trying to deprogram me. Any time I think it is the norm to have my children be half-siblings to one hundred other children, please allow someone to debrief me, preferably Godly people.

    The person (I cannot call him a gentleman) in Bountiful, BC struts like a rooster in a hen house. In his interview with Larry King he boasts multiple wives and around 100 children, all without shame. There are many sick situations in this world. This is one of the sickest.

    Comment by JDW — April 20, 2008 @ 1:10 am

  5. Hear, hear. There is hardly a greater freedom than the right to be left alone. I am increasingly disturbed about the seemingly little evidence the Texas authorities had before they ever went in to raid this compound. They went in knowing that they would likely have the sympathy of the general public if they just throw a couple of unsubstantiated allegations in for good measure. Child abuse is one of the most abhorrent crimes imaginable and all they had to do is level the accusations and like so many mindless sheep the public believes the government.

    The media are also doing us a huge disservice when it comes to reporting on stories such as this (gulp, shockingly!). They completely forget that in our system we supposedly have the presumption of innocence and they report with the assumption of guilt. They can get much better ratings if they sensationalize the story, not to mention some media who just flat out report according to how it best fits their agenda.

    Comment #4 makes a good point about trying to talk some sense into people who are part of such nutty lifestyles. The main problem with this comment is that the government does not have any moral authority to decide what is kooky and what isn’t. If we allow the government the power to make such decisions where will they stop? Will they come into your house and seize your children because you brainwash them into believing they were created by a Supreme Being instead of a descendant from some ape? What if they decide your idea of forcing them to go to church against their will every week is child abuse?

    Please do not misunderstand me. If these morons force little girls to have sex against their will they should go away until time is no more; however, I think there is very little evidence of this, and just being nutty is something we all have a right to in this great nation.

    “Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature.” Ben Franklin

    Comment by Ed Yoder — April 20, 2008 @ 7:05 pm

  6. You make some very interesting observations on this civil liberties stuff. I agree with you in principle, but on this specific case I beg to differ with you. Last winter Julie got a book called ‘Escape’ by Carolyn Jessop. If you want to hear how things really are read this book.

    My dad always says God gives children to the parents he does for a reason, and I agree with that, BUT (I’m sure you would agree) some parents forfeit their right to their children. Similarly, I would argue that some groups forfeit their right to their children. This is one such group.

    Not only do they practice polygamy and child exploitation, they indoctrinate their children to such an extent that they honestly do not know better. Nuff said. If you think I’m wrong, read the book.

    Comment by Jason Yutzy — April 22, 2008 @ 3:35 pm

  7. Amen. It will not stop with a religious group in Texas. Granted, living in a community with those beliefs on a secluded compound is not how I’d choose to live, but it is how THEY chose to live. Those people who recoil in shock and horror at that sentiment should understand. It will not stop with religious groups.

    The PATRIOT Act itself, and the wording of many of these so called “laws” purveyed by the perhaps not so, by and large, Constitutionally minded folks in Washington D.C. and The Administration in particular leave the door open, even to the point of considering people who espouse our own Constitution as terrorists. It should concern us when we have Congressmen that say words to the effect of, You would place a piece of paper (i.e. the Constitution) over the saftey of this land? (Saftey, being an ambiguous idea, especially when it comes to those who enforce the law wanting to violate it, to ‘protect us’, but appealing to fear is usually a big tactic of gaining coercion)

    Or a president that says “This whole thing would be alot easier without the Constitution.” So this will run the gamut from religious groups to ‘dissenters’ to tax protestors and everything in between on individuals and groups from ideas, movements, ideaologies any one of us may or may not agree with.

    Be concerned my friends, not of terrorist boogiemen, but of Tyrrany. The rights we enjoy will not be upheld by the government, they are upheld by responsible voters and citizenry. This thing in Texas is simply another step. And the Government, be it State or Federal, will find something else to stick to those people.

    Comment by Matt — April 26, 2008 @ 10:49 pm

  8. Actually, it has happened already to the Amish. If you dig into Amish history you will find that there were a few western states that took children away from their parents when they refused to sent them to a public school. I am not sure what year it was, probably in the fifties.

    I agree with you that our government is on an out of control rampage, but I am sure you know by now what kind of sicko this Warren Jeffs is. Bottom of the barrel scum stuff! To state it kindly! I am sure there are many innocent kind people in his cult, though.

    Comment by Paul H — November 18, 2011 @ 2:25 pm

  9. Interesting read. You’ve mellowed a bit with age. It seems.

    I read the book Jason Yutzy mentioned and felt so sorry for the children. The men in this cult were pretty much broke all the time so their “wives” and children had to go on welfare. The first wife couldn’t because she was married legally. These folks took full advantage of the system.

    You’re right though, the children should not have been separated from their mothers like that. Poor little lambs. The whole situation was lose-lose. Warren Jeffs gives me the creeps. Ick!

    I agree with your statements about the govt. being incapable of deciding what is right and what is wrong. Any entity that is Godless is clueless. And yup, they will be coming after pastors soon enough who preach God’s ways over government’s ways from the pulpit. They’ve already warned Christian counselors they are to keep quiet on the homosexual issue. They can’t advise the man who’s seeking their help to find another way to live. It’s so stinking stupid I can’t believe I’m even writing it.

    Keep thine eyes to the skies. That’s what I’m a doin’.

    I enjoyed the clip you wrote about the elderly Mennonite woman. People are so interesting-their faces, their eyes, their hands, their voices. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when I don’t want to see any people. They annoy me, drain me of my energy, talk too much. But all-in-all they can be intriguing.

    An older Yugoslavian couple moved into my building about nine months ago. I love them. The she of the couple loves gardening in her humble plot of earth. I always stop and chat with them on my way up to my place. This evening I mentioned a birdbath might look good amongst their plants and flowers. Yeah, uh-huh, they looked at each other puzzled. He said, Yeah we got one hanging there. No, that’s a birdhouse. Oh, yeah. It looks like a bowl. For the birds. With water. I’ll have to find a picture of one and show it to you. Yeah.


    Comment by Francine — October 2, 2014 @ 1:07 am

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