Haven’t heard much about Justina Pelletier, a young girl I had previously written about who was for all intents and purposes, kidnapped by the Boston Children’s Hospital with the legal authority and weaponry of the State of Massachusetts. Her crime? Being a sick young girl whose parents had opted to follow the medical advice of their team of doctors from Tufts Hospital over the well-connected authority of BCH. After a year of state sponsored medical experiments, she finally returned home to Connecticut, and Google searches reveal nothing about her since then. The state it seems, is no longer concerned that her parents are abusing her medically. More likely, they decided they could no longer dance their macabre dance of tyranny in the public eye. Not that they could be wrong. No, it will always be presumed by weight of the legal records that the state had the moral authority to steal this child from parents who were unfit to decide what was in the best interest of their child, and it was the parents who should forever be ashamed of the year long near-death imprisonment of their daughter at the Boston Children’s Hospital and Penitentiary.
Maryland too has had to correct parents gone astray. Child Protective Services in Silver Spring rescued the ten and six year-old children of Danielle and Alexander Meitiv after their children were found alone in a Silver Spring park earlier this month. The Meitivs are “free-range” parents; a ridiculous term that, one assumes, is to delineate them from the “helicopter” variety of parents so prevalent today. (Disclaimer; I’ve logged a few hours in my own “Kid-Sikorsky”. Mine may have felt that they were independent and on their own; not so much. Stealth dad as it were…)
Again, the state decided that instead of picking the kids up, they’d just hold on to them for a while. The kids had promised to be home by six; they were two blocks from home when the police picked them up and held them for over two hours before sending them to Child Protective Service ten miles away. They finally released the kids to their parents at ten-thirty, four hours later than the kids had intended to be home and ten miles farther away then the two blocks they could have covered in less than fifteen minutes. Probably less than five minutes if the police had just brought them home.
Who in their right mind let’s their kids wander alone these days, especially kids that young? Makes me think of my school days though; We lived within, just within, the minimum distance that would have allowed us to ride the school bus and we walked or rode our bikes to school every day. State law, you see. We were state-sponsored “free-range kids” before it was cool. By law. But of course, back then, we didn’t have all these nut-jobs waiting in the bushes or lurking in some dark, broken-down shanty in the neighborhood the way we do now. Oops, my mistake. Of course we did. And we have them now only because we’re not allowed to restrict them from “adjusting” back into society or lock them up forever; and heaven forbid we be allowed to know which houses they may be occupying on the state enforced “free-range” walk to school. No, I don’t allow my kids that kind of freedom, whether they think I do or not. And it’s a good thing too or they’d be cooling their little heels in the back of some squad car or locked away in some comfy little state-sponsored juvi-hall, ala Justina Pelletier, victims of parents so horrible that the state just has to step in. Nothing worse for a child than his parents.
I’m usually all about parent’s rights, but still ready to admit to and scream about the idiots among us who shouldn’t be allowed to raise a potato plant let alone a child. I’m pretty damned consistent about it too. The “free-range” idiots are placing their kids at risk; one I wouldn’t take. But we’ve assigned guilt to them for things that might happen; might happen because we’ve allowed society and our neighborhoods to devolve into areas where our children can no longer roam alone. It pisses us off that these boneheads let their kids walk alone and so we attack them; it’s easier than fixing the problem we should address. But the state knows best. We can’t be too inhumane about the cretins that make our streets dangerous; instead, let’s lock up the kids that can’t follow the rules. Parents just can’t be left alone to decide. Or can they?
Okay I’ll bite. Why then do we celebrate the courage it takes for a parent to decide they want to send their child down the path of gender reassignment at the ripe old age of three? Or Four? Apparently, little Jacob, formerly a little girl named Mia informed her parents that she wanted to take the “free-range” walk down transgender lane as young as age two and hey, Boston is enamored with their strength and courage. This is no mere tomboy phase we’re assured; it’s the real thing. The four year-old told us so. She’s only two years away from getting busted for walking alone to the park, but we’ll set her on the path to self-mutilation and years of therapy, quite content in the knowledge that the parents are doing the right thing for their child. This time; on this issue.
Let the hate and derision begin. I’m bigoted. I’m evil. I’m hateful, spiteful, and probably a whole of bunch other things I’m sure I’ll shortly be made aware of. And let’s get the other stuff out of the way as well. No, I don’t know what they’re going through. No, I don’t hate people who are different. It just seems that we’ll bend ourselves into all sorts of contortions for the malady-du-jour, and no I’m not making light of this as much as it pisses me off.
We indulge these illnesses, without even letting this child approach an age where she can be exposed to others around her as she starts to mature naturally. We make no assumption that she may grow out of this or may develop a mechanism to cope, never truly supporting her in the body that she is in, fully exploiting and amplifying her illness, setting it in stone in her psyche as we wait for the opportunity to permanently disfigure her body to match? Is this not in fact, cruel? Of course, we’ll be told that we’re cruel to let her suffer, how horrible it will be to make her wait until she gets old enough to rationally make this monumental, permanent change on her own. If she felt her left hand didn’t belong to her, really felt that way, would we also encourage her to remove the right? If she were anorexic, would we feel it was cruel to help her see her body in reality, to help her accept and understand the fact that her mind is broken and the problem is not in her weight? Or would we acquiesce, tell her yes, we agree, please eat less, you’ll feel much better about yourself dear. We don’t encourage any other of these types of illnesses; we don’t pat ourselves on the back for our courage to indulge them. Why this one? Do we really believe that we’re doing the right thing when we have what in reality, is a very basic and rudimentary understanding of the complexity of the mind, let alone the brain itself? Do we really believe this is the cure, and believe it so strongly that we’ll do anything we can to make the change easier, faster, and more “natural?” Are we really so worried about her being too “different” to be accepted, by others as well as herself, that we’d make her infinitely more unique? Or is that the goal? If she told us she really believed she was a bird, would we take her to the rooftop and toss her off, hoping that in some way she’d eventually be able to fly?
Go ahead, throw the darts, but I can’t wrap my head around this one. I would suffer along side of my child, encouraging her and helping her to reach the age of maturity, helping her to understand that she can be whoever she wants to be; the girl she wants to be. But I would never encourage her to live this confusion, to give up fighting against it until she was old enough to rationally, competently make this decision on her own. And until she spends any time exploring what it means to be a girl, to be the body nature developed her to be, to have her first crush, to watch other boys develop and mature around her, then these parents are just allowing her to walk to a distant park, all alone and unprepared for either the journey or the destination.
At the end of this walk, the cops can’t bring you back home.