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June 30, 2006

I've Had An Op-Ed Published At Reno Discontent

My op-ed about fathers' rights ugly support of Darren Mack has been published at Reno Discontent. It's about time the truth about the ugly nature of fathers' rights activists gets out for the public to see.

I've sent the same op-ed to other newspapers. If it's printed, I'll let everyone know.

Update: This is the op-ed that was published.

Father’s Rights Groups Let Their True Colors Show
by Trish Wilson

Darren Mack, a wealthy resident of Reno, Nevada, stabbed his wife to death and shot the judge hearing his divorce case. This case has been the talk of fathers’ rights forums. Fathers’ rights groups state that they are only concerned with helping dads see their children. Their comments on Internet forums have shown the public the truth - that these men blame the court system for when angry men harass, attack, and murder. These men also blame feminism and ex-wives for supposedly setting up a system that discriminates against men.

Fathers’ rights activists lobby for presumptive joint custody (a. k. a. shared parenting). They also seek to reduce protections for battered women. They want laws that would lower their child support obligations. They claim that courts discriminate against fathers. The court system may discriminate in isolated cases against men, but overall it does not. Most divorcing couples settle their cases without needing a judge to make their decisions for them. These couples agree that the mother should have sole custody of the children because they recognize that she had been the primary caregiver of the children from the beginning. In the cases where fathers make an issue of custody, they get some form of it more than half the time. Most of the time they get joint legal custody, but there are more cases today where fathers are able to get joint physical custody. These contested cases make only about 10% of all divorces, but they include "problem" cases like domestic violence and child abuse, power and control issues, personality disorders, mental problems, and alcohol and drug abuse. This minority is not representative of most divorces.

Fathers rights activists have supported and excused what Darren Mack had done. The message they are sending is that if their demands are not met, there will be more violent episodes. These statements from Internet forums need to be shown so that the public knows that fathers’ rights activists are not concerned with children or with fair outcomes in divorce.

Randy Dickinson is vice-president of the Coalition of Fathers and Families in New York. This group supports a presumption for joint physical custody, a. k. a. shared parenting. A recent shared parenting bill had died in committee, much to the consternation of fathers’ rights activists. Dickinson had written a letter to legislators about fathers’ rights. He included an Associated Press story about the Mack shooting. In his letter, he quoted John F. Kennedy, saying that, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver took this as a threat, and the State Police were called. Dickinson tried to excuse what he had done, but he spoke another threat. He said "they cannot continue to ignore our issues and refuse to provide any relief or accommodation, without encouraging violence from those more inclined to express their frustration and anger in that manner." The quote, he said, "was meant to emphasize that one of their own heroes and an icon of the Democratic Party warned them that the lid cannot be kept on people’s passions forever, without expecting trouble."

The messaqe is loud and clear - do what we demand or face the consequences.

The following message, from Nevada Parent, who is a leader of a Nevada fathers’ rights group, wrote "The NEW TERRORISM! Judge Chuck Weller of Washoe County Family Court has people (both men & women) running from his courtroom in TERROR. He threatens to take your children, your freedom, your property! Weller uses whatever tactics to force you to submit to his imperial demands and tyrannical orders. Every story from each person that I have talked to in my investigation has similar experience. They are terrorized and don’t understand why he is being so aggressive when they’ve done nothing wrong. Does Weller ever rule on the law or does he just rule on his whims? Contact Nevadans for Equal Parenting by clicking the link or by email to begin a dialog in Washoe County […]"

Angry men are also posting at the fathers’ rights Usenet group alt.child-support. One had commented that "[y]ou start persecuting men, you’re only asking for trouble. Maybe all these CS agency workers should start wearing bullet proof vests to work?" Another had written, "Why? Headshots are harder. Much more satisfying I’ll grant you, but much, much harder to get on a first shot." A third commenter had written, "My guess is that for every one that actually goes through with a shooting, there are many thousands who have considered it, and probably quite a few who actually locked & loaded only to back down at the last moment. Makes you wonder how many of these maggots wearing the black robe have come about as close to death as one can get and haven’t a clue."

Men at the fathers’ rights forum Stand Your Ground had also written in support of Mack, saying that when fathers’ rights demands aren’t met that the public should expect such violent reactions. One of the most unsettling comments applauded Mack’s actions. The commenter wrote "I applaud these kinds of actions. Men and Fathers are at war with their respective governments. If the "enemy" is to sit up and take notice, there must be casualties. Very few of the enemy have suffered casualties; most deaths on our side have been in their jails, or through suicide from those that have surrendered. Those that experience collatoral damage end up homeless and/or in Rescue Missions. I’ve thought of the violence angle; violent fathers and such and I don’t believe that applies in judge shootings. These incidents make it more expensive for these black robed thugs to operate their fiefdoms. Now they have to buy bullet proof glass. Darren Mack, if you are the shooter, I salute you. Any law enforcement officials reading this; while I support these actions against black robed thugs and jack-booted cops, I don’t encourage any father/husband to waste their own life in this fashion. I would be proud if you were to add my name to any "Patriot" database maintained by your department." Another commenter sought to blame feminism for the shooting. He wrote, "Repeating my favorite mantra here: "…Feminism made this happen. Feminism made this happen. Feminism made this happen. Feminism made this happen. Feminism made….." But repeating the mantra isn’t enough. In all such cases, one must ascertain exactly HOW feminism made X happen, so that it can be made known to the rest of the world at the same time that you are chanting the mantra. As it is written:"By their fruits ye shall know them." We must be able to identify the Fruits of Feminism, and say exactly WHY they are the Fruits of Feminism, and…establish the linkage in the public mind — clearly and distinctly. And not just the DNA continuity of the ideological fabric, but the actual causitive nexus — the actual agents and operators. For example, the situation we are discussing here (apparently) grows straight out of the Bradley Amendment of 1986, which was a direct outcome of efforts made by people clearly identifiable as feminist ….wasn’t it? Thus, the Bradley Amendment, and the Reno courthouse situation, are both clearly identifiable as the Fruits of Feminism….aren’t they? I think that we must train ourselves to think this way."

The Alliance For Non-Custodial Parents blog also included supportive statements. ANCPR was founded by Lowell Jaks, who spent time in jail for kidnapping his son. ANCPR included a statement demanding shared parenting and no child support to prevent such actions from happening in the future. The following message was posted at ANCPR:

"Extreme prejudice against the spouse or parent who earns the most income may well be the common factor in this shooting in Reno Today. We talked to members of the same Fathers Rights group of Reno, which Darren Mack belonged to, and they all agreed, that this kind of violence would NOT happen, ifSˇ IFSˇ

1. Judges gave Both parents equal time with their children,

2. No involuntary child support was ordered, because each
parent would ∏support∑ the child when they had the child."

Here is a small sampling of the comments that were left on the ANCPR blog by fathers’ rights activists:

The fact that judges have immunity from prosecution is criminal and a complete farce.
These scumbag judges act under the color of law knowingly violating the Constitutional rights of the litigants. Only when someone becomes completely despondent that they take the law into their own hands and serve justice on their tormenters.

There∂s only one wat to stop this nonsense! Stop paying!

The harder the courts pushes people the harder they will push back. This bastard judge lived - this time. Next time he will not be that lucky. And there will be a next time because he is a bigot. Eventually, he∂ll push another person to the brink and they will kill him. Unfortunately, this is the only way a victim of this the family court can get justice - by killing the judge.

This judge all like him get absolutely no sympathy from me. Here∂s a solution: Have judges in family court (now there∂s a contradiction in terms) only limited to five year terms and and for every complaint against them such as violating someone∂s due process because it helps the custodial parent then they aren∂t allowed to work for a year; hey, better yet, sned the jackass/bitch to jail for three months for each and every violation accrued to be run consequetively. Then maybe they won∂t be so eagar to assholes.

I do not condone this type of retaliation. However ∏you reap what you sow∑ and evidently this judge had it coming. I am in this very situation in Tennessee. I am paying $1005 per month to the child∂s mother whom I was not married to, while she does not work but fishes and hunts 10 to 18 days per month. (Yes she∂s a lesbian now.) All the while I have the child more than half the time??? I am being rail roaded as we speak. I will fight it tooth and nail until it is settled fairly. I will not however shoot the judge. God∂s vengeance will be much worse than anything I could do.

Of course it∂s not justifiable. I don∂t think it∂s absolution WarriorPoet, but rather it∂s ∏I told you do∑ Or ∏it∂s been in the making∑. People have been telling people that this type of thing is going to happen. Men have snapped over the system and have lossed everything and have gone to extreme ways of veangance.

Judges and attorneys should take note and watch their backSˇThis is only the beginningSˇIt takes this kind of extreme to deal with another extremeSˇAnd for those dirty judges and cock roach vampire attorneys who look upon men/fathers as only a paycheck, not people with ∏rights∑ hahaha/just mention rights and the law in a court and see how fast you are told to pay moreSˇ You assholes (and you KNOW who you are) that make up the law as you see fit, this could just be your future coming to a place near you soonSˇvery soonSˇ and more oftenSˇ.

The real glitch is that justices will hand out even more PFA∂s like candy now. Soon to be ex husbands will be considered armed and dangerous. Incidents like this can and might have an adverse affect on allot of us men out here.

The public needs to know how harmful fathers’ rights activists really are. These men are not concerned with the welfare of children. They are angry and vindictive. They recommend that domestic violence protections be gutted with claims that women frequently fabricate false allegations of domestic violence and child abuse. Bona fide false allegations are rare; no more common in the context a divorce or custody case than they are in the general population. Fathers’ rights activists also promulgate the myth that men and women are equally abusive. The vast majority of victims of domestic violence are women. Fathers’ rights activists seek to get out of paying child support, which they claim is too high. In fact, on average, fathers contribute only 19% of their incomes to their children’s households. It should be made clear to reasonable people that anyone who supports what Darren Mack had done does not have the best interests of children in mind. Fathers who need help in their divorces and custody cases should steer clear of fathers’ rights groups. Those groups only incite anger. Good fathers deserve better than that.

Posted on June 30, 2006 at 11:33 AM | Permalink

Comments

Saw it and it looks great!

Posted by: silverside at Jun 30, 2006 11:55:54 AM

So when you say you sent the same op-ed to other newspapers, do you mean the same as in word for word or the same as in pretty similar?

I do some freelance writing myself and I don't know if you've ever submitted to a paper before, but usually they want something to start with around 850 words. That looks like a lot more than that.

If I may be so bold....

Also, you might want to rework the first part and try to alternate long and short sentences a little more. Rhythmically there are too many short sentences in quick succession and it comes off a little choppy.

Posted by: Dirk at Jun 30, 2006 12:11:53 PM

Trish,

Sorry to go off the topic....But I was just wondering why I couldn't comment on some of the older threads.

Posted by: Beste at Jun 30, 2006 1:20:23 PM

I had to close the older threads because I was inundated with comment spam. The older posts tend to attract spam. I'm in the process of closing trackbacks to the older posts. I'm planning on keeping about the latest 30 or so posts open, and closing them as they age.

Posted by: The Countess at Jun 30, 2006 1:24:14 PM

Oh, I know it was too long, Dirk. I sent a shorter version to most of the newspapers.

And thanks, Silverside. I enjoyed writing that op-ed. Hell, I enjoy writing everything, no matter what the subject.

Posted by: The Countess at Jun 30, 2006 1:25:26 PM

Have you read Phyllis Chesler's "Mothers On Trial?" I highly recommend it so you can be more aware of the facts and figures.

In the 7 year study Chesler conducted, it was found that in 83% of custody disputes, the father was awarded custody. When he appeals, it's 90%. Abusive men are 9 times as likely to seek custody.

It is a myth and nothing but sheer propaganda that mothers are primarily awarded custody in custody disputes. Ditto goes for the myth that fathers are primarily the child support payers.

A Philadelphia lawyer I spoke to recently backed up Chesler's findings. She said in all the years she has been practicing, she has yet to see a father not get custody when he asks for it.

So show me a father that hasn't been awarded custody and I'll show you a father who chances are, didn't ask for it or who couldn't be bothered with showing up in court. Mothers primarily get custody by default when fathers fail to show up.

So this gives us an idea how many of these Men's and Father's Rights activists are downright deadbeats. That could care less about children and custody until it hits them in the wallet via child support.

Even so, I had a lawyer in S. Dakota tell me he has yet to see any man file for custody of an infant. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why. Infants are too much work. Men are only interested in children when there's little care involved and they can serve *him.*

Children have always been traditionally viewed as the property of men thoughout patriarchal history. It is only very recently in history that mothers ever got custody. That occurred when the Child Labor laws came into being. When fathers could no longer exploit their children, children became a liability instead of an asset. Men abandoned their families in numbers and continued to do so until the Child Support Enforcement Act came into being. The act came into being because men saw an 80% increase in their standard of living after they abandoned their families or went through a divorce. Women and children saw an 80% decrease. The overwhelming numbers of women and children living in poverty became a burden to the state. And thus the Child Support Enforcement Act came into being.

But leave it to men to bastardize the law and reverse it all to serve and benefit themselves. It is after all his system and it was created, structured and maintained to serve and benefit him. Which makes MRA's accusations all the more ludicrous. To refresh their memories, when our laws came into being, women, people of color and Native Americans need not apply. The law was there to give white men power they were not entitled to and take what did not belong to them. Talk about special rights! Our entire system is based on special rights for white men! Any erosion of these special rights and white men squeal like pigs and cry "foul!" And of course reverse it all and claim the opposite of what is true - that women, people of color and Native Americans want special rights. Nah, let's put things right side up, shall we? Our laws were meant to give white men special rights and power and privilege. And boy oh boy do white men get ticked off if any of their brothers fails to remember that and doesn't put their best interests first. No matter how unjust that might be. Because it has never been about justice. It's always been about POWER.

But anyways, men now see benefit and profit in keeping custody of the children. But it started off at first with joint custody. Commonly in joint custody, mothers still do all the primary care, and fathers just get to play Disneyland dad and not pay child support. Pretty slick, huh? But then men began to see even more benefit in getting sole custody of children. They mostly still don't provide primary care. It's still not uncommon for women line up around the block to do all the dirty work for him. While he takes all the credit for it and proclaims himself to be a single dad and is held in high esteem and receives status for it. Compare that to how a single mother is viewed. Quite a double standard, no? As far as I'm concerned, he might as well be claiming he is a slave master. I see little difference between the two. Especially when one recognizes how an abusive man can now control and continue to abuse the mother through the children and how difficult it makes it for a battered woman to escape the abuse. This looms large when one realizes that there is a woman being battered every 9 seconds in this country and 60% of women and have experienced violence and abuse from men who supposedly love them. A friend of mine in criminal justice just compiled the statistic I just quoted from actual data.

To add insult to injury, men can now demand child support from mothers. As if we're all equal and playing on the same level playing field now. **rolleyes** This is so insane on so many levels that I don't where to begin. You cannot apply equality to unequals! Because it results in more inequality! Just think of a lopsided scale. What happens when you apply equal weight to both sides of a lopsided scale? I rest my case. The boys, however, hope you don't notice that little detail tho and will just pay attention to the equal weight being applied. It serves them well.

The bottom line is that women can now be raped, forced to carry a pregnancy, and bred like a dog. Her pups can be stolen by him and she forced to pay him for it no less.

If one can't see the danger in this, than I suggest they pull your head out of their behinds. Women are being domesticated like animals. And that has long been a goal of the patriarchy. Because his hierarchies rely on the control of women and their bodies. Without it, there can be no hierarchies, such as racism. It is totally dependent on the control of women. Because if women had been freely allowed to reproduce with men of their choice, race probably wouldn't even exist today! Men need heirs to maintain their structure. And to do that, men must control reproduction. They can't reproduce themselves so they must control those who can. Women. And men figured out long ago that the best way to control women is through their children.

Little wonder MRAs are so violent and rabidly anti-feminist. What we have are a bunch of very angry white boys that are severely ticked off that women and people of color got out of the box during the 60's and 70's and they started to lose control. They are now testerically trying to pull out all stops to stuff us back in. But I've got news for them. We're not going back and this is their last huzzah. But as the dragon dies, he whips his tail frantically. Which makes these times very dark and dangerous for women. It's going to get a lot worse before it gets better. So buckle your seatbelts and hang on, cuz it's going to be one helluva ride.

Posted by: Luckynkl at Jun 30, 2006 4:48:09 PM

Hi, Luckynkl. I've seen you post outside blogs but I can't remember where.

I was wondering where the 90% custody to fathers when they contest came from. I forgot about Chesler. I have "Mothers On Trial". I've seen other figures ranging from 50 - 70%. The fact is that when dads make an issue of custody, he usually gets some form of it. It used to be mainly joint legal custody, but now more often it's joint physical custody. Those cases tend to stay in court, they stay contentious, and they cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Ann White wrote for the Florida Bar Journal that abusive fathers are more likely than non-abusive parents to fight for custody, not pay child support, and kidnap children.

You wrote: "The act came into being because men saw an 80% increase in their standard of living after they abandoned their families or went through a divorce. Women and children saw an 80% decrease. The overwhelming numbers of women and children living in poverty became a burden to the state. And thus the Child Support Enforcement Act came into being."

I've seen different figures. I've seen women's standard of living drop by about 40% and men's rise about 15%. Where did you find those figures? They're new to me. They don't sound right.

The child support problems can be blamed on welfare reform. I don't have a source at the moment, but I recall that most dads with custody don't ask for child support from moms. Moms pay less in child support than most dads do because they earn less money.

I don't agree that all dads are out to get moms. The guys in the fathers' rights movement definitely are, though. The sad thing is that they are a very vocal minority that is affecting laws that affect all moms and dads. I do know that the fathers' rights movement came about in direct response to gains made by the feminist movement. It's a backlash, and it's an ugly one.

Posted by: The Countess at Jun 30, 2006 5:05:48 PM

Trish,

I just finished reading your op-ed piece and I feel sick to my stomach. It hits home for me as a victim of DV, I guess that feeling of fearfullness never goes away. I hope that the readership in the newspapers can fully comprehend what you have written and how dangerous these violent, gun totting men are to anyone who gets in their way.

In their own words, in a terroristic manner, they are saying that more violence is to follow. Most bizarre is that Darren Mack had 50/50 custody and soon he would have been able to motion the court for an end to the spousal support since their marriage was considered short term. The FR supporters should have been using his case as one that could be a model for custody compromise and equality. The amount he (was supposed to have) paid for spousal support would have been taken off the settlement in the end anyway. Nobody had to die for this case, Mack is a cold and calculating murderer, not a good and loving father who wanted more contact with his daughter. Keep writing these articles and maybe someone who can stop the insanity will read them. Good job.

Posted by: justonemom at Jun 30, 2006 5:11:06 PM

I've seen you post outside blogs but I can't remember where.

"On Sex Positiveness," Feminista.

Posted by: Alon Levy at Jun 30, 2006 8:14:54 PM

Justonemom,

You're right. It's the basic dilemma with any abuser. It's never enough. The don't play nice or share with others. It's delusional to think they will. Once they get joint custody, they want full custody. Then they want to eliminate visitation. Then they look for ways to step up the intimidation of your friends and family, destroy your livelihood, leave you homeless, ad nauseum.

Last year, we posted here a lot on Chris Rhodes, the custodial daddy who had everything--despite two orders of protection that we know of and a big drug problem. He got full custody. The mom never even got to see her daughter, was chased off, threatened. Probably helped that Chris's daddy was the former Highland Falls, NY police chief. So he's got everything he wants, right? Should be happy, right? Nope. Stabbed hs little girl to death in the elementary school bathroom. After he's arrested (cocaine was found in the house btw), the miserable little f--- tried to frame another inmate. I truly fear that we are going to see a spate of homicides from fathers who got the whole package: full custody, total elimination of visitation from the mother, you name it. But it won't be enough. Because they can never get the total control they crave.

Posted by: silverside at Jun 30, 2006 8:30:00 PM

My understanding of that judge, as told by Reno natives, is that he ruled his courtroom unevenly and unfarily, handing down arbitrary judgements based less on oral arguments presented to him and more on his mood that day. This kind of "loose cannon" harms everyone, not one sex exclusively over another.

Let's hope for the sake of both fathers and mothers (and ultimately their children) that he never returns to the bench.

While the perforation of bad guys like him doesn't make me feel too awfully bad, I have to wonder why Mr. Mack did not first seek redress through the "State of Nevada Judicial Discipline Commission" (http://judicial.state.nv.us/) if he felt so wronged. Of course, as with most encounters with the legal system a decent lawyer would probably have served him better than anything else he'd tried. Why don't these father's rights organizations run someone against crooks like Judge Weller? Heck, from what I understand about the judge it wouldn't be hard to get a few women would vote for his replacement, too.

Darren Mack wasn't pushed to the edge. He walked to it willingly, led by a carrot held by the very groups he put his faith in, passing numerous , less violent, steps along the way. It's too bad really. Both sides of the argument have something of value to contribute to the discussion. I prefer to choose the side of the children, which means in my mind all loving parents are welcome. Occurrances like Mr. Mack trying to bypass the legal system by murdering his estranged wife and trying to kill the presiding judge (crook that he may be) tends to polarize people and close productive disucussions. We should resume our regularly scheduled bickering instead of focusing on extremists who would exist outside any law we create.

Posted by: Dennis at Jul 2, 2006 2:16:15 PM

I've seen comments from both moms and dads denouncing Judge Weller. I agree with you Dennis - there were better ways for men and women who appeared in his court to address their concerns. Shooting Weller was not a good way to handle it. With Mack's money, he could have afforded a good lawyer who would have represented him well.

Posted by: The Countess at Jul 2, 2006 2:28:57 PM

Thank you Countess,

I'm a man who who hired a TERRIBLE lawyer (she tried to get me to lie on the stand) and also being a participant in the local Head Start's "Nurturing Fathers" program, putting me in a position to hear ALL the stories, I say that the biggest problem isn't a judge or the laws, it's legal representation. A judge with militant biases doesn't help, but even they get tired of being overturned on appeal, and begin to operate within a state's legislated rules. Good lawyers can help keep bad judges honest.

Posted by: Dennis at Jul 2, 2006 3:01:33 PM

I don't know much about Head Start's "Nurturing Fathers" program. Can you tell me more about it? I know about the "Responsible Fatherhood" initiatives, which are more concerned with collecting child support than anything else.

Legal representation is a big problem for both men and women. Women tend to earn les,and they can't afford the retainer for a lawyer. A retainer can be several thousand dollars, even tens of thousands, and that's a lot of money to come up with at one time. This is especially the case for women marreid to abusers and/or control freaks who take them to court over and over again. Very few lawyers do pro bono work in family law. If you need good representation, it will cost you money. One lawyer I know who represents women in abuse cases costs a staggering amount of money. Most women can't afford him, but if they can he gives excellent representation. The problem is the women who can't afford him. They're left finding lawyers with no experience in domestic violence and child abuse cases, and that hurts the women.

They guys I've seen who can afford a lawyer get sucked into the fathers' rights mindset, and they sue for everything they can. They end up unhappy with the results. The lawyers, GALS, custody evaluators, and parenting coordinators pocket all that money, and they run laughing to the bank. It's a big problem. Dads need good lawyers who will help them without getting them caught up in endless litigation. I don't know what to do for them, because there is so little out there to really help them. The "divorce industry" father's rights activists complain about came to because of the fathers' rights push for shared parenting. They really can't see it. They don't understand how they've fueled that industry.

My lawyer never had to deal with me lying on the stand because I always told the truth. I didn't have to lie. I had the facts behind me. He was a very good lawyer. He told me once that my divorce was the worst one he had ever seen. He did what he could for me, and he was very fair to me and my ex. I wanted him to be fair. In the end, I retained sole custody and I won a moveaway. I also had a judge who was known to play hardball, but the way I presented myself in court and with my lawyer's help, I was able to help the judge see what was going on. My ex's lawyer pulled out all the stops, but I recognized that he was just doing his job. I simply told him how he was off-base about what he said about me, and I corrected him - to the judge. One thing that helped me was that I stayed calm throughout my case. I was in court for six years. It helped me that my ex and his family didn't present themselves well. My lawyer caught my former mother-in-law lying on the stand about me. I can't remember the details, but I was bowed over when it happened. This was about a decade ago, before the father's rights stuff caught on an divorces became more expensive with the ad-ons.

I wish you could get some help. I don't know how to advise you. As you know, I can't give you legal advice because I"m not a lawyer. All I can say is be a good father to your children ( I can't remember how many you have; I think it's one, but I'm not sure), and don't badmouth your ex no matter how tempting. It's hard to do, but it in the long run it's the best thing to do. I never badmouthed my ex to my son. I always made sure he called his dad, since my son hates talking on the phone. That reminds me ... I have to call him tomorrow. He's getting ready to go to college. He's majoring in computer science. He's taking a psychology course, too. He took psych. in high school, and he loved it. He's good at figuring people out. It will be a good class for him.

Posted by: The Countess at Jul 2, 2006 3:52:34 PM

Our local Head Start's Nurturing Fathers program is totally disconnected from the courts and does not cover any issues of child support or other court orders.

It's 13 weeks, one night a week. Upon completion you are invited to attend their once a month reunion group where fathers can discuss and resolve parenting issues. The often spoken phrase in giving support is "all of us is smarter than one of us". The original class breaks down the "manly man" and shows us better ways to set positive examples for our kids and guide them through life calmly.

http://www.cacsheadstart.org/

They have a great handbook for the students. Their site is nothing special and doesn't mention any parenting classes but I'm sure you could e-mail the and ask for one of the Nurturing Fathers handbooks. I was given one but bought two others for $13 each after the class finished so I could give one to the judge and one to the opposing counsel.

If someone in your area is serious about getting these classes going they can contact Jeff Keener at Head Start.

I have one son, Samuel, who is 9. I can e-mail you a picture of him but I won't post it online. Since my friends call him "mini-me" when they see us together I figure it's close enough to give you a picture of my ugly mug. This is me:
http://my.core.com/~dleahy/.photos/DigicamPhotos/JeepGuy.jpg

Posted by: Dennis at Jul 2, 2006 4:45:25 PM

I work for a community action agency with a Head Start program, and you better believe that Head Start is now pushing fathers rights. They had a whole conference a couple of years ago in Texas devoted to it. There is funding to push "father involvement" without much interest in what the father's relationship to the mother or child is, or whether there is a "history" with the guy in question. My own agency, sad to say, hosted a "fathers nights out" with pizza, games, etc. (Paid out of grant money that was available for father involvment only). They have NEVER hosted an equivalent event for moms. And, sad to say, I will admit here that I actually talked them into this party--as the least of possible evils. They were thinking of doing a program to bring in "legal advise" for fathers, just as had been recommended at the Texas conference. I told them I thought it was discriminatory, and talked them out out of it.

The FRs, for all the complaining about money that goes into VAWA (god FORBID we should help crime victims with federal funds) seem to think its just fine to waste taxpayer money on this nonsense.

Posted by: silverside at Jul 2, 2006 4:51:20 PM

Silverside,

My experience in my specific class and subsequent reunion group meetings is that the men involved all questioned why there weren't identical classes for mothers, too. You'd probably be suprised to know that the men in my group felt bad that the mothers didn't have the opportunity for such a good class.

Because it was a group of men, father's rights issues were discussed but the conversation always came back around to becoming a better father. Upcoming legislation was never discussed and we were never encouraged to take any position other than one of a loving father.

I wish there were classses like this for mothers!

I agree with your statement that they don't appear to do much checking on the father's background, but that's because they take public funding and many of the people in the class were sent by the courts. When the state signs your paycheck you can't exactly turn the courts down. It's unfortunate, really. I gave a guy a ride home from the group once and on the way home he admitted being convicted in another state of sexually molesting his toddler while high on pot. He admitted that he was taking the class to improve his image in court. Frankly I think the only thing that could improve his image is an obituary. He hasn't been back to the group, so maybe he was sent along less publicly, I don't know.

100 years ago it would have been nothing to distpatch this feral human, but with today's forensic science serving society in such a way would deny MY son his father. I got home and took a shower instead. I felt dirty just being near the guy.

This class should serve to the benefit of our children. It's good that there are people like you acting as a check and balance to make sure it doesn't stray too far from it's original purpose. Keep up the good work, and let's hope that women get one soon!

Posted by: Dennis at Jul 2, 2006 5:55:52 PM

Silverside: "I work for a community action agency with a Head Start program, and you better believe that Head Start is now pushing fathers rights."

What I don't like is that these Head Start fatherhood programs are getting millions of dollars in funding while services for women are being cut. There are no classes like "Nurturing Fathers" that are the equivalent of "Nurturing Mothers". Mothers are seeing funding for programs that cater to them getting the ax, while fatherhood programs are getting funding. While there are some individual cases that these fatherhood programs may be working, overall they aren't. Most of the fatherhood programs to date concentrate on child support collection and dads getting better jobs so that they can pay the child support the states want them to pay so that the state can be reimursed for welfare money. It's horrible. Then there are the marriage initiatives, which are nothing more than social experimentation. The government has no business telling women whom they should marry, especially because she had been impregnated by a particular man. When it comes to young women in the mid-teens they are most often impregnated by older men who are often already married. Marriage promotion does no good in those cases.

Posted by: The Countess at Jul 2, 2006 6:03:51 PM

Dennis: "My experience in my specific class and subsequent reunion group meetings is that the men involved all questioned why there weren't identical classes for mothers, too."

The reason there aren't any classes like that for mothers is that programs affecting mothers have seen their funding cut. Food stamps, child support enforcement, domestic violence centers, and the like have experienced funding cuts. Fatherhood programs are getting the funding. Milliions of dollars of it. Access is more important that what is best for the children, the mother's concerns, and safety.

Dennis: "I agree with your statement that they don't appear to do much checking on the father's background, but that's because they take public funding and many of the people in the class were sent by the courts."

That's a big problem as far as I'm concerned. A lot of father in these programs likely have domestic violence and child abuse issues, but the push for shared parenting has elevated their access rights over what is best for the children. Women today can't protect themselves. Why were these men sent by the courts? Supervised visitation? Other serious problems? There are few protections for women and children with these programs. While I can see how they can be effective for fathers who want to do right by their children, they can be used as a means of controlling women by fathers with ulterior motives. And that's happening.

Dennis: "I gave a guy a ride home from the group once and on the way home he admitted being convicted in another state of sexually molesting his toddler while high on pot. He admitted that he was taking the class to improve his image in court."

That's exactly the kind of situation I'm talking about. Did you report him to the worker who was in charge of the group? That kind of behavior needs to be outed, for his child's protection.

Posted by: The Countess at Jul 2, 2006 6:12:08 PM

I do not know much about any statistics other than my own case. My ex filed for the divorce after I asked for and got 3 restraining orders. The first was the temp order, the second was a non-violent contact order, and the last was a no-contact order due to my ex violating the temp order and also due to him threatening me and my family to a friend of mine. In his original motion to the court he asked for sole legal and physical custody, requested that I pay child support (all with no job at the time) and also asked that I maintain life and health insurance. Life Ins for me and health ins for our child. Kind of difficult to do with no job and no transportation to get to a job.

So in only knowing my case, in my case, men do ask for child support. And what is sad if you figure child support for both of us depending on who had custody, he would be paying 17% of his pre-tax income to support for our child. I would have to have my obligation lowered due to state statutes say they cannot take more than 50% of the income of a parent. So how is that for fair?

Posted by: Neenna66 at Jul 2, 2006 8:34:31 PM

Ha Ha. Dennis, my biggest fear when in the hospital giving birth to my twin sons was that someone would switch one of my handsome little boys with one of their own and it looks like that may have happened...check out my teenaged son's MySpace pic. Joe looks like he could certainly be one of your kids and even more so if he hadn't had the hat covering his own sheared head... Ha Ha.

http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=11821846

Posted by: justonemom at Jul 2, 2006 8:43:02 PM

Trish... Twice I've been arrested. Once, when I was seventeen and the other when I was
eighteen. You imagine being arrested as in the state vs yourself. I was a boy who had to
fight off an unjust system that automatically requires the police not only to investigate
but also to aprehend and charge male"suspects" (thats how I was reffered throughout
both of the procedings) who are being accused by their girlfreinds in the case of alleged
spousal abuse. Twice I was raped. Twice I was judged. Twice I was found not guilty. Twice
the judge ruled there was'nt enough evidence to convicted me thus granting me an aquittal.
Twice the judge ruled it was a matter of he said she said stating furthermore that there
was'nt enough evidence to prove the alleged victims my accusers, were in fact lying.
Twice my accusers perjured themselves before the courts contradicting themselves wich is
ironically what set me free. Do you think they've ever been charged with public mischief?
I don't think so. We live in a world where women are free to do whatever the hell they
want to do. I have seen women manipulate entire bar fights. I have witnessed women
manipulate men to brutally assault other men or women. What about the dead beat mother??
Care to comment? Women's this, women's that ect... The woman's ego needs to be checked.
Women are there own worst enemies. What you don't understand, is that comming from a young
man's perspective, the image of today's woman is that she is a whore. Our governments have
protected women to the point where they've grown up in such a position of power that
they've become arrogant. It's like they think they could get away with just about everything.
Do you have any idea how difficult it is to find a descent girl? I could on and on about
the subject. In conclusion our own women have been turned against us. Its all about
breeding and theres a whole batch of spoiled and rotten women out there. Our society grows
more and more violent. Women are not fit to parent and discipline adolescent teens. They're
too lax and too "understanding"(like in Hollywood) the teens our futur are egotistical
ass holes. Anyhow this single parenting crap has got to end because soon it'll be the end
of us. The state should not involve itself in family matters. Children are being born into
loveless relationships because of women. Its all the woman's fault and I'll tell you why.
The woman should have selected herself a good and proper mate. The woman chooses the course
of our evolution. Before a man can engage into any kind of sexual engagement, he has to
woo a woman who'll decide the fate of the relationship. It seems that everything in our
society encourages women to be free and experiment with their sexuality. Love is like the
stock market. It's built on trust. Theres no trust in lust. What's there to build on
without trust. Nothing. I beleive women have impoverished themselves their children and the
men of this loveless world. Rich and successfull people understand the importance of
proper breeding. A broken family unit prevents it's members from blossoming. Drug addiction,
prostitution, a life of crime, low acheivement are all by- products of this.

Trish, you seem to ideolize what it is to be a man or what it is to be a woman.
The reason why people would hate feminism is that the core of it's ideologies contradict
the reality of the situation. It then trivializes reality questionning age old wisdom that
sought to protect women. Feminism empowers women to commit certain social suicide.
Men's need for love and attention have not been answered. Yet, a man without a family is
nothing.

The problem is, is that we live in a democracy where the state being a proffesional one,
grows more more powerful. With every new Buraucracy being created a proffesion becomes
created. Once existant, The proffesion seeks to assert and protect it's identity. Social
workers for example, want to keep their jobs. Branchs of the police force or of the
legislative assembly are added. Democracy has a life of it's own and the problem with it
is that once amendments are made to it you'll find their almost irreversible wich is why
it my beleif democracy is the precursor to the demise of every civilisation. Doors are
open wich cannot be closed. Another problem is that democracy erodes the power of the
individual citizen to protect themselves, their families. Talk about freedom.

Prime example:
A woman in Vancouver B.C. was almost charged when she "kidnapped" her own fifteen year
old daughter fell into the hands of a manipulative pimping drug dealer.

I have seen things that'll your mind!
All I know is that our world was a much nicer place to be. When I grew up children used
to roam the parks and streets and now there are pratically none. Pornographie, sex and
instead of repression we've all been taught that perversion was healthy.


Posted by: Jean- Jacques at Jul 7, 2006 4:33:51 AM

Social suicide? Yeah, thanks, better to die alone than have to tolerate drivel like that as the cost of life.

Posted by: ginmar at Jul 7, 2006 10:04:28 AM

That was quite a huge dose of woman-hating, wasn't it Ginmar? Not to mention a complete misrepresentation of feminism. Not worthy of more comment.

Posted by: The Countess at Jul 7, 2006 10:36:30 AM

Why do they always think they're so damned original, though?

Posted by: ginmar at Jul 7, 2006 10:44:51 AM

Because they think everyone is just as stupid as they are.

Posted by: at Jul 7, 2006 11:09:59 AM

Actually, I salute you ladies. I couldn't get through even half of it. I generally read all the posts, but when they tend toward long, incoherent, ungrammatical ramblings, I figure I don't need to indulge mere verbal spewage.

Posted by: silverside at Jul 7, 2006 11:22:10 AM

I wish I knew why they thought they were so original. None of them say anything I haven't heard before.

Posted by: The Countess at Jul 7, 2006 11:22:28 AM

It's like teenagers who think they've come up with an original lie for why they're late. They're so self centered it doesn't occur to them they aren't nearly as brilliant as they believe themselves to be.

Posted by: pheeno at Jul 7, 2006 3:35:01 PM

>..."women manipulate entire bar fights...society grows violent"...<

Oh get real, this is too generalized, besides.. what are you doing looking in a bar fight for the mother of your future children? Talk about clueless.

From the beginning of mankind women have been the primary caregivers of children and have done a fine job overall.

History has shown that men would leave their families for years at a time, during war or to travel for work and the mothers left behind were capable, caring, nurturing and disciplinarians of the children. Many well known people were raised by single moms, or primarily by their mothers.

If in fact current society has greater problems with todays' children than those in the past, maybe it could be due to the metaphysical imbalance between the gender roles due to men who wish to switch traditional gender roles and become the primary parent. Maybe many aren't qualified to do so, and the children are reacting to this confusion.

I can speak of my own situation in which I am the NCP after being the primary parent when I lost custody without due process. My daughter (now 18) told me a few days ago that since living with her father and his mother, 3-4 days pass before she sees her father or talks to him. She and her brothers are like stray cats, food is left out and he will react if they need medical attention (he tells his mother to take them to the dr) but it is still life as he was used to it before the divorce. He has not changed and while he fought a long and costly custody battle so he could be the loving, attentive primary parent, he isn't one. My children are failing in school, have diagnosed emotional problems that are not being treated, and have no one to turn to other than their friends.

Posted by: justonemom at Jul 10, 2006 4:08:12 PM