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July 05, 2006

Op-Ed On The Darren Mack Case

One of my commenters, Silverside, had an op-ed published in the Jamestown (NY) Post-Journal.

Here it is, for everyone to read.


Murderous Dads Don’t Deserve “Rights”

If you follow the newspapers or television, you’ve probably heard of Darren Mack, a Nevada pawnshop owner who allegedly stabbed and murdered his estranged wife, Charla Mack. Mrs. Mack was found in a pool of blood on the floor of their townhouse garage while their eight-year-old daughter was upstairs. Then Mr. Mack apparently decided to take out his displeasure on Washoe District Family Court Judge Chuck Weller, who was handling the Macks’ divorce. While Judge Weller was standing near his third-floor office window, he was shot in the chest by a sniper who fired from a parking garage more than three football fields away. A woman staff member was also injured. Fortunately, Judge Weller and the staff person are recovering. Recently, Mr. Mack surrendered to authorities in Mexico, and will face criminal charges. That Mr. Mack’s bedroom apparently contained bomb-making materials will probably add to his legal troubles.

The reaction has been swift—but sometimes in ways that are more revealing than not. New calls have been made to improve court security—certainly a worthy goal. However, there has been little dialogue on the need to improve security for battered women and their children, the true victims here. In this case, the true victims include a mother who tried to warn her friends of her husband’s potential violence, but to no avail. The true victims include a daughter who will grow up with nightmares about what transpired right below her feet, and with no mother to comfort her. Unfortunately, these simple facts are being lost.

In fact, in a bizarre twist, Mr. Mack and his allies in “Nevadans for Equal Parenting” and other Fathers Rights groups are now claiming “victim” status. They whine that they are the “victims” of “unfair” judges who won’t cave into their demands regarding custody and child support (in reality, Mr. Mack had custody of his two children from his first marriage, despite his history of abuse, and joint custody of his daughter). Mr. Mack is miles from being a “victim.” But like many domestic abusers, many of whom are flocking to the Fathers Rights movement, he styles himself a “victim.” That murdered and injured people and their loved ones are the actual victims doesn’t even seem to register on their puny moral radar screens.

All of that would be self-evident to any reasonable and decent person. Nevertheless, the internet is afloat in Fathers Rights bloggers who are busy blaming Judge Weller for “bringing it on himself” and Mrs. Weller for “deserving what she got.”

Well, you might think. That’s out west. Land of all those survivalists and other wacko cults. Plus, we’re talking about wingnuts who live by their computer screens. What’s that got to do with us?

Unfortunately, it’s not just the wingnuts out west. It’s also the leaders of Fathers Rights. And right here in New York State.

According to the Albany Times Union, Randy Dickinson, vice president of the Coalition of Fathers and Families New York, sent an e-mail to New York State legislators earlier this month which included a news clipping regarding the shooting of Judge Weller. Dickinson also attached a quote from John F. Kennedy: "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."

A staff member from Sheldon Silver’s office contacted the State Police.

According to the Times Union, “Dickinson said he was just trying to make a point the group has communicated in the past to legislative leaders, that ‘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.’”

Um, does that sound like a threat to you? Like one of those good cop/bad cop shticks? “I don’t want to kneecap ya, see. But my buddy Rocky here is getting kind of itchy. So ya better deliver the goods, capiche?”

And how does Mr. Dickinson defend his crass appropriation of John F. Kennedy’s words? 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."

Let me tell you what I think. Let’s put the lid on Mr. Dickinson and all the others who justify terrorist tactics and threats. There is no right to murder or violence, whether you’re a dad or not. And frankly, I think Mr. Dickinson and his ilk are an insult to all the good dads who aren’t abusers or criminals.

Posted on July 5, 2006 at 03:12 PM | Permalink


It really is too bad about the Mack incident, but I frankly do not see that anything could have been done to prevent it. Darren Mack was determined to hurt someone, and sadly he did. We don't generally lock people up for their intentions even if we know what they are.

As for Dickinson, that is another matter entirely; he is trying, I believe, to tell us all that when the legal system consistently sticks it to men, there is bound to be a backlash. Hopefully most of that will be peaceful, but then again, just like with women, there are always going to be a few individuals who go right over the edge.

Fair treatment for everyone, including men, would help to eliminate at least some of that.

Posted by: conpat at Jul 5, 2006 3:22:35 PM

Congrats on the publication.

But I just went to look at the Post Journal website and I couldn't find the article. Has it run yet?

Posted by: Dirk at Jul 5, 2006 4:13:27 PM

I saw in the FaFNY and New York CRC messages that there is a comment on the piece already.
This quote was sent to me today: " Let me tell you what I think. Let's put the lid on Mr. Dickinson and all the others who justify terrorist tactics and threats. There is no right to murder or violence, whether you're a dad or not. And frankly, I think Mr. Dickinson and his ilk are an insult to all the good dads who aren't abusers or criminals."

I don't concider Randy an insult to anyone other then those that that are arrogant and pig headed. I think that what Randy did should be commended, not many people have enough umph to stated the truth and the thruth is that we, as a group, have been holding back some people very angry people from doing some very dangerous things, mostly to their selves. How many lives have been saved through the work that we, Randy and ilk have done? Countless, inclusive of women, children and men.

Bad movie translation: "Hey, I'm the good guy. I'm keepin' Rocky from busting your head. But he's very, very angry. You better pass the legislation we want right now. Not makin' any promises for the future, you know what I'm sayin'?

They just don't get it. The little veiled threats may work with a battered woman who has been broken down over time. But ordinary people don't like it. Not one bit. Nobody wants to listen to a lot of crap about possible "consequences" if your political agenda isn't met. Nobody.

Posted by: silverside at Jul 5, 2006 4:16:13 PM

Replace mack with Lorena Bobbit and I bet you dimes to dollars they'd see a threat.

Posted by: pheeno at Jul 5, 2006 4:21:04 PM

The Jamestown Post-Journal website only publishes a fraction of what's available in the print version. Even the special subscriber's version only prints a fraction, albeit a larger fraction.

Sometimes they put the "Community Column" on the website, and sometimes they don't.

This time they didn't.

I know, I'm bummed too.

Posted by: silverside at Jul 5, 2006 4:27:43 PM

Are you from Jamestown?

I have a couple of friends from there. One lives in Albany now and the other has sadly passed away a few years ago.

Posted by: Dirk at Jul 5, 2006 4:32:02 PM

"Replace Mack with Lorena Bobbit and I bet you dimes to dollars they'd see a threat."

She might be nuts, but at least she could handle domestic violence! If he'd married her the outcome would have been entirely different. :)

I've made my opinion on beligerent judges pretty clear but for leaving his child forever without parents and murdering his estranged wife I, as do every one of my male friends, think this guy isn't worth a clean needle.

Am I bad for thinking we should make his excecution a pay-per-view event with proceeds going into a trust fund for his children?

Posted by: Dennis at Jul 5, 2006 6:12:17 PM

Not Jamestown, but in the area.

Posted by: silverside at Jul 5, 2006 7:14:51 PM

"They whine" - and there's where I stop. Pot and kettle aside, it's obviously not worth reading if your point can't stand without the rhetoric and dismissive language.

Posted by: Sapphire at Jul 5, 2006 10:57:54 PM

"But ordinary people don't like it. Not one bit. Nobody wants to listen to a lot of crap about possible "consequences" if your political agenda isn't met."

First of all, the vast majority of fathers who do get screwed by the ludicrously unfair "family court" system ARE ordinary people. Ordinary people who are being pushed beyond ordinary human endurance. Second, the personal is the political. Most assuredly in the instance of the family court justice movement, more than many others. These aren't mere political goals; this is their lives. Legislators and activist judges ignore and continue pushing at their own political risk.

Posted by: Sapphire at Jul 5, 2006 11:04:48 PM

Sapphire, stuff it. *Women* have been pushed past the point of endurance since the dawn of time, and while we may have been disadvantaged on average by our smaller sizes and lesser physical strength, nowadays we have access to guns. How many stories have *you* heard in the news about noncustodial moms snapping and murdering their estranged husbands and shooting the judges responsible?

Wah, some guys have to write checks or have their pay deducted. Wah, wah, wah. It's so freaking *hard* to write a check. Oh mah stahs an' gahtahs. Put the shoe on the other friggin' foot and let them see what WE face as MOTHERS and you bet the whining would stop. I've never even suffered the worst of it. Just try having your babydaddy-to-be suddenly decide that cheating on you in your second trimester would be a really great idea, feeling the baby move for the first time while he's snuck off to another state to screw her in a motel all weekend, then getting thrown out of the house after almost two more months of hell because you won't shut up and let him do what he wants. He doesn't *dare* complain about having to pay me child support. Thank all the gods the state of Ohio gives unwed mothers sole physical custody--and without me entering into some kind of legal agreement with him, if something were to happen to me he'd have no rights to our daughter whatsoever. That comes straight from a lawyer *he* consulted. I am GLAD that we get those kinds of protections. And I didn't even experience the worst that a woman estranged from her child's father can experience. I mean, I'm alive to be glad he can't screw me any worse.

Posted by: Dana at Jul 6, 2006 3:30:43 AM

Well at least you answered your own question. Women get custody and a check, so it isn't like they're taking to arms to protest their advantage, right? There would be no point. When women take up arms against family members it's to shoot their children so they can pursue casual sex (Diane Downs) or to cut off their husband's penises and throw them out a car window (Bobbitt) or run their husbands over again and again with children in the car (Claire or Clara Harris?)

Of course you seem to be entirely misrepresenting my comment to say that I'm against child support for custodial parents or that I condone in any way Darren Mack's actions. I did neither.

Ohio should be very proud of giving women full privileges and men financial responsibility and absolutely no rights. Damn patriarchy! Hehe

Posted by: Sapphire at Jul 6, 2006 4:00:11 AM

Yeah, Sapphire, it's alawys those same few cases, while men kill wives and kids every damned week. Cry me a river, asswipe.

Posted by: ginmar at Jul 6, 2006 9:35:54 AM

"Women get custody and a check, so it isn't like they're taking to arms to protest their advantage, right?"

No, Sapphire. They don't. I don't have custody. I send a check to a slacker dad and his girlfriend, the one who only subs now and then. I buy all my kid's clothes, too, since they don't bother. I've even sent her home with shampoo, because they can't be bothered with that either.

I've seen the future in terms of the Fathers Rights movement, because it's right here. The Family Court judge's campaign was run by the FR people. She goes to their fatherhood summits. The future is right here, and the corruption and game-playing is worse than its ever been. Dads in jail for assault (against another man btw) get to demand visitation. Non-custodial moms (like me) are told its up to them to enforce their own visitation, even when the father has a history of domestic violence.

I'm not interested in listening to the FRs and their vague threats of violence if everybody doesn't just shut up and cave into their demands right now. I was married to an abuser who was only interested in what he wanted, and felt quite free to threaten and harrass if he didn't get it immediately, no matter what the personal price to someone else. I am very familiar with the dynamics and the tactics, and I'm not interested in kowtowing to a bunch of bullying losers. Been there, done that.

Posted by: silverside at Jul 6, 2006 10:19:54 AM

Silverside, good article. Keep writing them, hopefully to be seen by someone who has the political power to make changes to protect the innocent will eventually do the right thing and demand it.

Posted by: justonemom at Jul 6, 2006 12:44:45 PM

The problem with the case of Darren Mack is that it stands as evidence of the claims mad eagainst the father's rights movement that it promotes violence against women. For 95% of the people who come to the movement it doesn't at all. But there are a few within the movement who have a great deal of personal baggage they bring to FR activities and who fan this kind of flame. I fear that Mr. Mack may be a casualty of such influences. I do not know how those of us who really don't share those beliefs can live things like this down. It's hollow to point to violent women, it is because two wrongs never make a right. I don't know what Darren Mack did or didn't do. I find those who exploit it to be disgusting. No - there is no way to excuse murder if he did the crime. There is less room to exuse those who may have pushed him and now want to profit off of the case. That is a disgrace to Charla Mack and contemptible IMHO.

Posted by: Kenneth Pangborn at Jul 6, 2006 5:11:01 PM

Ken Pangborn, you don't have any reason to think that most men who come to the fathers rights movement are decent dads. Why have so many fathers rights activists, including Dean Tong and Randy Dickinson, come out in favor of what Mack has done? You've admitted on your own web site that the men who come to you have serious problems of their own. They can't blame their problems on their ex's or "the system". Their own problems speak for themselves.

What about your own daughter, who had rejected you? It's all over Usenet, despite your weak denials. I know that you find Mr. Tong's exploitation of the Mack case to be abhorrent, which it should be, but it's only because you see him as a negative to the fathers' rights movement at large. Tong is only one person excusing what Mack has done. I have evidence of many father's rights activists who have excused Macks' actions, blaming them on "the system." I'm tired of the excuses. The fathers' rights movement has outed itself when it comes to Mack. That's no surprise.

Posted by: The Countess at Jul 6, 2006 6:20:06 PM

I'm sure I just saw a post here that was deleted. Am I going mad or is it this patriachy bug that's going around?

Posted by: Debbie at Jul 6, 2006 6:27:23 PM

Jesus H. Christ. What is wrong with these people?

By the way, is it just me, or does it seem like there's been a general vibe of...I want to say, hidden things (abuses, mostly) coming to light? in the world, i mean.

okay, that sounded seriously new-age crank-like.

i am trying to find the right words for this.

maybe it is just me.

Posted by: belledame222 at Jul 7, 2006 9:01:36 PM

>But ordinary people don't like it. Not one bit. Nobody wants to listen to a lot of crap about possible "consequences" if your political agenda isn't met. Nobody.

Well put. Yeah; the Gweat and Tewwible schtick tends to fall apart when enough people at once see through it and aren't impressed.

Posted by: belledame222 at Jul 7, 2006 9:02:56 PM

and once again i notice that the FRA apologists are primarily concerned with themselves and then maybe, as an afterthought: oh, yeah, my kid.

and how on earth is Mack himself a "casualty?" i mean more so than anyone else, not least (hello) his DEAD WIFE? and essentially orphaned kid?

i'm sorry; and personal responsibility comes, where? again?

jesus christ. maybe there should be a test before allowing some people to mate and procreate. clearly some people needed to spend a fuck of a lot more time nurturing their own inner moppet before being handed the responsibility for anyone else.

Posted by: belledame222 at Jul 7, 2006 9:12:00 PM

Oh, hell, Mack was nurtured his entire life; it's when he stopped getting waited on and favored and obeyed that the threw a temper tantrum with guns. It's classic.

Kids aren't kids to these assholes: they're things they can use to make the wife miserable or obediant. That's their whole purpose. They shouldn't have to pay for something they can't use, can they?

Posted by: ginmar at Jul 8, 2006 9:02:31 AM

>....Kids aren't kids to these assholes: they're things they can use to make the wife miserable or obediant. That's their whole purpose. They shouldn't have to pay for something they can't use, can they<

Well put, Ginmar

Posted by: justonemom at Jul 8, 2006 1:19:45 PM

A temper tantrum? Is that how you minimize murder? Wtf.

Posted by: Sparkles at Jul 8, 2006 8:18:13 PM

Sparkles, you not to be oblivious and I'll try not to bite your head off. Read for context.

Posted by: ginmar at Jul 9, 2006 10:14:37 AM

Poor Sapphire, deprived of his property (i.e., wife and kids) without due process of law.

Posted by: Hershele Ostropoler at Jul 10, 2006 12:03:39 PM

I think most people agree that rational people do not kill their
family or shoot judges.

But, if all we do is criticize and execute these people without
understanding anything about the problem, the problem can only
grow worse. And, human nature is that we'll just get used to the
problem rather than solving it.

There is a good reason these people have supporters, and there are
no doubt hundreds of thousands of people who could empathize and
sympathize with them, and this is not a fact that can be ignored

The anger and pain that even the best and most faithful parents
feel when they are betrayed by an unfaithful spouse can be intense.

When unfaithful spouses gang up with their affair partners to plan
out an attack on the marriage and the government assists them, a
very deep root of bitterness can develop really quickly, especially
when the faithful spouse has been a good spouse and parent and yet
has lost home, children, and been forced to pay support payments

That is why so many people feel a deep loss of trust and patriotism
toward our government and why so many people feel some empathy and
sympathy for those who shoot judges and their spouses.

Just about a week ago, neighbors of one family were shocked when a
woman came home to her house to find a man had shot all four of his
children and then turned the gun on himself. And women have been
known to commit crimes just as heinous. But people fear men more.
And, when a man feels victimized once and then again by society or
by the government, they become particularly sensitive to anything
that looks like male bashing. When hope is lost, they may try to
regain it or protect others from having to suffer what they suffered.

That's not meant to justify crazy behavior but to recognize that
there is a problem that needs a solution that goes beyond knee-jerk
reactions and villainizing the people who commit these crimes. I
do not suggest releasing them from responsibility for their actions,
but before we can hold them responsible, we must be willing to take
responsibility for our part.

And right now, our nation is not very sensible, decent, honest, or
responsible in it's dealings with divorce. We've basically turned
our country into a whorehouse with attorneys and judges pimping for
the unfaithful spouses and their affair partners. The rest of the
family is denied their right to stay together and the children are
denied their right to grow up in a loving intact family.

The faithful spouse is focused on saving the marriage while the
unfaithful gang up to plan a divorce that works to the advantage of
the affair partners. And, since attorneys make their money from a
healthy divorce industry, there is not much motive for either attorney
or the judge to help the faithful spouse save the marriage. In fact,
a book called Stolen Vows was written by a family court mediator who
lost her job after she helped save some marriages.

It is not always the evil, abusive, controlling spouses who go postal
when a divorce takes place. Often the faithful spouse has all the
emotional support of the affair partner and has had weeks if not
months to get ready for a divorce. It is not the unfaithful spouse
who is left alone.

To the faithful spouse who is betrayed, it feels like a rape or a
series of rapes and robberies. The faithful spouse finds everything
precious threatened in court and is forced to run to an attorney for
protection -- an attorney who holds out his or her hand for thousands
of dollars in retainer fees. And since they are paid by the hour,
they are not paid to win their cases but rather to waste as much time
as possible. Also, if they win their case and show that no-fault
is as unconstitutional as it really is, they will set a precedent that
will make it easy for other spouses to contest their divorces successfully
and that means fewer divorces and less money for the legal community and for
those involved in child support enforcement and psychological
evaluations for custody which may run several thousands of dollars.

So, all in all, our divorce courts are not courts of justice but courts
of extortion, theft, abuse, kidnapping, and deprivation with out a real
due process but rather a cheap, artificial substitute with a fancy legalese
name or distinctionm between "substantive" due process and "procedural" due
process. It might help were the courts to look at the constitution and tell
the truth regarding what it says and then keep their promises to honor that
constitution. But, that takes integrity, and that is something that you
don't find in American divorce courts.

So, all in all, is it really any wonder that some people go postal? Do you
think the problem will be fixed by mocking these people who go postal or by
punishing them severely or executing them?

There is a solution. It's rewinding unilateral no-fault divorce back to
bilateral no fault divorce. If we do this, the rights of the rest of the
family are protected from being destroyed by an unfaithful or abusive spouse.
With bilateral no-fault divorce, the faithful spouse has the right to a fault
based divorce and has the right to refuse a divorce until the terms of that
divorce are favorable to the abused or betrayed spouse.

What is the objection to that? The main one is that it will hold abused
spouses into bad or dangerous marriages. But, this is a farce to cover
the real motive behind this argument, and that is to allow the unfaithful to
run off with another lover without having to take responsibility. With bilateral
no-fault, the faithful spouse has the upper hand. Since there is a possibility
of a fault based divorce, the bad spouse would tend to make concessions in favor
of the good spouse or risk losing everything with a fault based divorce.

And, besides, rather than argue over what "would" happen, why not take a good
long look at what "does" happen? Abuse happens now. Divorce rates are through
the roof. Too many kids grow up in broken homes. Both teen and adult suicide
rates, violence, drug usage, and future marital failures are highly tied to
divorce rates.

So, all in all, to solve this problem requires more than male bashing or female
bashing or saying, "they should execute them".

Posted by: Dan at Jul 15, 2006 9:32:21 PM