Terrance Heath

Poisonous Parenting: The Santorum Edition

Filed By Terrance Heath | February 06, 2012 4:15 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: bad parenting, poisonous parenting, Rick Santorum

I mentioned earlier that I’ve been doing a bit of writing about the GOP candidates for the day job. Those posts are limited to policy issues, usually economic policy. But, like I said in the posts about Newt, there’s a lot more I’d like to get into with these guys that wouldn’t be appropriate elsewhere.

Which brings me back to Rick Santorum. It’s been a while since I posted another edition in this rather long series. I have so little time for non-work-related writing these days, that I seldom write about LGBT issues. (As a result, the hate crimes project is so embarrassingly out of date, that I’ve let the hosting account lapse, and probably won’t bring it back online because at this point I’ll never get it up to date.) Sometimes I question whether I can even be called a “gay blogger,” except as a blogger who happens to be gay, but rarely ever writes about gay issues (anymore).

Alas, between commuting to work, putting in eight hours, commuting back home, having family dinner, spending time with the kids between dinner and bedtime, helping Parker with his homework, putting the kids to bed, sharing the work of keeping the house relatively clean, and then finishing up the hour’s worth of work I bring home, there are just not enough hours in the day. And I’m usually to physically and mentally exhausted to do much of anything with what’s left of the 24 hours in question.

But that’s another post for another day.

It was my work-related blogging that alerted me to a remark Santorum made, comparing gay parents to felons, which inspired me to return to this series.

For the second time in as many days, Rick Santorum waded into the issue of gay marriage, suggesting it was so important for children to have both a father and mother that an imprisoned father was preferable to a same-sex parent.

Citing the work of one anti-poverty expert, Santorum said, “He found that even fathers in jail who had abandoned their kids were still better than no father at all to have in their children’s lives.”

Allowing gays to marry and raise children, Santorum said, amounts to “robbing children of something they need, they deserve, they have a right to. You may rationalize that that isn’t true, but in your own life and in your own heart, you know it’s true.”

At a private boarding school Friday, the Republican presidential candidate’s voice grew emotional as he argued that only a man and woman should be able to marry. “Marriage is not a right,” Santorum said. “It’s a privilege that is given to society by society for a reason…. We want to encourage what is the best for children.”

Well, thank you Rick Santorum, for making me a gay blogger again, if only for this post. I probably shouldn’t single out Santorum. After all, his fellow GOP presidential wannabes are not much better. Sure, Mitt Romney may have

Sure, Romney apparently supported gay rights in 2002, but he tried to disavow it in 2012. Sure, Log Cabin says Mitt Romney is “comfortable around gays,” But the $35,000 he donated to anti-marriage-equality groups in 2010 and 2011 suggests that he probably wouldn’t be comfortable attending their weddings. Factor in the $4.1 million he gave to the Mormon Church, and he probably funded more anti-gay activism than anyone knows. All of which suggests that the real question isn’t whether Romney is comfortable with gays, but how comfortable gays should be with Romney. (Answer: His pandering thus far suggests that, if elected, Romney is going to govern like a conservative. Last time I checked, that doesn’t include being friendly to gays, let along “comfortable around gays.”)

Then there’s Newt. Newt thinks that my marriage is a “temporary aberration,” kinda like his marriage vows. More recently he compared it to paganism. That dosen’t measure up to Santorum’s doomsday declarations.

Rick Santorum’s campaign slogan could very well be one word: doomsday.

To hear him tell it, the United States will collapse under the weight of its health care system and basic freedoms will be history. Iran will annihilate Israel and then South Carolina if Iran isn’t blocked from building a nuclear weapon. And divorce will yield higher taxes for all Americans.

Unless, of course, Republicans pick Santorum as the party’s presidential nominee and he goes on to defeat President Barack Obama.

… And on declining marriage rates, he adds: “Taxes go up and the economy struggles. We know that marriage and the two-parent family is the unit upon which this country was founded.

Right. Except for my marriage and my two-parent family. Right?

Where to begin? On one hand, it’s almost too easy to rebut Santorum’s earlier statement. On the other hand, it’s probably been done already, considering that he made the remark at the beginning of the month, and I’m only just getting around to writing about it now. (See above.) But Santorum’s remark reminded me of what I’ve always said was the whole premise of this series.

As usual, I'm not saying these parents are representative of all heterosexual parents. They're not. But when you make the generalization that heterosexuals are more fit parent by virtue of being heterosexual, and likewise "natural parents," you're including people like those in this post and this series. And at the same time you're labeling gay and lesbian parents as unfit, even those most of our children never experience anything like the kids in this post or the kids in this series.

As long as people keep saying differently, though, I'll keep writing these posts and hoping somebody gets it.

You’re effectively telling me that a lot of the kids in this series are better off than my kids, even if one or both of their parents are in jail for abusing them, because at least their parents are heterosexual. That’s effectively what Santorum was saying to three students in the audience who had gay parents.

He was effectively telling those kids that Sloan Briles’ seven year old son is better off than them, even though his father threw him off a boat for crying.

A Southern California man has been convicted of child endangerment for hitting his crying 7-year-old son and then throwing him off a tour boat in busy Newport Harbor, Orange County, the district attorney’s office said this week.

A court sentenced Sloan Briles to three years of formal probation, one year in a child abusers treatment program, and 180 days in a Veterans Administration residential treatment program, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement. It added that prosecutors objected to the sentence, arguing that the defendant should be ordered to spend more time in jail.

Briles, who’s divorced, was on the tour boat on a Sunday afternoon in August with his two sons, ages 6 and 7, when he got into an argument with his current girlfriend, sheriff’s office spokesman Jim Amormino said in August.

The boat, named the Queen, takes passengers past Newport Beach houses that are or were occupied by celebrities, including the home where the late John Wayne lived, Amormino said.

Briles’s 7-year-old son became upset about the argument and started crying, Amormino said.

The defendant was “under the influence of alcohol” at the time, according to the district attorney’s statement.

“The father took the boy to the bow of the boat and told him, ‘If you don’t stop crying, I’m going to throw you overboard,’ ” Amormino said.

“And he hits the kid a couple of times,” Amormino said. “The boy is crying. He picks him up and throws him overboard. They are in the middle of a harbor, and there is a lot of boat traffic.”

And Briles’ didn’t even get jail time. Sure, he threw his son off a boat and into the busy harbor where, the boat could have run over him or the propeller could have hit him, or any of the other boats could have hit him. But look, the kid was totally treading water, and anyway the captain threw him a life preserver. So, the kid was in much better shape than his dad, who had to jump into the water himself. Not to save his son, but to escape the other 85 angry passengers who’d witnessed that father-son moment.

So, the kid survived, and his dad -- the one who threw him in to the water in the first place -- didn’t even go to jail for it. This clearly heterosexual father, who was on the cruise with his girlfriend and his sons, would have been been a better parent than me and the hubby, or the parents of those three kids in the audience, even if he had gone to jail. Because he’s heterosexual.

Procreative imperative, folks. It don’t matter if you’re incarcerated as long as you ejaculated.

Assuming that Kaitlyn Campbell had her kids the old-fashioned way, her four-year-old-daughter is better off that the children of gay parents, even though telling a cop that “Mommy smokes weed all the time,” will probably get mommy some jail time.

After North Dakota cops pulled over a vehicle and recognized the strong odor of pot, the driver's four-year-old daughter gave officers the lowdown on the ownership of drug paraphernalia found in the car.

“That's mommy's,” the girl said in reference to a glass marijuana pipe that police found in the auto's back seat (where she was seated with her one-year-old brother). The child then added, “Mommy smokes weed all the time,” according to a Grand Forks County Sheriff's Office report.

Kaitlyn Campbell, 20, was charged with felony child endangerment and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia in connection with the traffic stop last Thursday. A passenger in the 2007 Chevrolet Malibu was hit with the same charges (and a drug possession count after she claimed ownership of pot found in the car).

Mind you, I’m making some assumptions here. One of them is that Santorum places as much value on mothers as he does on fathers, even though his comments suggest that he’s got a bigger problem with lesbian parents than gay male parents. (Hey! Two fathers in the home! What’s not to love?)

Jessica Callaway’s 10-month-old may be even better off than Campbell’s daughter. Not only does mommy smoke weed all the time in this family, but mommy even shares some of the smoke with her daughter. Albeit, not before slapping her around and even then just to get her to shut up about her soiled diaper.

Gilbert police have accused a woman of blowing marijuana smoke directly into the mouth of her 10-month-old daughter to stop her from crying after she beat the infant.

Jessica Callaway, 21, was arrested Saturday on suspicion of child abuse after she was videotaped on her roommate’s cellphone hitting her baby a day earlier.

Police said the video shows the woman picking the baby up by her left leg and spanking her. When the infant continues to cry, Callaway screams at her to “shut the (expletive) up before I kick you in the mouth.”

Callaway then strikes the baby in the face with her open hand, police said. Police said no bruises were found on the infant’s leg or face.

Officers subsequently learned from Callaway’s roommate that she and Callaway had been smoking marijuana Friday night and that Callaway blew marijuana smoke into the baby’s mouth several times.

Some things just cannot be adequately described. There are few words that do justice to their ugliness. Thanks to Callaway’s friend, we can see for ourselves just how things went down.

Callway’s friend, Alexandra Kingsley, can be commended for quick thinking. She came forward later to say that she decided to record the events, despite her urge to intervene, because otherwise she would have no proof to offer police. So, she pretended to be texting on her phone, while she recorded Callaway’s parenting style for posterity, after observing it for two weeks.

Kingsley had compiled a long list of terrible things done to Laura in the last couple of weeks.

"She would leave the baby in dirty diapers until they were so heavy they were falling off her," Kingsley said. "There’s times she yelled, 'I wish I never had you, maybe I should just give you away, you’re such a mistake I hate you, you piece of...."

Kingsley said Callaway even blew marijuana smoke in the baby’s mouth and gave her medicine to make her sleep. So when Callaway was angry Friday night, Kingsley pretended to be texting on her phone when in reality she was recording.

You can hear Callaway yell at the baby, "You better shut up." You can also hear the baby scream and get smacked on the leg and in the face.

"I showed my dad and called the cops," Kingsley said.

Callaway reportedly said that she was “having a bad day” and was “having trouble finding an outfit to wear that night.” She was trying to get dressed to go out. According to the Daily Mail, Callaway posted about her “bad day” and need for a baby sitter on Facebook, where she regularly posted references about parties and drugs.

Did I miss the announcements about tryouts for “America’s Next Casey Anthony”? I’m willing to bet my next paycheck that this mom conceived her daughter the same way Casey Anthony did — passed out drunk after a night of partying.

If so, she still became a parent via the penis-in-vagina method, and thus automatically becomes a more fit parent than the hubby and I, even though neither of us smokes pot, or has seen the inside of a club in ten years, and our idea of “partying” is going to our kids’ classmates’ birthday party.

Compared to these two little girls, Brian and Shannon Gore’s daughter had the best of both worlds. The five-or-six-year old (?) had both mommy and daddy at home. Sure, they kept her in a cage, but at least she had both he biological parents at home.

Brian and Shannon Gore are awaiting trial for the attempted murder of the 5- or 6-year-old girl as well as murder, after police found the body of another child buried on their property a day after discovering the severely malnourished girl.

… The couple were arrested Thursday, when police knocking on doors during a robbery investigation stumbled upon the caged little girl, naked and covered in feces and bed sores.

Cops returned Friday and after searching a shack near the couple’s trailer home, unearthed the remains of a small child. Police have yet to confirm that child’s age, sex or cause of death.

Authorities are still awaiting the autopsy report in the child’s death, said commonwealth attorney Robert Hicks.

In addition to the caged girl, whose age police estimate at 5 or 6, police removed a healthy 2-month-old infant. Both children were placed in protective custody.

The caged girl, whom the Gores told police was only 2-years-old, was extremely malnourished and according to Brian Gore, 29, was fed a single Pop-Tart in the morning and another Pop-Tart or sandwich at night, said Maj. Darrell Warren of the Gloucester County Sheriff’s Office.

She was so hungry her bones were visible and she ate her own flaking dried skin, Warren confirmed.

The girl, according to her parents, was born at home, and had Down’s syndrome and cerebral palsy. They say she’d been in the case since last summer, and that they’d put her in the cage to keep her calm.

Beggars the imagination, doesn’t it?

Still, in just about every other aspect (besides that nasty bit about caging and starving their daughter) the Gore’s are an ideal family, as defined by conservatives.

  • Heterosexual? Check!
  • Married? Check!
  • Two-parent home? Check!
  • Children living with biological parents? Check!

And even if convicted of murder or attempted murder, which are both felonies, the Gore’s still beast us in the suitability-as-parents department. Santorum said so himself: better to have a felon for a parent, than to have two moms or two dads. Even if queer parents don’t cage and starve their kids, they don’t meet the above criteria.

Our children have never seen the inside of a cage, because we tend not t shop for them at PetSmart. The closest they came to that was the crib they both slept in as infants, and that we got rid of after Dylan outgrew it. But we still don’t hold a candle to Brian and Shannon Gore as parents.

LIkewise James Tapke, who bound his 13-year-old daughter with duct tape and locked her in a cage.

Authorities have released the details of a case involving a man who they said punished his daughter using duct tape.

The Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Office said James Tapke restrained his 12-year-old daughter’s hands and feet using a duct tape before placing her in a dog cage on Jan. 10. Then, while his daughter was in the cage, investigators said, Tapke dropped small amounts of water on her face.

According to court papers, the victim was in the cage for about 20 minutes before her 13-year-old brother let her out. When she got out, authorities said the victim poured water on her father’s head and in his ear.

Tapke then bound his daughter again with duct tape and put her back in the dog cage, investigators said, and while she was in the cage, Tapke told his son to go to the garage and retrieve the electrical jump pack so that he could electrify the cage. The girl’s brother brought the jump pack and sat in front of the cage, so his sister could see it.

Tapke never attempted to electrify the cage, but investigators said he told his daughter several times he should.

The daughter was rescued when her brother posted pictures of her in the cage on Facebook. But it turns out that the whole thing was just a big misunderstanding. According to Tapke, he was only joking when he threatened to electrify the cage. (Somewhere, Herman Cain is feeling vindicated right about now.)

Somehow, in all the books I’ve read about parenting, I missed the chapter about the role of cages, dog crates, and storage containers as essential parenting tools. Apparently, the Gores and Tapke read that chapter very carefully. So did Riley Choate and his wife Kimberly Kubina.

A former official at Indiana Child Protective Services is admitting some culpability in the death of a 13 year old boy that was allegedly kept in a dog cage and beaten to death.

The body of Christian Choate was found earlier in May in a shallow grave beneath a concrete slab near his former home in Gary, Indiana. Police believe Christian died in April, 2009.

Christian's father, Riley Lowell Choate, 39, and his stepmother, Kimberly Leona Kubina, 45, have been charged with murder, battery, neglect of a dependent and criminal confinement. Neighbors reportedly told police that they witnessed Choate slap Christian, and the boy's beatings grew in severity as Choate and Kubina increasingly had problems in their marriage and Choate would take it out on Christian, according to court records.

Police allege that the last few years of Christian's life were spent mostly locked up either in a room in the basement or in a dog cage that Choate had purchased from a neighbor. When not in the cage, the couple forced Christian's 17-year-old sister to chain him up and be responsible for his care, and she told police that if she didn't do as she was told Choate would abuse her as well.

Look at their faces. They’re like two sides of the same sadistic coin. Imagine being a child, looking into those faces, and being utterly at their mercy. He is utterly impassive, unmoved by your cried or pleas for him to stop, and just waiting for you to finish so that he can give you some more. She wears a sardonic smirk, that suggests she is either enjoying your pain, or surprising a chuckle over the latest torture she’s thought up for you. They’re not going to stop.

The story is bad enough. But it gets more heartbreaking than that. First, it turned out more than a dozen people -- family, neighbors, etc. -- knew about the abuse Christian suffered. At least 13 of them reported it to authorities. (At least one of them, his sister Christina, can be excused. When she found her brother dead, the morning after his last beating, her father said to her, “If you say anything, I swear to God, I'll kill you and I'll bury you with your brother.” She had little reason to doubt that daddy was as good as his word on that matter.)

One neighbor called authorities twice, over suspected abuse in the Choate home, after her husband “witnessed Christian cowering in a corner while Choate screamed at him.” The neighbor said that someone she assumed to be a state social worker visited the Choates after each of her calls, and later reports showed that child welfare services had been in touch with the Choates, and even placed some of the children in foster care. But Christian was overlooked.

Wait. It gets worse than that. Christian left his own account of his treatment.

The almost unbearable part of the reports released by the court late last month is an account of letters that investigators say Christian had written while in the cage. While other children in the family were outside playing, he allegedly was told to write his thoughts down. The records indicate that his stepmother, in ordering him to do this, seemed especially sadistic; the topics she assigned him included “Why do you still want to see your mom?” and “Why can’t you let the past go?”

Here, according to the court-released documents, is some of what Christian wrote about:

  • “Christian often stated he was hungry or thirsty.”
  • “Christian wrote of why nobody liked him and how he just wanted to be liked by his family.”
  • “Christian stated that he wanted to die because nobody liked the way he ‘acted.’ “
  • “Christian wrote of how many times he had to steal food or use the bathroom in his place of confinement.”
  • “Christian wrote of how he was ‘let out’ to clean or vacuum but then had to go back to his ‘place’ (the dog cage) immediately afterwards.”
  • “Christian wrote of how he had nothing to do and if he asked for something to do he was given a piece of paper and a pencil.”
  • “Christian wrote of how everybody else was outside playing but he was not.”

The report concluded: “The writings go on and on of how isolated and sad Christian was on a daily basis.”

In perhaps the most haunting sentence in the report, investigators said:

A child who is beaten and caged is likely to be terrified of his so-called guardians; if a caseworker comes into the home, the child likely knows that if he says the wrong thing, he will face more brutality when the caseworker leaves and he is alone to face his tormentors once again.

Christian prayed for release, and time and time again watched people who could have rescued him come and go. It must have occurred to him at some point that he didn’t have a prayer. When release came, it was delivered by his father’s fists.

Christian would meet his death in April 2009, when he refused to eat. Sister Christina says this prompted her dad to punch him multiple times in the head, then toss him back in his cage. These were the blows that apparently killed him.

One crucial detail is missing here. What did Christian refuse to eat? Given the abuse his father and step-mother dished out to him, I can’t help but assume that it probably extended to what they fed him as well. I mean, what’s the fun in beating and starving someone if you’re going to turn around and give them something appetizing or even nutritious to eat? My mind is not twisted enough to imagine what they might have given him to eat, half-hoping he’d refuse and give them an excuse to have some more fun.

Christina would find Christian the next day, dead after having suffered (according to a coroner) blunt trauma, internal bleeding, and a skull fracture. The step-monster told Christina to give her brother CPR, but he was well past saving by then. Dad and step-monster wrapped him in garbage bags, and threw him in the back of their van, making Christina help move the body.

Christian was buried behind their trailer, under a concrete slab. He might have stayed there, except that Christina told her (and Christian’s) biological mom that Christian was dead. Bio-mom called 911. The police visited Riley Choate, and he apparently led them to Christian’s grave.

The buried him, surrounded by garbage bags and lime. His parents had placed a Bible on his chest.

The whole thing started, according to some reports, when Christian was allegedly molested by a male relative. Somehow, this was Choate’s cue to start beating and abusing his son. The abuse took place against the backdrop of the deteriorating marriage of between Christians dad and biological mother. (Choate reportedly also abused his first wife.) The marriage ended in divorce, and somehow Choate -- the abusive parent -- got custody of the children. That’s perplexing, and makes me wonder why the mother didn’t get custody. Did she not want custody? Or were there reasons why she could not get custody of the children?

Either way, two years later Christian’s dead.

Here again is a family that meets the basic requirements. One man, one woman. Heterosexual. Married. Father in the home.

It’s easy to see where families like mine fall short. I mean, the worst we do to our kids is put them in “time-out,” to give them and/or us a few minutes to cool down. Riley Choate and Kimberly Kubina make us look downright lenient.

Next we go to Nebraska, where four adults -- Lacy J. Beyer, Ashly A. Clark, Bryson L. Eyten, and Samantha J. Eyeten (note that the last two are Mr. and Mrs.) -- kept four children in cages.

The suspects were identified as Lacy J. Beyer, 20; Ashly A. Clark, 22; Bryson L. Eyten, 25; Samantha J. Eyten, 24.

Four suspects accused of keeping children in a cage in a dirty trailer home in Nebraska attended a court hearing Thursday after being charged with felony child abuse, first degree false imprisonment and misdemeanor child abuse, officials said.

The suspects were identified by police as Bryson L. Eyten, 25; Samantha J. Eyten, 24; Ashly A. Clark, 22; and Lacy J. Beyer, 20.

The four children were removed from the home and placed in state custody, police said. The Eytens are the parents of the two boys, said North Platte Police Lt. Rich Hoaglund. Clark is the mother of the two girls.

…”Upon arrival and subsequent entrance into the residence, the officers found the residence highly unsanitary and unsafe for children,” Hoaglund said in a statement. “There was trash, dirty clothing, food and animal feces and urine throughout the residence.”

Two young children, ages 5 and 3, were found in the metal kennel, which was secured by a wire tie, Hoaglund said. The cage reportedly had a mattress.

Two other children, ages 8 years and 8 months, were not in the kennel but were considered to be in unsafe conditions.

OK, so only two of them were caged. The other two were free range. Clark says her two slept in the cage because she was afraid they might climb out of the window. So, she was either trying to keep them safe or prevent their escape. In either case, that might have been accomplished by locking the window.

Now, at least two of the children were were living with both their biological parents. Bryson and Samantha Eyten were the parents of the two boys. Ashley Clark is the mother of the two girls, and nobody knows what relation Beyer has to anybody, but her Facebook relationship status says “It’s complicated.” So it’s anybody’s guess. (However, it seems to indicate that Samantha Eyten is her sister. So I’m nos sure what’s “complicated,” unless…)

Again, the Eytens at least meet the bare minimum qualifications to be suitable parents: heterosexual, married, father-in-the-home, etc. There’s some question about their living arrangements. Shacking up with Beyer, if she’s Samantha’s sister could just be helping out family. That leaves Clark, the apparently unwed mother. Wait! Maybe they were supposed to be a good influence and good example for her! Some questions remain about how that worked out. I do wonder how they explained to their 8-year-old why two of the other kids slept in a cage.

John and Sonja Kluth’s children were better off, too, I suppose. The Kluths apparently could not have children of their own. No shame in that. As a heterosexual, married couple they were still better candidates for parenthood than the hubby and me, almost by default. So, they adopted three children, kept them in cages and fed them dog food.

The Canadian County District Attorney has filed child abuse and child neglect charges against two Oklahoma parents accused of beating their three adopted children and feeding them pet food.

John and Sonja Kluth are each facing three counts of child abuse and three counts of child neglect for allegedly abusing their adopted 15-year-old and 11-year-old sons and 9-year-old daughter, reports CBS affiliate KWTV.

“They’ve been abused just about every way imaginable, they’ve been burned, cut, beat,” Canadian County Sheriff Randall Edwards told KWTV.

The couple was arrested Tuesday, but reportedly bonded out of jail later the same day.

I can understand how two-parent families like this help keep us avoid doomsday. I can also see how they children might pray for the end of the world and their misery along with it -- between beatings and hunger pangs, that is.

According to the affidavit, the children were not allowed to ask for food or tell their adoptive parents that they were hungry. If they did, the documents said, they were punished. The affidavit said the punishment could include beatings, sleeping in a 14-square-foot cellar, deprivation of food or running laps.

The district attorney said in the charges that Sonja and John Kluth would beat the children. Sonja Kluth would beat the children with the buckle ends of belts and broom handles until they lost consciousness, burned the 15-year-old boy’s tongue and skin with scalding hot kitchen utensils, squeezed the teen’s tongue and genitals with pliers, smashed the teen’s fingers and toes with a mallet and struck him in the face with various objects, including a dog bowl, the district attorney said.

The charges filed against Sonja Kluth said that she choked the children with her hands and beat them with her fists.

…The court documents said the girl was beaten and thrown to the ground and into countertops and doors by the Kluths. During one of the incidents, documents said, the girl’s earring was ripped from her ear, and was struck in the face with a telephone that broke a tooth.According to the affidavit, the teen boy told police the the Kluths would “get together sometimes and ‘slide throw’ them across the carpet and that they would get carpet burns.

…In one incident, police said, Sonja Kluth was smashing one of the children’s fingers with a mallet she said, “Get back up here. You know I want blood.”According to the court affidavit, doctors said that the teen’s bone growth was significantly delayed due to the malnourishment the children received. The doctors also noted the teen suffered from a broken hand, the documents said.

(There’s a YouTube video here that includes some of the 15-year-old’s account. It’s unembedable, so you’ll have to click through to watch it. The abuse stopped when the 15-year-old ran away from home one night — in 26-degree weather, without a coat — and was discovered sleeping behind a store.)

According to a CNN article, the Kluths confessed to some of the allegations, and Sonja claimed that she lost control of the children and became a “monster.” If even half of the above is true, I’d say that’s an understatement. I can’t think which allegations above the Kluths could admit to and not come out looking like monsters.

That goes for John, too. another report says that Sonja was the most active abuser, while her husband just stood by and watched. The bystander effect is not excuse, in my book. Only, he wasn’t just a bystander. He approved. One report quotes him saying as much.

John Kluth told police in the affidavit that “kids need walls and there is a wall of discipline in the home,” the affidavit said.

Maybe this is where we went wrong. As most, we might send out kids to their rooms, to give them some time to calm down. But we never considered that “walls” might include cage walls too!

But, again, the Klluths meeting the minimum standard: heterosexual, married, father in home, etc. All they have to do is stop keeping their kids in cages (along with burning, and beating them, etc.) and they’d stand head and shoulders over us as parents. On the other hand, even without doing any of that, we couldn’t still measure up as parents.

The Kluths might be in the same boat as us, in terms of not being able to have their own biological children, but that’s where the magic comes in. So long as the penis goes into the vagina, they at least achieve the symbolic potential for procreation..

Of course, no one would dream of telling infertile heterosexuals they can’t marry simply because they can’t reproduce. I guess just possessing the proper plumbing is enough to qualify, even if it doesn’t quite function. They might technically be considered handicapped, as they are biologically and anatomically unable to fulfill that primary purpose of marriage, and we can’t discriminate against the handicapped here.

Plus, and I’ve actually had this argument presented to me, their particular combination of genitalia represents at least a symbolic potential for procreation, and that’s enough. And don’t forget (I’ve heard this one too) that “God” might miraculously cure the barrenness. Then wouldn’t we feel foolish for not letting them get married? The same would apply to elderly heterosexuals who are past their reproductive years, but want to marry.

Even heterosexuals who choose not to have children can make the cut. Again, there’s the argument for symbolic potential due to the required combination of genitals, etc. There’s also the possibility that they might “accidentally” reproduce, whether they want to or not, and thus fulfill that primary purpose of marriage. The New York Supreme Court actually applied that logic when it ruled that since heterosexual couples tend towards “reckless procreation”, while gay parents actually become parents through very deliberate efforts (IVF, adoption), they’re actually less stable and thus require protections that our families don’t need.

The Kluth’s got busted when their kid busted out of the jail they created for him. Kayla and Frankie Almuina got busted when they posted pictures of their children on Facebook. Oh yeah. The kids were bound with duct tape.

Two northern Arizona parents were arrested after photos of their young children allegedly being abused were posted on Facebook.

An anonymous Facebook user reportedly alerted authorities on Wednesday after seeing two children, an infant and a toddler, bound with duct tape around their wrists and ankles in photos posted to the social networking site, Fox affiliate KSAZ-TV reported.

The children’s mouths were taped shut, and one of them was hung upside down by some exercise equipment, according to the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office in Flagstaff.

…The anonymous caller knew the names of the parents and where they lived, Reuters reported. Deputies arrested Frankie Almuina, 20, and Kayla Almuina, 19, at their Williams, Ariz., home on Thursday and charged them with two counts of child abuse.

Now, the Almuinas say they were “only joking,” so they apparently practice the same parenting philosophy as Jim Tapske (see above). But like the rest of the families above, they qualify as better suited for parenthood than we do, even though we’ve never put duct tape on our kids. Not even as a “joke.”

It just parents who become felons by treating their kids like felons, and putting them on lock-down. Some parents take their kids with them to commit felonies. Like Matthew Wolski.

A 22-year-old Spring man was facing charges Monday after investigators said he took his 3-year-old child with him on a shoplifting trip to Walmart.

Matthew James Wolski is charged with child endangerment.

According to court documents, Wolski walked into a Walmart in the 1300 block of Fry Road on January 16, 2012, pushing a cart with the child inside.

Investigators said Wolski put several items in his cart and then walked past the registers without paying.

Three loss-prevention officers stopped Wolski in the parking lot and escorted him back to the Loss Prevention Office, court documents said.

One of the officers was holding Wolski's arm, while the other two pushed the cart with the child in it.

But once they got back to the office, investigators said Wolski broke free from the officers, grabbed the child and ran out to his silver, late-model Impala.

Investigators said Wolski threw the kid in the back of the car without restraining him in a child-safety seat and sped away from the scene.

Talk about quality time with daddy! We can only hope the kid wasn’t with him when he was arrested for fondling himself at Walmart last October.

I suppose I should cut Wolski some slack. After all, at least he didn’t leave the kid in the car. And at least he took the kid with him when he fled. the scene. Besides, I think it’s possible he’s not too bright. He was caught the next day, when police answered a call about a home invasion. Wolski was one of the witnesses. Maybe he even placed the call. This guy has problems. Seriously. Google his name.

I could go on. But the point here isn’t to dump on or put all heterosexual parents in the same boat or paint them with the same brush as those above. it’s the same one I’ve explained before.

It's inevitable that, since the poisonous parenting series started, someone who drops into the the middle of it without reading the previous posts (or perhaps without reading any of it) completely misunderstands the point of it. That's what seems to have happened with one commenter on the previous post.

I am a black hetrosexual woman who reads your blog often. It is really bothersome that you choose to highlight the worst of the worst of hetrosexual parenting. How can we have meaningful dialogue about our differing views when all you do is degrade and mock hetrosexual parents?????

Of course, the point is not to "degrade and mock heterosexual parents."

In truth, the series had its unofficial beginning in a couple of posts written in response to right wing pundits who called the very act of being a gay parent "abusive" and "selfish." I'd read several stories in the news about what abusive parents had done to their children, and what neglectful parents had allowed to happen to their children. The parents in these stories were heterosexual, and it occurred to me that the people who called gay parenting itself "abusive" and "selfish" where essentially placing my family and other gay parents in the same category as clearly abusive parents who happen to be heterosexuals.

Like I said earlier, it’s been a long time since I posted another edition in this series. I never considered it officially “closed.” I just moved on to other things, thinking I’d clearly made my point. I didn’t think I’d necessarily have to repeat it. But some things bear repeating.

And, sadly, there’s no shortage of stories like those above to help make that point.


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