By Keith Johnson
We all enjoy good satire from time to time—even when the ribbing is done at our expense. God knows I’ve dished out my fair share. Very rarely do we find extreme examples, where satirists cross the line into territory that is beyond bad taste. However, this weekend, I found an article on the self-described ‘D.C. gossip’ website, Wonkette, that did just that.
A featured article entitled, “BREAKING TEABAGGER NEWS: Govmint Stoled Newborn Baby” makes a mockery out of the suffering of a young couple, whose child was recently abducted by child services in the state of New Hampshire.
The author, who goes by the name of Jack Stuef, immediately treads beyond the parameters of artistic license and begins engaging in a variety of cruel defamations.
“Just when Teabagger parents thought they could have as many poor welfare children as they wanted, the big scary government child services came in and decided it could TAKE AWAY THEIR CHILDREN just because they are members of a Teabagger group that wants to protect the Constitution (with guns).”
If you are not familiar with the case he is referring to, perhaps a little background information is in order.
Last Thursday, John Irish and Stephanie Janvrin welcomed their newborn daughter into the world at the Concord Hospital in New Hampshire. Shortly after Stephanie gave birth, the hospital staff told the parents that the infant needed to be checked by a pediatrician. This was an apparent rouse to get the child away from the couple. Irish saw a variety of uniformed officers, detectives and social workers escorting the head nurse down the hall. Sensing that something was wrong, Irish tried to intervene. He was then forcibly held against his will, frisked, and told by police that they were taking the baby. Shortly thereafter, both parents were told to leave the hospital and demanded they not return.
According to court paperwork, the state alleges that the infant was in “imminent danger” of her parents due to “a lengthy history of domestic violence.” Both Janvrin and Irish deny the allegations.
In an affidavit supporting its actions, the Department of Child and Youth Services also makes mention of the father’s affiliation with Oath Keepers, which it describes as “a militia,” and his purchase of “several different types of weapons including a rifle, handgun and Taser.”
The information in that last paragraph is apparently what sparked Jack Stuef’s interest. He isn’t concerned about the plight of American families who have fallen victim to Child Protective Services—and had it not been for the couple’s politics—he would have likely dismissed the case as irrelevant. But these particular people were poor, white, owned guns and regard the United States Constitution as the law of the land. They fit the exact profile of the kind of people Jack obviously hates. It makes no difference to him that they are forced to deal with one of the most traumatic experiences a parent could ever be expected to live through. In his mind, these people are TEABAGGERS, and should be given no quarter. This line of thinking is inhumane, vicious and paints an ugly picture of the moral collapse of our society.
You don’t go to a military funeral to stage a protest carrying signs that read “God Hates Fags” and “Thank God For Dead Soldiers,” and you don’t poke fun at grieving mothers who have just lost their children, no matter how much you may disagree with their politics.
At no time in a woman’s life is she more emotionally fragile than directly after having given birth. This is what makes this particular case so horrific: that the local authorities would choose this time to separate a woman from her child, when the bonding is most critical. No advance warning was given. They simply took the child and told the parents to leave. Upon hearing this, I literally broke down in tears, as I have countless times before after hearing of similar incidents. In these circumstances, a decent and compassionate being turns off their bias and prejudice and feels nothing but empathy for the human suffering. I personally cannot even comprehend how anyone could find humor from such tragedy. Perhaps it requires having children of your own and living more than a few decades to fully appreciate what I’m talking about.
In my attempt to try and understand what makes someone like Stuef tick, I went to his bio. There, I found his photograph. If that really is him, it confirms a lot of what I expected to find: a young white kid who looks like he needs a little more sunshine than the kind he gets off his computer screen. He has an unruly mop of hair and soft pudgy cheeks that look like they’ve been cultivated off a steady diet of Dr. Pepper and Cheetos. Am I being exceptionally cruel?
But I’ve said enough about Jack (or whatever his real name is). His poor excuse for satire is what I’ve come here to discuss. His article goes on to describe ‘Oath Keepers’ as “a militia group with a weird constitution fetish.”
Oath Keepers is not a militia, but rather (according to its own website) a “non-partisan association of currently serving military, veterans, peace officers, and firefighters who will fulfill the oath we swore to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, so help us God.”
But even if it were a militia, listing Irish’s association with Oath Keepers in an affidavit in support of taking his child is an egregious violation of the Constitution. Additionally, none of Irish’s weapons purchases seemed to have been made illegally. If they had been, or if Irish had a felony conviction that precluded him from firearms ownership, it would seem likely that he would have already been in custody. Again, listing Irish’s legal firearms ownership in the context of an affidavit to take his child would also qualify as a gross violation of our Constitution.
Stuef also identifies the couple’s child as a “Teabagger spawn,” mocks the mother’s Facebook profile, suggests that the father has a “history of violence and firearms charges” and that both parents were “terrible parents with a long history of neglect.”
In reality, there appears to be only one firearms charge that may have come as a result of a traffic stop—and a subsequent search of the vehicle—that discovered a firearm that belonged to Stephanie. She is said to have a concealed carry permit, but did not have it in her possession. Because it was John’s vehicle, he was the one charged. It is unclear if that case has been fully resolved. But often times, people who are unable to afford adequate representation will often feel compelled to plea out to a charge in order to avoid a lengthy trial.
Also, it appears that the neglect accusations may have stemmed from charges made by Stephanie’s ex-husband, and that the petition for removal of parental rights have nothing to do with John and his newborn daughter. Bitter, former spouses often come up with exaggerated, and often false, accusations during custody disputes. But none of this speculation really matters. Whatever the truth turns out to be should be resolved in a court of law.
The simple fact that both Janvrin and Irish are running around free is enough to suggest that a solid case has not yet been established to support a criminal prosecution. In the United States of America, we are presumed innocent until we are proven otherwise before a jury of our peers. Child Protective Service courts are extra-judiciary, administrative bodies that do not extend the right of due process afforded to us (at the State level) under the 14th amendment of the United States Constitution. Without due process, the government is forbidden from depriving any American of life, liberty or property.
Most police officers and social workers are not even aware of this fact. That is the problem that arises when a society allows their government to ‘train’ their personnel rather than ‘educate’ them. Dogs can be trained, but it takes an intellect to discern right from wrong. That is why most civilian law enforcement agency hires have an intelligence quotient in the range of 80-90. This is considered a little below “average intelligence” by most standards, and identifies people who rarely seek explanations beyond those they learn in a classroom setting. Anyone smarter than that is likely to explore the given material in great detail and apply logic and reason before making critical decisions. The government can’t have that. They need obedient servants that will take orders and fit in to their uniform standards of compliance.
I’m sure most of you are familiar with the first few Stars Wars episodes? The Empire didn’t clone their storm troopers simply in the interests of saving a few bucks. But don’t think I’m basing my analysis on a work of fiction. During the course of my former career, I’ve literally screened thousands of potential job applicants. It always disturbed me that intelligent people were turned away in just as great a number as the ones who fell way below the acceptable limit. Meanwhile, I would watch the select few being told that they were the “best of the best” and “the ones that made the cut,” instilling a false sense of superiority that often led to a tragic end.
What happened to Stephanie Janvrin and John Irish is a classic example of public servants who overstep their bounds, and whose textbook allegiance to unlawful bureaucracies brings untold heartache and tragedy to yet another American family. If the police had reasonable cause to believe that Irish had committed a crime, they should have arrested him and left the child with the mother. If both parents were held on reasonable suspicion of a crime, the police should have immediately surrendered the child over to the care of Stephanie’s family.
There will be a hearing in the case on Thursday in Rochester Family Court, and while the ‘presumed guilty’ couple sweats out the long days heading up to their court date, the court of public opinion has already found them guilty as charged.
We’ve seen both the left and right jump to conclusions about the assumed guilt or innocence of people they despise. In 2008, Right wing Neo-conservative bloggers and posters were in a delirious frenzy of euphoria when a 9/11-truth advocate by the name of Gary Talis was arrested on charges of assaulting a wheel chair bound girl, with cerebral palsy, at a Laura Bush event. Although he adamantly denied the charges and had several eyewitnesses to corroborate his story, many took the liberty to defame him and put his life in serious jeopardy.
The New York Post ran an article entitled, “Bush Basher Smashes Disabled Teen: Cops,” that made Talis out to be an insane lunatic who shouted obscenities and then began punching the disabled girl. More faux-conservatives like Sean Hannity, Michelle Malkin, Fox News and several 9/11 debunking sites joined in the smear. Bloggers and comment boards were full of slanderous content, many making threats of violence directed at Talis. The ensuing trial found Talis “not guilty” after a conscientious Secret Service agent provided key testimony that thoroughly discredited the charges. According to eyewitnesses, it was actually the girl’s father who assaulted Talis by punching and ramming his daughter’s wheelchair into him.
Now the left has their own ‘claim to defame’ with this latest smear campaign. If you haven’t read Jack Steuf’s article, I would highly recommend that you do so. But don’t stop there. Read on to the comments section, where you’ll find even more disgusting discourse to turn your stomach. Take a look at some of these comments:
Kittylittr: Have the Teatards officially declared war against the US yet? Because I’m really looking forward to collecting medals for killing bunches of them with my liberal gun and liberating their sister-wife-daughters from the compounds.
Tommmcatt: If they take away the baby who will keep an eye on the meth lab timer? If that stuff boils over it burns holes in the double-wide.
FlownOver: Well, cool! TeaBaggerdom is now officially a defense to child abuse!
Some of y’all young’uns best be headin’ for the hills NOW! Soon as this word gets around, y’all are roadkill!
JMPEsq: Let’s see; the parents are apparently not married, the mother at least already has three kids when she’s too young to have one, it’s unclear if the older kids have the same father or not, oh and they apparently abused and neglected the kids. Yep, this is what the teabaggers tell us is a normal all-American family.
Rambone: Well, the good new is that they’ll probably have a couple more replacement babies on the conception-conveyor belt before I manage to hit the “submit” button on this comment.
Just for good measure, I added a comment of my own:
Revoltoftheplebs: Look at the NEW LEFT–a bunch of giggling ninnies full of frightened men and bitter women. Oh, what a departure from the antiwar, anti-fascist movement of the 60’s and 70’s. Now it’s time to use your ‘indoor voice’ and rat out your neighbors if they might have a scary flag waving on their front porch.
They’d rather get their giggling points from Jon Stewart and attend a “Rally to Restore Sanity” to mock the teabaggers. Ridicule is so much more fun than taking to the streets and voicing their outrage at bankers foreclosing on people’s homes while their executives reep million dollar bonuses. Snickering at stupid costumes teabaggers wear is so much more constructive than demanding an end to these unnecessary wars.
I suggest you visit Wonkette and leave a comment of your own, or perhaps drop Jack Stuef a line and tell him how you really feel: