Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Is History repeating itself with raid on West Texas polygamist compound? Eldorado incident recalls 1953 "Short Creek" raid

Most Texans are relatively unfamiliar with polygamy compared to folks in Utah and Arizona, so most of us have never heard of the "Short Creek" raid targeting the FLDS sect in 1953. But the tenor and tactics of the raid in West Texas have a familiar ring when compared to what happened there on the Utah-Arizona border a half-century ago.

The Polygamy Files, a blog at the Salt Lake City Tribune written by Brooke Adams focused on "the plural life," describes that incident 55-years ago and relates it to the raid in Eldorado:
I feel I am watching history unfold -- and repeat itself.

Allegations of child abuse/neglect and underage brides were raised way back in 1953 when Arizona authorities took over 250 women and children out of Short Creek, the community now known as Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz.

They're being raised again now.

In 1953, Arizona authorities monitored the people for a few days in the community, feeding them in a chow line set up in a field, and then loaded them on buses for a long drive to Phoenix.

Women were allowed to stay with their children, but the men were separated out.

The women and children were kept in state custody for two years.

Can't say ''ditto'' yet, but it appears no one is going home any time soon. A spokeswoman said today that Child Protection Services has 30 days to finish its investigation.

And the state has already taken legal custody of 18 girls -- exactly why, no one is saying. Are the teens in danger of being married off? Are they pregnant? Have they been abused, neglect, deprived of an education?

The media corps, me included, are getting restless for specifics -- particularly from law enforcement.

Some people are describing this as a kinder, gentler action than happened in 1953.

I don't think that description works when you're talking about young children -- and there are hundreds of them involved here -- who've been taken from their homes and made to stay in a church hall or civic center and then military outpost, all in the space of three days. And they face the prospect of other moves to strange locales, too.
Adams is right that, from the perspective of the kids, what Texas has done in Eldorado won't seem kinder or gentler than the Short Creek incident 55 years ago. In Utah the Short Creek raid was seen as an iconic mistake that violated people's rights based on overhyped charges of child abuse. In the end, backlash against overzealous tactics made it more difficult after Short Creek to prosecute real incidents of child abuse among polygamists. That could easily turn out to be the case in Eldorado, given the scale of the overreaction.

It's been said that history repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce, and that saying IMO so far applies in this case. If history recalls the Short Creek raid as "tragedy," the Eldorado raid seems destined to be remembered as farce, albeit a tragic one.

Like Adams, whatever the authorities find as a result of the raid, "I hope it justifies all this."



Ron in Houston said...

One of the maxims I operate on in family law is that "hell hath no fury like a social worker who thinks they're doing things in the best interests of the child."

Anytime I see mass hysteria, I begin to question things.

Anonymous said...

Does it really take CPS and hundreds of law enforcement ten days to find a pregnant 16 year old girl in a very limited area?????

Anonymous said...

In light of this police-state assault on an entire community, perhaps it's time for the people to exercise their Second Amendment rights in the manner for which they were originally intended.

Anonymous said...

Smells like they're burning the witches again. not to mention that it was legal in Utah for 14 yrs old to marry (with parental consent) until about 2 yrs ago when the lesbians, feminists and their enablers got attorney general mark "zeig heil" shurtleff to raise the age.

oppressors always resort to making the religion of their enemies a crime. Isn't that what happened in babylon under nebachadnezer? weren't the jews almost exterminated because they refused to worhip the king ahead of god? note: the enemies of the jews had nebachadnezer enact a law requiring that only the king could be worshiped. it was the death penalty to worship god.

if it was okay to marry a 14 year old two years ago then it is okay today--the only thing that has changed is that the lesbians and feminist managed to amend the marriage statute. is time to amend it back.

and i'll bet none of those women have the LBT (low back tattoo) or are sluts or whores.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 10:25 sounds like a dirty old man salivating at the thought of a 14-year-old virgin bride. I think he has nothing to fear from the "lesbians" and "feminists" except prevention from getting his rocks off with a child. The sluts and whores comment smacks of misogyny. And for my final rail, you neglected to capitalize God, genius.

Moving on: while I am far from being reconciled with how this situation in El Dorado is being handled (far, far from it), I do think that underage girls (and boys) need protection from predators (yes, predators). If their families do not have the sense or are too brain washed to provide it, I feel the government has no choice but to do so. You can NEVER justify to me why an adult man, much less one in his 40s or 50s, sees the need to marry a teenage bride. It is sick and it is exploitative, religious freedom or not. The situation has me very confounded.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with the last anonymous post. Only a dirty old man would feel that it was okay to marry a 14 year old girl. We see too much perverse behavior in this world as it is and it is a shame that any person would condone it. It doesnt matter where a child lives, whether it is within a community or religious sect, it is illegal and immoral to have sexual relations with an underage child.

Anonymous said...

Okay, so I don't condone what has been going on- there are great flaws to both sides of the story. I don't believe that what has (accusationally) been going on behind the closed doors of the ranch is "right", but I also don't believe in the way the state handled things to begin with. (No wonder people hate CPS- they will persecute anyone at the sake of their own idiocracy... Sure, CPS has it's good points, but so much of what I hear coming out of their "mouths" is garbage and speculation.) IMO, the State is completely wrong with HOW this is being handled. And, since some of you want to bring the Bible into this... how old was Mary when she gave birth to Christ? Hmmm... pretty sure she is reported to having been a teenager- married to an older man, Joseph. I'm not saying every teenager ought to be married off to an older man- but come on. Just because you don't agree with it- doesn't make someone who does a sicko. I'm a 29 year old married woman, mother of 4 by the way- not a- what was it you called it? Oh yeah- "a dirty old man salivating at the thought of a 14-year-old virgin bride". Just because someone disagrees with you doesn't mean you need to resort to the tactics of a 12 year old! My grandmother CHOSE to marry a 43 year old man when she was only 16... they had a wonderful life together. Who gets to say what is right, and what is wrong? Just you?