This post is a bit late – the furor from the weekend has died down somewhat, but I want to go ahead and address the issue of threats in the Justina Pelletier case because I think it is still a timely discussion and, sadly, it doesn’t look like Justina is going home anytime soon. (Although, we hold out hope that she could be released to her family at any moment because there are players who could make that happen. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick for one. Feel free to leave him a comment on his facebook page. Apparently he has Presidential aspirations, so he should care what you think.)
The Back Story
Last Thursday evening, March 27th, the Pelletiers were informed that their normal scheduled Friday visitation with Justina had been cancelled and they would only be allowed to visit by Skype. (It was initially reported that they had lost visitation although, now, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Apparently, that type of back and forth, on again off again declaration about visitation is par for the course – not just for the Pelletiers but for anyone dealing with DCF.) At any rate, DCF caved the next morning and magnanimously allowed the ‘normal’ weekly, in-person visitation to go forward, albeit with an escort of 2 state troopers. There was speculation that the visit was cancelled to hide Justina’s declining physical condition, but DCF stated that they had received threats and were protecting Justina.
There was an article in the Boston Globe on Friday about these threats, one of which apparently involved an individual contacting the medical transport company and threatening to kidnap Justina as she was being transported to her visit. The other threats, apparently about a dozen, notably do not actually threaten violence but rather suggest “something along the lines of “retribution or consequences” for their role in the Pelletier case.”
According to the Globe, one concerning ‘online communication’ listed the home addresses of the judge and one physician involved. Again, notably, that online communication “mostly urged people to write or call them”. More concerning, I imagine and you will find out why if you keep reading, at least to the people involved in the incarceration of Justina, is the statement this group made: “failure to comply will result in retaliation which you will not be able to withstand. Free Justina and return her home to her family.”
First, I want to be absolutely clear: I do not and would not support violence in resolving this situation. We must lawfully resolve it so that Justina can get the medical treatment she needs and so we can take action to make sure this doesn’t happen again. (Do I even need to point out that the family has very publicly rejected violence and asks for peaceful, law abiding actions to free Justina?)
While I find it more than a little ironic that the very agency that actually kidnapped this child is now saying they are protecting her from being kidnapped, I think it needs to be pointed out that ‘kidnapping’ Justina away from her kidnappers would be a death sentence for her. I totally and completely understand the inclination to say ‘let’s just go get her and return her to her parents’ – if it were my kid, I would be out of my mind with worry and desperation, as the Pelletiers undoubtedly are. The dream of taking her and escaping certainly has its appeal. But, that is not only impractical and unlikely to succeed, it would prevent her from getting the medical care she so desperately needs for the rest of her life. So, the only way to resolve this is through the courts and elected officials.
Secondly, the nature of the threats that have allegedly been made to DCF, seem to, according to the spokesman for the State Police, not say ‘what they would do’ but merely suggest ‘retribution or consequences’. Really? That doesn’t sound like a threat of violence to me, but rather a statement of fact.
There WILL be consequences for the grossly inappropriate conduct of DCF. Retribution WILL come to elected officials who turn away and do nothing – they will find themselves punished politically. While I condemn any substantive threat of violence again any person involved, I am in total agreement with consequences being meted out to the deserving. I don’t want Judge Johnston dead, I want him punished – fired, disbarred and publicly discredited. I don’t want Dr. Peters, Simona Bujoreanu, or Dr. Alice Newton dead, I want them punished – fired, licenses revoked and publicly discredited.
Now, I happen to think they each should be subject to the same incarceration – in both length and restrictiveness and hostility – Justina has experienced. Let them serve 14 months (or however long it will be when this child makes it home) in a psych ward – medical care denied, no internet, no pets, no friends, 1 phone call a week, 1 hour visitation with their parents (and only their parents), no clergy to give spiritual comfort, mail censored, gifts from the outside tossed aside and given only when the balloons have deflated and the flowers died. Throw in some ‘reeducation’ and behavior modification and gaslighting to show them the error of their ways and I might be satisfied. (Oh, you say, that would be cruel and unusual punishment? Yes. Yes it is. And if it is good enough for Justina, it is certainly good enough for them.) After their incarceration in the psych ward, they can face whatever criminal charges society deems appropriate.
No, I do not want them dead, I want the consequences they experience to be a deterrent to anyone who considers doing the same thing to a child. They will be judged soon enough eternally; I want them to have plenty of time on earth to live with the ‘consequences’ of their actions. And, I believe the vast majority of people seeing this case feel the same way.
It is pretty typical of DCF to try to make themselves the victim while demonizing the people who have the temerity to oppose them. They are not accustomed to being questioned or having to answer for their actions. And they don’t like it. If you read the Globe article, you see that there was one ‘real’ threat to kidnap Justina (to rescue her and no doubt return her to her parents, which is not mentioned). Again, the irony!
The other threats are vague at best, do not actually contain any actual threat of violence and pretty much state what we all are saying to DCF, Boston Children’s, and Judge Johnston: what goes around, comes around and you will pay for what you are doing to this innocent family. This talk of threats is a smokescreen to cover the very real mess they have on their hands and it will not work. I will be shocked if anything comes of these threats DCF is so frightened by.
Finally, the ominous threat from that online communication:”failure to comply will result in retaliation which you will not be able to withstand”.
DCF and law enforcement know exactly who made this ‘threat’. I know who made this ‘threat’. It is no secret at all. This is from a statement from the group ‘Anonymous’, a loose internet coalition of ‘hacktivists’ (they would say they are ‘white hats’ because they do things like expose kiddie porn rings), which has inserted itself into the situation. Some Justina supporters are overjoyed by their arrival, while others, like me, are more than a little ambivalent about the association. However, while I have my own personal and moral concerns, I have to admit, I’d rather have Anonymous on Justina’s side than against her.
I don’t love the fact they released home addresses, but my understanding is that information was accessible to anyone looking online so it wasn’t exactly top secret. And the Globe article points out that the concept was ‘call and write letters’, not ‘go get’em’. If you read the above link, you will see that for yourself. There is no hint of violence in their statement that I can see.
It bears pointing out, although I suspect DCF and the authorities know this full well, Anonymous does not do physical violence. They do public humiliation by way of releasing incriminating information the guilty would prefer stay hidden. They do serious inconvenience and sometimes financial damage by hacking and crashing web sites. They organize, they expose secrets, they protect the innocent. They need only hint and people run scared.
The people involved in this atrocity, should be afraid. But not of violence. They should fear having their heinous deeds exposed for all to see. So, while I do not personally love Anonymous, I have to admit their recent actions have DCF running scared. And that is not a bad thing for Justina.
Also not a bad thing, the ‘massive’ letter writing and phone call campaign by people supporting the Pelletiers is noted in the Globe article. When people call Gov. Deval Patrick, they are often told that his office has not received many calls about Justina. That is a lie. There is a massive campaign to free Justina – an army of people are behind Justina and are participating in peaceful protests and prayer vigils, in addition to an active social media campaign and letters, emails and phone calls.
The people are angry… although, I confess, these particular people are more likely to pray or shout scripture at you, than to get arrested. The number of people awake and now aware of Justina’s plight is growing, day by day. The story is slowly gaining traction in the media – Glenn Beck, Dr. Phil, Huckabee and now Mark Levin. It is being told in the Huffington Post and other liberal blogs/news sites. Alan Dershowitz has offered to help the family. Alan Dershowitz is a liberal, Harvard lawyer – he says the law is clear on this matter – because he knows the Constitution. This is not a right/left issue – it is a human rights issue. Anyone with a scrap of intellectual honesty sees that and is horrified by what has happened to this child.
The blood of revolutionaries flows in our veins and it should not surprise anyone that the people are exercising their God-given, Constitutionally-protected rights to speak out and to protest what we perceive as a crime against an innocent child. We have been silent too long. We are a nation of laws, not men, and we must ensure that the laws that allowed Justina to be taken are replaced with laws that will prevent it from ever happening again. And, we must punish the people who did this – punish them through the law.
I leave you with a quote from Harry Potter, that I think fits particularly well here – just replace ‘ Voldemort’, with ‘DCF’…
“Don’t you see? Voldemort himself created his worst enemy, just as tyrants everywhere do! Have you any idea how much tyrants fear the people they oppress? All of them realize that, one day, amongst their many victims, there is sure to be one that rises against them and strikes back! ~ Albus Dumbledore