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Wednesday, November 9,2011

End parental impunity

By Pamela White

You’re sitting in a coffee shop. You notice that the adult sitting next to you is logged on to one of those torrent sites and is illegally downloading music, movies, books and games. Knowing that this person is breaking the law — and determined to teach him right from wrong — you get up, pull off your belt, and proceed to beat this person for the next six minutes, shouting and berating him for this blatant act of stealing.

Well, you would never get away with that. Others would intervene. Then the police would arrest you on assault charges.

If only that person had been your daughter, a minor child who is much smaller than you and entirely dependent upon you. Then you would have been able to beat the shit out of her with impunity.

That’s what one Texas father did.

William Adams, an elected court-at-law judge in Aransas County, caught his disabled 16-year-old daughter, Hillary, downloading games and music illegally and went after her with his belt — for six horribly violent minutes. Adams struck Hillary again and again on her arms, legs and abdomen with the belt, shouting profanity at her and even threatening to strike her “fucking face” if she didn’t lie down on the bed and submit. Hillary’s mother helped, at one point, taking over in an apparent attempt to tone down the beating, but Adams didn’t go along with that. He left the room, returned with another belt and resumed striking Hillary, not yet satiated in his desire to punish her.

“I’m going to beat you into submission!” he shouted, striking her again and again while she begged him to stop.

The public has become very familiar with William Adams’ idea of “discipline” because Hillary, now 23, hid a camera in her room and videotaped the beating, which took place seven years ago. Ms. Adams, who said it was not the only time her father abused her, released the video on YouTube after her mother and younger sister left her father, and it quickly went viral, garnering more than 5 million views.

Adams, who stepped down from the bench temporarily, is facing a judicial review, though the district attorney will not file criminal charges because the statute of limitations has passed.

Yet, despite the public outcry, Adams defends what he did as “disciplining” his disobedient daughter.

How is that there are still parents in 2011 who believe that the way to teach children is to cause them pain? There is no other relationship where one person is permitted to hit someone else without facing arrest.

Hit your significant other or spouse, and you face arrest. Hit your employee or co-worker, and you face arrest. Even prison guards who strike inmates are subject to discipline.

But if you’re a parent, you can get away with smacks, whacks, paddling, spanking and beating your child with a belt and call it “discipline.”

To make matters worse, children love and trust their parents as they love and trust no one else. And yet the role of parent is the only one that enables one person to do violence to another and get away with it. Our laws don’t intervene in the parent-child relationship until violence reaches the level of “abuse,” a much higher threshold than the one that pertains to assault. A few smacks, some spankings, a whack with a belt, and society is largely OK with it.

While much of the country is outraged by the brutality in that video, there are many who defend Adams, quoting the Bible to prop up their medieval notions of parenthood. What would Jesus have done had he confronted Hillary? Just guessing, but I doubt he’d have shouted, “If you so much as fucking look at me wrong, I’m going to wear your fucking ass out with this belt!” Striking kids, hitting them, beating them isn’t about discipline; it’s about intimidation and dominance. It’s as lazy as it is brutal, skipping the hard work of teaching children in favor of controlling them through fear.

If Adams had been serious about teaching Hillary a lesson, he might have made her pay for the items she stole, working off her debt through chores. Or he might have taken a restorative justice approach — proven to have a big impact on young people — and required her to do a report on the harm that pirating does to the livelihoods of musicians, film professionals, writers and others. There’s nothing like empathy for those you have wronged to make you feel contrite.

It wasn’t that long ago that a husband could beat his wife and get away with it. Although partner violence still occurs, it’s now illegal.

Anti-government wingnuts might not like it, but it’s time to give children the same respect under the law that we give everyone else in society by criminalizing violence as an acceptable form of discipline. One whack or six minutes worth of belt blows, it’s still the same thing — using violence to break a child’s will.

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com

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In light of Judge Adams video,

We often hear from those who fight to uphold this practice for those under the age of 18 (even to the blaming of the social maladies of the day on a supposed "lack" of it), but we rarely, if ever, find advocates for the return of corporal punishment to the general adult community, college campuses, inmate population, or military. Why is that?

Ask ten unyielding proponents of child/adolescent/teenage-only "spanking" about the "right" way to do it, and what would be abusive, indecent, or obscene, and you will get ten different answers.

These proponents should consider making their own video-recording of the "right way" to do it.
Visit Unlimited Justice or Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education to learn more and add your voice.



For a nation founded upon the horrors of slavery, ritualized abuse of children is "progress".



U.S. Congress must Immediately Enact H.R. 3027 "The Ending Corporal Punishment in Schools Act", DUE TO DIE AGAIN IN U.S. HOUSE COMM. ON EDUCATION 12/8/2011, to stop Politicizing our nation's schoolchildren's human/constitutional/civil rights in taxpayer funded schools and ensure EQUAL access to safe and healthy learning environments for ALL U.S. Schoolchildren! In predominantly southern "BIBLE BELT" schools, including Colorado, MANDATORY REPORTERS of suspected child abuse, school teachers, coaches and administrators HIT STUDENTS K-12 with thick wooden PADDLES, SEXUAL ASSAULT when done to a non-consenting adult, to deliberately inflict PAIN AS PUNISHMENT for minor infractions, known as "Corporal Punishment", already ILLEGAL in schools in 31 U.S. States. Several "School Paddling States" have "Teacher IMMUNITY LAWS" to protect school employees from criminal/civil action when students are INJURED, leaving families no legal redress! Federal statistics indicate that beatings by school administrators are overwhelmingly administered in the Southern Bible Belt. The beatings are "founded upon the RELIGIOUS CONVICTION IT IS A SIN TO SPARE THE ROD AND SPOIL THE CHILD."

Please add your voice to support Federal Lesiglation to Abolish Corporal Punishment of ALL Students in America's Schools at donthitstudents dot com



You work in retail. A group of kids ages approximately 9- 12 come into your store that you try to keep clean for 8 hours a day, start knocking stuff off of shelves, running around screaming and laughing, terrorizing customers (nearly knocking an elderly woman down several times) and after 30 minutes, leave with their pockets full of shoplifted merchandise.

That, Ms White, has happened more than once right here in Boulder. What kind word or positive reinforcement will correct that behavior? How would you go about setting these wayward youths on the right path?

Spanking is too harsh? What about jail? That's what would happen to me if I did the same thing. Elderly abuse, criminal property damage, disturbing the peace and shoplifting, just to get started. Kids need guidance and to understand that there are consequences to acting like a maniac. Spanking is NOT abuse, it's a form of guidance for young people that don't know the correct way to behave in public.

You, like a lot of Boulderites, need to learn how to mind your own business and stay out of other people's lifestyle, parenting and other choice



So you won't mind it if an adult "spanks" you in public next time they decide you are misbehaving, eh?


Darrell, you kick the kids out of the store instead of standing there acting like a helpless victim. No brainer, from someone who has worked retail.