Sunday, September 22, 2002

I am getting a lot of flak for defending Mrs. Toogood. Some say that Mrs. Toogood has now apparently admitted that she did wrong:

Madelyn Gorman Toogood told throngs of reporters she made a mistake and she apologizes for it. ... "Nobody has the right to strike their child," Toogood said. "I shouldn't have did it. I'm paying for it and my entire family is paying for it over my mistake."

She will say or do anything to get her kids back. She has to suck up to the CPS do-gooder types or they will make her life hell. This means admitting wrongdoing, claiming that it was an aberration, adopting an anti-spanking philosophy, and begging for forgiveness. If she claims that she is innocent, then the CPS types will want to punish her for failing to submit to their authority. In their minds, they have already convicted her, and if she doesn't acknowledge that, then she is an unfit mother. According to them, anyway.

If Toogood were to say that she did nothing wrong, then the system would be more likely to leave her kid in foster care. They'd say that she showed no remorse, and is therefore likely to continue to abuse the kid.

I was on a KGO radio (SF CA 810AM) call-in show defending Toogood yesterday, with host Shann (pronounced Shawn) Nix.

Shann: We'll talk to Roger in Santa Cruz.

Roger: Hello, Shann. I think you're wrong about this. First of all, I've seen the video. It does not show any slapping or any punching. It shows Mrs. Toogood making some arm motions in the car, but you can't tell that any force is being applied to the child. I think that it is going to turn out that the child is completely healthy, has no bruises, no harm, no anything. This is a big media hysteria witchhunt against this poor woman, and I think it is unjustified.

Shann: Are you her lawyer?

Roger: No, no.

Shann: Because I think that is exactly what her lawyer is going to say. You know what, I will say this. The child has been checked, the child is fine. Ok, that much of what you're saying is accurate. I would suggest that this will be exactly the tack that her lawyers will take. But let me ask you this. You sound like an intelligent guy. You really think that she wasn't hitting that kid?

Roger: From the video, I think she spanked the kid initially. There is a second part of the video after the child goes in the car seat -- It kind of looks like she is punching the kid and then shaking the kid. At one point it looks like she is punching the kid in the face with a closed fist. But I just don't think that she is really doing that.

Shann: Why not?

Roger: You can't see the child's face in that video. All you see is some gestures.

Shann: Roger, let me ask you this. What is she doing, if she is not hitting the kid?

Roger: I think she is just maybe tapping the kid on the head.

Shann: You have to be kidding me! Come on! Man, you've got to do better than that. Tapping the child on the head? You are her lawyer. You are, really.

Roger: No, no. You think that spanking is evil or something.

Shann: Yes.

Roger: You say the research shows that spanking is bad. I've looked at that research, and it doesn't. I tell you, what the research shows is that if you group all spankers and group that against all non-spankers, then yeah, the non-spanked kids do better than the spanked kids.

Shann: Ok.

Roger: But it is only because in the spanked kids you include the people who are being severely abused. If you take out the kids who are being severely abused, and compare the kids who are not spanked to the kids who are being only mildly occasionally spanked for reasonable disciplinary purposes, then there's no difference that anybody has found in the research.

Shann: Roger, the bottom line is that corporal punishment is associated with risks for children. We know that. It is a fact. It's over. Although I appreciate your hair-splitting and your call, it's done. This question has been settled.

Bob says that Mrs. Toogood is not defensible, because she is part of the Irish Travelers, a group known for shoplifting and other petty crimes, and maybe she was angry at her child for not helping to defraud the store. She deserves to lose her kid if she makes the kid part of a criminal enterprise.

Perhaps the store did spy on Mrs. Toogood as part of some ethnic profiling. If she was trying to cheat the store, then she should be prosecuted for that. I am sure they would charge her if they could.

If Mrs. Toogood were charged with stealing, at least she would be given constitutional rights of due process, no self-incrimination, presumption of innocence, etc. If convicted, she would do her punishment without the authorities holding her kid and sister as hostage. As it is, she has to throw herself on the mercy of the court because everyone surmises that she regularly beats her kid.

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