May 23, 2008
Cure for Obesity Finally Found, Too

Apparently it’s polygamy.

Something struck me last night, looking at TV footage of the wives and children of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints who were taken from their home in what’s starting to look like another bonehead play by the Great State of Texas

Every single one of them seemed vigorous, healthy — and slim. There were perhaps 20 or 25 women and children altogether in the cllps I saw. What are the odds, in a random group of that size anywhere else in America, of not seeing a single wide load?


Posted by Jerome Doolittle at May 23, 2008 12:53 PM
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Do you also recommend a lifetime of unpaid domestic slavery as an aid to weight loss?

Posted by: Martha Bridegam on May 23, 2008 2:43 PM

Nope, I don't recommend that. The kids weren't domestic slaves, far as I know, and they were as thin as their mothers. And actually all the FLDS fathers I've seen were thin as well. What I recommend is country living, getting outdoors, no TV, no processed foods, no fast-food restaurants, no soft drinks, and so on. I wasn't talking about the sect's domestic arrangements or its religious beliefs, which I find respectively despicable and moronic. I was just pointing out that their life style seems more conducive to physical good health than that of most Americans.

This was a complicated situation handled by the authorities with all the finesse of Bush in Iraq. Right from the start it seemed plain that the initial call alleging abuse was suspect. If the caller was real, why didn't she make herself known to the authorities once she was safe from her abuser? This puts the legal basis of the whole raid in doubt.

That plural marriages themselves are illegal regardless of age seems to be a problem that neither Arizona or Texas has the stomach to address. Instead the crime alleged here is that of forcing underage girls into marriages.

But the only evidence of it so far seems to have been an anonymous phone call from a teenaged girl who has a history of making hoax calls and who is not even a member of the sect.

Myself, I don't care if people want to enter into gay marriages, straight marriages, interspecies marriages, plural marriages, or no marriages at all. I don't think any of them is any business of the state.

But as it happens, plural marriages are illegal in Texas, and so this offered the authorities a lawful avenue of attack. They did not choose to take this path. Instead they rounded up everybody in sight except the alleged perps.

Sweeping up hundreds of women and children was not only very likely illegal; it was, from the public relations point of view, total idiocy. Last time I saw anything this dumb (pre-Bush, I mean) was when some genius at the FAA decided that the blind shouldn't be allowed to carry their white canes on board, the theory being that the canes might fly around and hurt somebody if the airplane crashed.

Nobody had thought to run this brilliant new regulation past the FAA's chief of public affairs, which was me, and so I had the pleasure one day of being blindsided, so to speak, by a lobby full of TV crews, reporters, seeing-eye dogs, and protesters waving their white canes at the cameras.

Back, however, to the point.

I'm guessing that serving warrants for polygamy, followed by intelligent police work, would have resulted in solid, actionable information that underage girls had indeed been forced into marriage, and that this constituted, at the very least, statutory rape. With actual evidence in hand, accurately-focused prosecutions could then have gone forward.

But now the whole sorry mess is FUBAR to such an extent that the DA will soon be reduced to saving face by charging some unfortunate scapegoat with spitting on the sidewalk or something. Then he'll have to let everybody else go, which he will blame on the media and the bleeding heart judges for which Texas is notorious.

And the taxpayers will be stuck with the bill for millions of dollars in court costs, lawyers' fees, law suits, and providing food and lodging for hundreds of people — most of them, as tends to be true in dragnet arrests, innocent of any crime. (I know these weren't technically arrests, but that's a legal quibble.)

The indiscriminate separation of children from their mothers on suspicion that some crime somewhere might have been committed by some of the fathers against some of the mothers amounts in itself to child abuse, this time by the state. If crimes were indeed committed, as seems likely, the criminals were the husbands in the sect.

But the ones being ordered onto busses and carried away against their will are all, so far as we know, innocent of anything. And yet they, not the suspected criminals, are so far the only ones to suffer punishment at the hands of the Great State of Texas.

That's what I meant by boneheaded.

Posted by: Jerry Doolittle on May 23, 2008 5:25 PM

Ah, now I see where the next post ties in!

And I agree with Martha: This isn't healthful country living.

Posted by: Joyful Alternative on May 24, 2008 9:36 AM

Jeez, all I meant to say in the first place was that these loonies have a lifestyle that evidently keeps them in good PHYSICAL health. I make no case for their moral, mental, psychological, emotional, sexual, ethical or theological health, most or all of which are probably deplorable. But they are thin. They look vigorous and healthy. From the physical, physical, and physical points of view and from no other they seem to be better off than the American populace at large.

Posted by: Jerry Doolittle on May 24, 2008 10:26 AM

In one particular photo I was struck the mouths of the women, especially the older ones. They're set in the hard straight line that goes with pain endured and inflicted. You see it in Depression-era documentary photographs and mug shots. Most of the living women I've met with mouths like that have luridly awful personal stories.

Laugh at physiognomy if you want but I tell you those women have suffered in ways that Americans pretend don't happen any more.

Just because the Texas authorities were goons doesn't give moral authority to misogynist cultists. It's possible for two sides in a fight to be wrong. There are always more than two sides. Here, it looks like the media and the more powerful parties have framed this dispute as a fight between the government and the FLDS men for ownership of the women and children. I'm not sure who out there recognizes that the women and children belong to themselves.


Posted by: Martha Bridegam on May 25, 2008 3:00 PM
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