I watched this documentary on Showtime the other night – I actually watched part of it again this evening because I had missed the beginning the first time, and it was so disturbing that I can’t go to bed without airing some thoughts.
Apparently I actually wrote about this same topic a couple of years ago after coming across a single story about survivors of these kinds of camps, but the video … seeing these people in the flesh, and the brainwashing, and the psychological abuse that these kids are put through … I don’t even know.
I don’t know – being a parent now myself – how someone in the role of guardian of a child could ever take such drastic of measures to control their teenage menace. I just can’t imagine, and Sara and I talked about some of it last night … wondering if our son will struggle with drugs or alcohol or sex, and what we can do to prevent it, and how we might react and work through the issues if we can’t…
BUT I WILL NEVER PAY SOMEONE TO SHOW UP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT TO SHUTTLE HIM AWAY TO GET FIXED.
Even writing that sentence makes me feel like I’m writing a work of fiction because it just seems unfathomable to me that such a concept could even exist here in the real world by people who aren’t already involved in organized crime.
Want another one that’s probably going to give me nightmares once I finally do go to bed tonight???
Here’s another documentary – this one is apparently of the transport people who are hired by these parents to come escort their kids to these camps. It’s an entire sub-industry on its own, too – Google “troubled teen transport service” and there’s a number of companies that specialize in kidnapping children in the middle of the night … except that it’s totally legal because until you’re 18, your parents can pretty much do whatever the fuck they want with you.
How these people are able to sleep at night after doing over 2,500 “cases” … and by “doing cases,” they mean “kidnapping children” … I just don’t even know how to process that.
The idea that a teenager could be walked kicking and screaming through a major metropolitan airport, and nobody would stop them – police, airport security, airline attendants, the TSA – because the escorts are also carrying a piece of paper signed by the parents authorizing the whole charade … it just sickens me.
Think about it – if you were walking through the airport and heard a kid screaming that they were being kidnapped, wouldn’t you try to do something to help???
It’s terrifying to see so much information come out about this – that it’s a $2 billion industry and that thousands of these facilities exist all over the world … and not just in foreign countries, but also right here in the proud US of A.
Who knows – maybe in some cases, a few of the flags on that map aren’t representative of what is shown in Kidnapped for Christ and maybe they’re able to do some real good, but I just refuse to believe that any good whatsoever can come from stealing your child away in the middle of the night – with the exception of violence that requires calling the police. We have a system in place for these types of things … in extreme emergencies … but coming out to your parents as being gay, or having anxiety issues or some other medical condition that your parents don’t know how to deal with … this is just unacceptable.
As if the picture wasn’t bad enough, here are a couple of kids who died at the hands of these people…
- This 17 year-old girl jumped out a second story window after being kidnapped and taken away to a school in Jamaica.
- This 14 year-old with Asperger’s was put in isolation after repeated complaints of stomach pains, and then found dead from a twisted bowel the next morning.
What’s shocking to me more than anything else is reading the parents’ reactions after their kids come out of these programs and how they seem to show no sense of responsibility for their actions whatsoever. In both cases above, the parents were shocked and feel like the camps didn’t take adequate care of their kids … after they had committed them to be taken away themselves, mind you.
And even the parents of the one of the three teens in the movie – it’s reported that they threatened to sue the filmmaker if the film came out, presumably because it makes them look like bad parents (which they are), and even in the Reddit AMA that the kid (now adult) did recently, he mentions that his parents don’t like to talk about it and get angry and dismissive when the topic is brought up.
I’m pretty sure when you sentence one of your own to be subjected to abuse by strangers in another country, you waive your rights to feeling embarrassed about it pretty much for the rest of your life.
Then again, in the documentary he also quotes his mother as saying, “I could never love a gay son…” when he came out to her.
These types of people don’t deserve to be parents.
Give them up for adoption, wards of the state, or whatever, but this is just plain ABUSE – and anyone who thinks that it’s ok because it’s being done in the name of God doesn’t deserve to be around children ever again, either.
Some teenagers act out in really bad ways. Most teenagers act out in one way or another – that’s part of what growing up is all about. But far before that, when they’re just old enough to run around the playground while the supervising adult may be looking the other way, we teach them never to talk to strangers and to scream really loud if anyone ever tries to coax them into their car.
We tell kids to only go with adults who they know and trust, but what do we do when apparently it’s their own parents who they can no longer trust???
This is just wrong, and something needs to change. Now.
Here are some places you can go for more information and ways you can help:
- /r/troubledteens on Reddit
- Tales from the Black School
- Tell your Congressman to support The Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act of 2014
If this industry isn’t the poster child for the need of government regulation, I’m not sure I want to call myself an American anymore.
I tried to “comfort” Christopher with his Pooh Bear (yes, that Pooh Bear) this evening so that I could finish eating dinner in peace, although looking over at him I can’t help but think that nearly being smothered by a giant bear nearly as big as you and that is actually articulate whereas you’re not so much might be more along the lines of “terrifying” than “comforting.”
My bad. 😐
I guess it says something about my personality when the intent of this customizable shirt is actually this…
“If you’re a SCOTT, then this is for you! Let people know that whatever the problem that arises, there is no need to stress, you can handle it.”
And yet my first reaction is a little more something like this…
“What the hell?! Don’t I already do enough around here – how about Keep Calm and Leave Scott Alone and Handle It Yourself!!!”
I suppose mine might be a little long for a shirt. Maybe they can make it a two-sided or something.
Seriously? I just discovered this tonight, and I already hate it so much.
And just to confirm – yes, that’s Voltron: Defender of the Universe, forming his blazing … guns. 😯
I had a feeling when we turned this on that it was going to creep me out a little. I mean, I barely remember when this stuff was in the news more regularly a few years back, but I don’t know … maybe after having been on a couple of big boats myself for cruises, the whole story just kind of hit a little too close to home for me because the second the pirates started climbing their ladder and it was clear that they were getting on that boat, I just couldn’t help but think, “Man, am I going to have some fucked up dreams tonight…”
Throughout the entire movie, all I could think was how much I wanted to see Tom Hanks rise up to be a bad ass and punch one of the hijackers right in the face … even as Home Alone-ish as it seemed, I kind of loved the retribution when the one dude cut his foot on the broken glass that they had left out for him, and I was very much rooting for one of the guys to club the lead pirate with a lead pipe or something when he was rooting around the engine room by himself!
The one thing that I was expecting that didn’t end up happening, though, was that I just assumed that eventually “the mothership” was going to come back and then there would be 20 pirates vs. the ship’s crew as opposed to only 4 … seriously, they couldn’t have figured out a way to overpower four of them, especially after they took one hostage and another had a busted up foot?!
I think what really blew my mind even more than the actual movie, though, was in reading Wikipedia just now and finding out how much actual piracy took place around Somalia during that 5-year span – in 2008, there were 111 attacks that led to 42 successful hijackings, and then the following year they were up to 79 attacks and 21 successful by mid-April! I had no idea that this wasn’t just some random thing – piracy is a big deal over off of the Horn of Africa and apparently there’s a ton of money to be made by ransoming ships and their crews for insurance money from the shipping companies. I mean, the list of pirate attacks is so big on Wikipedia that they have to divide it up by year to make it legible … it’s just crazy that we normally think of pirates as the Johnny Depp, ruthless but harmless motif that we enjoy from Pirates of the Caribbean, but these Pirates of the Indian Ocean apparently really mean business! 🙁
Although not for nothing, but reading through those lists and seeing the random entries where apparently pirates were dumb enough to fire upon naval warships and then finding that they pretty much got smoked out of the water is somewhat redeeming. To be honest, I was kind of hoping to see that happen in this movie, with the navy catching up to their rickety, old mothership and just blasting their pirate asses to kingdom come … but that never happened.
So anyways, I really liked this movie, even though it kept me on edge and I fear of images of Somali pirates now haunting my dreams. I thought that Tom Hanks gave yet another stellar performance, even up to his shock scene at the very end where I wanted the nurse to just give him a pillow and let him cry it out with a nice hug, even though the nurses on either side of me watching the movie were quick to cite that my suggestion was pretty much the worst possible way to treat a person in shock!
I guess that’s why I’m a writer, not a trained medical professional. And you definitely won’t catch me boating around Africa anytime soon, either … here I just thought that sharks were the worst thing to deal with in that part of the world, but Somali pirates definitely look like they would be much, much worse… 😯
I was going to turn left into a grocery store parking lot to pick up a few things, but that light in particular doesn’t have a green arrow and sometimes it’s hard to see if there’s traffic coming from the other direction when there’s somebody trying to turn left as well from the other side of the intersection.
I had thought that everything was clear, but apparently the other car must’ve been floating in the blind spot of another car trying to turn left because I didn’t see him until I was already in the middle of the lane.
I still don’t really know how we didn’t collide – I could see him coming at me, almost seemingly in slow motion, to the point where I remember wincing and bracing for the impact … and yet instead of crumpled metal, apparently I also hit the gas and he swerved and slammed on his breaks because a second later I had cleared the intersection and my car was still thankfully in one piece.
I sat in the parking space for a good couple of minutes before I went in, partially thinking that someone was going to come in after me about what had happened, but aside from his squealing tires just before we didn’t collide, that’s all that I ever heard from the other driver. I even took a look around the back of my car when I did get out just to see if maybe he had nicked me and I hadn’t felt it or something, but there was nothing.
There’s even another light maybe 1/4 mile up that has an extra turn lane and green arrows, so I guess I’ll just use that from now on unless it’s painstakingly clear that there’s no one coming from the other direction. One close call is enough for me! 😕
If there’s one decoration that won’t ever be making an appearance in my home around the holidays, it’s Elf on the Shelf.
Because good god, are these things just undeniably creepy?! 😯
Their photos on Facebook make me cringe when I see all of the “creative” ways that parents pose them for their kids to discovery each day, and yet all I see is a creepy doll that one day is going to stab you in your sleep with a candy cane or burn your Christmas tree down – you know, in that playful sort of way, like elves do!
Apparently the story behind Elf on the Shelf, because yes, there’s a story!, is that these elves are actually spies sent by Santa to keep track of who’s been naughty and nice … who then proceed to totally screw off on the job themselves by getting caught in all sorts of compromising, mischievous situations themselves, many of which happen to be the exact things that they’d be writing children up for.
Double standard, much?!
Need more proof? Here are five other people who agree with me, each a little more disturbing than the last…
- You Can Keep Elf on the Shelf, To Yourself
- 22 Disturbing Photos of Elf on the Shelf to Ruin Your Holidays
- Elf on the Shelf is creepy.
- Jack the Inappropriate Elf on the Shelf
- Creepy Elf on the Shelf All the Rage for Christmas 2011
Seriously, that last one is pretty messed up – it’s one of those animations from Taiwan that does “commentary” on trends in the US … very NSFW, or even NSFH, for that matter! And yet there’s a strong likelihood that they’ve hit the nail right on the head and that one day Elf on the Shelf will rise up against the other toys and the parents and ultimately even its own creator to rule Christmas for all of its creepy self.
So no, I’d rather not have one of these living holiday devils around my house to terrorize my family after the lights go out, thank you very much…
😈 :santa: 😈
A) This is like the third one we’ve found in the last couple of months – the other two have been in the bathroom, and I’m not sure which is worse.
2) How in the world am I supposed to kill a cockroach that’s on the ceiling, anyways?! Anyone who’s ever tried to kill a cockroach on the floor knows that they’re basically invincible! There’s only one way that this goes down – I smack it with something, it falls and lands on me, and then I die – case closed.
😕 😕 😕
Ok, so actually I already took care of it. You don’t think that I’d be sitting here writing this post with a cockroach dangling over my head, now would I?!
To be honest, it did go down sort of like #2 … I ended up squashing it with the Swiffer, which I think is the only time I’ve ever used that thing. I held the thing in place for a good minute, trying to smash it as well as I could from ten feet below on the floor and more importantly, without giving it the opportunity to make a mad dash.
When I finally pulled away the Swiffer, it fell as expected (though thankfully not into my face) and stumbled around a bit, so I slammed the Swiffer back into the carpet to hold it in place while I found a more formidable weapon to finish him off. I ended up grabbing a nearby candle jar (Apple Pumpkin Aromabeads, if you must ask – there will be a review up on the site about it tomorrow…) and with one fell swoop, I took that little motherfucker’s head clean off the second I lifted the Swiffer off of its back.
So far I feel no remorse, though I do keep checking the ceiling now for his buddies. Talk about a creepy way for bugs to attack – it’s not bad enough to sneak in under the door, so now they’ve got to drop in from above like out of some kind of Scott’s Personal Horror Movie?!
I’m tired and also petrified now. If anybody needs me, I’m going to go sleep outside … where it’s safe.
Giant. Asian. Hornets.
The ones pictured are technically queens, but the regular-sized ones don’t sound like any picnic, either, on account of how they’ve apparently been terrorizing the Chinese countryside over the last couple of months, killing 28 people after stinging them upwards of 200 times!
Reminds me of that episode of Futurama where they have to collect honey from the space bees that are bigger than they are, and the really touching story that was building up to a proper finale until they made those stupid DVD movies to bring the show back at 40% of the original comedy.
But look at that photo!!! These giant bees will haunt your dreams, as they will rightfully haunt mine, too… 😯