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.