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BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2

McGrath of Harlow 25 Sep 02 - 07:40 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Sep 02 - 07:45 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Sep 02 - 08:43 PM
Coyote Breath 26 Sep 02 - 12:23 AM
InOBU 26 Sep 02 - 08:18 AM
Kim C 26 Sep 02 - 10:22 AM
Pied Piper 26 Sep 02 - 11:41 AM
GUEST 26 Sep 02 - 11:58 AM
InOBU 26 Sep 02 - 01:55 PM
InOBU 26 Sep 02 - 01:57 PM
M.Ted 26 Sep 02 - 02:46 PM
M.Ted 26 Sep 02 - 02:51 PM
Nerd 26 Sep 02 - 02:52 PM
Nerd 26 Sep 02 - 03:03 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 26 Sep 02 - 03:25 PM
M.Ted 26 Sep 02 - 03:38 PM
GUEST,McGrath of Harlow 26 Sep 02 - 03:53 PM
InOBU 26 Sep 02 - 04:12 PM
M.Ted 26 Sep 02 - 04:57 PM
NicoleC 26 Sep 02 - 05:05 PM
SharonA 26 Sep 02 - 05:15 PM
GUEST,McGRath of Harlow 26 Sep 02 - 05:37 PM
NicoleC 26 Sep 02 - 06:21 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 26 Sep 02 - 06:53 PM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Sep 02 - 07:21 PM
Áine 26 Sep 02 - 07:35 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 26 Sep 02 - 07:51 PM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Sep 02 - 08:40 PM
InOBU 26 Sep 02 - 09:42 PM
InOBU 26 Sep 02 - 09:43 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 26 Sep 02 - 09:57 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 26 Sep 02 - 10:00 PM
InOBU 26 Sep 02 - 10:04 PM
Mary in Kentucky 26 Sep 02 - 10:06 PM
InOBU 26 Sep 02 - 10:09 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 26 Sep 02 - 10:20 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 26 Sep 02 - 10:25 PM
mg 27 Sep 02 - 12:05 AM
Coyote Breath 27 Sep 02 - 12:47 AM
Amos 27 Sep 02 - 12:48 AM
Rick Fielding 27 Sep 02 - 01:02 AM
Amos 27 Sep 02 - 02:01 AM
InOBU 27 Sep 02 - 07:41 AM
Mary in Kentucky 27 Sep 02 - 08:22 AM
Jeri 27 Sep 02 - 09:39 AM
McGrath of Harlow 27 Sep 02 - 09:42 AM
Ron Olesko 27 Sep 02 - 10:31 AM
SharonA 27 Sep 02 - 10:40 AM
Jeri 27 Sep 02 - 10:54 AM
Mary in Kentucky 27 Sep 02 - 11:00 AM
SharonA 27 Sep 02 - 11:05 AM
M.Ted 27 Sep 02 - 11:29 AM
GUEST 27 Sep 02 - 11:38 AM
Mary in Kentucky 27 Sep 02 - 11:40 AM
McGrath of Harlow 27 Sep 02 - 11:42 AM
katlaughing 27 Sep 02 - 11:57 AM
GUEST,Samuel Tischler 27 Sep 02 - 12:26 PM
katlaughing 27 Sep 02 - 12:48 PM
Nerd 27 Sep 02 - 01:08 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 27 Sep 02 - 01:20 PM
Nerd 27 Sep 02 - 01:31 PM
katlaughing 27 Sep 02 - 01:32 PM
Ron Olesko 27 Sep 02 - 01:36 PM
McGrath of Harlow 27 Sep 02 - 01:42 PM
katlaughing 27 Sep 02 - 01:52 PM
Ron Olesko 27 Sep 02 - 02:02 PM
Nerd 27 Sep 02 - 02:03 PM
Ron Olesko 27 Sep 02 - 02:17 PM
Grab 27 Sep 02 - 03:14 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 27 Sep 02 - 03:15 PM
Ron Olesko 27 Sep 02 - 03:53 PM
SharonA 27 Sep 02 - 04:03 PM
SharonA 27 Sep 02 - 04:11 PM
GUEST,Ireland 27 Sep 02 - 04:14 PM
GUEST,McGrath of Harlow 27 Sep 02 - 04:18 PM
Ron Olesko 27 Sep 02 - 04:23 PM
SharonA 27 Sep 02 - 05:40 PM
M.Ted 27 Sep 02 - 05:41 PM
Ron Olesko 27 Sep 02 - 05:50 PM
katlaughing 27 Sep 02 - 06:03 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 27 Sep 02 - 06:30 PM
wysiwyg 27 Sep 02 - 06:34 PM
GUEST,McGrath of Harlow 27 Sep 02 - 07:07 PM
M.Ted 28 Sep 02 - 01:55 AM
McGrath of Harlow 28 Sep 02 - 06:33 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 28 Sep 02 - 07:34 AM
Leadfingers 28 Sep 02 - 11:01 AM
McGrath of Harlow 28 Sep 02 - 12:15 PM
M.Ted 28 Sep 02 - 12:31 PM
catspaw49 28 Sep 02 - 02:57 PM
InOBU 28 Sep 02 - 05:13 PM
GUEST,Ireland 28 Sep 02 - 05:59 PM
InOBU 28 Sep 02 - 07:04 PM
McGrath of Harlow 28 Sep 02 - 07:21 PM
GUEST,928 28 Sep 02 - 07:33 PM
GUEST 28 Sep 02 - 07:35 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 28 Sep 02 - 10:34 PM
InOBU 28 Sep 02 - 11:41 PM
Nerd 28 Sep 02 - 11:43 PM
JJ 28 Sep 02 - 11:52 PM
GUEST 29 Sep 02 - 12:50 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 29 Sep 02 - 12:51 AM
GUEST 29 Sep 02 - 12:56 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 29 Sep 02 - 01:12 AM
GUEST,Ireland 29 Sep 02 - 09:12 AM
GUEST 29 Sep 02 - 09:37 AM
GUEST 29 Sep 02 - 05:18 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 29 Sep 02 - 08:35 PM
Blues=Life 30 Sep 02 - 12:22 AM
InOBU 30 Sep 02 - 08:17 AM
wysiwyg 30 Sep 02 - 08:54 AM
Ron Olesko 30 Sep 02 - 10:01 AM
catspaw49 30 Sep 02 - 10:51 AM
Áine 30 Sep 02 - 11:26 AM
Wolfgang 30 Sep 02 - 11:45 AM
SharonA 30 Sep 02 - 12:00 PM
Ron Olesko 30 Sep 02 - 12:02 PM
catspaw49 30 Sep 02 - 12:38 PM
EBarnacle1 30 Sep 02 - 12:54 PM
Wolfgang 30 Sep 02 - 01:45 PM
GUEST,mg 30 Sep 02 - 04:17 PM
catspaw49 30 Sep 02 - 04:41 PM
GUEST,post counter 30 Sep 02 - 05:47 PM
McGrath of Harlow 30 Sep 02 - 06:35 PM
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SharonA 01 Oct 02 - 05:17 PM

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Subject: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Sep 02 - 07:40 PM

This thread was so long some people wouldn't be able to load it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Sep 02 - 07:45 PM

"Let he who is without sin cast the first stone" seems an appropriate suggestion in this whole situation.

Only trouble is, I suspect there are some people around who would take that as an invitation to start throwing stones.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Sep 02 - 08:43 PM

This thread is full of nice people who seem to me to be largely missing the point; and every now and again some not so nice people feeling free to let the mask slip. And those bloody experts:

"Law enforcement authorities say that some Irish Travellers are experienced con artists, but that many are law-abiding citizens."

Which of course is perfectly true - as it would be equally true if you replaced "Irish Travellers" with "Jews" or "Black Americans", or "White Americans" or folk singers...


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Coyote Breath
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 12:23 AM

Boy, was I being dim or what? I thought that the original thread referred to people travelling about the US from other countries being subjected to abuse, say at the hands of the Law or something.

I guess I know who Travellers are but if there is any kind of discrimination practiced against them or gypsies it's news to me. As for the declaration that security types have "what to do in the case of a visit by Gypsies" posted somewhere... that defies both imagination and belief. I've never seen anything like that anywhere, never heard anyone in contract security or police work ever mention anything even remotely like that.

I saw the tape. She went off! She slapped that kid silly. She has three other kids as well. She was, what 26! She's certainly stressed out and the kids might well be the focus.

Toogood is an interesting name, like Livingood (transmission repair service)here in Franklin county. I figured that it could be Native American. How did we all find out that Ms Toogood is a traveller? How did we find out that she is being discriminated against because she is a traveller? Who are you InObu?, what are your bonafides as regards traveller or Gypsy discrimination? PM me if you want. As a fairly typical midwesterner, I might just be green but, I always thought that Gypsies were cool people, having these little storefront businesses up there in Chicago. Clue me in, please?

CB


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: InOBU
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 08:18 AM

Hi CB:

I apreciate your approach, to question what you don't know and not assume if you don't know it it does not exist. My CV, CB? (sorry could help saying that...) In the 1970's I had dropped out of an Art college to become a photo journalist and because of my family background in Irish music, I found myself covering the war in the North of Ireland. I first met Travellers at that point, and didn't know much about them, but felt a certain cultural link. I found that they were a great repository of Irish music, and though difficult to get to know, when you did, they were interesting and loyal friends, unpredicable and always good for a laugh.

When I hitched up with the woman who is with me, now my wife, she did not want me to cover wars any more, and I put more and more into my studies of Irish culture, becoming the founder of a historical society which preserved Irish maritime history. At this time, I spent about 10 years travelling about Ireland learning about Currach building and mostly travelling on foot with my wife, and getting by through the traditions taught me by my continued and continuing contact with travellers. I would set out with a small ruck sack of clothes and my pipes, at first war pipes, busk my way up and down the coast of Ireland.

During that time, I first experienced, personally, the discrimination against Travellers, when I, sometimes mistaken for a Traveller, was not served in public accomodations.

In the late 1980's a racisit event to do with racing Irish currachs, in the US, sent me back to college then to law school. In law school, I was contacted by American Indian friends, (another long story) and was asked to help with issues that led to my work in Federal Indian Law.

In my last years of law school, I was already becomeing known among Fed Indian law practitioners, working in recognition of unrecognised Indian nations. During this time I was contacted by a Romani Kristiory (judge) and asked to help secure rights for his people. This led to an intence time of study and work, where I learned conversational Romaness, the language of Eastern European "Gypsies...".

In looking at discrimination against Roma in the US, I was contacted by and took up as part of the same fight, people who were racialised as Gypsies, Irish Travellers in the south and western US. I did field work among, for example the Irish Travellers of Murphy Village, where I met wonderful caring people, and found that there are still laws, such as the one in the county next to them which unambigously states, "Gypsies are not permmited in the county.".

That is the introduction to my expertese, in my capsity as a political scientist working on these issues I became known to, and have been told, respected for my knowlege of the subject, by folklorists and sociologists, and hisotrians working in these communities, who I have brought into rights cases defending these people.

I continue to coordinate rights cases, and often I am contacted when cases turn bad due to prejudice. My colleagues and I are often contacted late, for two reasons. First, Travellers and Roma try to avoid the subject thinking that they can fight the simple issue, like an aligation of child abuse, but soon in most cases, it turns into a defense of their right to be who they are...

I have to get off line, but this is the story in brief.

Cheers, Larry


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Kim C
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 10:22 AM

Well, let me just say this...

Larry, while I do not agree with you on this, I do appreciate and admire that you have taken a stand on something you believe is important, and have not backed down because others disagreed. I hope that you can help the case to be resolved in a way that's beneficial to all involved.

Cheers----------- KFC


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Pied Piper
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 11:41 AM

InOBU could you answer a question for me? Have you ever contributed funds or services to the IRA or its front organisations in the US ? PP


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 11:58 AM

InOBU,

Does this question sound familiar?

"Are you now, or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?"

Don Meixner


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: InOBU
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 01:55 PM

In fact, I am a Gypsy baby stealer, who sold my soul to the devil in order to tell fortunes to you Gyzhen, to hypnotize you into beating your children. And, yes, I was the most wanted man in Ireland from 1833 to 2001, when things got hot for me, so I changed my skin color to blue to avoid detection. ... pass the bottle, shem. Larry


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: InOBU
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 01:57 PM

Dear PP:
My guilty concence got the better of me, sorry for the flip reply... what do you concider an IRA front group and why do you ask? Larry


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: M.Ted
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 02:46 PM

Something simple is lost in all this, and that is, that had this all been a Child Protective Services and or Police Investigation child abuse investigation from the beginning, the names of the family involved and the videotape of the incident would have been kept confidential, as is required by law--If the people who made the tape had done the right thing and taken it to the police and CPS, it would have never made to the TV--

The people at Kohl's knew who Toogood was, and that she was an Irish Traveller before the incident, and, in all likelihood, that is why they made the video tape of her in the parking lot in the first place--furthermore, the fact they they chose to release the tape to the media seems to show an intent to humiliate and inflict harm rather than a desire to protect the child--

A friend involved in the child welfare legal system commented that, once the media become involved, it becomes a political issue, and all parties involved become more concerned with protecting themselves than with doing what is best for the child--meaning judges, caseworkers, doctors, therapists, etc--


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: M.Ted
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 02:51 PM

PS--Many have commented that Larry is the odd man out on this--the truth is that, though everyone seems to agree but Larry, he is the only one who is doing anything, and so, in the end, his opinion is the only one expressed here that will carry any weight--


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Nerd
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 02:52 PM

M.Ted:

Is there evidence that the people at Kohl's knew she was an Irish Traveller? Seems I missed a few stories. Where did you read that one, as I'd like to take a look.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Nerd
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 03:03 PM

I don't get it, M.Ted. If I believe that someone is a rotten asshole and I yell at him, is my opinion of him the only one that counts because I did something? The rest of us feel that, at least for the moment, what is being done by the authorities is sufficient. That's why we're not running off to do anything.

Also, since we're not professonal advocates for the Irish Traveller community, no one is going to pay us to do anything. It is part of Larry's job to say, often and loud, that Irish Travellers are discriminated against and to use this as the basis for legal defenses. Great, more power to him. I honestly think it's important and honorable work. But I think that, from a certain standpoint, it means his opinions carry less weight than ours because they're necessarily biased. He's much like the professional experts on the other side of the issue--he could not say anything other than what he is saying and maintain his status among the Travellers and their advocacy groups as an expert to be called in when things get hot.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 03:25 PM

M.Ted: I read your posting and like Nerd (could I pass as a "Dweeb?") wonder where you're getting your information. It seems contrary to everything the rest of us have read. I echo Nerd's question about whether Kohl's new she was a Traveler and intentionally video taped her. (Maybe they knew because she has already been charged with shop-lifting at a Kohls?)

It is also my understanding that the video was released to the media by the Police because they weren't able to find the Mother and child and were concerned about the child's welfare. I haven't read anything to suggest that it was Kohl's decision to release it to the media. Whoever released the video did it because the mother left the scene of the crime, and family members were protecting her.

The way I read it is that a woman who is wanted for two criminal charges, who has two different drivers licenses (at least one of which must be illegal) tried to get a refund in a store that she has been caught shoplifting in, in another store in the chain, was angry that she wasn't able to get a refund, came out to the parking lot, put her little daughter in a car seat, proceeded to slap the tar out of her, and when she realized that she had been videotaped, fled the scene of the crime, nad was abbetted by her family, dyed her hair a different color and went on the lam. When she finally agreed to give herself up she filed the "I'm an Irish Traveller and you're persecuting me" defence.

I have a good friend who works at a Walmart, so I've become familiar with the scams that people use. People come into the store, take something off a shelf and bring it to the courtesy desk, say they've lost their receipt and ask for a cash refund. At Walmart, you have to check in when you enter the store and get a sticker on the item. If you come to the Courtesy desk with an item without the sticker on it, they will refuse to give you a refund. I am not saying "in all likelihood" that's what Ms. Toogood did. My sons used to remind me that a phrase like "in all likelihood" is just another way of saying that you are assuming something. And they reminded me what you do when you "assume" something.

What we need here is Jack Webb, so that we can just stick to the "facts," not the assumptions.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: M.Ted
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 03:38 PM

Nerd--Kohl's seems to have prosecuted Toogood before, so they would be in a good position to know all that there is to know about her--

As to Larry, paid or not(and it is probably worth noting that in situations like this, much of the legal support comes pro bono, even if that wasn't the original arrangement)--the Judge will hear Larry's opinion, not yours or Big Mick's, or Rick Fielding's--As to what the authorities are doing or not doing, it is hard to tell what they are really doing, except for covering their own....well, you know what I mean--When the trial date comes(which will probably be as far in the future as anyone can manage) arguements may be substantially different than you might think--


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: GUEST,McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 03:53 PM

Some people seem to think that the idea that Travellers of one sort or another are liable to be treated badly by the authorities, and persecuted and discriminated against in one way another, is absurd. Or they find it athreatening idea, and deny it.

"They aren't even black, so how would,it be possible for people seeing them to even know they are Travellers in order to discriminate against them". That seems to be an idea that keeps on cropping up here.

Well, it's never stopped people persecuting Travellers of various kinds any more that it's stopped people persecuting Jews. And it's worth remembering that, alongside the better known Holocaust of European Jews, Hitler carried out a similar genocide against Europe's Travelling People, murdering hundreds of thousands in the death camps. AS with the Jews, the genocide grew out of a tradition of prejudice. And though the death camps stopped in 1945, the prejudice, and the persecution, in a more low-key style, never has stopped. In fact in some places it's getting worse.

With that kind of background, is it surprising that people are worried about "cooperating with the authorities" when one of theirs get into trouble? And suspicious of what lies behind the kind of media panic that appears to have blown up over this in America?

Nor is it surprising if a lot of them have decided that the best thing is to keep their heads down, and not be too noticeable. And that means that it is quite possible for decent people who are in no way prejudiced to go through their lives unaware of their very existence. But the people with the prejudices know. Once again, it's not unlike the situation of Jews in many places and times.

Over here this case has hardly made the papers, what with the trailers for the Iraq War and so forth. But prejudice against travelling people is common enough in England and so it is in every country in Europe. And from some of the stuff in this thread it seems pretty clear that it crossed the Atlantic and took root in the USA.

How far all this affected what's happened in this case, you'd need to know a lot more about than I do to say. But whether or not prejudice lies at the root of it, it seems to have brought quite a lot of it to the surface as it's developed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: InOBU
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 04:12 PM

I gotta run, I am on FOX in about two hours, the Bill O'Rielly show, tune in folks, quick clarification... I am not on the meter on this, I have put out a few bucks, maybe over a hud=nderd in phone and fax, because I know, and I care... so, I am not a hired gun. I have not yet taken a fee for consulting on Traveller rights, and taken only a fraction of what a paralegal gets, for consulting on Roma cases, often I do this for free and support my self doing the odd job and as a busker. BUT, I do have the requisit credentials from the third highest rated law school in the US, so that is why my opinon counts, not because I am paid to say XY and Z, and thanks and bless you MTed. Cheers Larry


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: M.Ted
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 04:57 PM

I first saw the video on CNN where it was described as merely a parking lot security camera video--Local authorities seemed to have decided to look for the woman only after the video had been shown on TV and questions were raised--As I understand it, at the time the woman left the state, no charges had been made, no warrants had been issued, and so she was not a fugitive--

For those who might think otherwise, I am foursquare against child abuse--If you are inclined to take some meaningful and lasting action against child abuse, send me a PM and we can talk--

It is important to remember that, whatever transgression you saw, or thought that you saw in the video--worse things are happening in your own communities, and there are things that can be done to stop it, but they take more than a few indignant posts to a music forum--

duplicate post deleted by mudelf ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: NicoleC
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 05:05 PM

McGrath, I don't think most of us are suggesting that the prejudice doesn't or couldn't exist. Most of us just think that it's not a factor here. Just as it would be wrong to assume she's a criminal because of her cultural affiliation, it's also wrong to defend her crimes by falling back on the excuse that's it's just because of her culture. You can have it either way, but not both, and trying to say she's not accountable for her actions only perpetuates the stereotype.

I sympathize with *anyone* that gets caught up in a media feeding frenzy. No want would want to turn herself in under the circumstances, and the fact that she DID tells us a lot about her character. A lot more than speculation about her trying to return stolen merchandise.

Larry, I wish you much luck in getting to the truth of the matter. I may think you're dead wrong this time around, but your passion about the subject is a beautiful thing :)


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: SharonA
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 05:15 PM

Actually, M Ted, Kohl's never did "prosecute Toogood" for the alleged theft in Fort Worth, Texas. She was supposed to appear in court to face the charges brought against her in the theft, and she never showed. There is an outstanding warrant for her arrest, and since she left the state, I'm guessing she'll be extradicted back to Texas at some point to face those charges.

There is a very detailed article about Toogood and the clan of Travelers to which she belongs that migrates annually from Texas to Indiana, known as the Greenhorn Carrolls, here at the Dallas/Fort Worth/Arlington TX Star-Telegram website (click on link): http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/4117051.htm This article was published the day before Toogood turned herself in to police in Indiana.

Please note the portion of the description of Irish Travelers in the article that reads: "Most of the men make their living in home-improvement and business-repair work, such as asphalt paving, painting and roofing. Law enforcement authorities said some scam their clients in the process, but they are quick to point out that many Travellers are good, law-abiding citizens." Sounds to me like a fair acknowledgment that not all Travelers are bad or lawless people. (I guess we shouldn't stereotype the media any more than we should stereotype the Travelers!)

You'll find there, too, some information about Toogood including the fact that she has driver's licenses in four states, not just two: Indiana, Missouri, Texas and New Jersey. I'm not sure that any of them is a valid license, since one of the warrants for her arrest in Texas is for failure to pay a traffic ticket she received for driving without a valid license!

Then there's the warrant for her arrest on the theft charges. The article gives a detailed description of the scam that Toogood and her partner pulled in the Fort Worth Kohl's: "According to the police report, Gorman and the woman put several items of clothing into a shopping cart and then went to the check-out line. There, Gorman occupied the clerk by exchanging six pairs of jeans, the report stated. As the clerk dealt with the exchange, Gorman pushed the shopping cart containing the stolen items to Carroll, who pulled it to the front of the store, the report said. The women, who made no attempt to pay for the items in the shopping cart, were stopped outside the store and arrested, the report said."

So it seems that this woman isn't one of the "good, law-abiding citizens" described in the article! I've read elsewhere that at the Kohl's in Indiana on September 13th, Toogood attempted to return some articles of clothing without a store receipt, and that security cameras had tracked her movements after she left the store because it is the store's policy in cases of suspicious activity such as the receiptless-return attempt (a common scam, apparently). In fact, I read in an Indiana-based editorial column that Toogood had in fact scammed that particular store before; perhaps store security was videotaping her in order to try to gather sufficient evidence of criminal activity before arresting her. If so, they got evidence of activity, all right, though not exactly what they might have expected!

So now she's under arrest and facing prosecution. Of course, this does not mean that she should face persecution based on her ethnic/cultural origin. But regardless of her race or creed or clan, she has been arrested several times, in more than one state, and she must face prosecution for her alleged crimes. Please, let's not confuse prosecution with persecution! Let's not presume her to be guilty without the judicial process that will determine whether her acts rise to the level of criminal behavior, but on the other hand let's not downplay or dismiss what she has done simply because she belongs to an ethnic group and we want to be non-prejudicial.

Instead of being politically correct, let's be fair. And while it's not fair to condemn the entire group of Travelers because some of them are convicted criminals, it is fair to be less than blindly trusting of individuals of any race/creed/national origin who are either convicted criminals or are intimately connected with convicted criminals. I don't think it's prejudicial to be cautious.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: GUEST,McGRath of Harlow
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 05:37 PM

"it's also wrong to defend her crimes by falling back on the excuse that's it's just because of her culture."

Has anybody done that?

"I don't think most of us are suggesting that the prejudice doesn't or couldn't exist."

Some people have suggested precisely that. Others have demonstrated that it does.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: NicoleC
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 06:21 PM

For #1, yes, there's been quite a bit of that in Part I. Comments about it being "normal" for her to run out on arrest warrants and it's not child abuse, it's just their culture. Those comments are as bad, IMHO, as the ones that suggest they're all thieves, because they suggest that all travellers act the same way instead of treating them as individuals.

For #2, yes, there's been a couple of uglier posts. Hence the word "most." Most of us just don't see any difference between what the police and CPS would have done with anyone else and the procedure they've followed with her.

You know, her ethinicity or lack thereof hasn't even made the news here, except on the cable stations.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 06:53 PM

Most newspapers seem to consider this a non-story. I've read one two paragraph report on the incident, which didn't even mention that she was an Irish Traveller. I've looked in U.S.A. Today today, and couldn't find any coverage. Of course, shows like Bill Reilly will cover it, because they thrive on controversy. When I've mentioned the incident to other people, none of them even heard about her being an Irish Traveler.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 07:21 PM

I took it, Nicole, you were suggesting that there'd been anybody saying that slapping the child was OK because it was part of the culture - which is no more (and if anything possibly even less)true of Travellers than it is of the rest of society, either in your country or mine. And I hadn't seen anybody saying anything like that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Áine
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 07:35 PM

Dear Mudcatters,

I have declined to participate in controversial threads like this one since my experience with the thread that katlaughing mentioned in her post in Part I of this thread. However, since this is a subject that involves my community and my relations (albeit distant relations), I feel compelled to add my voice here in an attempt to bring information, clarity, and reason to this discussion.

First of all, I have spoken several times to Larry (InOBU) in the last week about this situation. I assure you all that he neither condones Ms. Toogood's actions toward her child, nor condones corporeal punishment in general.

What Larry was attempting to express in his first post, and in all his subsequent posts, is that the authorities and the media are bringing cultural biases, prejudices and stereotyping to bear in their dealings with Ms. Toogood, her child, and her family.

I agree with Larry that Ms. Toogood's treatment of her daughter was totally inappropriate and that intervention was called for in this case. I also agree with him that removing a Traveller child totally from her community could cause potential harm to the child. I agree with him too, that Ms. Toogood is being castigated and criminalized in the media for being an Irish Traveller.

As I read through the posts to this thread, it is apparent that many of you are unaware of the history and background of the Irish Travellers (Pavees). I will not take up room on the server here with a lengthy explanation and/or description of this unique ethnic culture. Instead, I urge you all to educate yourselves by visiting, and reading the information on, the following websites, several of which list bibliographies and/or references that are available for further research:

http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/print/RR/pxrfh.html - The Handbook of Texas Online

http://www.gypsyloresociety.org/cultureintro.html - The Gypsy Lore Society; Information on Gypsy & Traveler Cultures, Gypsy and Traveler Groups in North America, (adapted from the introduction to Gypsies and Travelers in North America: An Annotated Bibliography (where the original citations will be found)

http://www.travellersrest.org/ - Travellers' Rest: Fact And Fiction About Irish Travellers in the U.S.A.

http://www.pitt.edu/~alkst3/Traveller.html - Irish Traveller Notes and Resources

http://www.paveepoint.ie/pav_home_a.html - Pavee Point Travellers Centre; Supporting Human Rights For Irish Travellers

http://www.itmtrav.com/index.html - The Irish Traveller Movement

As for the incident itself: Yes, Ms. Toogood lost control and struck her child inappropriately. Yes, intervention by civil authorities is unquestionably called for. Yes, the civil authorities should investigate as to whether this was a single incident, or if there is a pattern of child abuse in the family. And yes, adjudication by civil authorities as to the results of such investigation and intervention should be carried out.

However, what concerns me is (a) the demonizing of Ms. Toogood and the Traveller community in the media, and (b) whether Ms. Toogood and her family will receive fair and unbiased treatment from the authorities.

Central to my concerns regarding fair treatment is the hysteria and the mob mentality being fomented by the biased and prejudicial coverage of this situation by the media, and its potential to influence such treatment.

It has been noted by some of you that the media is "sensationalizing" the situation and some of you pooh-pooh the idea that such "sensationalism" will have any derogatory effect upon the authorities that have jurisdiction over this matter. Such might be the case if such "sensationalism" was limited to a handful of media outlets.

Unfortunately, when the Mishawaka police released the shopping center surveillance videotape to the national media, they opened the floodgates to exactly this type of news coverage.

Some of you have stated that you have neither heard nor seen any mention of Ms. Toogood's connection to the Irish Traveller community in the media to which you have access. In response, I can only say that I have found extensive coverage in several national news outlets such as the Knight-Rider News Syndicate, Associated Press, United Press International, and CNN and Fox News cable television stations. And I have watched as the stereotypical preconceptions of the Irish Travellers reflected by each of them become more evident from day to day, story to story.

It is just such "ratcheting up" of the biased and prejudicial tone of these stories that concerns me so much. One would hope that the adjudicating authorities would be immune to any influence that might be invoked by such articles and programs. However, we are all too aware that such is often not the case. The authorities are influenced by their constituents; and their constituents are definitely being influenced by the media. If you doubt that statement, simply read over the majority of posts to this thread to see how the media has affected the opinions reflected herein.

What I hope to achieve by this post is to provide educational information concerning the Irish Travellers, and to state the case that there is a legitimate concern for a fair and unprejudiced legal intercession in this matter, due to the influence of the bias evident in the national media's coverage of the situation.

I hope that you all will take the time to read the information that I have provided. I believe that there has been a rush to judgment by many in this matter; and, in consideration of the sensitivity and seriousness of the situation, it behooves us all, as members of a civilized society, to form our opinions with balanced and informed consent.

-- Áine


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 07:51 PM

Perhaps what Nicole was suggesting, Kevin, is that it seemed almost impossible to get Larry to respond to the accusations of the slapping/punching/hair pulling, what ever exact form the abuse of the child was. I think that we all would have been a little easier on Larry if he had just accepted that the whole cause of all this was that the Mother had done something that was seemingly seriously abusive. His responses sounded earily like the cover-ups I've seen in reporting war actions... kind of like, "of course, we regret that several civilian children were killed in the cross fire." I feel that Larry is so intent upon proving that this individual case is clearly one of social injustice that he either minimized or downplayed the abuse that was poured on the little girl.

I think that the folks on Mudcat are liberal to the extreme... far more than the general public. And yet everyone was saying that the initial action taken against this woman had nothing to do with her being an Irish Traveller (or even any awareness that she is.) It seems like even mentioning that this woman has lied, shop-lifted and used illegal drivers licenses is looked upon as being prejudicial. I think that Mudcat members (including me) have tried to focus on what the woman did, not whether there is prejudice against Irish Travellers. Most people I've talked to didn't even realize that they existed... never even heard the term. It's hard to claim broad prejudice against a group that almost no one has ever even heard of. "I hate those... who are they?"

I guess that I also personally get tired of how damning the image of Americans is on Mudcat. It's like we're all a bunch a Damn Biggots, ready to shoot anyone who takes out a wallet, or steals a pair of blue jeans. Maybe I should write an open letter to the people of the United States, as someone has to the people of Iraq. Truth is, Kevin, most Americans are open-hearted and not prejudiced. Just as I believe most Iraqis, Brits and Afghans are. Of course there is prejudice here (and in England, Afghanistan and everywhere where there are people. There are some people in positions of authority that are prejudiced, too. But, it seems like everyone in authority is being tarred and feathered on some of these threads. I for one would like to STAND UP for the decency of 95% of all Americans, Brits and Afghans. By tarring and feathering everyone in generalities that run rampant on Mudcat, it just breeds mistrust and suspicion.

So this one's for you, Kevin. I don't agree with some of the things that you're saying on this thread, but I think you're a fine man, and I consider you a friend.

Brother Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 08:40 PM

I wish I was sure about 95% of people anywhere being decent, unprejudiced and tolerant. I think if that was true the world wouldn't be in the state it is.

Or maybe it's the world being in the state it is that gets in the way of us being decent and unprejudiced and tolerant.

Anyway, people who preach hatred seem to have no difficulty in gathering a lot more than 5% of support in most places.

I think it's more a matter of most of us (al of us really) having a nasty side to our nature which is always liable to break out. So maybe 95% (or I'd guess rathr less) of each of us is decent - but that 5% of each of us (or I'd guess rather more) is there ready to be fanned into flame. Original Sin is one name for it.

But that's thread drift. As I read what InOBU has said, and it's reinforced by what Áine just said, the key thing is the way that a particular incident (not that different from what, I suspect, many of us have seen in the course of shopping - slapping kids is still part of mainstream culture in both our countries), has been projected into a media feeding frenzy in the States (which we have been spared here), and has brought into the light a lot of really nasty prejudice.

I don't think anyone has been suggesting that Americans are especially intolerant or anything like that. Just that when it comes down to it, the same intolerance that distorts the places your ancestors came from crossed over with them, and is still there, changed in some ways, unchanged in others.

"'Monster Mom' is Irish Traveller" - that's a headline from an Irish American online news site that I came across.

If there were news stories saying "Monster Mom is a Jew" I think most people would be a bit perturbed, and rightly so - even if it were actually true, and the label "Monster Mom" was actually a justifiable thing to call anyone in this kind of context. As Áine just said, it's right that there should be an effective response to an incident like this - but there seem to be some aspects of the way this whole thing has been handled which raise serious questions.

And thanks for that last bit Jerry - and of course I see you as a friend, and I know that you can be depended on to fight anything in the way of prejudice and discrimination that you came into contact with.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: InOBU
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 09:42 PM

Hey Jerry, I just want to add, I consider you a stand up guy and a friend as well, in fact, most fellows I dissagree with on EVERYTHING! jsut about on mudcat, like oh say Leprichan, I consider a stand up guy and a pal, and I'd be happy and proud to share something we have in common, like hunting Carabou! (See now all my liberal friends are pissed at me Lep!) But, the exposure of prejudise takes putting your head on the block sometimes. "And tell me Thomas, will you not come along with us for comradery..." "And when you go to heaven for following your faith and I go to hell for denying mine, will you come along with me for comradery" as Thomas Moore said. I cannot come along with you all, when, as O'Rielly states, that he would take the children away from travellers as they aren't an ethnic community, that they are a cult of criminals. Someone must put their head on the block and say, no, No to the journalist who states he never heard of travellers until last week, but now knows better than I, who is a friend to them for decades, better than social scientists who have done field work. Yes, some friends may see this as an attack on comradery to say take note of a prejudice common in this nation. But some of us must accept the blows of friends for justice and forsake praise of the crowd. Jerry, you and Rick Fielding, and all are special friends to me, as dear to me as Kev, who agrees with me more times perhaps, but I see us as a family united by our love of people's music and people's culture. Some of us vote one way, love one way, hate another, but we are family here.
Catch me on CNN tomorrow... boing goes the plugomatic, Spaw!
Larry


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: InOBU
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 09:43 PM

Ps it goes without saying, I even feel kin to the oft cantakerous Gargoyle! Here's to ya, garg! Larry


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 09:57 PM

There are two stories here... Toogood versus the authorities and the media/public perception versus the Irish Travelers. Unfortunately they aren't being separated in this discussion.

As for the media/public perception versus the Irish Travelers, yes Larry is right. Over the past week there has been a bandwagon approach to this story and the media and the public are drawing sterotyped opinions of the Irish Travelers.

However the initial story is still Toogood versus the authorities for her actions against her child. Aside fromm innuendo and opinions I haven't seen any EVIDENCE in these discussions or in the media that would lead me to believe the authorities are treating this case any differently than other cases of child abuse. I am waiting for someone to prove me wrong.

If there is a stereotype being drawn, it is probably one against the system of justice in this country. It sounds like a defense is trying to be formed that Toogood was unjustly singled out and persecuted. Her lawyers will play this trump card in the same fashion that OJ Simpson's lawyers played the race card. Lawyers are committed to giving their client the best defense they can, even if that client is guilty.

The result is always the same, the victim is ignored and the press has something to talk about for months on end.

Ron


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 10:00 PM

Kevin: An interesting little ancedote. Many years ago when my sons were little, one of them had bronchitis so seriously that we had to take him to the hospital and put him in an oxygen tent. While my wife of that time and I stood there, deeply concerned about our son, a young hispanic couple came in with their two or three year old son, who was in far worse shape than our son. The boy was terrified, and because of the congestion in his throat was barking like a wounded animal, unable to form words. The Nurse was Nurse Ratchet from One Flew Over Thew Cuckoos nest, and dragged the boy out of his Mother's arms and threw him down in the crib. This terrified the boy even more. and the parents were horrified. They didn't speak English, but they expressed their fear in their eyes. Finally, the nurse got the little boy strapped down so he couldn't try to climb out, and put the oxygen tent over him. I realize that she had to do something to contain him, but she did it in such a brutal way, with no thought for letting the parents calm there son down. And then she turned to me and made a fatal mistake. She said to me "I don't even know why they let them in the hospital." I was in a state of shock, and momentarily thought only of the terrified young boy. Our son seemed to be the picture of health, in comparison. Before we left, I got the name of the nurse. As it turned out, she was the head of the department.

When I got home, I wrote a letter on the letterhead of the Museum where I worked, using my title as Executive Director, and signing my name Gerald E. Rasmussen. It didn't hurt that the names of all the members of the Board of Directors were on the stationary. Of course, the Museum had nothing to do with my letter, but I wanted to use whatever influence I could. I described the experience in great detail, expressed my disgust at the way the child and parents were treated, and offered to appear in person to confront the nurse. A couple of weeks later, the hospital held a hearing in response to my letter, and the Head Nurse was fired. Someone I knew who worked at the hospital said that they'd been trying to fire her for years, but couldn't get solid enough evidence against her. My position and the Museum's in the community was strong enough that they fired her, without my ever appearing in front of them.

The perspective that I'd add to this would be to just as strongly go up against anyone who said, "The staff at that hospital are so prejudiced against Spanish-speaking people that they don't give them the same care as everyone else." I don't know what the percentage of good people is, Kevin. I'm an optomist, so I'd set it higher than a lot of people. What I do believe is that generalities are unjust. Fight discrimination and dishonesty. One person at a time. If there are three people out of ten who are prejudcied, fight them. Those who are not will appreciate you and do everything they can to back you up. Blanket them all as, "those people" or "That organization" and they will respond in the same way that Irish Travellers, or Puerto Ricans respond. Don't make generalities that judge groups of people. No matter who the group is. Go after the Bastards. The good people will be your strongest allies.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: InOBU
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 10:04 PM

Ron: From the start of these posts I have had a wee problem that next week I may not have. I know something exculpatory which is not yet public and cannot share it, so I have been more strong in speaking on the aspect of anti-traveller discrimination while not going into the core of the case. Hang in there folks, the truth will out VERY soon, I hope. Cheers to all, Larry


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 10:06 PM

McGrath, I really must step in and comment here. From personal experience shopping in lots of WalMarts and shopping centers over many years, I have NEVER seen a child punched in the head repeatedly. It breaks my heart to hear frustrated parents snap and say very ugly things to crying children...and I've seen a swat on the butt...but absolutely never hit above the waist, and certainly not repeatedly. Lets all remember the little girl...this was an emergency.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: InOBU
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 10:09 PM

Oh as to playing the race card, I have read sixty or seventy articals on this, and have some insider knowlege of the case, I have been involved in a number of family law cases, and have never ever seen policing like this other than in the pretextual arrests of Roma and Travellers which are often used on minor incidents to get information on a community racially profiled as a criminal subculture against the evidence of the experts, that is the long and short of it. When was the last time a woman slapped a child leaving no injury definable by any forensic methods and it was national news for a week... please folks open your eyes! Larry


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 10:20 PM

I understand Larry and I hope that the truth will out. While the evidence SEEMS strong against this woman, I do know that you can't tell everything from a videotape.

I hope whatever evidence you are hinting at does not fall in the category of "loophole". If she was caught in a crime against her child then she should take her punishment - even if the FBI, CIA and any other clandestine organization were following her waiting for such a moment.

Still, I respect and admire your conviction Larry and I await what happens. Like most of us, this story has opened up a lot of thought. I must say that things I've been reading here and in other venues in the last 24 hours have opened up some doubts. While I say she should take her punishment, I do feel that she deserves compassion and treatment if she has a problem. No mother and child should be permanently separated unless the damage and risk is too great for either's safety. Just as no evidence has been yet presented that the authorities were persecuting her because of her cultural identity, I have heard no evidence that the behavior she exhibited that day is her regular behavior. However she has admitted to hitting the child in a violent manner. That is going to be hard to deny.

I also hope we won't see the justice system corrupted once again.

Ron


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 10:25 PM

One thing Larry - you just said "When was the last time a woman slapped a child leaving no injury definable by any forensic methods and it was national news for a week"

Well, when was the last time such a beating was caught on tape?

I still find it offensive to say that because there are no injuries there is no crime. I go back to my early comment about using a gun - if I pull the trigger and miss you, does that mean that it was okay? There was no intent to harm? If you could prove that it was an accident perhaps, but I am curious how they will defend what was viewed on tape AND what she admitted to.

Perhaps it wouldn't have been national news for a week if the Traveler angle hadn't been used and if everyone stopped talking about it. The news is there because people want it and people are willing to talk about it.

Ron


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: mg
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 12:05 AM

I would be very very surprised if this was a one-time incident. I really really doubt it. People get into patterns of behavior. And this was fairly cold-blooded it seemed. I'm not interested in the mother being punished or doing time, but I am interested in seeing that the child is protected from that sort of monster behavior. I'll call her a monster. And there are lots more like her out there. And I believe that she is married, but to me one of the strongest arguments against single parenthood is that so often there are no witnesses, and no one to stay a hand if someone gets out of control. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Coyote Breath
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 12:47 AM

InOBU! Thank you for the response. I don't do much news service scanning or TV watching so some of what you say I will take especial note of. I despise discrimination of any kind. Perhaps my romantic view of the world shields me from some of it's nastiness when I should face that nastiness and do something. In that regard I am tired. I now recall a 60 minutes bit of almost ten years ago which did an "expose" of a group of people, who, while they were not called travellers, probably were. It was all about a siding scam of some sort, I can't recall any details. There was SOME sort of story in a recent film with Brad Pitt playing a traveller (a boxer I think) can't remember the title. (Yikes, I can't seem to remember much at all these days!)

With what you posted and what Aine posted I might be able to get a handle on this whole thing. I'll visit some of the sites. Aine.

My girlfriend said this upon seeing the tape: "Boy, she'll never be able to get a job now!" referring to the publicity and that terrible image of her slapping her kid like that. We both agreed that she needs to get help and that was the extent of the reaction on our part. I felt sorry for the child and I felt sorry for her as well. I can't help but feel that she has too many little ones to worry about and that can be a problem. Heck, just ONE can be a problem!

I am fascinated about your covering the "war" in the North. I would like to see your photos sometime. I also would like to hear your opinion of past and present events.

CB


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Amos
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 12:48 AM

Aine:

Thanks for your highly clarifying guidance and commentary.

I think you separate the issues very handsomely. Well done!

As I recall there were furors about the evil Gypsies in another Western country that stood on the edge of war about sixty years ago or so.

Those who ignore their history are doomed to repeat it -- whether in individual violence or in mob reactions. They are both mindless dramatizations.



A


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 01:02 AM

This appears to be a grey area to some folks here, but I'm afraid the time that I spent working for the Ontario Children's Aid society (I've chatted some about this on MC) has made me very inflexible in the area of child abuse. I have no doubt the fact that Travellers are unduly hassled, will be used in this woman's defense, but on the video tape I watched a woman look to the right, then to the left, and then start whaling on a little kid. I don't care if her family get turned into Saints, that's very wrong Larry, and on some level you know it. Darn, I wish you weren't talking so much like a lawyer in this thread.

Guess this is why I stay WAY clear of most political or controversial threads, even though I have a lot of opinions. When folks on "my side," ie: the Left, use what seem to me to be the same tactics used by "The Right" to defend wrong-doing, I gotta say something.

On the other hand....it hasn't driven me to want a cigarette!!! So Whoopie!

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Amos
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 02:01 AM

Rick:

I don't believe anyone was defending wrong-doing here, in what I have read.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: InOBU
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 07:41 AM

Hi RIck, Mary, Amos, etc... Rick DON'T REACH FOR A CIGGY MAN!!!! Reach for a guitar!

In one respect I have to speak as a lawyer because I have restraints on my speach in this case, as part of what I know is still confidential. But, Mary that which I know explains why this is not a pattern of behavior. Now, Rick, as to looking one way and the other. One thing to understand about ALL people and people's racialized as "Gypsies" one thing to understand is that they live in the state of being out of place. As your Black friends will tell you, that in certain places and situations, they know that they are looked at suspiously by folks around them, no matter how mainstream they are, it is a fact of Race in the US, if not in America. For Travellers and Roma it is a matter of being permanently "out of place" as the "other".

Looking right and left is a constant in the life of these communities racialized as Roma. Before Roma go anywhere, they say to each other, Arrack sa jas, "watch as you go..." Some one asked a group of Roma with me, what they would say in the old days before the wagons started, and one Rom said, laughing, Arrack o Gyzhen, whatch out for the non-Roma. Roma and Travellers are subject to pretextual arrest, constant harassment, and as a result in public, they can appear to be "acting guilty" when they are worried and cautious, and in fact, the exculpatary evidence in this case will explain this further.

We who know and love these folks have a huge burden, as the nation has been told something, and shown a video that shows part of what we have been told, and the comentary has filled in the rest. Perspective in video is everything. What the video does not show is a punching, a beating, what it does show is a slapping, a bad slapping that should not have happened and under the normal cercumstances of Madelyne's life, this would not have happened and has not in the past. Her confusion at her own loss of temper is clear in her abondoning the caution of her culture to speak to the nation and say she did what she is accused of, her confusion at her loss of temper is seen in the fact that she returned to Indiana quickly when she could have been away until the intial furror passed, as would have been normal in her culture and in fact in many people's culture... I am not defending the slapping and shoving. It was ugly and wrong, but that is not to say I agree with the presentation as fact that she beat her child. You should note that even in the throes of unusual rage for her, she is placing the child in a car seat. Well, all I have to say is let one of you who has not experienced a moment of unusual rage in your life cast the first stone, everyone else present your kids to Child Protective Services to be placed with strangers.

all the best, Larry


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 08:22 AM

Larry, I understand what you're saying about it not being a pattern of behavior. But I'm still repulsed by the fact that her instinct was to punch or slap around the head. To me that is not natural. Even if anger momentarily took over, it was a most harmful, hideous form of outlet. All it takes is one incident to do permanent damage, why should one be told to wait until that happens? And as far as the carseat...totally irrelevant...just a habit. I've seen and studied teenaged boys who have uncontrollable anger, often with impulses to harm themselves or to act out physically. I've seen police react to a persom resisting arrest. I once felt the rage in myself when physically threatened. But this was a tiny child probably strapped in a seat!

On another note, I ask this because I've given it a lot of thought for a lot of years...how can you defend (and thereby help) someone whom you vehemently disagree with? In my mind (and I realize I'm in the minority here) any explanation is just a rationalization using false logic. It just wouldn't work for me. You don't have to answer this if it would be "talking out of court" but it really is a question I've thought about all my life.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Jeri
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 09:39 AM

Larry, you say you're not defending the slapping but that's what virtually your entire post does. That's how you started the first thread, with this
"Most anyone who can look me in the eye and say their mom did not once loose it and swat you as Madlyne Toogood did her daughter (leaving no mark by the way...) well a lot of you would be not telling the truth. Fact is, that she is being prociscuted for the crime of being an Irish Traveller in the United States..."


Bullshit
You would have had to show me why that was true, and you haven't been able to do that.

This is NOT normal behavior, and no desperate attempts at justification will make it so. You are trying to justify what she did, although you ARE going about it as a lawyer, a politican, a spin doctor. You're trying to manipulate facts so they tell the story you'd rather be telling. Discrimination exists and is evil. I just can't see that this case is an example of it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 09:42 AM

How can you try to help someone you disagree with? That's like saying "how can you love your enemies?" If you only help people you agree with you'd end up only helping yourself.

Quite rightly good people will want to protect people who are abused by people who are stronger than themselves. But sometimes it gets more complicated, because there can be more than one victim.

In this case there are two. There's a mother who has snapped and done something stupid and wrong, and nobody is denying that. And there's a community of people who have been discriminated and persecuted in various ways over the centuries, and the mother belongs to that community, and if InOBU is right, the way this thing has been dealt with has been coloured and distorted by that.

There's a suggestion that violence towards children is more prevalent among Travellers than it is among the rest of society. This is a suggestion that can comes from two directions - it can come from people who are demonising them, and it can come from people who might seek to excuse the behaviour as culturally conditioned or something.

But the truth, as I understand it, is that, if anything, violence towards children is less prevalent among Travellers than it is among what you can call the mainstream. That would definitely have been true a couple of generations ago - but there has been a move away from that way of treating children among mainstream people, and maybe we've caught up a good way.

Slapping a small child around the head is deviant behaviour among Travellers - and yet the authorities chose to remove the child from her whole family and community. That suggests inaccurate and prejudiced stereotyping to me. And reading what some of those "experts" have been saying reinforces that suspicion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 10:31 AM

McGrath - Your points about inaccurate and prejudiced stereotyping are well taken, but again no one has shown how that is relevant in this case. Everyone is trying to put a spin on how what has transpired should be "excused" (for lack of a better word) simply because the individuals were stereotyped.

Please tell me where this stereotyping has influenced the case. Standard procedures in SUSPECTED abuse cases are to put the children in foster homes - no exceptions.

ALL the talk about what Traveler culture is and isn't is coming from the media and public opinion. No one has shown ANY evidence that the authorities have used ANY prejudicial treatment in this case.

Having worked in a department store, I know that security cameras will follow a person suspected of shoplifting or other security infringement. If they can prove something on tape they have a case. Based on what Toogood has said transpired when she tried to return items, there was REASONABLE suspicion for the store to follow her on camera - no matter what her ethnic background is. The FACT that they caught her hitting her child was coincidence.

Until facts prove otherwise, it really looks like the only spin doctoring going on is by those who are trying to make a case for the Travelers. It is a noble endeavour to fight prejudice that PROBABLY exists, but to pin it on this particular case is NOT helping the cause - it merely shows the public that misguided lawyers will do anything to prove their point. We learned nothing from the O.J. Simpson case.

Ron


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: SharonA
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 10:40 AM

Larry says, "When was the last time a woman slapped a child leaving no injury definable by any forensic methods and it was national news for a week... please folks open your eyes!"

Larry, with all due respect, I think you need to open your own eyes.

First of all, the story was "national news for a week" because there was a warrant out for Toogood's arrest for a week while she fled halfway across the nation, hiding a child whom the authorities feared had been seriously physically injured, and trying to disguise the child by dyeing and cutting her hair. "The fact that she returned to Indiana quickly when she could have been away until the intial furror passed" could also mean that she realized that it was pointless to keep running away when the entire country was on the lookout for her.

Secondly, as was evident on the videotape and as I and others on this thread have pointed out repeatedly, this was far more than a woman slapping a child. Yes, indeed, it was a "bad slapping" and there was shoving, but there was also hair-pulling, shaking and – using Toogood's own term – repeatedly "knocking" on her daughter's forehead. Now, knocking involves a closed fist, just as punching does, so whether Toogood actually meant that she was knocking as if on a door or using the term as a euphemism for punching (as in the term "knocking someone's block off" by punching them), she still is admitting laying a fist on her child and not just an open hand. I am as distressed as Jerry at your apparent downplaying of the abuse that child received that day.

Thirdly, that child was not examined by the doctor in new Jersey for nearly a week (if not exactly a week) after the incident of abuse, NOT the next day as you'd claimed in part 1 of this thread. I'm disturbed to see that you haven't got that fact straight, and I'm afraid you're blinding yourself to the fact that any bruises the child might have sustained could have healed before she was examined. Furthermore, as I stated before, there is psychological injury inflicted by abuse even if physical injury is not evident, and I don't see you even acknowledging that fact.

I can't imagine what you could possibly have to bring to the case that would be exculpatory, when there is simply no excuse for treating one's own child the way Toogood treated her daughter on September 13th when she struck the child, and afterward when she removed the child from her home and community and tried to hide her from the world. How can you tolerate that sort of isolation of the child from her siblings, her father and her culture while objecting to a temporary, supervised foster-care placement???


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Jeri
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 10:54 AM

Ron Olesko wrote:

Please tell me where this stereotyping has influenced the case. Standard procedures in SUSPECTED abuse cases are to put the children in foster homes - no exceptions.

ALL the talk about what Traveler culture is and isn't is coming from the media and public opinion. No one has shown ANY evidence that the authorities have used ANY prejudicial treatment in this case.

(I'm responsible for making the text bold.)
I think that's one of Larry's main points, which is another reason I can't understand what he's doing or why he's doing it. I think he believes there should have been special treatment in this case, because it involves an ethnic group to which he's sympathetic, and a burocratic one-size-fits-all procedure should have been waved in this case.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 11:00 AM

You can love your enemies, do good to them that hate you...but don't help them do harm. And to legally "get one off" is to enable (to use drug/psychological terminology) their behavior. We become a part of the process when we are enablers.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: SharonA
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 11:05 AM

P.S. – McGrath says ,"...there can be more than one victim. In this case there are two. There's a mother who has snapped and done something stupid and wrong, and nobody is denying that. And there's a community of people who have been discriminated and persecuted in various ways over the centuries, and the mother belongs to that community..."

If you consider the mother to be one victim, and the community to be another, then there are three victims. Remember the child? If the community is a victim of discrimination, then the child as a member of that community is a victim twice over – of discrimination and of abuse by her mother. If the mother is a victim because she "snapped", then the child is a victim three times over – of discrimination, of abuse by her mother, and of the psychological trauma of living with a mother who is capable of "snapping" and may well have "snapped" again and again had she not been brought up short by the justice system. Whether Toogood is convicted of felony battery or not, IMO she shouldn't get any of her kids back until she can manage her anger.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: M.Ted
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 11:29 AM

I understand that abuse is an issue for you, Sharon, and I respect that. Abuse is an issue for a lot of us. But, from my own experience, I know that there can be exculpatory facts in situations like this--furthermore, I know, also from my own experience, that the camera image, no matter how vivid, does not really show what is happening--

When the word "exculpatory" comes up, though, it means that there is different explanation for what has happened than the first one that pops into people's minds, not that what we have seen is necessarily reasonable or acceptable--only that the issue is much more complex, in both cause and solution, than we first realize--


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 11:38 AM

Have people stopped to think what the child wants, she has go over the physical abuse, keeping her from her mum will add to the emotional abuse. Think of it if the child reasons if she had not been naughty then she would have not been punished. Children can turn situations with a little imagination to it being their fault.

Rather than leaving the child with her mother and letting the humiliation of the event be enough punishiment is taking the child away from her loved ones really helping anyone.

I see this as an over zealous reaction which is more to do with soothing Americans own conscience and making people feel better than it has to do with the reasons behind the mothers actions.

The loser in it all is the little girl all those who post pro removing her from her family should step back and think of the child.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 11:40 AM

I'm anxious to hear what those exculpatory excuses are, and what the video really shows. In police beating cases it is sometimes claimed that the suspect was threatening, or resisting arrest, or was dangerous, or did something prior to when the tape started. But this was a 4-year-old child!


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 11:42 AM

That was loose use of language on my part, Sharon, and thanks for pointing it out - what I meant was that the child was the first clear victim, because of the way the mother had behaved on that day. That was so clearly in my mind that it didn't occur to me that what I'd written didn't exactly say that.

And the second victim is the Traveller community, and thus potentially the child once again, and also the mother.

The central point I was making was about it being a distortion to present the community from which the child was removed as being abusive towards children. And even if the actions of the authorities did turn out in fact to have been appropriate and proportional and so forth, the impression conveyed by a lot of media coverage seems to have involved that distortion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: katlaughing
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 11:57 AM

I am sorry to say that a lot of what I am reading seems to be self-righteous and judgemental. How can any of us really judge this case without being in a jury box and hearing both sides? The media has made a case against Ms. Toogood, irregardless of how the authorities may have acted, which most definitely uses the prejudice card.

From the beginning of these threads I have never read an intention on Larry's part to deny what seems to have happened or to say Ms. Toogood should not be held accountable.

What I have read, through his postings, Aine's, and my own research, is that whether this woman did this or not (I am NOT saying she didn't!) there is no way in hell she would get a fair trial with all of the media BS about her bring a Traveller and the well-documented discrimination which does exist against that community.

The world is not black and white when it comes to parenting. One known incident does not mean that parent makes a habit of hitting their child. Most parents who find themselves doing that or even thinking about it are horrified and usually will seek some way to cope. I've been there, I know.

Aine, thank you for links and the well-written explanation.

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: GUEST,Samuel Tischler
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 12:26 PM

Are Irish Travellers discriminated against in the USA? Probably, most ethnic groups in the USA face discrimination.

Larry contends that the Toogood case has been sensationalized in the media because she is an Irish Traveller. That is nonsense.

The Toogood case has been sensationalized in the media becuase she was caught brutalizing her child on videotape.

As a television news director, and former television news reporter, I can assure you that any mother caught brutalizing her child in this manner on videotape, be she WASP, Jewish, African American, Asian American, Hispanic, Arab, whatever, will receive exactly the same treatment.

Samuel Tischler


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: katlaughing
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 12:48 PM

That is complete nonsense. In Wyoming there was a woman who was a known abuser, who was allowed to keep her several young children with nothing but ocassional checks by DFS. Only thing is, DFS didn't have enough people to check consistently and as a result she beat one daughter to death and stored her in a plastic bag in the garage for over a year before it was discovered. Even then, they had no idea how many children she had at one time. She was white.

Conversly, there were black parents who had their children removed under much less extreme circumstances. Racism and its assumptions are alive and well among some of the law enforcement and social agencies. I see the same types of things regarding Hispanics, too.

Where's the OJ-like media hype in the case of that white actor who was recently charged with killing his wife?

The media is always looking for an angle on which to "hook" viewers, so they can get more advertising dollars. If they can do so using ethnicity, they will. If they can do so using the fact that a woman is a single parent, they will (I am thinking of the case several years ago, the mother who drowned her kids.) Nobody gets treated equally in the media, no matter how much you might want to believe that.

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Nerd
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 01:08 PM

Larry,

sorry I assumed there was money involved, etc. In any case, I know from your posts that you're too honorable for that to have been your main motive.

I still think people who are close to an issue, and considered experts on it (as I am on other issues) often face the problem of being so close to a community that they cannot avoid taking on a cause espoused by that community without endangering the relationship that allows them to be considered an expert. In other words, if an expert on the Masai pisses off the Masai tribal authorities so that he is shunned by the tribe, the Kenyan government will eventually cease to consider him an expert. Being an expert, which is where some of us get some of our sense of pride and self-worth, becomes contingent on taking sides. Usually this is not problematic for those of us interested in oppressed communities, because taking their side is usually what we'd do anyway. But sometimes our judgment can get clouded and we end up defending wrongdoing. An observation--do with it what you will.

Anyway, Larry, fight the good fight. Because whether or not THIS is an example of anti-Traveller discrimination (and I still think it's probably not), that discrimination DOES exist, and this case may bring it out in the open. In the meantime, let's all hope the mother can productively work through her issues and be reuinited with her child!

On another note, I think I may be the originator of some of the posts NicoleC is referring to as "it's just their culture." What I had said in part one was that many European ethnic communities practice corporal punishment, including my own, and that what I saw on that tape was not much worse than much of what I endured myself, and certainly no worse than what my parents endured. This is not saying "it's just their culture" so much as saying "it's our culture"; in other words, there is a disconnect between American official law and common practice in a wide range of families, and she was definitely in the realm of common practice for many communities. But having been properly chastened by some fellow Mudcatters, I realized that this should not excuse her from scrutiny. The fact is, in most cases like this, children are not permanently separated from their parents unless the abuse is ongoing, so the legal system can run its course. Unless there's evidence of worse abuse, I don't think drastic consequences will result. If they do result, without evidence of worse abuse, I think we need to take another look at the possibility of discrimination. But so far, she has been treated by the authorities just as any mother would have been treated in the circumstances.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 01:20 PM

As a point of information: In USA Today, the one truly national newspaper, they included editorials from five or six (don't feel like going down stairs to count which) newspapers across the country on this case. Not one of them mentioned that she was an Irish Traveller. Those claiming descrimination act as if that is the primary focus of news coverage. So far, in newspaper coverage I have yet to see that connection mentioned once. I think it's fairly obvious that not everyone is judging her as part of the Irish Traveler community if I have seen seven or eight articles so far, none of which mention the Irish Travelers.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Nerd
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 01:31 PM

Uh, Jerry, I hate to say this but last week my wife saved a copy of USA Today for me because it had a whole article on the Toogood case that explained how she was an Irish Traveller, along with a sidebar about who the Travellers are. So that particular newspaper has definitely been using the Traveller angle at least a bit. I still think there's truth to what you say, though.

BTW, I'm ambivalent about the USA Today Travellers article, because it used the tactic of saying "Travellers have been known to commit fraud, but many are law-abiding." So you can't fault it for the facts, but if we said "blacks have been known to commit robbery, but many are law-abiding" or "Jews have been known to be stingy, but many are generous" I think we'd feel uncomfortable despite the fact that the sentences are obviously accurate in a strict sense. Still, the paper had no choice but to mention the common perception that Travellers commit fraud, because otherwise there's no real reason to be talking about Travellers at all!

I'll see if we've saved the paper at home, and I'll let you know the date if so.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: katlaughing
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 01:32 PM

The fact remains that, at least in the area where this took place, according to what Aine posted and has told me (she lives near there, too), it has been an issue with the media.

I've also found that, according to an AP article, the fact that she is an Irish Traveller will have a bearing on who gets custody of her child:

Charles Smith, director of the St. Joseph County Office of Family and Children, said the fact the family is part of the Irish Travelers will play a role in whether other family members get temporary custody of the girl – and whether the Toogoods regain custody.

And, that's not discrimination?


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 01:36 PM

Kat - your story about the woman in Wyoming just points out a fault in the system, not a case of prejudice. That woman you speak of SHOULD have had her children taken away and perhaps the end of your story would not have had a tragic ending.

In the Toogood case there is too many eyes watching the case. IF the child was given back to her parents and something went wrong the arguements would be made at how bad our system is at protecting children.

Yes, the media has focused on the case of Robert Blake. Unlike O.J., Blake has not been flaunting his innocence in the same manner as O.J. did at the time. The evidence against Blake is not as substantial as the evidence against O.J. APPEARED to be at the time. On top of that, this is similar to the "second child syndrome". We've had it with O.J. and people are tired of such cases. Also, the Blake case has not gone to trial yet.

Everyone is quick to point out that the media is at fault. Do you think they would broadcast the news if people didn't WANT it? Look how many people are posting notes here. We are all to blame.

Ron


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 01:42 PM

If I went by the newspapers I generally read, I'd think that the media in England treated refugees and immigrants and Travellers and all kinds of people with respect, and always made sure that the problems they face were accurately explained.

Unfortunately there are a lot of newspapers I never read, and they aren't like that at all. But a lot of people read them, far more than read the papers I choose to read.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: katlaughing
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 01:52 PM

Ron, true, absolutely. Thanks for pointing that out. Again, it goes back to the media will use whatever will get them more viewers, i.e. more ratings, thus advert money.

Mudcatter Stephen L. Rich just posted a thread about hsi new CD. I noticed one of the lines in one of the songs mentions his "consciousness sitting on the shelf." (That may not be exactly, I've only heard it once.) Anyway, I wonder how many people who watch tv, esp. the news, have set aside their consciousness and haven't a clue as to what kind of influence their watching exerts.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 02:02 PM

Kat, you are 100% correct about the media doing whatever it can to get ratings. I spent 12 years working as a Production Manager for a cable news network and saw first hand what the priorities are - it is getting viewers to watch the program. I saw a once respected journalist revive his career by focusing on the O.J. scandal. As soon as O.J. ended, the ratings dropped. The decision on what subject to follow was driven by what people wanted to watch. If viewers weren't tuning in to watch O.J. news then the focus would shift to find something that would attract viewers. If the powers that be couldn't find news that would attract viewers, new powers that be would be brought in to try to "fix" the problem.

The days of Edward R. Murrow are unfortunately long gone. We have to rely on a number of sources to get the news and form our own opinions.

Ron


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Nerd
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 02:03 PM

Also, Ron, OJ was a "first-tier" celebrity. When Roots was being made, he just had to call and say "I want to be in Roots" and they wrote him a role. Imagine Robert Blake doing that! His career high point was Baretta! I am SO not surprised that nobody's paying attention to him now...they never paid attention to him when he was supposedly famous!


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 02:17 PM

Nerd - you are right. Attention is being paid ONLY when new information breaks, or when it is a slow newsday.

Also, it should be pointed out that the news of the Irish Travelers and this specific case are not being covered in what I would call the "mainstream" press. It has become the fodder for tabloid talk shows and Fox News Channel. If you pick up your local paper and see if the story is still in the headlines. That is hardly the NY Times or CBS Evening News (or NBC, ABC). Unless a major development occurs, this is now "old news" It is the cable newschannels are littered with tabloid journalists who talk about subjects they know audiences will listen to. If you are reading this note (or writing it!) then you are part of the situation.

Ron


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Grab
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 03:14 PM

Kat, you said:

I've also found that, according to an AP article, the fact that she is an Irish Traveller will have a bearing on who gets custody of her child:

Charles Smith, director of the St. Joseph County Office of Family and Children, said the fact the family is part of the Irish Travelers will play a role in whether other family members get temporary custody of the girl – and whether the Toogoods regain custody.

And, that's not discrimination?

No it isn't, it's making sure no further child abuse happens.

For instance, consider the cases of children abused by priests. What happened to them? They were put into the care of other priests and pressurised into saying nothing. Years later the truth comes out, and the childcare system is changed as a result to ensure the same kind of horrible events can't happen again. But just because of the ethnic origin of these people, you think it's a good idea to go back to this system?

You want a child who has been abused by her mother to be put into the care of people who have a close relationship with her mother, and who have in the past weeks concealed the mother from the police to cover up for her? I don't know about you, but I think that's the last thing that should happen! Do you seriously think that's it's better to risk putting her back in a situation where she can be abused, than to remove her temporarily from the Traveller community?

If they can find a Traveller family who are unconnected with the mother, then all well and good. That's the best option for everyone. But if all the Traveller families are close friends of the mother, what choice is there for ensuring the child is safe?

Ron Olesko's point is absolutely correct - the first priority in cases of child abuse is to remove the child from the abuse, and ensure that no connections remain between the child and the abuser which can be used to pressure the child into silence. This isn't some "bureaucratic" ruling, it's plain common sense.

Larry, you said in the earlier thread that separating the child from the Traveller community would harm the child. I've never yet heard the accusation that it's harming a black child to foster them temporarily with a white couple, nor vice versa. Why should it be different for fostering this girl with a non-Traveller family? Please explain how this is damaging the girl, bcos I simply don't understand how this can be the case.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 03:15 PM

Thanks, Nerd: I must admit that I don't buy USA Today every day. I miss once every couple of weeks for one reason or another. It's part of my morning ritual to drive down the hill to get a paper, and stop in at Walmarts to shoot the breeze with some friends. Last week, the vending machine in front of Walmart that sells USA Today wasn't in operation, so I picked up the paper where I could, and read the New Haven Register the day I couldn't get a copy. If I thought about it, I could probably figure out which day you and your wife saw the article.

Yeah, I don't like the way they phrased their commentary. It made it sound like dishonesty is the norm, but there are exceptions. And, I would never present USA today as the paragon of newspaper reporting, although its leagues ahead of papers like The New York Post and Daily News out this way. One of the things I really like about it, though, is that they do print editorials from a variety of newspapers around the country, and I find them determinedly balanced in presenting opposing views... usually the exact number on each side of the issue.

I also don't doubt that newspapers in the Midwest may be reporting it differently, just as newspapers around here will report a local story with their own "angle" for area viewers. I also don't doubt that there is prejudice against Irish Travellers.

Just for a little lightness, I'll share a true story with you. I knew someone in Graduate School at USC many years ago, who told me this story. A Jewish student at USC was using his "jewishness" to blackmail professors into giving him higher grades than he had earned by threatening to charge them with discrimination if they didn't. He apparently succeeded a couple of times, and tried it on another professor. When he told the professor that he was going to charge him with discrimination and report him to the Dean if he didn't raise his grade, the professor told him to go ahead. The student filed a formal complaint about being discrimated against by the Professor, and then discovered that the Professor was Jewish. As was the person who told me the story. :-)

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 03:53 PM

I guess the lesson is simple. If the mother didn't treat her child in the manner that she did, none of this would have happened. The child would still be in her custody and they could continue their lifestyle.

Sure, you can't change the past. The rest of us can learn from it however - people are responsible for their own actions - you can't blame society.

We have our issues in society and prejudice is still a huge problem. Toogood and her lawyers are making a HUGE mistake if they think they can turn public sympathy away from the child and the alleged abuse and make it a battle for Irish Traveler rights. They are trying to turn this into a battle against prejudice and it looks like they have a poor battle plan.

Frankly, prejudice USUALLY is based on appearance - the color of skin, the way a person looks or dresses, or gender. The Irish Travelers that we've seen on the news lately appear to blend into white middle class America. The prejudice only arises when incidents such as scams or thefts occur. (Didn't Dateline a few years ago do a story on underage marriage as well?) Unless the Traveler participates in some sort of ILLEGAL activity, I am curious as to how they are identified. A woman in a department store that looks like half of the customers will not stand out to a security guard unless something occurs. If a security guard started watching a shopper JUST because they are black, Indian, or a woman - then you have a strong case of profiling. I am very curious as to how they can PROVE profiling in this case. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, I just can't figure out HOW they are doing it.

Ron


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: SharonA
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 04:03 PM

Ron: On the other hand, I don't think it's wise to refuse to use the media as a source of information, nor do I think there's anything wrong with exchanging views in a forum such as this one. Ignoring the problem of sensationalism in the media won't make it go away, but observing the sensationalism doesn't necessarily mean that one is caught up in it or that one is "to blame" for its existence. Better to be informed about misdeeds of the media in order to effectively speak out against them, eh?

-------------------------------

A while ago, Kat said, " 'Charles Smith, director of the St. Joseph County Office of Family and Children, said the fact the family is part of the Irish Travelers will play a role in whether other family members get temporary custody of the girl – and whether the Toogoods regain custody.' And, that's not discrimination?"

I have to say that I don't think it is. Here's why: the county authorities are aware of the migratory habits of the clan to which Toogood belongs, and I'm sure their concern is that the little girl be living in a situation that can be monitored to assure that she will not be abused or assaulted again. I'm sure there are laws in Indiana to the effect that the child's living situation must be monitored pending investigation of charges against her parent or guardian. This, of course, is difficult to do when the clan moves from state to state. If Martha were released into the custody of family members, I'm sure those family members would have to agree to remain in the county for the duration of the term of custody, which would go against their custom.

There's also the fact that at least some family members have already proven to be uncooperative with authorities with regard to releasing information about the child's whereabouts and condition, supposedly because of the clan's protectiveness of its private affairs. I think the authorities are concerned that the same uncooperative spirit might present itself if they tried to legally monitor the child's safety in the home of a member of the clan.

Then there's the fact that Toogood had already proven herself to be a flight risk when she left Texas, using her migration with her clan to avoid two outstanding warrants for her arrest there. Quite obviously, no one in the clan who knew of these warrants was willing to report Toogood to authorities for extradition to Texas. The child-protective services in Indiana are understandably concerned about Martha being in a family situation where disregard of warrants for arrest is the norm. If Martha were to be released into the custody of one of the families in the clan, the authorities would want to be sure that it was a family of law-abiding clan members who would not be influenced by those without regard for the law, so some investigation would have to be done beforehand.

Whether the Toogoods themselves regain permanent custody would depend on Madelyn's willingness to stop using the clan to hide from the law and her husband's willingness to stop using the clan to hide his wife from the law. The husband himself admits having some unspecified run-ins with the law when he was younger but claims to have mended his ways, yet he was still willing to take his wife with him from Texas to travel with the clan and let warrants be issued for her arrest, rather than stay in Texas with her and have her face the charges against her. The authorities are understandably concerned that the little girl, if she continued to live with them, would be influenced by similar clan pressure to travel out of state rather than stay with family members in-state while they have their day in court.

None of this has to do with prejudice but with the behavior of this family and clan in their previous dealings with the law, just as any family's history is examined in a custody placement. I don't see anything prejudicial about concern by legal authorities that the law be respected and followed. Note that Mr. Smith was quoted as saying that the family's association with the Irish Travelers would play a role in the county office's decisions about custody of Martha, not that it would be the overriding factor in those decisions.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: SharonA
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 04:11 PM

Oops. I intended to turn off the italics after my second paragraph, where I posted the quote from Kat. Second time today! What am I doing wrong??


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: GUEST,Ireland
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 04:14 PM

So I'm from Ireland fly to America, get drunk on Irish whiskey, beat up some people trash a bar,rely on the stereotypical views of the Irish about drunks and fighters and claim I'm Irish thats what we do, nature of the beast.

Accountability, law was broke people were in danger irrespective of my origins and I have to like all other citizens be accountable for my actions it is what separates us from the animals.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: GUEST,McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 04:18 PM

"turn public sympathy away from the child "

Yes, the interests of the child clearly have to be the first and most important thing, as in any case involving children. And as I read it, the central worry of people like InOBU is that the interests of the child are very likely indeed to be severely damaged if it isn't handled a great deal more sensitively than it seems to have been.

Taking a child away from its community and family isn't a neutral thing to do. It's happened to children of Native Americans, and Native Australians and to Travellers of one sort or another, and it's often been seen as a kind of rescue from a lifestyle that is assumed to be damaging - and it's worked out very badly indeed in many many cases.

Yes, of course there are circumstances when particular parents can't be relied on to care for their children, and alternatives have to be found, temporarily or even lon term. But it's a delicate matter, and there's a real danger of doing real damage. Wherever possible it is far better to use relatives rather than strangers, especially strangers from a completely different culture.

Violence towards children is not an accepted and normal part of the Traveller way of life. It happens sometimes, as it happens in all kinds of families, and when it is seen to happen it needs to be effectively responded to, in a way that protects the child. But in a way that protects the child in all kinds of ways.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 04:23 PM

Sharon - I didn't mean to suggest that we should ignore the media, just realize what it is all about. In fact, I think you might be echoing what I was trying to say. As I said earlier, we need to draw our own conclusions from a variey of sources.

I DON'T think that the media intentionally lies or changes the focus - they merely reflect what the public is asking for. The sensationalism that the media creates is merely a reflection of our curiosity. If people weren't feeding off it, the media wouldn't cover it. Frankly we are "to blame" for it's existence - we create it.

Ron


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: SharonA
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 05:40 PM

Ron, thanks for your response and for clearing that up! I see the situation of watching media sensationalism as one of "knowing your enemy." As you say, we the public create the demand for sensationalism that the media supply, so I guess "we have met the enemy and he is us", so each of us needs to be his or her own media watchdog!

Thank you too, M Ted, for your response. I still can't imagine what the exculpatory evidence for Toogood's behavior might be... guess I'll have to wait for Larry to share it before we see if we – and more importantly, the court – can be convinced that it's a satisfactory explanation. I'm skeptical, though, since so far Larry hasn't managed to convince many of the posters on these two threads that his argument holds water.

Waiting with bated breath,
Sharon


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: M.Ted
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 05:41 PM

It is relatively easy to find the website for The South Bend Tribune, which is the local paper-- and if you did you would learn that there is quite a concern in the community that the unusually high bail (Class D felonies usually have a $500 bond set, rather than the $5000 fine that was set by St. Joseph County Superior Court Judge Jerome Frese) was based on prejudice--you may also see for yourself Jerry, that, though you may not have known that the Toogoods were Irish Travellers, Michianans (the name that the folks in the South Bend/Niles metropolitan area use to desribe themselves) have known about it since the Toogoods were first identified in the video--

You would also have learned that Mr. Toth, the prosecutor of this case, is up for re-election, and, at least in some quarters, his actions in this matter are suspect--

Also, you would gather that the farther someone is from the scene of the crime, the more severe a punishment they seem to demand--Michianans seem to believe that the family unit is much more important than Mudcatters do, and many express the need to return the child to the mother, albeit with the necessary counciling and support, as soon as possible.

Talk is cheap, folks--and most of what you all have posted here is cheap talk--


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 05:50 PM

MTED - the high bail is because she has already skipped out on other hearings. She has proven to be a flight risk - and flight risks can be anyone, not just a Traveler. Since she turned up here in NJ, I guess she is rather mobile. I guess if you consider that prejudice, it is - but it still doesn't show that the prejudice is against Travelers, rather it is prejudice against someone who has skipped a court appearance.

I do think a child's place is with the mother, when all legal and psychological critera are met.

Thank you for contributing to the "cheap talk" with the rest of us.

Ron


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: katlaughing
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 06:03 PM

My quote was the fact the family is part of the Irish Travelers will play a role in whether other family members get temporary custody of the girl – and whether the Toogoods regain custody not as Sharon characterised the family's association with the Irish Travelers. Not associated with, but part of, therefore indicting the entire clan, IMO. Substitute "migrant worker" or any other minority group for "Irish Travellers" and see if it sounds like prejudice.

I'd hate to think that if I'd hit my child that my family and extended family would be judged by my actions and denied temporary custody of my children; as close knit as we were, my children would have been severely traumatised by such.

Also, as I understood it, from some ealier posting, this clan does not go from state to state, but rather winters in one for about six months, then goes back to the other.

M. Ted, thanks for the local information.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 06:30 PM

Like many Mudcat threads, this one has wandered all over the place, and now is somewhere where I don't think anyone can give an intelligent opinion... me included. We've gone from challenging Larry's original statement that the charges leveled against a Mother who beat crap out of her kid were discriminatory, to who should get custody of the child. God help anyone who had to rely on Mudcat, or any other group you care to choose to make a decision on Child Custody. I know from personal experience that far more investigation and evaluation go into the process than could ever occur on Mudcat. And, it is done by people who have far more experience than most of us. Count me out on figuring out where the child should be. I think you should count Larry out, too, personally, and you too McGrath. We just don't know the details, and it looks like Larry made up his mind before he even knew half the facts. I agree with Larry that I hope the decision is made without prejudice. I don't agree that the only decision possible without prejudice is to put the child back in her home. I'd probably lean in that direction myself, but what do I know? What do any of us know about an issue as complex as long-term custody? There's far too much, "I'm thinking about the child, and she should be in her community," and "I'm thinking about the child, and she should be removed from an abusive situation." Truth is, when it comes to custody, I don't think we know what the Hell we're talking about. I'm sure that I don't. I still think Larry has consistently minimized the damage to the child, and glossed over the problems in the family, the police records, the scams. Better that someone more objective look at this one...

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: wysiwyg
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 06:34 PM

It's unfortunate, but IMO the "discrimination" is buried back in that time when the only Travellers most people in the US had ever heard of were the criminal element preying on folks in scams and frauds, who called themselves "Travellers." Benign Travellers didn't step forward then (nor did their allies), as far as I know, to let people know of the honorable people who also claim that identifier. I wish they had. I've served as ally and defender to every victim of injustice (individuals and groups) that I've ever known personally or known about, and put myself and my reputation on the line to do it. But until a chance thread here at Mudcat, I'd never heard of any sort of Traveller except the kind who wants my money and will do a lot of bad things to get it. And neither has anyone I know, who I've asked about it, since that thread.

To blame people for discriminating when they have never been given correct information is unrealistic. And offering correct information, in the middle of a firestorm about what millions have now seen on videotape, is even more unrealistic. IMO the battle for fairness lies elsewhere.

The effective and peacemaking way to gain allies, understanding, and equity is not to cry foul over any individual case, and berate people for being dumb, but to lovingly and accurately educate people over a long period of time about who people actually ARE. And IMO the present instance serves as a very poor starting point.

Don't blame people if a criminal group has co-opted an honorable but little-known name. Take the name back, instead, reclaiming it in honor and peace.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: GUEST,McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 07:07 PM

In these islands the term "Traveller" has been used for the last thirty of so years as the normal term to cover various groups of people who might otherwise be described as Gypsies, Tinkers, Didakoi. It sets aside the kind of arguments that might arise as to what to call particular people, and uses one aspect of the way of life they have in common.

More recently the term has been used - as "New Age Travellers" - to describe people with a non-travelling background who for various reasons have adopted a related lifestyle, a combination of hippieish people, and of refugees from marginalised lives in cities. And in fact people from older communities of Travelling People have sometimes wished to distance themselves from these newcomers, rejecting the term, or qualifying it,maybe by describing themselves as "Gypsy Travellers." That's because "new age travellers" have come in for a lot of bad treatment and scapegoating.

I'd think most people who are into folk music would inevitably be familiar with the term "the Travelling People", thanks to Ewan MacColl's song. (The link there is to Dick Gaughan's song site - I couldn't find it on the DT, though likely enough it's there.)

Incidentally, it's a strange thing that the word "traveller" means exactly the same as the English word "roamer" - which sounds exactly like Roma. But I think that is a sheer coincidence, since I gather the word "roam" dates back to a time before the Roma came to Europe.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: M.Ted
Date: 28 Sep 02 - 01:55 AM

Are you saying that Larry should recuse himself from the case, Jerry? Larry knows more about the case than any of us, because he is actually involved in it--he has access to more of the facts than anyone else here, and he will play a part in the final resolution of the case because he is a lawyer involved in the matter--


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Sep 02 - 06:33 AM

I think it'd be better if we all backed off from concentrating on this particular case, and leave it to the court process. That's what I took Jery as meanig there. As they say, we're in danger of generating more heat than light.

Let's talk about songs instead for a bit, and their relationship to the real life of the Travelling people.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 28 Sep 02 - 07:34 AM

No, Mr. Ted: I don't think that Larry should back off the case. I think that the Travellers need an advocate to make sure that there is no discrimination in the decision as to the long-term placement of the child. As I said, I'd probably lean toward keeping the child with the parents, while holding them accountable for their criminal actions and requiring the mother to get counselling. I'd all expect that there'd be some on-going evaluation ond supervision of the family. What I do believe is that because Larry is the lawyer for the Travellers, he of necessity only presents information that is on their behalf in this forum, and in the best possible way. That makes it impossible for us to evaluate the issue of where the child should live. I am not qualified to make that decision, and I don't believe that Larry is in a position of objectively making it, either. It's like asking the defence lawyer to make the decision in a court case. I want this case handled with justice. I just don't believe that this forum is a place to discuss it anymore. Thank you, Kevin. You understood what I was saying. Let's leave this to the officials now, and let Larry do the job he has been hired to do, whether there is actual payment involved, or not.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Leadfingers
Date: 28 Sep 02 - 11:01 AM

Wether one is prejudiced or not,the behaviour of people who APPEAR to be of one group or another will colour ones views on that group.I like to think that I am as liberal minded as the next man (provided the next man is NOT the good Senator Mc Carthy)but I have very little time for any body who moves onto a nice green field and leaves a huge mound of filth and old car parts behind when they move on to their next site.Equally,the three young men who drove past me in a Transit pick up when I stopped for a newspaper and shouted oscenities in broad Irish accents at me for no reason at all. Can I be blamed for thinking unkind thoughts about Irish Travellers?. But it wont stop me going to the Old Crown for a pint of Guiness and to join in with the Irish band who play there. Another point to consider is that your average Catter is possibly a person who's education has stuck a little more than some peoples,and they are therefore more able to see through the headlines that the Tabloid Press are prone to present us with.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Sep 02 - 12:15 PM

Sometimes when a bunch of Travellers of one sort or another have been in a field and move on the place looks pretty messy - very often of course it's not so much a question of them moving on as of being moved on, and that's a major factor.

But a few weeks or months on and the field looks OK once more. But when a developer moves in, and churns up the ground, and puts down concrete foundations or covers the surface with asphalt for parking and so forth it's going to take a lot longer before it looks right.

I'm thinking of a particular little field near where I live where a few years ago just this happened. After a few travellers had been moved on they left the place looking pretty bad. It didn't take that long though, and the place recovered well, and was really pretty once more. Then the owners - who of course weren't any kind of Traveller - turned up, and put up great rusty wire fences around it, and big iron gates, and laid down concrete parking over most of it. They had some idea of using it as a lorry park, that never came off. Years later and it looks a real dump.

Human beings have a tendency to wreck the places we occupy - and we need to find a way to avoid doing that. Up until a couple of generations ago Gypsies and other Travellers were actually pretty good at passing through the world without wrecking the stopping places. Where this has changed, there are a lot of reasons, and many of them not their doing at all.

I've had obscenities shouted at me by young men with English accents in white vans, but it hasn't made me think any worse of the English in general. Of course, I have enough contact with English people who aren't like that to recognise it as being just the way some people are. The danger is when people generalise from an isolated instance, and think it tells them something that applies to a group as a whole, when it's a group they haven't had too much contact with.

And that's really what lies behind the worry some of us have expressed about this whole episode. The very fact that it seems that, for a lot of people, it's the first time the existence of the Travelling People has come to their attention, means a real danger of this kind of stereotyping. Especially when "the experts" creep out of the woodwork and encourage the process, with the cooperation of people in the media who like to keep the story simple and dramatic.

Arguing about what exactly happened in this case, and how it was dealt with, isn't really too helpful.

I think and hope that everyone who has joined in is actually agreed on what really matters - violence towards children is wrong and cannot be ignored; and prejudice and unfair discrimination and persecution of any group of people is wrong, and cannot be allowed.

The rest is details and speculation about facts where most of us, including me, really haven't actually got the facts. We're a bit like the friends who came to blows arguing about the colour of a horse - and they were in the dark anyway.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: M.Ted
Date: 28 Sep 02 - 12:31 PM

I wrote to the South Bend Tribune and asked them to set up a page with links to all their Toogood Articles, which they were happy to do--South Bend Tribune Toogood Special Page This will make it easy for all of you to read about what has actually been going on in the community--I love the internet!

html link fixed by mudelf ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: catspaw49
Date: 28 Sep 02 - 02:57 PM

Suppose they were Amish..............

I've really tried to stay away from this one.....I really have. I'm not going into any credentials I might have to judge this one as most of us here are talking through our hats anyway. What you saw on the videotape happens many times everyday all over the country. Sometimes the offenders are caught......Most times they aren't.

When they are and Children's Services is involved, the law enforcement agency authorizes the emergency temporary placement of the child in foster care. The first task after that of the caseworker is to find a suitable longer term foster/relative placement. The first place to look is to the relatives and if they are available, suitable, and willing to commit to the rules governing foster placement (yes, there are extensive rules that cover foster care), then the child is placed with them. In this process, the first and foremost motive that drives the decision should be "the best interests of the child." Not flight risk....Not the opinions of another's style of living. The best interest of the child.....period.

I, and none of you either, know the details that the caseworker and casework supervisor are investigating. If they are being driven in their investigation by public opinion, they are not doing their job. If they are being driven by the feelings and thoughts of a prosecutor or anyone else with an ax to grind, they are not doing their job. The job is to find the best possible placement in the best interests of the child.   Safeguards can be set up within the placement agreement and if they are broken, then the placement is moved. The caseworker and supervisor are free to do this and it is done in almost every case of "relative placement" as a matter of course.

The only thing I can say here with any degree of certainty is that children in foster care would almost always prefer to be with relatives.....or their parents, regardless of how abusive the situation. I have seen kids that had parents who murdered a sibling and they would prefer to be with the parents even so. It's a tough thing to understand........

I'm outta' here...........Should have kept my mouth shut.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: InOBU
Date: 28 Sep 02 - 05:13 PM

Bless you Spaw, that is the truth. The real story will out, a little at a time, and I hope the press is there to cover it, not in the sensationalist way it has been presented, such as Andrea Peyser saing, "This train wreck of a mom is one of the so-called Irish Travellers - nomadic misfits with I'd never before heard of..." she goes on to say "By foistering a bizare athority shunning way of life on kids, the Travellers put them in danger." I don't have a lot of time to say much, I have to run down south, having only been back a few hours from the mid west, and for the rest of the evening work on a Romani child custody case... folks, look at the above, I can give you ten or twenty equaly vile statements in the reporting... when you call any culture bizarre, misfits, there is only one word for you, a bigot, and bigotry hurts children in a way that maybe a Traveller knows better than alot of our fellow countryfolk.
Best wishes to all, keep thinking about this, keep watching and learning. Larry


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: GUEST,Ireland
Date: 28 Sep 02 - 05:59 PM

Larry, If you are part of the Toogood defence why are you bringing this into the public domain. The ethnic tactic is wrong it has backfired, juding from the posts people did not care about the womans origins. Playing this card seems to have turned people against her, not doing too good a job.

People are actively seeking information on this person i.e southbend link how many are doing so to gain info to attack this woman. The legal team are leaving this woman out to dry as it seems she is getting little sympathy or understanding.

Maybe I'm wrong but as I'm Irish you will excues me.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: InOBU
Date: 28 Sep 02 - 07:04 PM

Hi folks, I am not the lawyer for the Toogoods, I am a political scientist with a Juris Doctorate, who knows a huge amount about Roma and a good deal about Travellers, and has access and a personal relationship with the real experts both with a Phd and a thrity foot trailer, so to speak. As far as what has gone on in the case before I was asked to speak with the press, I wont comment on that. The Traveller issue was raised before anyone called me. As to my effectiveness, the story on the AP was the first positive word about Travellers published, and the talk with Bill O'Rielly on FOX went well, so I am told. We will see what the public says about CNN. As far as it goes, here I have commented on what has been public record. Frankly I think some of the Catters are bending over backwards to not see the prejudice here, and some who talk about Irish Travellers shouting at them with Irish Accents, know nothing about Travellers in the US and are parading a potenial prejudice... (gee that came out like Johnny Cockran, sorry folks...) anyway, I am sharing an informal natter with my mudcat family, while avoiding anything confidential, because, you, dear singers of the truth, are the hope for spreading the word they way it should be, in a cultureal context. You folkies owe travellers more than you think, Larry


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Sep 02 - 07:21 PM

And anyone who hasn't listened to the MacColl/Parker Radio Ballad The Travelling People, you've missed something, but you needn't keep on missig it. And if you buy it, remember to do it via CAMSCO.

But, once again, couldn't we move on here from this particular case, which is now in the court system, and turn to other relevant matters?

To quote what I said a couple of posts back "I think and hope that everyone who has joined in is actually agreed on what really matters - violence towards children is wrong and cannot be ignored; and prejudice and unfair discrimination and persecution of any group of people is wrong, and cannot be allowed."


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: GUEST,928
Date: 28 Sep 02 - 07:33 PM

But, once again, couldn't we move on here from this particular case, which is now in the court system, and turn to other relevant matters?

McGrath,

You and anyone else are always free to move on and turn to other matters. If you don't want want to continue in this thread, you're not obligated to read it, let alone pontificate endlessly, as you do often in so many threads, and certainly not to dictate to everyone else what they should be concerned about.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Sep 02 - 07:35 PM

Thanks 928. Ol' Kevin sure likes to play the Lord Konow-It-All of Mudcat. He is very tiresome.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 28 Sep 02 - 10:34 PM

There are a lot more traveler traits in you than you admit to, Larry. Back on the 26th you stated, I am part of a legal team

Would you like to ask the generous MudCat community for a donation?

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: InOBU
Date: 28 Sep 02 - 11:41 PM

Hi Garg: They really do contribute. Much of the comments here, at some time and another get mulled over by the team, which at the moment is a lawyer, a phd folklorist - which sounds less serrious a study than it is, it entails antro, sociolgy, linguistics... but I read and contemplate our little microcausem of the world here, and it helps me to learn how to explain Traveller culture as opposed to steryotypes to the world at large. I get support and inspiration from M.Ted and McGraw, and Spaw and others, but where would a boxer be without a good sparing partner. That is why I always said that you are underapreciated, you have at times been a good sparing partner, a bit of sand papper to get folks smoothed out and on the plumb!
Well, I have to get off to the kip. I am on the road driving alone at 8am to go many miles before I sleep, and to see wonderful things. God bless all, and thanks.
I'm just going to take off the tirsty boots for a few hours, then I am on the road again.
Scare off them demons, Garg, Larry


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Nerd
Date: 28 Sep 02 - 11:43 PM

Yes, Larry, you have been a bit confusing about your role. I assume that you are telling the truth in both posts, though, and that you are a consultant to the lawyers, hence part of the team but not the counsel. Is this accurate?

In any case, I really can't agree that loudmouth bigots in the press prove anything about the actions of the social workers or the authorities. No one is saying prejudice doesn't exist. But you pointing out that some journalist I've never heard of is an asshole doesn't have much bearing on whether prejudice was shown by the authorities in the case itself. I'm waiting for the new evidence you've promised, especially now that there are new charges relating to giving the address of strip-mall drycleaner as their permanent abode (I know, I know, travellers don't have a fixed address....)


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: JJ
Date: 28 Sep 02 - 11:52 PM

The story was on the 11:00 WCBS local news here in New York tonight with emphasis on the question: is the child in custody really Martha? But not one word was uttered about Irish Travelers...


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Sep 02 - 12:50 AM

Mrs. Toogood will also be held accountable to a court of her superiors - within the traveler system of justice - the penalty for bringing the community into "high profile" can be harsh enough that she will wish to be in the "kindly hands" of a state penal system.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 29 Sep 02 - 12:51 AM

Let's see how the press handles this story. A man in Texas is in jail on charges he used a stun gun to discipline his 8 year old son. He is on jail with a $15,000 bail. (Higher than Toogoods I believe). All four of his children have been placed in foster care. (Did I read that Toogood still has custody of her other children?

This sparking example of human excrement told the Houston Chronicle - "The belt didn't work; this did. It hurts much less than the belt. I've whipped his ass so hard that it left marks. That just didn't send the message and this did".

I'm sure some of you are asking - no there is no mention of his ethnic background other than he is from Texas. It will be real interesting to see how this story plays in the U.S. press in comparision to Toogood.

Maybe I need to rethink my feelings on capital punishment.

Ron


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Sep 02 - 12:56 AM

Was there a video tape of the 8 y.o. and the stun-gun?


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 29 Sep 02 - 01:12 AM

Apparently not, which would make it less of a "draw" for the major networks.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: GUEST,Ireland
Date: 29 Sep 02 - 09:12 AM

Larry, give Toogood some real advice, advise her to dump the team, go to court with one lawyer and get it over and done with.

Saves time and money, you have some legal circus going on.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Sep 02 - 09:37 AM

Congratulations to all of the Mudcatters who continue to defy the wishes of McGrath of Harlow by discussing this issue.

I know that I'm not the only one who's sick of Kevin McGrath going on and on and on and on and on about something and then trying to decide for the rest of us when the discussion is over.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Sep 02 - 05:18 PM

There are many "nice," white American mothers who beat their children. You don't see the media blowing their cases out of proportion.

Then again, if they had footage of the beatings on video, they probably would.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 29 Sep 02 - 08:35 PM

Believe me, if Geraldo Rivera had footage of people beating their children you would see primetime specials galore. The press loves such things. This is a "hot" topic for the media - it plays on sympathy and it is something most people can relate to in one way or another.

I don't mean to sound prejudiced against the media since I've spent some of my career in that arena (on the technical side), there are some good journalists left in the world.

Ron


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Blues=Life
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 12:22 AM

As a professional traveller, not an Irish Traveller, I first looked into this thread to see what new problem I was going to be facing at airports. Imagine my suprise to find out that I was being a bigot because the woman who beat up on her 4 year old was an Irish Traveller. Oh. I'm sorry. Well, that's all right then, hit the kid again.

Excuse me? You can't have it both ways, folks. As Aine said, "As I read through the posts to this thread, it is apparent that many of you are unaware of the history and background of the Irish Travellers (Pavees)." How can I be discriminating against this woman if I am ignorant both of an ethnic group, and her membership in it? Sorry, but that dog won't hunt.

The ONLY mention I've seen so far about Irish Travellers has been here. And the logical basis of the "she's being discriminated against, that's why she's innocent of whomping on her kid" defense seems to be on a par with the old example of the man who killed his parents, and then pleaded with the judge for mercy on the grounds that he was an orphan.

Finally, I don't think foster care is a great option. But it sure beats a punch to the head.

It's about a 4-year old kid, stupid.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: InOBU
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 08:17 AM

Yes it is about the four year old stupid... and every day that you separate that child from her ethnic community adds damage to her sence of self, that is not from me but from the experts with Dr. before there name, who study ethnicity, sociology and anthropology. It is about the child and the State of Indiana, in their blind hatred of Travellers is blind to the need of that child to be among HER people. Most Americans don't get it, but that is not proof that will stand up in court, The US government hold Eastern European nations to task for the same deprivation of rights in Indiana, we demand an end to out adoption of Roma "Gypsies" overseas, we legislate protection of Indians from that same outrage, and then the nation condones that violation of rights when the news media spews hatred of Traveller people in this nation.
I think we should start a part three folks, this is getting long again, Larry


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: wysiwyg
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 08:54 AM

Larry,

I can't hear the sense you are trying so urgently to convey, amid your diatribes. I admire your passion, but your passion has overwhelmed your peaceability. I pray you will find a peaceful way to keep teaching people about the good you see in folk. If going to a part three will just continue the pain-slinging, I'll be sad to see it.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 10:01 AM

Larry,

I'm still struggling with this. When you say the State of Indiana treats Travelers with "blind hatred", could you give examples? I realize these threads are lengthy, but I don't recall seeing anything specific - except for your statements about the child being separated from her community.

Your feelings about the child being separated from her community are well taken, but based on other cases that I've read about this seems like the standard procedure in such cases. Foster homes do not necessarily mean permanent and when there is danger of flight and potential additional abuse. Bottom line, if this incident never occured the issue of foster homes would be moot.

Also, it should be mentioned that not all doctors would agree completely with your statement that separation from her community adds damage to her sense of self- at least in the context that you've supplied. While you say you have knowledge of this case, we really don't know what this child's current sense of self is. In the case of divorce, the separation from the issues of the parents can often improve a child well being. Not knowing what issues this child may currently have, I wouldn't be so quick to say that this current (and not necessarily permanent) separation is doing "damage".

Ron


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: catspaw49
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 10:51 AM

Ron.....It's pretty well accepted that several things occur when a child is removed from the home. As soon as you place them in foster care, you do damage. Now this may well be for the best interests of the child. ie., protection from abuse. Many agencies (ours here) designates a home or two as "emergency" placement homes. These homes are generally as open and cooperative as possible in aiding the child(ren) through a critical period, but they are temporary emergency homes only. For longer term, out of home care, another suitable home is found and as I said in my previous post, the first place to look is at Relative Care. If that is not possible then a home that can keep the child's sense of self is next on the list. You really don't want to move a child at all if possible, but in the emergency situations, it's a better option so the right placement can be found.

BTW, this is a huge issue in adoption! Cross-racial and cross-cultural adoptions are one of the forefront issues that even the most ardent adoptive advocates still fight about.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Áine
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 11:26 AM

Dear Blues=Life,

You said in your post above, "The ONLY mention I've seen so far about Irish Travellers has been here." Here is a small sample of what I am seeing in my local paper, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, which is one of the 32 Knight-Ridder News Syndicate newspapers.

Posted on Sun, Sep. 29, 2002
Inquiring local minds want to know
David House
Star-Telegram Staff Writer

Notes from the pile of readers' questions here lately:

Why did you smear all Irish people in that case involving an Irish Traveller mother and her child?

Readers were referring to the "More on IRISH" jumpline that accompanied a Sunday Page One story about a mother accused of physically abusing her 4-year-old daughter.

Some of the nomadic Irish Travellers are known as con artists, and although the group claims Irish heritage, some Irish-blooded people don't want to be associated with them even in a jumpline.

The idea behind jumplines is to use logical keywords to help readers find the continued copy on an inside page. In this case, the keyword struck some readers as an insensitive indictment. Inoffensive keywords were available, including that dear Irish title -- "Mother."


-- Áine


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Wolfgang
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 11:45 AM

I urge you all to reread the post that has started these threads (Jeri has done well in citing it) and you'll realise that it was one the the worst opening posts in Mudcat ever. Nothing of what Larry later claimed was on his mind (not to tear the child from its community) was in the first post, just a rant with no discernible connection to the matter know at that time.

Larry, I had considered you an expert on travellers and Roma, but I see now you are just an advocate. Both, expert and advocate, may have the same amount of knowledge, vastly superior to my knowledge, but I trust an expert to inform me as correctly as possible, whereas I don't trust an advocate to inform me correctly except when it happens to fit the agenda.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: SharonA
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 12:00 PM

Kat: In my post of 27-Sep-02 - 04:03 PM, I used the term "association" in the sense of (quoting from the Webster's dictionary here) "partnership" and "an organization of persons having a common interest: society". Maybe I was being too literal; you're right that the connotation of the term "association with" makes it sound more remote than "a part of". But again, for all the reasons I stated above, I do not think that the statement by Charles Smith, director of the St. Joseph County Office of Family and Children, is discriminatory or prejudicial. I don't think it's fair to say, "substitute 'migrant worker' or any other minority group for 'Irish Travellers' and see if it sounds like prejudice", because in this particular case there is a criminal element of this particular clan to be considered: part of this close-knit group consists of people involved in criminal activity, including the child's own mother.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 12:02 PM

Thanks Spaw. You pretty well summed up what I was trying to say - that these are temporary homes and while it is not helpful to the child, neither is being in an abusive home. Again, we don't know the specifics with this child and what her current state is. Based on procedures, it sounds like this case has followed the norm.

Until this is settled, we have to hope that this is being done correctly and not as a result of prejudice as some are claiming. Sounds like standard procedures are being followed, even it they are not ideal.

Ron


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: catspaw49
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 12:38 PM

Yeah Ron, as I said somewhere, we don't know much about the caseworker or supervisor or what they are doing, but I hope they are following what is a pretty accepted procedure in the field. Active as I have been in foster/adoptive issues, it is still hard to explain the reasoning behind much of what we do. There are a lot of misconceptions about social services and the role of everyone involved. It's a fact for instance that the fewer times a placement is disrupted, the better it is for the child. On the other hand, a quick placement into an unacceptable situation is equally harmful. Agencies that have gone to the "Emergency Home" have had great success in using them. Remember that the caseworker/agency is charged with the welfare of the child and it takes a little time to check through the best possible options.......in the best interests of the child.

I have some anecdotal stories which are chilling about things that have gone wrong when agencies are driven by outside forces. Invariably, no matter what happens for good or bad, the agency gets the blame anyway. It is my best hope that in this case there is a strong willed caseworker and supervisor who function quickly and efficiently in the best interests of the child and not in the interests of anyone else. Every child also has a Guardian ad Litem, an attorney to look out for the legal interests and they can often glom up the works....or aid in the situation.....all depends on the GAL appointed. Indiana like Ohio also has an available program called CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) which can be extremely beneficial to everyone because the CASA is looking at the whole situation and makes decisions and suggestions only in the best interests of the child. Many CASAs are well educated and experienced and can provide the middle ground often needed in cases like this one. I haven't seen any word of a CASA involvement at this point and the program isn't mandatory.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: EBarnacle1
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 12:54 PM

Wolfgang,

Having known Larry for many years and in many contexts, I can accurately state that he is both passionate and well-informed on this subject. He has immersed himself on this subject and others for many years. In person, he is clearer and more articulate [sometimes for hours on end]. Though I do not always agree with his selected issues, I do know he has always thought his stands out and generally knows more than I on these issues.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Wolfgang
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 01:45 PM

He may think and formulate clear in other topics, his first post here wasn't.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 04:17 PM

I disagree with one thing, and that is abused children wanting to stay with their abusive parents. I am sure that is true in some cases; I can't believe it is true in all, and they should have some say in it. I have been a school counselor; my first day on the job a student came in and asked me to report his parent. The second day on the job same thing, different student. I had several of those cases. I had an abusive mother (and a good father who did his utmost); I would have absolutely loved for me and my brothers and sisters to have been removed from her, I don't care how..in the middle of the night with sirens wailing. But she put on a good public front. The sainted martyr bit. So even if a kid is being hysterical at the thought of being removed, get some good social workers or whatever after they have calmed down to find out what their real feelings are on the subject. I bet a whole awful lot of them, once they are in a good foster home, would never ever choose to go back. Key of course being good foster home. Better an orphanage than a bad foster home without supervision and with beatings, abuse, etc....it is a complex situation.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: catspaw49
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 04:41 PM

Mary Garvey.......I have no intention of turning this discussion into one on foster care, but I did not say "all." Many children would prefer to be home.....I agree that many would feel otherwise, but I wouldn't want to bet the farm on which would be the majority!!!

Also, the word "orphanage" does not exist in my vocabulary, however the word "stigma" does. The stigma of being a "foster kid" is out there and bad enough. I hope we have grown past the "orphanage" idea includingseverala recent disastrous attempts at "Foster Home Communities"....read: Orphanage.

Pat and Karen Patterson
Adoptive/Foster Parents to over 30 long term kids
Emergency Foster Home Providers to over 50 children
State of Ohio "Adoptive/Foster Family of the Year" 1996
Certified Adoptive/Foster Trainer


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: GUEST,post counter
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 05:47 PM

Two days ago, McGrath of Harlow, said this thread should end (after he personally made umpteen posts to it).

Obviously, other Mudcatters are not prepared to follow ol' Kev's demands and have had other things to say. This is the 29th post since McGrath wanted to shut down comment on this issue.

McGrath of Harlow, is not the King of Mudcat! Long live free speech.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 06:35 PM

Who said anything about this thread ending?


"But, once again, couldn't we move on here from this particular case, which is now in the court system, and turn to other relevant matters?"


Not the same thing at all. And in fact it seems to have happened, to a considerable extent.


I suspect that with the new-model Mudcat, with it's automatic thread- splitting, there is going to be a tendency for discussion threads to get longer, as different aspects of an issue get opened up and explored.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Oct 02 - 03:15 PM

Why is this illegible? In one tiny left hand column?


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: SharonA
Date: 01 Oct 02 - 05:17 PM

GUEST: T'was but t'isn't! (A temporary effect of the transition to the upgrade, I'm guessing.)

Wow, here's an opportunity to test the new "Make a Link" feature of the upgrade, since there's a Part 3 of this discussion to which to link! Here goes. Click on this link to go to Part 3:

BS: Traveller Discrimination in the US 3
------------------------------------------------------------------------


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This Thread Is Closed.


Mudcat time: 21 January 8:50 PM EST

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