Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Helping Pat Merkley out.

Since it's her first day on the job, I thought I would provide some thoughtful insightful commentary on Polygyny for Pat. Here's a working definition of "abuse" or "abusive" from my point of view. A group is "abusive" when it shows characteristics of abuse above and beyond that of society as a whole. In Texas for instance, YFZ was not a physically abusive group because it's rate of bone breakage was lower than that of society as a whole.

The Deseret News - (Pat Merkley) "has just been hired as the coordinator of the Safety Net, a committee created to reach out to Utah's polygamous communities to help victims of abuse and neglect. Merkley moves into the job in the aftermath of the raid on the Fundamentalist LDS Church's Texas ranch — and amid strong emotions being felt by Utah's many plural communities."

What abuse?

"'It was a bomb that went off there,' she said of the raid. 'It heightens the emotions more, intensifies the emotions for everyone.'

Merkley said her goal is to stay rational, tolerant, sensitive and grounded as she works with the various polygamous groups, social services agencies, activists, politicians and law enforcement."

That's good, because the "Bomb" that went off was Government when busybodies whose job shouldn't even exist stuck their noses in places that their noses did not belong.

"'We need someone with her social work background to take this up another notch,' said Paul Murphy, who is the current Safety Net coordinator. "I think Pat's the best qualified, because of her work with the polygamous groups and her experience dealing with different agencies and people.'"

Another notch? For you? So you "get it?" Probably not what he means because...

"Merkley has worked for Valley Mental Health and is known for her work creating a domestic-violence support group for women in plural families."

Again, is there a particular problem of abuse in plural families?

"'I have assisted some polygamous women in leaving relationships and leaving their family and their culture,' she said Monday. 'I've seen the other side, too, where there are those that are happy and need support and further education of what the norms and mores of our society are in regards to abuse.'"

I see, the "two sides" are "Bad" and "Worse." Those that can be helped to leave the "abusive plural life" and those that don't "get that."

"The Safety Net Committee was originally created under the umbrella of the Utah and Arizona attorneys general. The Utah Legislature funded the job, and the money was shifted toward a nonprofit family support center. Merkley believes the move also makes a statement that they're moving beyond a purely law enforcement and prosecutorial arena."

Progress, for Utah, I guess.

"'I think they're also saying that now, in order to move forward, we need to try some other new ways of dialoguing and reaching out to this culture,' she said. 'We can't just go in like Texas and approach the problem that way.'"


"Murphy, who is also the spokesman for Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, said law enforcement will still have a role in the Safety Net.

"'In order for people to be safe, they need to trust there are people there to help them,' he said. 'You make people safe by protecting victims and prosecuting perpetrators.'"

There are no victims Paul, that was what Texas found out. Refer to my definitions of abuse and abusive above.

"Merkley said her goals are to reach out to the polygamous communities, help the agencies that help abuse victims, and educate the community at large about the diversity of polygamy.

'Polygamy is not going away,' she said. 'We can condemn and criticize all we want, but that's not necessarily going to help the situation.'"

What would help is the realization that it's not just your "understanding" of our backward condition we want, we don't want you. Just legalize it, pack up, go home. Like you said, it's not going away. Unless it can be conclusively demonstrated that Polygyny is inherently abusive above and beyond other living arrangements, it's not even a discussion. Even the the discussion is like that of skydiving. If I want to do it, why would you stop me? Do you arrest Dad's and Mom's that skydive and teach their kids to skydive?

Eventually I suppose, skydiving families will be labeled abusive. Families that practice dietary habits that conflict with our government's "nanny" approach are already targeted. Soon we will have a prescription for life, given to us by the state. Ain't that great?

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