What is an abortion?
In simple terms,
an abortion is
an induced miscarriage of an embryo and/or fetus.
abortions are performed in the United States annually?
The CDC reports over 800,000 abortions occurring annually.
What is a
when a pregnancy is terminated by nature/"act of God". So,
it is certainly not a valid argument to say that God wants all
children to be born. Obviously, there are instances in
which children are never born or are born only to die shortly
thereafter. Some religious individuals may claim that
children must be born even if it is just to die so they have a
"chance" to be "saved". This underestimates God and is
really an unfair characterization of God. Do these
individuals believe that the children God calls home by
terminating a pregnancy in the womb by natural miscarriage are
damned? And, what loving God would damn the unborn?
The justifications just don't add up.
natural/"act of God" miscarriages, still-births, and infant
deaths occur annually on Earth?
Rates in 2011:
The above link
shows per 1000, how many infants died after live birth in 2011.
Some countries have an infant mortality rate of 17.5%.
That is approximately 17 out of every hundred births, or nearly
2 in 10 die in infancy.
Approximately 1 in 4 pregnancies end in a miscarriage in the
United States. That is 25% natural/"act of God"
termination of pregnancies.
Approximately 26,000 pregnancies end in still-births each year
in the United States. And, that means 26,000
women went through an entire pregnancy and risked their lives to
deliver a dead baby.
How many children
are abandoned worldwide and what becomes of them?
- Every 2 seconds, a child becomes an orphan.
- Every 14 seconds, a child is orphaned by AIDS.
- 1,000,000,000 of the world's families live on less than
a dollar a day.
- Authorities estimate that child pornography is a $20
billion a year industry; too many abandoned children end up
as victims of this deviant activity.
- UNICEF estimates that nearly 1,000,000 children enter
the sex trade every year.
- Experts also estimate that nearly 10,000,000 children
are working as prostitutes, with nearly 90% of them girls.
- According to the World Health Organization, malnutrition
is the single biggest contributor to child mortality rates
- Many street children use a number of inhalants (glue,
gasoline, lighter fluid) and illegal drugs (marijuana,
cocaine and heroin).
- Street children are routinely detained illegally, beaten
and tortured and sometimes killed by police in some
Children in the
United States are funneled into
and often deadly behavior modification programs through the
foster care system, social services, school districts, and
through their own parents who often want a way to abandon their
child without "looking bad".
How many children
are waiting to be adopted in the United States?
Over 100,000 children are in the foster care system ready to be
adopted. The need for caring foster families is also
great. Would we really want to overload the Social
Services system with 800,000 more children each year? If
so, who is going to pay for it?
How many children
are in foster care in the United States?
approximately 423,773 (2009-2010 data)
children currently in
foster care in the United States.
How many families
live at or below the poverty-line in the United States?
43.6 Million Americans live at or below the poverty-line and
that number is growing.
employment, wages, and cost of living look like for individuals
and families in the United States?
official reports, there are
approximately 311,555,665 people in the United States.
127,097,160 people employed in the United States. This
statistic does not include individuals who are self-employed.
Of those 127 million employed by someone other than themselves,
the average wage is $16.27 per hour. But, this is
averaging the pay of CEOs with Burger King servers at minimum
wage. So, the most common wage does not equal what is
reported as the average wage in the report. The Federal
minimum wage per hour is $7.25.
all employed people in the United States work for minimum wage
or less. Now, a minimum wage, full-time (meaning 40
hours, not the new "30" or "32" hour "full-time") job will pay
(gross) $290 per week and approximately $1160 per month (before
taxes). Here is what a typical paycheck for someone
earning minimum wage, full-time, looks like:
Your Pay Check Results
Calculation Based On
# of Federal
This makes the
net/liquid income of someone working minimum wage full-time in
the United States approximately $947.08. If the individual
has only him/herself to care for on this wage, here is what
expenses look like without safety-net, health
insurance/coverage, savings or emergency funds:
National Average Cost of Rent for Studio Apartment--$740
Cost for Two-Bedroom Apartment--$1070 (if living with roommate,
rent would be $535 for one individual. At full-time (40
hour) minimum wage, the cost of sharing an apartment with a
roommate leaves this individual with $412.92.
Average Cost for a
Bus Pass--$25 per month if one can buy a $75 unlimited
3-month bus pass. This rate is for New Mexico. Rates
for a one-month
unlimited pass in New York is $104 per month. If we
average New Mexico's rates with New York's, we get $64.50.
HEAL will use the $64.50 as an estimated national average.
This leaves the individual in our example with $348.42. We
are giving the most economically efficient accounting for
someone with a minimum wage income. Of course, individuals
with vehicles will have even more expenses related to travel.
Average Cost of
Landline Phone and Utilities: The costs of utilities vary
greatly depending on use. The average residential bill
provided by Puget Sound Energy in Seattle shows a total of
$97.97 per month. It is unclear if this is for a
multi-person household. Assuming that it would be accurate
for a two-person apartment, we will cut the amount in half and
apply it to the decreasing spending power of the example
individual. Half of $97.97 is $48.98. This leaves
the individual with $299.44 after the electric bill alone.
For basic landline telephone service with unlimited local
calling only, the price starts at
month. With Verizon, we chose a "free" phone and
least expensive plan at $39.99 per month with a $35
activation fee and 450 "anytime minutes" with free
weekend/evenings, voice-mail, no texting/data in the plan.
The $12 per month above does not include caller id or
voice-mail. With the least expensive of Verizon's plans,
it would leave the individual with $259.45 each month. If
he/she chooses the most basic phone model without voice-mail and
no cellular phone, the total he/she has left is $287.44.
Because most people are expected to have a cellular phone in the
US today for business and personal use, we will be basing
additional calculations on the $259.45 amount left with that
minimum cost for water service appears to be between $15 and $40
per month depending on location. Based on this, we will
assume a 2-person household would pay an average of $50 per
month with the split between two roommates being $25 per month.
This will reduce the total money available to $234.45 per month
for the individual.
Average Cost of
Food and Groceries (toiletries, etc.) for One Person:
The low range on groceries for one individual per month is $200
and the high range is $400 per month. If we calculate
using the low estimate of $200 per month for groceries, this
leaves the individual with $34.45.
Basic Cable: The
least expensive plan offered by
Comcast.com is $29.99 for one year
(and that price will go
up). If two roommates split the cost for basic cable
at this rate, they will each pay approximately $14.99 per month
for basic cable. This is if they share a television.
The cost would increase if each had cable access to their
individual televisions in individual rooms. Based on the
premise that they would share the television, we will deduct
$14.99 from the running total. This leaves the individual
If the individual
requires any medical treatment or prescription medication, the
$19.46 won't even cover those expenses. And, if the
individual has any debts or expenses such as clothing/shoes/etc.
each month, it will leave them with less than nothing. The minimum wage
is not a living wage and certainly could not support an
individual with a growing child. And, this is the
condition under which the majority of Americans currently live
At this point, we
will share the story of one of our supporters who had an
abortion in February of 1996. We are keeping her identity
private so as not to subject her to judgment, ridicule, threats,
and abuse by those who claim to be the epitome of the expression
of God's love and compassion while they blame the victims of
economic and social oppression for the choices no one would make
if given legitimate support in a truly
Christian/Compassion-Driven society. The heart of the
problems involved with this controversial issue are addressed
above and if you are intelligent and read through all the data
and statistics, you should understand that the problem isn't
with the women who seek abortions nor the physicians who provide
abortion services. It is with the economic system that
leaves the majority of the population living at or below the
poverty line with little to no access to legitimate support and
Here is her
"As a teenager, I
was a staunch pro-life advocate. I was a regular church-goer.
And, I participated in school debates taking the position of
supporting the pro-life/anti-abortion movement. I swore
that I would never have an abortion and I believed women who had
abortions were hateful. I was raised in a single-parent
household. My custodial parent often worked more than 40
hours per week. I was often left with strangers and
caregivers due to the demands of my custodial parent's schedule.
I was sexually abused by two of these caregivers on separate
occasions. My first experience of consensual sex was when
I was 19-years old. It was unprotected sex. It did
not result in a pregnancy.
When I was
22-years old, I had a steady boyfriend. We were planning
to live together and we eventually did live together for a few
years. I had a full-time job. It paid $1250/month
(gross/salary). I often prayed as a form of birth control.
I prayed to not get pregnant and told God that I was not ready
for that. My boyfriend and I did not use protection.
And, my prayers were not effective birth control. I oppose
hormonal birth control options to this day though and would
recommend using condoms or looking into surgical birth control
options. Regardless, my prayers were not effective as
birth control and my period was late in late December, 1995.
I bought a pregnancy test from the grocery store and it turned
up positive. I was actually excited at the idea of being a
mother until I talked with my boyfriend. He wasn't the
When I saw that I
was pregnant, I immediately stopped drinking caffeinated
beverages. I was and still am a big drinker of caffeinated
cola. But, I immediately stopped drinking pop. I was
vegetarian and craved iron so badly that I ate a cheeseburger.
And, I decided I would eat what my body told me to eat.
Some of my favorite foods made me nauseous. And, I had to
make some serious changes. I also started taking pre-natal
vitamins immediately. I purchased them at the time I
purchased the pregnancy test just to make sure I started off on
the right foot. At this point, I started planning how I
would tell my boyfriend, friends, and family. I was also
shopping for baby clothes and items. I purchased parenting
and health magazines and books related to pregnancy. And,
it offends me to this day that anyone would think I didn't want
my baby. I did want my baby. I loved my baby.
At the time of my
pregnancy, I had a full-time job. I told one of my office
"girlfriends" that I was pregnant in confidence. She told
my boss, the Vice President of the company. I was fired
two days later. It was at-will employment. My office
confidant was the assistant to the VP. And, she told me
privately she was sorry she told him. The reason given for
why I was fired was not the pregnancy. But, the women in
the office told me that it was because of the pregnancy. I
was given no advice on who I should talk to about being let go.
And, the internet was not what it is now in 1995. If I had
known they couldn't fire me for that and that I could get a
lawyer to fight for my job and call those women to testify, I
would have at least tried. But, knowing how expensive
attorneys are and my inability to hire one as well as how
wealthy the employer was and how they had a made-up reason for
letting me go from an "at will" employment job, I would still
think even trying would be futile today.
So, hit one was
the job loss. I didn't file for unemployment or any other
social services benefit. My family was always opposed to
welfare and believed in a strong work ethic. I was raised
to be self-supporting and not to depend on welfare. My
custodial parent never applied for nor accepted any welfare,
including food stamps. I had no idea how to apply for
these helps and I felt shame at the thought of applying.
This shame came from people who abuse and condemn those who
accept government assistance. And, I didn't want to expose
myself or my child to such judgment and ridicule.
I told my
boyfriend I was pregnant. He told me that I was trying to
trap him and that he "knew" he should have used protection.
But, he didn't use protection. He said he wanted nothing
to do with me or the baby. I was shocked. He moved
out of our apartment. At this point, I was without a job
and now alone in my apartment. I asked my parent for help.
My parent helped cover some expenses, but, could not afford to
take on the cost of two households. My parent did not
offer for me to come home. But, I did not ask either.
I felt it was my mess to deal with and that my family felt the
same way. I didn't ask to come home. But, I know now
if I had asked I would have been welcome. I didn't want to
burden my family with my mistakes. And, it broke my heart
to think of my pregnancy as a mistake.
At this point, I
was considering abortion and adoption. I really wanted to
carry my child to term and to raise him/her with all the love I
felt. During this time, Dateline NBC (I think) aired a
show about a family who had adopted many children. They
were on paper the perfect family. They regularly attended
church. They were respected in their community. And,
they had the resources to provide for the children they adopted.
But, the adoptive father was keeping some of the children in the
basement and using them for sex. Some of the children he
had raised from birth he was raping on a regular basis and one
had been forced to bear his children. I was horrified.
I couldn't imagine taking a chance of putting my baby that I
loved into the arms of strangers that might subject my baby to
such atrocities. Adoption was out. This wasn't the
only issue that caused me to discount adoption. I also
looked into the statistics regarding the amount of children
waiting to be adopted and didn't want to add to it. I also
knew many people who had been adopted, including my boyfriend at
the time. His adoptive parents treated him like their
personal servant. He was nothing more than that to them.
And, it made him a very irresponsible, confused, and angry young
man. A friend in high school was also adopted. He
was adopted by a good family who treated him well. But,
not knowing his biological parents messed with his head.
And, this seems to be common with people who are adopted.
I didn't want to subject a child to a lifetime of misery and
confusion. So, adoption wasn't the answer for me.
applying for new jobs immediately. But, many required
urine tests for drugs and I was afraid that they would see I was
pregnant and not hire me. I was struggling financially and
I didn't know what to do. No one told me who to call for
help. No one encouraged me to talk to social services and
apply for aid. Being raised in a single parent household
while my other parent neglected to call, write, or visit on a
regular basis (years without contact), I didn't want my baby to
feel that deep rejection I felt from my non-custodial parent.
I didn't want my baby to suffer the way I suffered. I
didn't want my baby to suffer at all. And, knowing the
dangers and misery involved in entering the world without
prepared, financially stable, and loving parents would set up my
child for a lifetime of pain and failure. I also didn't
want to subject my child to any resentment I might feel in not
being able to become financially stable and successful if tied
down and sucked into the welfare system.
My boyfriend was
willing to stay with me and move back into the apartment to
cover costs if I had an abortion. My custodial parent said
the decision was mine and that they would support any decision I
made. My employer and my boyfriend (baby's father)
encouraged me to terminate my pregnancy overtly and indirectly.
And, I didn't know what to do. I prayed. I prayed so
much and cried so much over this decision. I asked God to
help me. I asked God to show me where to apply for work or
to help my boyfriend be more amenable to having the baby.
I was doing everything I could to find work and to keep going.
But, no work. One month later, no job offers. The
clock was ticking and my boyfriend was pressuring me.
Everything was pressuring me to terminate the pregnancy. I
didn't understand why God wouldn't help.
I knew I would
never terminate a pregnancy after the first trimester. I
was always opposed to abortion. And, the decision had been
laid in my lap. It may have been Karma for all the judging
I did when I looked at women who had abortions. I don't
know. But, I became a much humbler person after this and
that may have been God's plan. I had very little time to
schedule the abortion. My boyfriend paid for it and drove
me to and from the clinic. I had the abortion in February,
1996. My predicted due date was the 2nd week in September
of 1996. It was before the end of the first trimester.
It didn't matter.
itself was physically and emotionally excruciating for me.
I was given a large dose of Ibuprophen for the pain. But,
there was no anesthetic used by the clinic. I felt like my
insides were being ripped out. I stared at the ceiling in
the clinic and I prayed. I prayed that my baby would go
with the angels and that he/she knew I loved him/her and that I
didn't want him/her to suffer. I don't know if it was a
hallucination or not, but, I swear I saw my spirit handing the
spirit of my baby to angels in that clinic. I felt
God was with me telling me it was going to be okay. And, I
When I see the
hate and judgment I used to participate in prior to this, it
disgusts me. It is hate, judgment, and oppression that put
me in the position to make the choice I made. And, I
honestly believe we will never stop abortions until we create a
world where all children are wanted, welcomed, and provided
opportunity for education and upward mobility. We cannot
blame the victims of circumstance, we must change the
The woman in the
above statement has bravely shared her story with HEAL and we
appreciate her comments. It is more than obvious that we
need to work to create a world where there is no poverty,
starvation, or other preventable/addressable problems.
This will not be done through social controls on behavior.
It will only be achieved through honest, respectful, and loving
relationships between all human beings. And, this will
only be achieved through a serious revision of our regulatory
policies related to workers, the economy, and equality. We
must strengthen the voice of workers and respect that all human
beings are created equal. This means having social and
governmental policies that support the people and individual
Abortion is an
economic issue. If you really want to stop abortion, begin
by working to revise and enforce labor laws. If you really
want to stop abortion, provide a legitimate safety-net that does
not impose bureaucratic "hoops" for getting basic assistance.
If you really want to stop abortion, don't judge the poor and
demand control over them before offering a "helping hand".
If you really want to stop abortion, put a little love in your
heart and let it grow and spread in the most compassionate,
humble, non-judgmental manner you can achieve as an imperfect
be stopped through murder and mania. It will only stop
when there is no need for it. The need is created by the
economic circumstances of the individuals seeking the service.
The economic circumstances are dictated by those with wealth and
power. And, that is where we begin in the struggle for
freedom, justice, and equality for all. Please be sure to
truly identify a problem before claiming to know what the
solution is in any given situation. And, if you don't want
to do the research and work necessary to have an informed
opinion, then don't participate in public discussion.
rights/animal welfare campaign is on hold due to the
overwhelming need for more human rights efforts and actions.
This segment will attempt to reasonably discuss animal
rights/animal welfare issues. Our goal is to put a damper
on the fire of discord between people who support animal rights
and those who do not.
multiple animal rights issues and campaigns. For
simplicity, we will be discussing major animal rights campaigns
using facts. The animal rights campaigns we will be
covering in this editorial are: Dietary Decisions; Animal
Experimentation/Vivisection; Hunting; Entertainment; and
Decisions--Omnivores and Herbivores
omnivore is an animal that eats animals, vegetables, fruits,
nuts, and other non-animal-based foods.
Herbivores only eat plants. No human being is a
carnivore in the literal sense
(with the exception of the the
Inuit Tribe in Canada). Therefore, human beings fall into two
categories: omnivores and herbivores.
How many species
on this planet are carnivores? HEAL was unable to locate
information to answer this question. However, we found
dolphins, lions, alligators, cheetahs, hyenas, leopards, snakes
and tigers are all considered carnivorous (primary diet is
meat). There are also carnivorous plants. In fact,
670 species of carnivorous plants. Some species of
plant eat fish.
How many species
on this planet are omnivores? HEAL was unable to locate
information to answer this question. However, we found
baboons, and pigs are part of the omnivore family.
And, there are many other species as well
rodents, birds, mammals, fish, and more that are considered
Some species of non-human primate eat other primates.
there are human cultures that appear to still eat humans from
time to time.
How many species
on this planet are herbivores? HEAL found a
wiki page listing herbivorous animals. We were unable
to find any statistical data. This doesn't mean it doesn't
Herbivorous animals include cows, elephants, pandas, kangaroos,
deer, giraffes, gorillas, horses, and many more.
There appears to
be a conflict/hypocrisy in the standard animal rights argument
against eating animals. Non-human animals eat animals and
even plants eat animals. Forcing animals to adapt to a
diet that they have yet to evolve to questions the wisdom of
nature. The notion of thinning the herd is not outlandish
as an argument. Death is a part of life and life cannot
continue without death. That is the balance. If
every species on earth, including humans, adopted an herbivorous
diet, there would be extreme over-population, illness, and the
world would run out of plants. As the world ran out of
plants due to a population boom cross-specially, the baser
survival instincts would overtake the living and animals and
plants would adapt by again consuming animals. Therefore,
a planet of only herbivores would eventually result in
herbivorous humans understand that the end result of the
extreme position to kill or perpetuate the extinction of all
meat-eating animals (omnivores and carnivores) will
eventually lead to a forced adaptation to some animal
consumption, then hopefully they can admit that the extreme
pressure on others to convert to veganism/vegetarianism is not a
valid solution and will not result in a more humane world.
Therefore, a tolerant respect for diversity and the need for
baser instincts when faced with life/death/survival
circumstances is required by all.
The most engaging
argument posed by animal rights activists is that reducing human
consumption of animals will reduce the demand for animal-based
products and lead to more humane farming conditions. The
problem with this argument is that it does not take into account
the dietary needs of the individuals. For instance, a
vegan HEAL member was told by a vegan physician that he/she
should eat meat. The doctor informed our volunteer that
while he generally recommends people adopt a vegan diet, that
due to our volunteer's health condition meat was necessary for
good health. Forcing individuals to choose illness over
health for the sake of other species may be considered too much
to ask of anyone.
public consumption of animal-based products likely to result in
more humane treatment of those animals?
According to the USDA, in 1970 there was 177,469 pounds of meat
consumed and 39,526 pounds of eggs consumed in the United
States. And, in 2008 (most recent available data) there
was 196,874 pounds of meat consumed and 31,869 pounds of eggs
1970, there were approximately 203,302,031 people living in the
United States. According to
official reports, there are
approximately 311,555,665 people in the United States in
2011. If you divide the pounds of meat consumed in 1970 by
the population at the time, it results in less than one pound of
meat per person in the United States that year. If you
divide the pounds of meat consumed in 2008 by our current
population, it results in .000631906_ pounds consumed per person
each year. Of course, not everyone eats meat in the United
States and the distribution is not even across the population.
But, it would be difficult to suggest that ceasing to consume
less than one pound of meat each year would result in more
humane treatment of animals. Most foods, including
Chef Boyardee Ravioli, use textured soy protein as filler in
their meat products.
Of course, you may have also heard about the 35% beef (rest is
filler) burritos at Taco Bell. So, many "meat"
products are already using vegetable-based fillers. But,
the reduction in the demand for animal products has not resulted
in more humane conditions for animals. Therefore, the
argument is flawed and thereby easily dismissed by a skeptical
It would seem
everyone could agree that reducing animal suffering and illness
would result in better quality animal-products for human
consumption. And, it would seem that human beings would
want better quality and healthier food if given the choice.
Foodborne illness is a serious problem that
3,000 Americans every year. It causes illness in 1 in 6
Americans each year. And, 128,000 people are hospitalized
each year as a result of contaminated food. Certainly,
an issue that effects 17% of Americans each year and kills 3,000
Americans each year would inspire all of us to guard against it
through effective regulation.
In 2007 (110th
Congress Session of Congress), Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY) and
Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI) introduced legislation referenced as
The Downed Animal and Food Safety Protection Act to close
regulatory loopholes that allow for diseased animals to enter
the nation's food supply. Those bills did not become
law and have yet to be reintroduced. But, it is this type
of legislation that is needed to improve agricultural industry
standards and ensure public health.
Would more humane
farming/processing conditions lead to fewer foodborne illnesses?
In humans, abuse/inhumane treatment has been found to have an
adverse effect on physical health. This would
initially suggest that other animals will also have adverse
health effects if treated inhumanely.
has been suggested by industry experts, that as many as 90% of
downed animal cases could be prevented through better care, more
humane handling and transportation methods."
"Downed animals, also referred to as "downers," present both
food-safety and humane treatment issues. They are commonly left
where they lie without food, water, or medical care, 1
or are dragged by chains to the slaughterhouse 2 to
be processed for human consumption."
We deserve better and so do the animals.
Does human health matter enough to human society to take steps
to ensure there are strong laws and regulations governing food
production and empowered enforcement officials to ensure
compliance? Or, when it comes to food/survival, do we
consider everything a gamble in which everyone takes their
chances? Do we work to improve the quality of life and
preserve life? Do we see public health as an effort not
worthy of proper funding and enforcement? It would seem no
human being who requires food to live would want to live in a
society where there isn't effective regulation of food products
to ensure food safety and quality.
effective regulation and/or stands to benefit from lack of
regulation? It certainly is not the public that benefits
from a lack of regulation of agricultural businesses. It
isn't the consumers who benefit from the lack of regulation.
it certainly is not the workers who benefit from lack of
30% of farm workers in the United States are minors (under 18
30% of farm workers in the United States make less than minimum
43% of farm workers in the United States make minimum wage.
than 10% of farm workers in the United States make $13.25 or
more per hour. "Farmworkers are frequently vulnerable
to abuse, especially when they have exclusive contracts with
their employers or can be coerced to work through threats of
deportation.3 It is nearly impossible to calculate the incidence
of farmworkers forced into labor within the U.S., not only
because it is a ‘hidden crime’ but also because victims
frequently are reluctant or unable to seek help through official
mechanisms. Forced labor (or "labor trafficking") is prosecuted
almost exclusively as a federal crime, but recently federal and
state law enforcement agencies have coordinated to investigate
abuses. The largest case of forced labor in the U.S. was
uncovered in 2010, involving more than 400 Thai farmers who were
brought into the country to work on farms and orchards.4 "
It is definitely not the farmworkers who benefit from lack of
ConAgra made $215.1 million in 2011. In 2009, the
state Department of Labor found 26 serious health and safety
violations at ConAgra's Slim Jim plant in Garner and ConAgra was
The health and safety violations resulted in the death of four
workers and dozens more were seriously injured. Do you
think a fine of $134,773 to a multi-million dollar corporation
is a significant deterrent to cutting costs that result in
hundreds of millions of dollars in profit? Do you think
the loss of four lives and the injuries of dozens is worth more
Beyond this, ConAgra falsified records to avoid paying
additional fees to the USDA.
After being taken to court and losing, ConAgra had to pay the
plaintiff a total of $37,156.66 which included "compensation for
attorney's fees". The award for actual damages to the
plaintiff was a measly $107.50. No, not ten thousand; one
hundred and seven dollars and fifty cents. (United
States ex rel Bahrani v. ConAgra, Inc., 10th Circuit Court,
October 26th, 2010, Circuit Judges Briscoe, Baldock, and
Tymkovich) This is some limited data suggesting that
ConAgra benefits from the lack of regulation and would face a
decrease in profits if it improved working conditions and the
conditions under which animals live. And, it would appear
that the only people benefiting from this are ConAgra
shareholders with no concern for public health or animal
To ensure public
health, labor rights, and animal welfare, we should demand
effective regulation of agricultural businesses. And, any
efforts aimed at changing individual/consumer "behavior" that
does not include effective regulation of businesses who operate
in illegal and/or unconscionable ways is placing the
responsibility on the shoulders of those least able to make an
impact. Consumers have limited time, limited energy, and
limited funds. And, consumers are bombarded with
commercials that promise convenience and low prices. The
restrictions must be placed on the companies and not the
consuming public if real change is to be made.
We have decided
to reproduce our article on animal experimentation and
vivisection here. It suits the purposes of this reasonable
discussion. You can print a copy of this article by
www.heal-online.org/antiviv.pdf. Here it is:
inhumane and unethical, vivisection is bad science. Most, if
not all, of the discoveries that have been made regarding the
improvement of human life and health have been without
vivisection or in spite of it. Vivisection may be the greatest
self-imposed stumbling block in the history of scientific
research and discovery.
If we were to
believe in vivisection as a valid and valuable method for
learning about human physiochemistry, health, and healing, we
wouldn’t have healing and/or medicinal drugs available to us
such as penicillin, digitalis, and morphine. We would also have
been spared the horrors of tuberkulin.
At the time
penicillin was created guinea pigs were widely used as test
subjects. Since penicillin kills guinea pigs, mice were used
instead. “But the same guinea pigs can harmlessly and
painlessly eat strychnine, one of the deadliest and most toxic
poisons for humans-but not for monkeys... The use of
digitalis-the chief “cure” for cardiac patients and the
deliverer of countless human lives all over the world-was set
back far too long a time since it was first tested on dogs in
who it treacherously builds blood pressure. And chloroform is
so toxic or poisonous to dogs that for too many wasted years
this precious anesthetic was never used on patients. Morphine,
which tranquilizes and anesthetizes humans, provokes a crazed
exhiliration in cats and mice, but dogs can tolerate doses up to
20 times higher than humans. Robert Koch’s tuberkulin, once
extolled as a vaccine against tuberculosis since it “cured TB”
in guinea pigs, was found out after to cause “TB” in humans...
And while the countless vivisections on live animals had gained
nothing but to collect a body of sterile data and
misinformation, of worthless facts and figures, healing art and
surgical technique had taken huge strides using or abusing NO
animals –by means of the pure exercise of human intelligence and
observation. Aspirin, belladonna, chloroform, digitalis, ether,
iodine, laughing gas, quinine, and strophantin had all been hit
on without falling back on animals. Auscultation, fever
thermometer, percussion, pulse count, and stethoscope had been
contrived without animal tests. Pasteur had proclaimed the
so-called “germ theory” founded on several studies on the
fermentation of beer and wine. There had been the finding of
X-rays by Roentgen, which-like that of radium a few years
later-was no more due to animal vivisection than the relearning
of the importance of asepsis (freedom from disease-causing
germs) in general surgery. If we took all these discoveries (side
note from webmaster: meaning the discoveries made without using
and abusing animals, without vivisection) away, modern-day
medicine would have almost nothing left. And, they uplifted
surgery out of the medieval tedium, thanks to the truly great
British inventors who all had categorically proclaimed that
vivisection could just lead medical art amiss.” (excerpts from “Lab
Animal Abuse: Vivisection Exposed!"
By Joseph Covino Jr.)
Since animal bodies
respond so differently to the varieties of drugs and foods from
one another it is seemingly obvious that using one species to
validate cures or effects of treatments to discover how said
cures or effects of treatments will effect another species is
ludicrous. Dogs can’t tolerate digitalis or chocolate. But,
the human heart needs both in many cases. Cats and mice can’t
tolerate morphine. But, it aids us in pain relief and
anesthetization. Monkeys and guinea pigs can safely eat
strychnine, but, strychnine is death for humans. Tuberkulin
cured tuberculosis in guinea pigs and caused it in humans. The
only reason this madness continues is because of pride and
greed. The vivisectors do not want to admit to their wasted
time, money, effort, and the wasted lives of billions of
nonhuman animals. Their egos will not allow them to admit to
their own foolishness, wastefulness, and stupidity. And, more
so, their million-dollar homes looking out on acres of land or
oceanic waters, their millionaire status, and pseudoscientific
power only gives them reason to carry on in this insanity. It
is up to the true scientists who revere philosophy and logic,
and to the public majority, to shut down these barbaric
vivisectors once and for all.
There are many sub-categories
of hunting. However, for the purposes of this discussion,
we will limit the sub-categories to "trophy hunting" and
"hunting for food".
hunting is done with the purpose of collecting dead animal parts
to decorate one's home or office with the evidence of the kill.
Trophy hunters may use some of the meat, but, it is not their
primary purpose in the hunt.
trophy hunting often includes the hunting of
Killing for the sake of personal "glory"/gratification as
opposed to survival and sustenance is arguably immoral and
unnatural. International laws do not protect human rights
and animals will not be safe from abuses until human society
gets things right. Creating and enforcing human rights
laws is a step in the right direction. The better humans
treat each other, the better humans will treat all species.
It is foolish to attempt to stop humans from harming animals
when they exploit other people on a daily basis. And,
ignoring the fundamental problems at the heart of the issues we
face today will not make them go away. Therefore, a
focused energy to stop trophy hunting may be a poor use of
resources at this time. Trophy hunters find animal rights'
activists amusing and laughable. As with dietary
decisions, we cannot stop trophy hunters from hunting.
But, we can support stronger laws protecting animals from
extinction or predatory hunting practices. This can only
be done through citizen initiative and public
participation/support. The government is a tool of the
people that we fund and use to ensure public safety and
effective and humane public policy. And, we must fund the
services necessary for the protection and enforcement of all
regulations and laws that protect the
The second category is that
of hunting for food. Hunting for food is a respectable
practice. One HEAL Coordinator's cousin raises chickens
and rabbits for food. And, this cousin also hunts for
food. The chickens and rabbits are treated humanely.
And, the kills are quick and done with care. There is a
"salt of the earth" quality to people who grow, raise, and
kill/prepare their own food. It is in better harmony with
nature than the processed soy-foods one finds at the
supermarket. And, overall is more in balance with the
The same discussions apply to
trophy fishing and fishing for food. And, it is important
that people who live in glass towers take a walk on the real
wild side once in a while to understand and respect those who
grow, raise, and prepare their own food. A wild animal is
a free animal. And, freedom comes with risk. HEAL
would support a world that allows for more freedom and more
balance with nature.
Bottom line, HEAL finds
trophy hunting/fishing morally reprehensible and hunting/fishing
for food natural and respectable.
Animals are used for human
amusement in a number of ways. This includes horseracing,
circuses, and film. Some zoos and "preserves" are also
abusive and ineffectively regulated. We will break this
discussion up into the following sections: gambling/racing,
circuses, film/performing arts, and zoos/preserves/sanctuaries.
What types of animal activity
do individuals gamble on? Dog racing, Horseracing,
Dog-fighting, and Cock-fighting are only a few.
How many dogs are injured or
killed in dog races each year?
In 2000, 19,000 greyhounds were killed. In 2011, over
sled dogs were killed in Canada as well. Injured dogs
who can no longer perform their racing function are usually
How many horses are injured
or killed in horse races each year?
In California, the average from 2008-2010 was 322.5 deaths per
From 2003 through 2008, there were 5,000 reported horse deaths
at thoroughbred racetracks. That would make the
national average approximately 1,000 horses per year.
even the racetracks admit to lax record-keeping standards and
that the number is far greater than reported. Due to
the poor records keeping and lack of available information, this
is the best answer we can provide. As with dog racing,
horses who are injured in races are also often euthanized.
In what states is
dog-fighting legal? There is only one state where
participating in dog-fighting is legal and that state is
Montana. Dog-fighting and participating in dog-fights as
an owner or spectator is illegal in every state except Montana.
Owning dogs for the purpose of fighting or sponsoring a
dog-fighting event is illegal in Montana.
However, being a spectator at the event is not illegal.
Since dog-fighting is already prohibited nationwide, the problem
is lax law enforcement or failure to report/investigate
In what states is
Cockfighting is illegal in all 50 states. Louisiana
was the last state to ban cockfighting in 2007. As with
dog-fighting, what is needed is task forces in law enforcement
agencies that understand the laws pertaining to animal-human
relations and can investigate and enforce those laws. This
requires funding and funding to stop cruelty to animals is on
the bottom of the list of priorities at this time for most
Overall, many animals are
injured and killed related to gambling and illegal gambling
activities. The blood-thirst of the trophy hunter is
reflected in the attitude of those who attend dog and cock
fights. It is morally reprehensible and HEAL does not
HEAL would argue that dogs
and horses deserve to live a life free from bondage and
exploitation. And, since human beings are capable of
racing on foot, by bicycle, boat, car, or plane, there is really
no need to involve other species in our races. There is
plenty to bet on without exploiting other animals in this manner
and we would support an end to using animals in gambling events.
Circuses with performing
animals are an antiquated form of entertainment that is as
perverse as any freak show. The animals are mistreated and
forced under threat of violence to perform unnatural tricks for
spectators. The inhumanity of the manner these animals are
kept and cared for is appalling. If the ethical concerns
raised by the mistreatment of the animals isn't sufficient to
avoid supporting such events, please consider the following
questions and point:
How many humans are injured
attending animal circuses each year? There doesn't appear
to be a statistic available to answer this question.
there have been numerous incidents of deaths and injuries to
humans working for and/or attending animal circuses.
a bear bit off part of the finger of a 2-year old attending a
Shrine Circus in Missouri. Also, in 1997,
a tiger killed his trainer at the Franzen Brothers Circus in
Pennsylvania. In 1998,
a Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey circus employee was attacked
by a tiger. The tiger bit a baseball-size chunk out of the
employee's head. In 1999,
a Shrine Circus employee in Duluth was crushed and seriously
injured when an elephant sat on him. In 2002,
two Shrine Circus elephants escaped in Wisconsin and a child was
injured, there was also property damage involved. In
tigers attacked their trainers/handlers in the Siegried & Roy
Vegas show and a circus in Wisconsin. The tiger
attacks resulted in serious injuries to their handlers. In
an elephant trampled a circus employee to death in Fort Wayne,
At a circus training facility McHenry County a supervisor was
seriously injured when mauled by a tiger in 2008. In
more than a dozen children were injured when a circus elephant
was startled in Indiana. The children had been waiting
to ride the elephant and the elephant's response to being
startled caused the collapse of scaffolding
People are often naive in
assuming that if someone is doing something it is likely to be a
relatively safe activity. People often ignore "assumption
of risk" warnings and caveats when purchasing tickets to the
circus or similar events (i.e. rodeos). And, people assume
that there are safeguards in place and that injuries are
unlikely to occur or to be minimal. It clearly poses a
serious risk to allow mistreated and naturally violent/predatory
animals (i.e. tigers) to be used in open forums for
entertainment purposes and to rely on people who are the primary
cause of the animal's suffering and mental state to protect the
public from the animal if it decides to no longer comply with
There are plenty of serious
incidents on record worldwide that show that animal circuses are
a danger to public health and to property. And, there is
no legitimate purpose served by continuing the tradition.
There can be fairs, festivals, games, and rides without using
animals. And, there can be real fun without exploiting and
harming other animals. So, there is really no clear reason
to allow animal circuses to continue. The risk to human
health and property far exceeds any supposed benefit offered by
the excitement of the danger of seeing "wild beasts" and their
"tamers" perform. And, families and individuals would have
a much more valuable "wild time" on a camping trip than in a
city tent filled with half-crazed animals who live in their own
Overall, HEAL would recommend
camping for a "wild time" and that all other forms of live
entertainment be done by willing human beings.
HEAL was unable to locate any
statistics regarding actors/crew being harmed by animals on the
set. The majority of information available is from the
American Humane Association. And, their focus is to
ensure that animals are not mistreated while on set.
the AHA does not regulate or examine how the animals are treated
by their trainers when off the set and this raises serious
concerns regarding the training methods and welfare of the
animals. The AHA has stated that it is part of their
agenda to pressure officials for stronger animal protection laws
and enforcement. As stated above, animal welfare is not a
priority for our officials at this time. So, it will
require public action and pressure to change the laws and ensure
animals are treated humanely.
There are many new
technologies available, that include CGI and animatronics, that
allow for films and performing arts to use the concept of an
animal without using the actual animal. Some of these
techniques are so refined that one cannot tell they are special
film "Gladiator" (2000), the tigers looked real. But,
they were not. It would do people good to use a
little imagination once in a while as well.
Given that there are
alternatives that can be used in storytelling and plenty of
nature shows on the air, there is no real reason to continue to
use live animals as "actors" for human entertainment. HEAL
would support the abolition of the use of animals in
The ethical considerations
are many. Do humans have the right to cage other species
for our own amusement? Is this humane? Regardless of
these considerations, other issues arise.
How delicate are eco-systems
and how does relocating animals effect the environment and human
health? These are the more relevant questions if we are to
continue discussing this in a practical and reasonable manner.
Devastating Effects of
Introducing Foreign Species to an Eco-System
"The great increase in the
introduction of alien species that people are importing for
economic, aesthetic, accidental, or even the complex reasons is
leading to more species invading native ecosystems, which bring
about results: they become invasive alien species (IAS) that
have significant harmful effects on both ecosystems and
So, we know that introducing
alien/foreign species to an eco-system is often harmful both to
the eco-system and to the humans that are part of it. This
would suggest keeping zoos and sanctuaries that include
non-native species is unwise and detrimental to the environment
and human health and prosperity. This is a serious
So, HEAL would recommend
against any zoos, preserves, or sanctuaries that intentionally
introduce alien species to the native eco-systems.
How many people are injured
by animals at zoos each year? There do not appear to be
any statistics available to answer this question. Often
people are injured due to their own negligence. But, zoos
should keep security and supervisory watch for any activities
that put animals or people in harm's way. Zoos often make
a spectacle out of other animals and many animals are anxious
and traumatized due to their living conditions at zoos.
Zoos are nearly as inhumane and dangerous as animal circuses and
should be effectively regulated or done away with if unable to
meet the actual needs of the animals in their care.
What is a wildlife preserve
and how is it different than a zoo? Well, in Maryland
there is a "wildlife preserve and zoo" called Catoctin.
But, HEAL would not consider anything operating as a zoo to be a
"wildlife preserve" in the proper use of the term.
Northwest Trek in Washington is
a legitimate nature/wildlife preserve and the animals roam free
while humans look on from enclosures for safety.
Nature reserves and preserves are lands devoted to protecting
the local eco-system and native plants and animals in a
protected area. And, they are generally not profit-driven
nor exploitative towards the animals. HEAL supports
Northwest Trek and would advocate for similar wildlife preserves
and nature reserves. HEAL does not support the
exploitation and conditions at most, if not all, zoos.
What is an animal sanctuary
and how is it different than a wildlife preserve? Just
like with all things, people will call a zoo a sanctuary, but,
it is really a zoo. These people know that sanctuary and
preserve give a better public image for what they do, but, the
public should be aware that there is a lot of false-advertising
out there. Be sure that any sanctuary, preserve, or safari
you visit is legitimate and that the animals receive proper
care. If not, visiting such establishments will put you
and your family at serious risk of injury. All such
businesses have "assumption of risk" warnings throughout and you
likely do not wish to be or have a loved one harmed by an
out-of-control animal who has suffered years of neglect and
abuse. Some respectable and legitimate animal sanctuaries
Peace Sanctuary and
Pasado's Safe Haven.
Please research any animal enterprise you consider giving money
to prior to giving the money to ensure you are not participating
in animal cruelty or being scammed.
Overall, HEAL supports
legitimate conservation efforts and sanctuaries like Pigs Peace
and Pasado's. However, HEAL opposes zoos and the
exploitation and abuse of animals for human amusement.
Fur coats are not a
necessity. Some may argue that fur is a necessity among
certain cultures in certain climates due to a lack of resources
to keep warm given the environment.
does not respond well to warm climates or warm temperatures.
And, fur can be destroyed if soaked as can suede. The
time, care, and other issues necessary to keep furs in good
condition suggest that furs are not for those with limited
resources or no access to climate control devices (i.e. air
conditioner). Therefore, as furs are used and capable
of being used, they are not a necessity.
Since fur coats are not
necessary for survival and animals are abused/mistreated that
are raised for fur, it is clear that fur can and should be
abolished from the fashion industry. The clothing, shoes,
and apparel industries are known for widespread human rights
abuses and it is clear that much regulation needs to be done in
regards to these industries for both human and animal
Often cat and dog fur are used for trim on coats sold throughout
the United States. And, most people in the US would
find this fact disturbing. Regardless, it is apparent that
fur represents the suffering and death of animals and is not
necessary for human survival. The ethical position in
regards to fur in a culture that does not require fur for warmth
(i.e. those living in the USA) is not to use or purchase fur.
There are plenty of ways to keep warm without fur and there is
really no purpose for fur. So, it just seems rather stupid
to participate in or promote fur as a fashion statement.
Those who would use fur as a status symbol of their wealth are
morally bankrupt and likely abuse humans, especially those they
"employ", to exert their status and so-called "authority" as
well. If an Eskimo or Siberian-native was wearing fur or
animal pelts for warmth, HEAL would respect that as a necessity.
Overall, HEAL opposes the use
of fur for fashion, but, respects the use of animal pelts by
those who actually need it for survival. The latter
circumstance is very rare and may be moot at this point in the
development of human civilization.
Leather is a tougher issue.
It is durable and long-lasting. It is difficult to say
whether buying one good pair of leather shoes or boots that last
a lifetime when cared for properly is better or worse (in a
moral sense) than buying multiple shoes and boots that wear out
and must be replaced often. The treatment of workers who
manufacture leather and pleather shoes is often abysmal and
atrocious. And, in reviewing the clothing and shoe
industries, we find a lot of areas that need serious regulation
Do they use the same cows for
leather that they do for meat?
even though some animal rights activists have told HEAL
otherwise. This is part of the problem. Activists
need to provide facts and real information to the public.
And, it becomes a serious barrier to effective change when the
information given or provided is not accurate.
Leather is also made from
pigs, horses, and other animals. But, overall the
arguments are not persuasive either way for or against leather
to HEAL's satisfaction at this point. And, HEAL would like
to see greater regulation of the clothing/shoe industries to
ensure workers' rights and human rights. Improving the
conditions of the humans who work with and/or care for animals
will result in better care of those animals. Stronger
regulations and enforcement are needed to protect both humans
and animals from abuse and exploitation. And, we hope you
Is Real and It's Really Not Therapy
I was a 16 year
old pot head. I needed help and my parents decided I should
be put in a program. When I mentioned this to a friend he
said, “Don't go Marcus, they'll brainwash you in there!” I
knew better though, there was no such thing as brainwashing.
It only happened in cartoons, the cat would brainwash the
mice, their eyes became turning spiral pinwheels and they
held their little arms out in front of them like zombies.
This was brainwashing, it was cartoon fiction and I wasn't
scared. I knew what would happen in there, I'd get help. I
was going for therapy.
According to the
American Psychological Association (APA), all ethical
therapy consists of proven, safe and effective practices
that a client or client guardian has consented to. This is
one reason that the practice of coercive persuasion and
thought reform is officially non-therapeutic. The methods
used have not been proven to be safe or effective, so why
are they legal?
isolation and forced exercise; food, water and sleep
deprivations; communication and toilet restrictions;
humiliation rituals, emotional abuse and manipulation are
all practices currently employed on a daily basis, as
“therapy” for troubled teens. The Government Accountability
Office (GAO) has acknowledged thousands of reported
claims of abuse in today's behavior modification programs,
but no one has yet addressed the technology at work in these
facilities. This technology is based on several forms of
manipulation. These efforts to manipulate behavior through
intentionally inducing stress, are inherently abusive, often
violent and many teens have died while subjected to this
type of “therapy.”
The APA does not
officially acknowledge the existence of brainwashing. There
are legal questions and implications that would be very
difficult to address. There are also many crimes that could
potentially be defended with a plea of “I'm innocent, I was
brainwashed!” It's a can of legal worms. But while focusing
on brainwashing's potential effects on the judicial system,
the damaging effects of the process itself have been
ignored. There is an overwhelming amount of personal
testimony about the negative long-term side-effects that
brainwashing can inflict. I personally believe there are
also long-lasting physiological changes in the brain
that occur when adolescents are subjected to thought reform
and behavior modification in an institutional setting.
I believe that
the underlying reason for the perpetual abuses in the
troubled-teen industry is that the “theory of brainwashing”
has not yet been officially “proven.” The technology cannot
be banned until it is proven to exist. There is a system
at work within the systematic abuses. Until the system
itself is identified and dismantled, the tell-tale
“symptoms” will persist.
psychological abuse is built into many of these programs by
design. According to several different experts on the
subject, the exhaustion and pressure that is induced by
sleep deprivation, hunger, fatigue and emotional
manipulation, “unfreezes” the psychological framework.
Through this orchestrated crisis, a new identity is
instilled by manipulating the environment and the emotions
of the subject to an extreme degree until the “changed” mind
of the subject has undergone “re-freezing.” This process
requires varied amounts of time according to the individual
character of each client, which is why there is no fixed
length of time to “complete” this type of treatment.
Much of the
power of this process relies on the secretiveness
surrounding it. The methods work best if the intention
behind them is not revealed to the subject. Understanding
the principles and dynamics involved in this behavioral
technology, reduces their effectiveness. Could you give an
informed consent to treatment if it were described like
this?... “The process then is the abrupt dissolution of the
structure of intentionality by an electrochemical discharge
in the brain, leaving the brain in a state of malleability
for the construction of a new belief structure by which to
guide behavior.” (Walter J. Freeman, Chaotic State
Transitions in Brains As a Basis For the Formation of Social
Groups, 1995) While these underlying principles and dynamics
are not revealed to the client or the legal guardian, a
consent to treatment is impossible.
effectiveness of coercive thought reform upon teens has not
been proven and the ethical questions have been quietly
ignored. The debate within the APA has centered around
various legal implications but questions about the potential
for harm have been avoided. By ignoring the unproven “theory
of brainwashing,” the APA has been ignoring the damage done
by the practice of brainwashing.
have never been proven safe and as an unproven treatment,
are technically experimental. Also, according to several
prominent experts that I've spoken with, there has not been
any research on the long-term side-effects of this type of
treatment upon adolescents. Perhaps the most relevant
research is a European study that was recently conducted,
which showed that 80% of adult survivors of institutional
child abuse in Ireland, still suffer from psychological
have been subjected to “brainwashing” were often witness to
a heartbreaking cruelty. These stories combined tell the
larger story of an invisible monster, sold to parents and
the public as therapeutic growth. “Brainwashing” is not
therapy, it's refined torture. Merely addressing the
symptoms of the process has enabled the abuses to continue.
(please write and call the APA
if you have any questions or if you would like to share your
brainwashing experiences with them.)
APA Main Telephone
GAO Report on Deaths and Abuses in
Troubled Youth Programs
General information on “brainwashing”
Walter J Freeman, Chaotic State
Transitions of the Brain, 1995
http://www.sciencenews.org/pages/pdfs/data/1996/150-18/15018-13.pdf Walter J Freeman, the physiology of
http://www.meadowhaven.org/liftoncriteria.pdf Lifton's conditions for thought reform
http://www.csj.org/studyindex/studymindctr/study_mindctr_singer.htm Margaret Singer's Conditions for
information about coercive persuasion
Joost Meerloo, Rape of the Mind
http://icsahome.com/infoserv_respond/info_researchers.asp?Subject=Academic+Disputes+and+Dialogue+Collection%3A+Preface Michael Langone, Preface to Academic
Disputes and Dialogues Collection
http://www.cirp.org/library/ethics/UN-declaration/ 1959 UN Declaration of Rights of the
Request From UN to the US and Somalia to Ratify the Rights
of the Child
http://www.rickross.com/reference/brainwashing/brainwashing3.html APA Memorandum on Brainwashing 1983
http://www.rickross.com/reference/apologist/apologist23.html APA Task Force Report
APA Memorandum on
http://www.apa.org/news/press/statements/juvenile-justice.aspx APA Statement on reforming the
Juvenile Justice System 2010
http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Brainwashing more info on “brainwashing”
2010 Report on Irish adult survivors
of institutional child abuse
Congressman George Miller's proposed
legislation to establish federal regulations
Can Civilization Be Healed?
"There is the fact that those in power have surrounded
themselves with institutions such as the military and judicial
systems (in fact the entire governmental structure) in order to
protect and maintain their power ... the social system rewards
the insatiable accumulation of wealth and power ... we are all
immersed in a mythology that, far from causing us to see this
accumulation as a great source of violence, causes us to see it
as not only acceptable, reasonable, and desirable, but the only
way to be."
Derrick Jensen: Endgame, Vol. 1: The Problem Of Civilization
(Kindle Edition: Location 923)
Derrick Jensen steps into new territory with his groundbreaking
work Endgame and asks if Civilization itself is compatible with
our objectives of liberated humans, non-humans and the World.
Firstly we’ll explore his conclusion that it simply isn’t
compatible with those objectives and that armed struggle is the
only solution to free the World from destruction. Secondly we’ll
look at some good news stories which contrast with Jensen’s
tough line. Forgetting the
of this cold European winter we’ll cast our eyes to the Sun of
New Zealand and a
that shows a better, more sustainable future is possible.
The Economics Of Deforestation And Destruction
The sad side effect of our economic system is that it rewards
destruction of land and extraction of resources with no thought
for what would happen to that land in the future. Even less
thought is given by multi-national firms to the impact on
indigenous peoples in countries far from the media coverage
activity in their home countries might garner.
Jensen (Location 4984) explains in simple economic terms how
purchasing land to conserve it has no benefits in today’s
economic system. In fact it’s much more likely to attract
significant costs to the organisation or individual looking to
protect it. Alternatively he suggests we consider someone who
simply wants to cut the trees down and sell them. Instead of
incurring endless costs this individual makes a huge profit
which allows the purchase and subsequent destruction of further
Not only does our economic system provide further wealth (and
opportunity to destroy) to those who would ‘use up’ land rather
than conserve it but it encourages outright waste when no
economic benefit can be gained. This has been known for hundreds
of years as Adam Smith illustrates beautifully with his example
from Scotland where at the time timber could not easily be
transported in the Highlands of Scotland.
“In some parts of the highlands of Scotland, the bark is the
only part of the wood which, for want of roads and
water-carriage, can be sent to market; the timber is left to rot
upon the ground.”
Adam Smith: An Enquiry Into The Nature And Causes Of The Wealth
Of Nations (Kindle Edition: Location 2513)
A Culture Of Destruction
So we can see from a number of examples that our economic system
doesn’t punish destruction in most cases but rewards the
extraction and destruction of natural resources in many cases.
It’s not just a numbers game, and there are huge elements of our
culture which are destructive in nature. The exploitation of
humans is shown time and time again from the Native Americans
who were swept from their lands so that American settlers could
achieve their Manifest Destiny to the Aborigines in Australia
who now represent a tiny fraction of the population. The
Civilized have, throughout history, seen ‘savages’ everywhere
they looked and any action taken against them has been
considered relatively acceptable by the home nations
perpetrating these crimes against humanity.
Some Rays Of Light - The Beauty Can Be Conserved
Jensen might reach the most drastic conclusion that Civilization
itself must be destroyed to save nature and humanity but even he
agrees several times throughout his book that some people are
doing some good work. On top of that all that good work does
help and amongst all that good work we can find some great work
that shows the way forward for Civilization.
A good example in sustainability is shown near Rotorua, in New
Zealand where a
operates and is free to visit. Instead of allowing the lakes to
simply be fished to excess as happens across much of Europe a
huge operation takes place here to ensure the surrounding lakes
are well stocked. Jensen’s arguments that humanity breaches the
typical relationship between hunter and prey by not supporting
the survival of the prey are clearly contradicted by these
Of course it is economically essential for New Zealand to
protect it’s natural assets as those are crucial to this tourist
paradise. However it does reveal that given the right
circumstances and motivation our system can deliver the right
results. What we need to consider before we blow up any dams or
bring down the government is whether there are ways we can
slowly move more and more or our Civilization’s practices in
line with a sustainable model and how much we agree that this is
Argument for Civil Disobedience? HEAL thinks the
following makes the top ten, at least.
"Letter from a Birmingham Jail [King,
16 April 1963
My Dear Fellow Clergymen:
While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across
your recent statement calling my present activities "unwise and
untimely." Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and
ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my
desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other
than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would
have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you
are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are
sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statement in
what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.
I think I should indicate why I am here in Birmingham, since
you have been influenced by the view which argues against
"outsiders coming in." I have the honor of serving as president
of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization
operating in every southern state, with headquarters in Atlanta,
Georgia. We have some eighty five affiliated organizations
across the South, and one of them is the Alabama Christian
Movement for Human Rights. Frequently we share staff,
educational and financial resources with our affiliates. Several
months ago the affiliate here in Birmingham asked us to be on
call to engage in a nonviolent direct action program if such
were deemed necessary. We readily consented, and when the hour
came we lived up to our promise. So I, along with several
members of my staff, am here because I was invited here. I am
here because I have organizational ties here.
But more basically, I am in Birmingham because injustice is
here. Just as the prophets of the eighth century B.C. left their
villages and carried their "thus saith the Lord" far beyond the
boundaries of their home towns, and just as the Apostle Paul
left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus
Christ to the far corners of the Greco Roman world, so am I
compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home
town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian
call for aid.
Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all
communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not
be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice
anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an
inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of
destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.
Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial
"outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the United
States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its
You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham.
But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a
similar concern for the conditions that brought about the
demonstrations. I am sure that none of you would want to rest
content with the superficial kind of social analysis that deals
merely with effects and does not grapple with underlying causes.
It is unfortunate that demonstrations are taking place in
Birmingham, but it is even more unfortunate that the city's
white power structure left the Negro community with no
In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps:
collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist;
negotiation; self purification; and direct action. We have gone
through all these steps in Birmingham. There can be no
gainsaying the fact that racial injustice engulfs this
community. Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated
city in the United States. Its ugly record of brutality is
widely known. Negroes have experienced grossly unjust treatment
in the courts. There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro
homes and churches in Birmingham than in any other city in the
nation. These are the hard, brutal facts of the case. On the
basis of these conditions, Negro leaders sought to negotiate
with the city fathers. But the latter consistently refused to
engage in good faith negotiation.
Then, last September, came the opportunity to talk with
leaders of Birmingham's economic community. In the course of the
negotiations, certain promises were made by the merchants--for
example, to remove the stores' humiliating racial signs. On the
basis of these promises, the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth and the
leaders of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights
agreed to a moratorium on all demonstrations. As the weeks and
months went by, we realized that we were the victims of a broken
promise. A few signs, briefly removed, returned; the others
remained. As in so many past experiences, our hopes had been
blasted, and the shadow of deep disappointment settled upon us.
We had no alternative except to prepare for direct action,
whereby we would present our very bodies as a means of laying
our case before the conscience of the local and the national
community. Mindful of the difficulties involved, we decided to
undertake a process of self purification. We began a series of
workshops on nonviolence, and we repeatedly asked ourselves:
"Are you able to accept blows without retaliating?" "Are you
able to endure the ordeal of jail?" We decided to schedule our
direct action program for the Easter season, realizing that
except for Christmas, this is the main shopping period of the
year. Knowing that a strong economic-withdrawal program would be
the by product of direct action, we felt that this would be the
best time to bring pressure to bear on the merchants for the
Then it occurred to us that Birmingham's mayoral election was
coming up in March, and we speedily decided to postpone action
until after election day. When we discovered that the
Commissioner of Public Safety, Eugene "Bull" Connor, had piled
up enough votes to be in the run off, we decided again to
postpone action until the day after the run off so that the
demonstrations could not be used to cloud the issues. Like many
others, we waited to see Mr. Connor defeated, and to this end we
endured postponement after postponement. Having aided in this
community need, we felt that our direct action program could be
delayed no longer.
You may well ask: "Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches
and so forth? Isn't negotiation a better path?" You are quite
right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very
purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to
create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community
which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront
the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no
longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of
the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking.
But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word "tension." I
have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of
constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth.
Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension
in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of
myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative
analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for
nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society
that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and
racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood.
The purpose of our direct action program is to create a
situation so crisis packed that it will inevitably open the door
to negotiation. I therefore concur with you in your call for
negotiation. Too long has our beloved Southland been bogged down
in a tragic effort to live in monologue rather than dialogue.
One of the basic points in your statement is that the action
that I and my associates have taken in Birmingham is untimely.
Some have asked: "Why didn't you give the new city
administration time to act?" The only answer that I can give to
this query is that the new Birmingham administration must be
prodded about as much as the outgoing one, before it will act.
We are sadly mistaken if we feel that the election of Albert
Boutwell as mayor will bring the millennium to Birmingham. While
Mr. Boutwell is a much more gentle person than Mr. Connor, they
are both segregationists, dedicated to maintenance of the status
quo. I have hope that Mr. Boutwell will be reasonable enough to
see the futility of massive resistance to desegregation. But he
will not see this without pressure from devotees of civil
rights. My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a
single gain in civil rights without determined legal and
nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is an historical fact that
privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily.
Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up
their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us,
groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.
We know through painful experience that freedom is never
voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the
oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action
campaign that was "well timed" in the view of those who have not
suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I
have heard the word "Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro
with piercing familiarity. This "Wait" has almost always meant
"Never." We must come to see, with one of our distinguished
jurists, that "justice too long delayed is justice denied."
We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional
and God given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving
with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we
still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of
coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have
never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, "Wait." But
when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers
at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you
have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your
black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of
your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight
cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you
suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as
you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can't
go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on
television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is
told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous
clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental
sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by
developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when
you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is
asking: "Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so
mean?"; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary
to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your
automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are
humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading "white"
and "colored"; when your first name becomes "nigger," your
middle name becomes "boy" (however old you are) and your last
name becomes "John," and your wife and mother are never given
the respected title "Mrs."; when you are harried by day and
haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living
constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect
next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments;
when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of
"nobodiness"--then you will understand why we find it difficult
to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over,
and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of
despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and
unavoidable impatience. You express a great deal of anxiety over
our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate
concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme
Court's decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public
schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us
consciously to break laws. One may well ask: "How can you
advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies
in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I
would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not
only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws.
Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust
laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no
law at all."
Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one
determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man
made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An
unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.
To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a
human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any
law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that
degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes
are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the
personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of
superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority.
Segregation, to use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher
Martin Buber, substitutes an "I it" relationship for an "I thou"
relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of
things. Hence segregation is not only politically, economically
and sociologically unsound, it is morally wrong and sinful. Paul
Tillich has said that sin is separation. Is not segregation an
existential expression of man's tragic separation, his awful
estrangement, his terrible sinfulness? Thus it is that I can
urge men to obey the 1954 decision of the Supreme Court, for it
is morally right; and I can urge them to disobey segregation
ordinances, for they are morally wrong.
Let us consider a more concrete example of just and unjust
laws. An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority
group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding
on itself. This is difference made legal. By the same token, a
just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow
and that it is willing to follow itself. This is sameness made
legal. Let me give another explanation. A law is unjust if it is
inflicted on a minority that, as a result of being denied the
right to vote, had no part in enacting or devising the law. Who
can say that the legislature of Alabama which set up that
state's segregation laws was democratically elected? Throughout
Alabama all sorts of devious methods are used to prevent Negroes
from becoming registered voters, and there are some counties in
which, even though Negroes constitute a majority of the
population, not a single Negro is registered. Can any law
enacted under such circumstances be considered democratically
Sometimes a law is just on its face and unjust in its
application. For instance, I have been arrested on a charge of
parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong in having
an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade. But such an
ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation
and to deny citizens the First-Amendment privilege of peaceful
assembly and protest.
I hope you are able to see the distinction I am trying to
point out. In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law,
as would the rabid segregationist. That would lead to anarchy.
One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and
with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an
individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust,
and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order
to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is
in reality expressing the highest respect for law.
Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil
disobedience. It was evidenced sublimely in the refusal of
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to obey the laws of
Nebuchadnezzar, on the ground that a higher moral law was at
stake. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who
were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of
chopping blocks rather than submit to certain unjust laws of the
Roman Empire. To a degree, academic freedom is a reality today
because Socrates practiced civil disobedience. In our own
nation, the Boston Tea Party represented a massive act of civil
We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in
Germany was "legal" and everything the Hungarian freedom
fighters did in Hungary was "illegal." It was "illegal" to aid
and comfort a Jew in Hitler's Germany. Even so, I am sure that,
had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and
comforted my Jewish brothers. If today I lived in a Communist
country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are
suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country's
I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and
Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few
years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate.
I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the
Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is
not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but
the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to
justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of
tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice;
who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but
I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who
paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another
man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who
constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient
season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more
frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill
will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright
I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law
and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that
when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously
structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had
hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present
tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from
an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively
accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace,
in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human
personality. Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action
are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface
the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the
open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can
never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened
with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light,
injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure
creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of
national opinion before it can be cured.
In your statement you assert that our actions, even though
peaceful, must be condemned because they precipitate violence.
But is this a logical assertion? Isn't this like condemning a
robbed man because his possession of money precipitated the evil
act of robbery? Isn't this like condemning Socrates because his
unswerving commitment to truth and his philosophical inquiries
precipitated the act by the misguided populace in which they
made him drink hemlock? Isn't this like condemning Jesus because
his unique God consciousness and never ceasing devotion to God's
will precipitated the evil act of crucifixion? We must come to
see that, as the federal courts have consistently affirmed, it
is wrong to urge an individual to cease his efforts to gain his
basic constitutional rights because the quest may precipitate
violence. Society must protect the robbed and punish the robber.
I had also hoped that the white moderate would reject the myth
concerning time in relation to the struggle for freedom. I have
just received a letter from a white brother in Texas. He writes:
"All Christians know that the colored people will receive equal
rights eventually, but it is possible that you are in too great
a religious hurry. It has taken Christianity almost two thousand
years to accomplish what it has. The teachings of Christ take
time to come to earth." Such an attitude stems from a tragic
misconception of time, from the strangely irrational notion that
there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably
cure all ills. Actually, time itself is neutral; it can be used
either destructively or constructively. More and more I feel
that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively
than have the people of good will. We will have to repent in
this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of
the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.
Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it
comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co
workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself
becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use
time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe
to do right. Now is the time to make real the promise of
democracy and transform our pending national elegy into a
creative psalm of brotherhood. Now is the time to lift our
national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the
solid rock of human dignity.
You speak of our activity in Birmingham as extreme. At first
I was rather disappointed that fellow clergymen would see my
nonviolent efforts as those of an extremist. I began thinking
about the fact that I stand in the middle of two opposing forces
in the Negro community. One is a force of complacency, made up
in part of Negroes who, as a result of long years of oppression,
are so drained of self respect and a sense of "somebodiness"
that they have adjusted to segregation; and in part of a few
middle-class Negroes who, because of a degree of academic and
economic security and because in some ways they profit by
segregation, have become insensitive to the problems of the
masses. The other force is one of bitterness and hatred, and it
comes perilously close to advocating violence. It is expressed
in the various black nationalist groups that are springing up
across the nation, the largest and best known being Elijah
Muhammad's Muslim movement. Nourished by the Negro's frustration
over the continued existence of racial discrimination, this
movement is made up of people who have lost faith in America,
who have absolutely repudiated Christianity, and who have
concluded that the white man is an incorrigible "devil."
I have tried to stand between these two forces, saying that
we need emulate neither the "do nothingism" of the complacent
nor the hatred and despair of the black nationalist. For there
is the more excellent way of love and nonviolent protest. I am
grateful to God that, through the influence of the Negro church,
the way of nonviolence became an integral part of our struggle.
If this philosophy had not emerged, by now many streets of the
South would, I am convinced, be flowing with blood. And I am
further convinced that if our white brothers dismiss as "rabble
rousers" and "outside agitators" those of us who employ
nonviolent direct action, and if they refuse to support our
nonviolent efforts, millions of Negroes will, out of frustration
and despair, seek solace and security in black nationalist
ideologies--a development that would inevitably lead to a
frightening racial nightmare.
Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The
yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself, and that is
what has happened to the American Negro. Something within has
reminded him of his birthright of freedom, and something without
has reminded him that it can be gained. Consciously or
unconsciously, he has been caught up by the Zeitgeist, and with
his black brothers of Africa and his brown and yellow brothers
of Asia, South America and the Caribbean, the United States
Negro is moving with a sense of great urgency toward the
promised land of racial justice. If one recognizes this vital
urge that has engulfed the Negro community, one should readily
understand why public demonstrations are taking place. The Negro
has many pent up resentments and latent frustrations, and he
must release them. So let him march; let him make prayer
pilgrimages to the city hall; let him go on freedom rides -and
try to understand why he must do so. If his repressed emotions
are not released in nonviolent ways, they will seek expression
through violence; this is not a threat but a fact of history. So
I have not said to my people: "Get rid of your discontent."
Rather, I have tried to say that this normal and healthy
discontent can be channeled into the creative outlet of
nonviolent direct action. And now this approach is being termed
extremist. But though I was initially disappointed at being
categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the
matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the
label. Was not Jesus an extremist for love: "Love your enemies,
bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and
pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you."
Was not Amos an extremist for justice: "Let justice roll down
like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream." Was
not Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel: "I bear in my
body the marks of the Lord Jesus." Was not Martin Luther an
extremist: "Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me
God." And John Bunyan: "I will stay in jail to the end of my
days before I make a butchery of my conscience." And Abraham
Lincoln: "This nation cannot survive half slave and half free."
And Thomas Jefferson: "We hold these truths to be self evident,
that all men are created equal . . ." So the question is not
whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we
will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be
extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the
extension of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary's hill
three men were crucified. We must never forget that all three
were crucified for the same crime--the crime of extremism. Two
were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their
environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love,
truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment.
Perhaps the South, the nation and the world are in dire need of
I had hoped that the white moderate would see this need.
Perhaps I was too optimistic; perhaps I expected too much. I
suppose I should have realized that few members of the oppressor
race can understand the deep groans and passionate yearnings of
the oppressed race, and still fewer have the vision to see that
injustice must be rooted out by strong, persistent and
determined action. I am thankful, however, that some of our
white brothers in the South have grasped the meaning of this
social revolution and committed themselves to it. They are still
all too few in quantity, but they are big in quality. Some -such
as Ralph McGill, Lillian Smith, Harry Golden, James McBride
Dabbs, Ann Braden and Sarah Patton Boyle--have written about our
struggle in eloquent and prophetic terms. Others have marched
with us down nameless streets of the South. They have languished
in filthy, roach infested jails, suffering the abuse and
brutality of policemen who view them as "dirty nigger-lovers."
Unlike so many of their moderate brothers and sisters, they have
recognized the urgency of the moment and sensed the need for
powerful "action" antidotes to combat the disease of
segregation. Let me take note of my other major disappointment.
I have been so greatly disappointed with the white church and
its leadership. Of course, there are some notable exceptions. I
am not unmindful of the fact that each of you has taken some
significant stands on this issue. I commend you, Reverend
Stallings, for your Christian stand on this past Sunday, in
welcoming Negroes to your worship service on a nonsegregated
basis. I commend the Catholic leaders of this state for
integrating Spring Hill College several years ago.
But despite these notable exceptions, I must honestly
reiterate that I have been disappointed with the church. I do
not say this as one of those negative critics who can always
find something wrong with the church. I say this as a minister
of the gospel, who loves the church; who was nurtured in its
bosom; who has been sustained by its spiritual blessings and who
will remain true to it as long as the cord of life shall
When I was suddenly catapulted into the leadership of the bus
protest in Montgomery, Alabama, a few years ago, I felt we would
be supported by the white church. I felt that the white
ministers, priests and rabbis of the South would be among our
strongest allies. Instead, some have been outright opponents,
refusing to understand the freedom movement and misrepresenting
its leaders; all too many others have been more cautious than
courageous and have remained silent behind the anesthetizing
security of stained glass windows.
In spite of my shattered dreams, I came to Birmingham with
the hope that the white religious leadership of this community
would see the justice of our cause and, with deep moral concern,
would serve as the channel through which our just grievances
could reach the power structure. I had hoped that each of you
would understand. But again I have been disappointed.
I have heard numerous southern religious leaders admonish
their worshipers to comply with a desegregation decision because
it is the law, but I have longed to hear white ministers
declare: "Follow this decree because integration is morally
right and because the Negro is your brother." In the midst of
blatant injustices inflicted upon the Negro, I have watched
white churchmen stand on the sideline and mouth pious
irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities. In the midst of a
mighty struggle to rid our nation of racial and economic
injustice, I have heard many ministers say: "Those are social
issues, with which the gospel has no real concern." And I have
watched many churches commit themselves to a completely other
worldly religion which makes a strange, un-Biblical distinction
between body and soul, between the sacred and the secular.
I have traveled the length and breadth of Alabama,
Mississippi and all the other southern states. On sweltering
summer days and crisp autumn mornings I have looked at the
South's beautiful churches with their lofty spires pointing
heavenward. I have beheld the impressive outlines of her massive
religious education buildings. Over and over I have found myself
asking: "What kind of people worship here? Who is their God?
Where were their voices when the lips of Governor Barnett
dripped with words of interposition and nullification? Where
were they when Governor Wallace gave a clarion call for defiance
and hatred? Where were their voices of support when bruised and
weary Negro men and women decided to rise from the dark dungeons
of complacency to the bright hills of creative protest?"
Yes, these questions are still in my mind. In deep
disappointment I have wept over the laxity of the church. But be
assured that my tears have been tears of love. There can be no
deep disappointment where there is not deep love. Yes, I love
the church. How could I do otherwise? I am in the rather unique
position of being the son, the grandson and the great grandson
of preachers. Yes, I see the church as the body of Christ. But,
oh! How we have blemished and scarred that body through social
neglect and through fear of being nonconformists.
There was a time when the church was very powerful--in the
time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy
to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was
not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles
of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the
mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town,
the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to
convict the Christians for being "disturbers of the peace" and
"outside agitators."' But the Christians pressed on, in the
conviction that they were "a colony of heaven," called to obey
God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in
commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be "astronomically
intimidated." By their effort and example they brought an end to
such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests.
Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a
weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is
an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by
the presence of the church, the power structure of the average
community is consoled by the church's silent--and often even
vocal--sanction of things as they are.
But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before.
If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of
the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the
loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social
club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet
young people whose disappointment with the church has turned
into outright disgust.
Perhaps I have once again been too optimistic. Is organized
religion too inextricably bound to the status quo to save our
nation and the world? Perhaps I must turn my faith to the inner
spiritual church, the church within the church, as the true
ekklesia and the hope of the world. But again I am thankful to
God that some noble souls from the ranks of organized religion
have broken loose from the paralyzing chains of conformity and
joined us as active partners in the struggle for freedom. They
have left their secure congregations and walked the streets of
Albany, Georgia, with us. They have gone down the highways of
the South on tortuous rides for freedom. Yes, they have gone to
jail with us. Some have been dismissed from their churches, have
lost the support of their bishops and fellow ministers. But they
have acted in the faith that right defeated is stronger than
evil triumphant. Their witness has been the spiritual salt that
has preserved the true meaning of the gospel in these troubled
times. They have carved a tunnel of hope through the dark
mountain of disappointment. I hope the church as a whole will
meet the challenge of this decisive hour. But even if the church
does not come to the aid of justice, I have no despair about the
future. I have no fear about the outcome of our struggle in
Birmingham, even if our motives are at present misunderstood. We
will reach the goal of freedom in Birmingham and all over the
nation, because the goal of America is freedom. Abused and
scorned though we may be, our destiny is tied up with America's
destiny. Before the pilgrims landed at Plymouth, we were here.
Before the pen of Jefferson etched the majestic words of the
Declaration of Independence across the pages of history, we were
here. For more than two centuries our forebears labored in this
country without wages; they made cotton king; they built the
homes of their masters while suffering gross injustice and
shameful humiliation -and yet out of a bottomless vitality they
continued to thrive and develop. If the inexpressible cruelties
of slavery could not stop us, the opposition we now face will
surely fail. We will win our freedom because the sacred heritage
of our nation and the eternal will of God are embodied in our
echoing demands. Before closing I feel impelled to mention one
other point in your statement that has troubled me profoundly.
You warmly commended the Birmingham police force for keeping
"order" and "preventing violence." I doubt that you would have
so warmly commended the police force if you had seen its dogs
sinking their teeth into unarmed, nonviolent Negroes. I doubt
that you would so quickly commend the policemen if you were to
observe their ugly and inhumane treatment of Negroes here in the
city jail; if you were to watch them push and curse old Negro
women and young Negro girls; if you were to see them slap and
kick old Negro men and young boys; if you were to observe them,
as they did on two occasions, refuse to give us food because we
wanted to sing our grace together. I cannot join you in your
praise of the Birmingham police department.
It is true that the police have exercised a degree of
discipline in handling the demonstrators. In this sense they
have conducted themselves rather "nonviolently" in public. But
for what purpose? To preserve the evil system of segregation.
Over the past few years I have consistently preached that
nonviolence demands that the means we use must be as pure as the
ends we seek. I have tried to make clear that it is wrong to use
immoral means to attain moral ends. But now I must affirm that
it is just as wrong, or perhaps even more so, to use moral means
to preserve immoral ends. Perhaps Mr. Connor and his policemen
have been rather nonviolent in public, as was Chief Pritchett in
Albany, Georgia, but they have used the moral means of
nonviolence to maintain the immoral end of racial injustice. As
T. S. Eliot has said: "The last temptation is the greatest
treason: To do the right deed for the wrong reason."
I wish you had commended the Negro sit inners and
demonstrators of Birmingham for their sublime courage, their
willingness to suffer and their amazing discipline in the midst
of great provocation. One day the South will recognize its real
heroes. They will be the James Merediths, with the noble sense
of purpose that enables them to face jeering and hostile mobs,
and with the agonizing loneliness that characterizes the life of
the pioneer. They will be old, oppressed, battered Negro women,
symbolized in a seventy two year old woman in Montgomery,
Alabama, who rose up with a sense of dignity and with her people
decided not to ride segregated buses, and who responded with
ungrammatical profundity to one who inquired about her
weariness: "My feets is tired, but my soul is at rest." They
will be the young high school and college students, the young
ministers of the gospel and a host of their elders, courageously
and nonviolently sitting in at lunch counters and willingly
going to jail for conscience' sake. One day the South will know
that when these disinherited children of God sat down at lunch
counters, they were in reality standing up for what is best in
the American dream and for the most sacred values in our Judaeo
Christian heritage, thereby bringing our nation back to those
great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding
fathers in their formulation of the Constitution and the
Declaration of Independence.
Never before have I written so long a letter. I'm afraid it
is much too long to take your precious time. I can assure you
that it would have been much shorter if I had been writing from
a comfortable desk, but what else can one do when he is alone in
a narrow jail cell, other than write long letters, think long
thoughts and pray long prayers?
If I have said anything in this letter that overstates the
truth and indicates an unreasonable impatience, I beg you to
forgive me. If I have said anything that understates the truth
and indicates my having a patience that allows me to settle for
anything less than brotherhood, I beg God to forgive me.
I hope this letter finds you strong in the faith. I also hope
that circumstances will soon make it possible for me to meet
each of you, not as an integrationist or a civil-rights leader
but as a fellow clergyman and a Christian brother. Let us all
hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass
away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from
our fear drenched communities, and in some not too distant
tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine
over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.
Yours for the cause of Peace and Brotherhood, Martin Luther
King, Martin Luther Jr.
Behavior Modification and Social Justice
excerpt is from
"Imprisoned Intellectuals" edited by Joy
James (p. 190). In studying civil rights and
social justice movements throughout history, we believe the
following excerpt reasonably and truthfully describes the
purpose and intentions behind behavior modification programs
throughout the United States. Please also see our
open letter for more
information on this issue. (For our Fair Use Disclaimer,
The current corporate power structure has been using POW-style
behavior modification to torture and enslave America's children
for at least 4 decades. This is what HEAL is fighting
against. And, we will not stop. When we say "Teen
Liberty" we mean "Teen Liberty"! This is also why HEAL
focuses on other social issues including civil rights, workers'
rights, and prisoner rights/prison reform. It is all part
of the same battle for liberty and justice for all Americans,
regardless of race, creed, color, religion, age, or income!
FROM: RICHARD HELLER
Mr Mitt Romney
PO Box 149756
July 12, 2012
Dear Mr Romney,
I wrote to you
last month urging you to abandon the Mormon faith. You might
have considered this letter facetious or vexatious and a
desperate attempt to promote my new pamphlet “Hi! My Name’s
Richard And I’m NOT A Mormon.” You may well be right on
all three counts. I hope that you will not take the same view of
this letter, which invites you to take a stand on America’s
“troubled teen” industry.
You may it strange
to hear this from a British writer, but many Britons have
followed the growth of this industry closely, are alarmed at
many of its practices and are determined to resist its spread to
our country. I understand that you have personal links with it
and I hope that it would not enjoy any special favour from your
administration should you be elected President.
urge you to appoint someone to inquire on your behalf into the
treatment of children at the West Ridge Academy, formerly the
Utah Boys Ranch. This is essentially a Mormon facility (since
your church exalts family life it seems surprising that there is
a demand for its services). It has faced persistent accusations
of brutality and abuse towards children, and their use as free
labor. Only recently it settled out of court a lawsuit by former
residents. The person you choose for such an inquiry needs to
earn the trust of former residents, and parents and carers: he
or she should not be a Mormon. By taking this course, you would
give a simple demonstration of your commitment to children and
your willingness to place their interests ahead of the
reputation of your church.
As to the industry
as a whole, I believe that there are serious inherent risks in
any system which uses intensive residential treatments for
troubled children as a source of private profit. In particular,
“troubled teen” businesses are always likely to use coercive
measures on children because they are cheaper than proper
therapies, and in order to drum up customers they are always
likely to resort to deceptive marketing techniques for parents.
I therefore urge
you to study the following proposals. They are not exhaustive
and could well be supplemented by the results of any inquiry
into West Ridge.
1) Any institution
offering long-term residential treatments for children under 18
should be subject to the same rules and standards as a juvenile
prison or reformatory in the state concerned;
2) Any such
institution should have an independent board of visitors, to
include at least one paediatrician. The visitors should have
unrestricted access to inmates and records and should make
3) Parents or
carers and public authorities in charge of children should be
informed in advance of any placement about the scale of physical
activity required of the child; the nature of any therapeutic
program he or she will be expected to undergo and the
qualifications of its administrators; the punishments or
sanctions to be applied to the child and the reasons for them.
Without such prior information, all contracts between parents
and carers and the institution should be void and the
institution should make a full refund of any payments;
4) Parents, carers
and public authorities to be informed in advance of any
religious links or affiliations of an institution, and of any
religious study or contact which the child will be expected to
5) All punishments
to be recorded in a form which can be inspected by parents and
carers and the board of visitors. Any punishment not so recorded
to become a criminal offence;
6) All agreements
in which parents surrender majority control of their parental
rights to be unlawful and void;
7) The board of
visitors to inquire into all cases of death, serious injury or
accident, attempted suicide or escape of a child inmate;
8) No institution
of any kind to be allowed to offer any program or therapy
intended to change a child’s sexuality, since all such attempts
are futile and abusive.
I hope that you
will demonstrate your commitment to America’s children above the
interests of businesses making money from them.
Richard Heller is a British author and
journalist. His novel The Network is published on Amazon
Kindle, as is his recent pamphlet Hi! My Name’s Richard And
I’m NOT A Mormon (sent to Mitt Romney).
About HEAL, CAFETY, & ASTART
by The HEAL Team
HEAL was founded in
2002. HEAL was first contacted by Kathryn Whitehead,
founder of CAFETY, in June of 2005. Kathryn Whitehead
claimed to be filing a lawsuit against Mission Mountain School
and asked HEAL if we would assist her in finding additional
victims of Mission Mountain School to join her in that lawsuit.
When other victims came forward, Kathryn Whitehead told them
there was no such lawsuit and that HEAL was mistaken. This
was our first experience of Kathryn Whitehead giving
misinformation to us.
In July of 2005,
Kathryn Whitehead asked HEAL to promote her petition in support
of HR 1738, the first bill introduced by Rep. George Miller to
attempt to regulate the behavior modification industry.
HEAL supported HR 1738 and all efforts to promote the
legislation including the petition Kathryn Whitehead submitted.
CAFETY was founded
in 2006 and subsequent to years of action by Rep. George Miller
in regards to stopping institutionalized abuse. CAFETY
immediately began partnering with ASTART. When HEAL has
inquired why some survivors support CAFETY, the answer most
common is that CAFETY is responsible for introducing legislation
to regulate the industry. This is absolutely false.
CAFETY is not made up of State nor Federal Legislators and
therefore cannot introduce legislation. In addition,
CAFETY was founded subsequent to the introduction of the initial
legislation on this issue. CAFETY is in no way responsible
for any legislation.
In March of 2006,
HEAL received a request from two teachers at a private day
school asking for information about a former CEDU staffer that
had been hired to work at their school. The teachers were
very concerned about the former CEDU staffer's behavior and
attitude towards students and wanted help in researching this
former CEDU staffer in hopes they could persuade the school
board to terminate the staffer's employment at their school.
HEAL sent a confidential request for help to gather more
information on this staffer to other organizations, including
CAFETY. This message was explicitly confidential and no
information about the teachers nor the request was to be made
public. Kathryn Whitehead immediately posted the teachers'
names, e-mail addresses, and specific information about their
request on CAFETY's homepage. The teachers were threatened
with immediate dismissal and were told to discontinue any
research into the former CEDU staffer. This was the first
instance in which CAFETY breached the confidence of HEAL and
undermined the efforts to stop the potential abuse of children.
In September of
2006, two HEAL coordinators alerted Kevin August, the owner of
antiwwasp.com, to concerns raised about his website being used
as a referral service to abusive facilities. Kevin August
replied and cc'd his good friend and co-moderator of the
website, Bill Boyles, on the exchange. Bill Boyles was and
remains an active member of CAFETY. Bill said, "if
you knew anything about antiwwasp, you would know i am very
active and involved with that site. i am also very active with
help-for-teen.com i am not saying you shouldn't express your
concerns about the ads; rather, i am saying that you insulted me
by accusing kevin (and by association, me) of "contributing to
and abuse of
children and teens" and also not "car[ing] about kids."" (dated
September 24th, 2006) HEAL expressed grave concern
regarding not only the google ads running on the antiwwasp.com
site that promoted abusive facilities, but, also the Parent
Resources page on the antiwwasp.com site that linked to referral
services. Antiwwasp.com actively and decidedly linked to
theantidrug.com which refers to a number of abusive facilities
and referral sites. This was an additional concern and as
problematic, if not more so, than the google ads for abusive
programs run on the antiwwasp.com site. HEAL was told in
the end that antiwwasp.com would remove the offending content
and links. But, this did not last.
On January 12th,
2007 HEAL discovered that Kevin August (owner of antiwwasp.com)
had started his own referral business and website teenshelp.us.
We immediately contacted Kevin to voice our concerns. He was
recommending Magnolia Christian Center (aka Magnolia Christian
Academy) in MS which reportedly was connected to Bethel Boys
Academy (IFB/Roloff program) through shared staff.
On January 18th, 2007, HEAL found links under Parent Resources
on the antiwwasp.com site to strugglingteens.com,
mytroubledteen.com, meadowlarkacademy.com, and
bootcampsforteens.com. HEAL immediately alerted Kevin
August and Bill Boyles regarding our concerns. Instead of
fully defending Kevin August as Bill Boyles had done previously,
he stated that he did not agree with Kevin's choices, but, still
supported antiwwasp.com as a place for WWASPS' survivors to
socialize. HEAL will not work with anyone who is
complacent and/or associates with abusive programs and their
On January 26th,
2007, Brian Lombrowski stated the following in regards to
CAFETY's website and others, "As a sidenote, most of our
organizations are linked through the Technical Assistance
Partnership website, which is updated by Lorrin (at least I
think it is). This is a website funded through SAMHSA (to my
knowledge), and the official resource of youth in the systems of
refers to Aspen Education Group's Youth Care in Draper, UT,
Heritage Schools in Provo, UT, and formerly to Provo
Canyon School in Provo, UT. (Source:
(click on UT on the Map)) This coupled with other similar
associations between ASTART, CAFETY, and referral services are
one of the primary reasons HEAL chooses not to work with ASTART
On January 31st,
2007, Brian Lombrowski stated, "It's a little unnerving sitting
in the same office with people who essentially rubber stamp
residential treatment. However, the alternative for these kids
is the juvenile justice system, not home based placement,
and we've already had kids die, and brutally restrained in our
juvenile justice system in the last year (It's a toss-up whether
I would want to sent a kid to Ivy Ridge or Tryon which is the
most notorious facility)."
In the Juvenile
Justice System, at least there would be some accountability and
oversight. This is not the case with WWASPS' programs like
Academy at Ivy Ridge. And, one of the most harmful aspects
of WWASPS and other behavior modification programs is the denial
of contact between family members and the use of cruel thought
reform techniques typically not employed by publicly run
In addition, ASTART
and CAFETY share board members. And, when this was brought
up in a fairly large e-mail discussion between many advocacy
organizations and networks, Brian Lombrowski said, " First of
all, we are not the public arm of ASTART, if anything it would
seem to be the other way around. In full disclosure, we have
borrowed a few ASTART members to form our board (Charles Huffine,
Lorrin Gehring, and Kat Whitehead, and myself although
unofficially at the present time). We are
separate, albeit closely related and aligned organizations."
(dated January 30th, 2007)
has some serious problems with A-START. We've had quite a
few questions and concerns e-mailed to us regarding Allison
Pinto and A-START. After a little digging and asking around we
were told Dr. Allison Pinto is on the board of several groups
involved with the Tavistock Method of large group awareness
One of our members asked Allison if she is the same Allison
Pinto involved with the Tavistock Method and she admitted to it.
Our concern is that the Tavistock Clinic is really the
birthplace of coercive and aversive "therapies" and large group
awareness training is simply a euphemism for "seminars" or
cult-like brainwashing sessions. HEAL has a few other
problems with A START. One, is that they do not have their
facts correct even on their homepage at:
http://astart.fmhi.usf.edu/. They claim the problem
has been occurring since the early 1990's. Well, anyone
who really knew what was going on and had really done at least some
research, would know that the problem has been occurring with
residential treatment since at least the late 1960's/early
1970's. (dated January 30th, 2007)
Here we will return
to CAFETY and the House Education and Labor (Workforce)
Committee Hearings in 2007 and 2008. HEAL was first
alerted to the possibility of hearings at the beginning of
Summer, 2007. At that time, HEAL shared the information
and contacts we had with other organizations, including CAFETY.
HEAL was explicitly told by Rep. George Miller's office that no
information regarding the hearings were to be made public and we
communicated this to all other organizations we informed about
the proposed hearings. Kathryn Whitehead immediately
posted information about the hearings on the homepage of the
CAFETY site, once again breaching our confidence and undermining
the efforts of Rep. George Miller in regards to the hearings.
Kathryn Whitehead reportedly told Rep. Miller's congressional
aide that HEAL specifically told her to publicize the
information. HEAL received a call from George Miller's
office reprimanding us for the subsequent publication by CAFETY
of the information on the proposed hearings. And, this
allowed for the industry to infiltrate the hearings and
eliminated HEAL and three other legitimate, long-running
advocacy organizations from the hearings.
Following all of the
concerns and problems mentioned above, HEAL decided, in
mid-2007, we would no longer work with CAFETY nor ASTART and
would not share any sensitive information with those
organizations. HEAL remained neutral in regards to both
CAFETY and ASTART and simply chose to go our own way and leave
those two organizations to their own devices.
The neutrality of
our position wore thin as more serious concerns came to our
attention. HEAL was initially contacted in April, 2010 by
a parent seeking to rescue their child from New Leaf Academy in
NC. HEAL worked diligently on this and our collective
efforts with the parent involved resulted in the opening of an
investigation by NC Officials into New Leaf Academy. This
parent reported to us, after the fact, that they had spoken with
two individuals involved with ASTART, namely Robert M. Friedman
and Lenore Behar. The parent also reported to us that New
Leaf Academy in NC was given a "heads up" regarding the
investigation and reported that ASTART was responsible for
warning New Leaf Academy of the pending investigation. New
Leaf Academy closed its doors, shipped currently enrolled
children to other Aspen programs, and re-opened under a new name
(Talisman) swiftly avoiding any investigation by NC authorities.
HEAL continued to maintain our publicly neutral position in
regards to ASTART and CAFETY. But, our concerns were
In late 2010/early
2011, then CAFETY Board Member, Eric Norwood, stated that he
would ask CAFETY to help fund HEAL's legal defense in the
Provo Canyon School lawsuit.
Eric repeatedly asked for the court documents even after he was
informed that this was impossible due to the suit being filed
under seal. When Eric was refused, he began trashing HEAL
on Facebook and on Craig Roger's (Abundant
Life Academy) blog.
In March of 2011,
HEAL was contacted by a parent seeking to remove their child
from a wilderness program and to stop the enrollment of their
child in a residential treatment center. With the parent's
permission, we sent their contact information to
individuals/survivors with experience at the wilderness program
and the residential treatment programs being considered for
"aftercare" to assist the parent in gathering information to
help with the rescue and prevention of further
institutionalization. A CAFETY member, who identified
herself as such, sent a message to this parent promoting the
wilderness program and stating that the child should not be
removed from the program once enrolled. She stated that
she had simply copy/pasted a message she had wrote for CAFETY as
her response to this parent. In addition, she raved about
the residential treatment program (a CEDU-model program) she was
in and provided absolutely no useful information that would
assist the parent in removing their child from the wilderness
program nor prevent the further institutionalization of the
child involved. HEAL removed that CAFETY member from our
contact list and we were very upset that someone who reported to
us that they were a survivor and wanted to stop abuse would
actually promote the institutionalization of youth in
confirmedly abusive facilities on our watch-list. This
would appear to be the final straw, but, HEAL was still hesitant
to take public action.
It was also in March
of 2011 that HEAL became aware that
CAFETY was partnering with the AACRC
(The CAFETY/AACRC partnership has reportedly been
dissolved as of November, 2012).
HEAL wrote a letter to CAFETY
detailing most of the concerns mentioned in this article.
At this point, HEAL posted a recommended boycott of CAFETY, our
letter voicing our concerns, and created a
webpage with information we compiled on
AACRC and their members. One of the member
programs of the AACRC is UHS' Willow Springs Residential
Treatment Center in NV. UHS also owns Provo Canyon School.
And, this placed CAFETY in partnership with a membership
organization tied to those who seek to repress the truth and
oppress their victims. HEAL found this extremely
disturbing given Eric Norwood's adamant demand for our court
documents. Given CAFETY's association with the AACRC, this
could have jeopardized HEAL's advocacy in more ways than one.
In June, 2012, HEAL
learned that Charles Huffine (board member of CAFETY and ASTART)
disciplined for endangering the life of a
child in his care. At this time, we also
learned that Kathryn Whitehead had worked as a Care Coordinator
(case manager) for the Mental Health Association of NYC.
The Mental Health Association of NYC places children in the
Hillside Family of Agencies.
Whitehead also worked for the Coalition of Behavioral Health
Agencies. This Coalition includes Phoenix House of NY and
other reportedly abusive residential facilities. Whitehead
also worked for the BRC Reception Center. BRC is a
residential treatment facility for adults. (Source:
Whitehead's history of working for referral services and in
residential treatment raise additional concerns for us at HEAL.
This coupled with Huffine's recent disciplinary record confirm
that HEAL should in no way associate with CAFETY nor ASTART.
On August 1st, 2012,
HEAL received a copy of the letter from Kathryn Whitehead/CAFETY
to the AACRC requesting that clarifying language be added
in regards to CAFETY's partnership with the AACRC as CAFETY was
concerned that their partnership was being misconstrued by some
as an endorsement of the member programs of the AACRC. The
reality is that the AACRC is simply NATSAP 2.0 and that
regardless of how you define a partnership with the
organization, there is no getting around the existence of that
partnership and the concerns raised by the existence of such a
partnership. HEAL was explicitly and repeatedly lied to by
CAFETY board members regarding the existence of the partnership
and this so-called letter is the first attempt we've seen by
CAFETY to clarify the intent of their partnership with the AACRC.
It is our opinion that this attempt is too little too late and
that the partnership is simply one more example of CAFETY's
ineptitude and/or corruption. The CAFETY/AACRC partnership
has been in existence for over a year and it is really too late
to clarify the situation to our/HEAL's satisfaction at this
On July 30th, 2012,
HEAL was alerted to a youtube video criticizing CAFETY.
HEAL had nothing to do with that video, though, we likely share
some of the same views regarding CAFETY. HEAL is not even
familiar with the individual who created the video and had no
part in its creation or distribution. On August 2nd, 2012,
HEAL received a copy of a thread from Facebook discussing the
video criticizing CAFETY in which Kathryn Whitehead lies about
HEAL and attempts to get a following to help her with her
Today is August 2nd,
2012. HEAL will not be officially responding to any
additional attacks, misinformation campaigns, nor any other
abusive actions by Kat/CAFETY or her/their supporters.
Like the behavior modification programs, Kat/CAFETY enjoys
instigating fights, disagreements, and discord privately while
publicly "playing the victim" when legitimate concerns are
raised about her/their practices and statements. HEAL
assists in hundreds of crisis calls and rescues every year.
We work on public information campaigns, citizen initiatives,
State Action Plans,
Action Alerts, and much more.
HEAL simply does not have time to engage in message board/Facebook
"drama" and we hope you don't either. If you are an
activist/survivor seeking assistance with your own actions and
projects, please visit
for information on how we can help you stop institutionalized
Efficiency v. Government Misuse of Funds and Intentional
Ineptitude (Willful Blindness)
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