This article first appeared in Havok Journal on 28JAN15. The page to which this article refers was subsequently taken down after our article aired.
As participants in social media and the internet in general, it’s safe to say we’re all aware of the ‘troll’ – that person who enjoys sowing discord and disruption in online discussions, forums, and social media comment threads. Enter Military Parents Abuse Their Children, a Facebook page that is the mouthpiece for this petition that calls for the immediate discharge of military parents on grounds of potential child abuse.
Hey there, Military Parents Abuse Their Children. Your modifiers are dangling.
For the moment, I’m going to breeze right past your sweeping generalizations, your disgusting insinuation that humans can’t overcome trauma, and your ludicrous comparison of feminists being threatened online to the mental scars that can result from battle. I’ll also only casually point out that your group page has ‘liked’ a community called Your Tattoos Make You a Horrible Mother, which takes perception based on physical appearance to new highs of self-righteous judgment.
Let’s just talk for a minute about the horrid sentence structure in your little ‘petition’ and how it only makes your group look more idiotic. And the glory of it is that you do it in the FIRST LINE of your requests:
We the people seek legislation that mandates the following:
a) That military service be available only to United States citizens without children under the age of 18. This applies to both biological and adopted children.
To quote my fellow writer: “. . . counterpoint, but wouldn’t forcing children under the age of 18 to enlist be a form of child abuse?”
Damn those dangling modifiers and their irony. (I’m guessing you don’t know what ‘irony’ means – go look it up in a dictionary.)
I’m being funny here at the beginning, but that’s really the only humorous thing to be said. I’m really here to point out the completely flawed system by which they intend to ‘save the children’ of military parents.
For those of you who feel a bit lost, fear not. This group is on Facebook, and their name in and of itself is off-putting and massively incorrect. The purpose of Military Parents Abuse Their Children is to “highlight the proven link between military enlistment and child abuse”; yet, oddly enough, after a (painfully awkward and disheartening) slog through the group time line and “About” page, I only found three links to studies on military child abuse, the most substantial of which was executed within a limited group of military personnel in Texas and only ran the course of three years.
The other links comprise three sentences announcing the existence of the Texas study, and a notice from UNC Chapel Hill summarizing that same, single study. The rest of the feed is loaded with troll-like behavior, links to articles about feminists suffering PTSD resulting from ‘online terrorism’ (more on that in a minute), and several memes containing images of upset children.
This is more than an extremist corner of Facebook, it’s bigger than whatever disgruntled former Army brat with daddy issues runs the joint, it goes beyond extremely unsettling judgments on the motives for veteran suicide. It is a beacon of all that is wrong with entitled people who know nothing of what they speak.
Let’s look at the petition. I already quoted their first ‘demand’ above, and if it’s not problematic for you that their sentence structure is terrible, let’s move on to the other two:
b) That those who become parents while enlisted be honorably discharged and required to undergo parenting counseling for a time no less than one (1) year thereafter, and their children be placed in foster care with supervised visits during that time.
c) That those servicemen and women who are currently enlisted and have children, whether biological or adopted, also be honorably discharged and required to undergo parenting counseling for a time no less than one (1) year thereafter, and their children be placed in foster care with supervised visits during that time.
Let’s state the obvious problem with these demands: we would have virtually zero soldiers of any kind if all the new parents in the military were made to drop their gear and hump it back to civilian life. Beyond that, I have a couple of questions. First, will those servicemen be honorably discharged at the time of conception, or will you let them keep risking their lives for your sorry ass until the time of birth? Secondly, have you thought about parental counseling for Loss of Gainful Employment? Did you think far enough in advance that the loss of career, income, image and honor, might lead to more stress and incidental abuse, especially when the child itself could be seen AS THE SOLE CAUSE for that loss? No, I’m guessing not. Moving on.
This petition also stipulates that children of military families should be removed to foster care, and that the parents should only be allowed to see them during supervised visits. Allow me to school you in a bit of Layman Psychology 101. When was the last time you actually sat in on a supervised parental visit? Did it look like normal, parent-child interaction to you? Of course not. Those babies conceived during military service probably won’t know who their parent even is because they were tossed into a foster home as soon as they were born, and thus won’t have a very positive interaction with that stranger everybody keeps saying is Mommy or Daddy. Any children who were already around when Mommy or Daddy went into the service will probably be missing their parents terribly, eager to see them under any circumstances, and are likely not going to misbehave or talk back or even look sideways at their parents during these visits.
When did Mom or Dad ever need counseling to deal with a kid who is ecstatic to see them? Any and all skills that might be taught during the mandatory counseling period would probably not be employed during these visits, rendering any sort of supervisory analysis or judgment of parental behavior invalid or completely useless. Or what about those military spouses? Are they predisposed to child abuse simply because they married a soldier, an airman, an intelligence officer? Why not just remove the military parent from the equation and allow the children to remain in the care of their own, non-military parent? But no. Instead, you want them in foster care.
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