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room 101
April 20, 2003 7:28 PM   Subscribe

A crackdown in Texas. America - land of the free. And to guarantee that freedom, everyone has to be constantly watchful. Like the photo store clerk from Eckerd who dutifully reported a Peruvian-born couple's lewd shots of their infants to the Richardson (Dallas/Texas suburbs) police. The photos showed the parents' two infants bathing naked, lying together in bed with their mother (again naked) and the 1-year-old Rodrigo suckling his mother's (naked) breast. So the couple was arrested -- the maximum prison sentence for the crime in question being 20 years -- and the children taken away. (verbatim k5)
posted by The Jesse Helms (77 comments total)

 
Err, what crime?
posted by xmutex at 7:46 PM on April 20, 2003


Living in America, you have to realize this is the land of idiots. It is therefore useful to follow a few simple rules:

1. don't take nude pics of babies
2. don't say anything negative about religion
3. remember that art and philosophy are gay
4. remember that gay is bad. Football is the anti gay.
5. drugs are bad, so don't do drugs, ok?
posted by Orik at 7:55 PM on April 20, 2003


taking breast-feeding images are a second-degree felony in Richardson....
posted by bureaustyle at 8:07 PM on April 20, 2003


Orik,
you don't get it do you ?

every day they take more and more rights away
you have 5 rules I can add 5 more rules and soon we will have hundreds of rules that will get you 20 years in prison
posted by bureaustyle at 8:11 PM on April 20, 2003


bureaustyle: yes, perhaps that is true, but posting on Metafilter changes it not one whit. You have no call to action, just a reactionary truism. What is your answer to the perceived problem?
posted by shagoth at 8:14 PM on April 20, 2003


well shagoth, what is yours ?

we have a great voting system that allows us to elect truly democratic representatives of our society don't we ?
posted by bureaustyle at 8:20 PM on April 20, 2003


My wife and I have a lot of images of our child breastfeeding and a few of me in the bath with our infant. . ..

I am tempted to send those to the Richardson Police Dept. and tell them where they can find me. . .
posted by Danf at 8:23 PM on April 20, 2003


The Taliban would be proud.
posted by homunculus at 8:23 PM on April 20, 2003


spreading information is an action in itself. it's not an answer, but it's a start.
posted by 4easypayments at 8:24 PM on April 20, 2003


Can we vote Texas off the island? They always wanted that anyway. Save us a lot of problems.
posted by stbalbach at 8:56 PM on April 20, 2003


And put a great big barbed-wire fence around it.

And electrocute it.

On our side.
posted by tpoh.org at 8:59 PM on April 20, 2003


However, one of the most aggravating child porn bits that the anti-child porn enforcers must face are *parents* who willingly and intentionally take clothed, nude and semi-nude pictures of *their own children* for loosely disguised pay paedophile sites.
And as charged as the issue is, there are serious efforts out there to both make the law as protective as possible, *and* to skirt the law as much as possible.

If you want to see who is *most* opposed to child porn, check out the *adult* porn industry. They hate, fear and loathe child porn and paedophilia, and are active in trying to force it off the Internet. It threatens their livelihood.
posted by kablam at 9:13 PM on April 20, 2003


It is therefore useful to follow a few simple rules

Acquiescence always promotes change.
posted by rushmc at 9:23 PM on April 20, 2003


Porn always rests on the cutting edge of technology (and the Internet would not be what it is without it). Child pornographers would use digital cameras and would not take film to a drug store to get it developed.
posted by troybob at 9:31 PM on April 20, 2003


troybob: A voice of reason! Yes, if you were indeed taking child porn pictures, why in the hell would you bring them to a drug store for development?
I'm appalled at the "guilty until proven innocent" tack taken by the prosecution. This couple is going to have to:
- submit to arrest;
- hand the kids over first to foster care, then to her ex-husband;
- shell out enormous sums of money (until they were helped out by Chatham)
- submit to psychological exams (which found nothing);
- submit to lie-detector tests (pending)
All because some chucklehead at Eckerd decided that breast-feeding a kid was kiddie porn, and that the dumbasses who gave us Dubya agreed.

AFAIC, Eckerd should be boycotted, and some form of help should be provided to these folks...
posted by FormlessOne at 10:03 PM on April 20, 2003


The link is shot.

Has anybody actually seen the pictures? Because I don't see what there is to discuss without this bit of essential information which nobody has. And why was there a link to the photography website? Because if the Eckerd employee drives a Mitsubishi, or drinks Coca-cola, we might need those links too, you know, in the interest of speculation. And in the absence of information.

Oh right. Just a golden opportunity to bandy about witticisms like "dumbasses who gave us Dubya ". Bravo.
posted by hama7 at 10:20 PM on April 20, 2003


Breast cancer is proof that we as a country have fallen out of favor with god. Everybody knows the suckling of an infant on his mother's breast is an erotic decision the mother makes with her child. Let the kids and moms get off on one another as they have for aeons. The police need to stay out of consensual paedophilia and feeding time. Use the formula! Keep your bra on ladies.

According to the The City of Richardson Texas website it is:

The City of Richardson is located in North Central Texas, approximately 10 miles north of downtown Dallas. Richardson is completely surrounded by incorporated cities

According to tuscl.com "The Ultimate Strip Club List" there are some 25 strip clubs in the Dallas area who probably employ 18-19 year old lower-class females. Pretty much kids with breasts and genitals too. I'll also betcha the fellas who put out that goddamn Girls Gone Wild poison list Dallas Texas as one of their stronger markets.

This country is so full of idiots, I simply do not know if there will be another good day on Earth where I didn't have to worry about authoritarian capriciousness. Fuck, what has happened?
posted by crasspastor at 10:38 PM on April 20, 2003


Whoa Hama7. You fully case-in-pointed me before I'd even posted. . .

nooneenoonoonooneenoonoo
posted by crasspastor at 10:45 PM on April 20, 2003


Uh, hama7, there's a threshold black and white of the photo on the Dallas page, it's right there. It's not very clean, but you can clearly see the baby resting on the mother. Scandalous, I'm sure.
posted by gramcracker at 10:46 PM on April 20, 2003


Speaking of, that Eckerd employee should make sure to alert the police to The New York Times Magazine (powerful short piece, even if the breast and baby weren't there).
posted by gramcracker at 10:49 PM on April 20, 2003


from looking at that image, these are things that probably disturbed them:
- the child appears to be standing up by himself.
- therefore, he seems less like a helpless, infant with lesser cognitive skills (memory, initiating complex actions...)

the police could not have brought the "sexual performance" charge if the kid were younger, more infant, less toddler.

the parents admitted that the picture was taken when their son had already been weaned, so it was performative. they contest that this performance was not to serve a sexual purpose, but cultural one and a personal one about steps of development, familial love, and intimacy.

Their argument convinces me, and I find it tragic that we live in a world, where children are so frequently and negatively sexualized by pedophilia and the paranoia surrounding it. I find it extremely tragic that we seem to have abandoned the maxim "innocent until proven guilty".
posted by jann at 11:10 PM on April 20, 2003


Ok, this story scares the bejebuz outta me. I live in that neck of the woods...and I'm currently breastfeeding my 4 month old son. We've taken pictures of me and the boy, and have had them developed. At no time did I think that I might be exposing my infant to being ripped out of my arms and sent to foster care because I wanted to memorialize a stage of his life. Pediatricians recommend that you breastfeed for "at least" a year, should they be prosecuted as accessories to a crime?

This is just madness. I don't know what the solution is...and my first instinct is to write letters and call and voice my displeasure that my tax dollars are being wasted because some people are so freaking repressed that they see breastfeeding as a crime.

But, ya know what? I'm scared to death of the police state...and I'd just as soon they not find a reason to take my baby away...like, for example, the fact that I have breastfeeding pictures. I can't imagine what I would do if I lost my boy because I have useful nipples.

I am however forwarding the story on to the LaLeche League and a bunch of woman's groups, and I'll start boycotting Eckerd's...and start researching not only leaving the Dallas area, but probably Texas...and maybe the country...frankly, when a mother can be prosecuted for suckling her young...it may be time to look for the exit signs.
posted by dejah420 at 11:15 PM on April 20, 2003


Oh right. Just a golden opportunity to bandy about witticisms like "dumbasses who gave us Dubya ". Bravo.

dude. hama7 has, like, a texas-sized chip on his shoulder.
posted by donkeyschlong at 12:21 AM on April 21, 2003


(972) 231-8713
(972) 231-5341
(972) 234-2469
(972) 234-8721


Those are the phone numbers for the Eckerd's in Richardson, Texas, if you'd like to call and ask for the photo department.
posted by Espoo2 at 12:47 AM on April 21, 2003


if you'd like to call and ask for the photo department.

Why? To harass some clerk who had nothing to do with this? Inappropriate.
posted by hama7 at 1:05 AM on April 21, 2003


a few simple rules:

Plus this one: "Whatever you do, don't be an immigrant. Or tired, or poor, or yearning to breathe free." You'll scare us.
posted by LeLiLo at 1:22 AM on April 21, 2003


In 1995, Texas passed a new health code stating that itw as perfectly legal to breastfeed a child anywhere ... in public, at work, on a bus, wherever. I guess you better be sure not to let anyone photograph it though.

Oh, how I wish I didn't live in Texas at times. :D
posted by Orb at 1:54 AM on April 21, 2003


They got what they deserved. Everybody knows that breasts are for adults alone, and belong nowhere near children.
posted by spazzm at 2:15 AM on April 21, 2003


Two words: digital cameras

hamas heaven:
Why? To harass some clerk who had nothing to do with this? Inappropriate.

I understand you're equally vocal protesting the thousands of similar "inappropriate" right-wing talk-radio hosts boycotts, right? It's not that you have a little double standard on this one, I hope?
posted by matteo at 3:22 AM on April 21, 2003


hama7, is there no idiocy that your ideology cannot be bent to accomodate?

I thought you called yourself a conservative. Isn't this a picture-perfect (sorry, no pun intended) example of Big Government interfering in peoples' lives unwontedly? Your knee-jerk responses to this, as to so many other things, mark your true politics as Blame The Weak, Curry Favor With The Strong.

Which is a shame, because when you manage to stay nonideological, you post reasonably cool things.
posted by adamgreenfield at 3:42 AM on April 21, 2003


Oh, how I wish I didn't live in Texas at times.

me too.
posted by birdherder at 4:14 AM on April 21, 2003


is there no idiocy that your ideology cannot be bent to accomodate?

A lesser man than I would succumb to the temptation to make that a tagline.

This is probably a random example of random stupidity perpetrated by random assholes, but these things seem to be coming so fast and furious lately that it's hard not to see a pattern developing, isn't it?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:15 AM on April 21, 2003


It's all about fear and control. Bush and Cheney are winning and we are losing. The Dems better drink some strong coffee and gear up for the next election.
posted by Outlawyr at 4:50 AM on April 21, 2003


hama7, is there no idiocy that your ideology cannot be bent to accomodate?

Funny, I might ask the same of you.

First, this thread is whipping itself into a lather of self-righteous indignation, and still not a single soul has yet to see why. It's an inaccessible (to me at least) news link without any details construed to point out some imaginary erosion of rights, and I'm sorry (or not) to say I'm not ready to leap aboard that sinking ship.

Nobody in their right mind would call a photograph of a mother breastfeeding her baby "obscene", so I'm inclined to believe that there's much more to it, and without credible evidence to the contrary, nobody can say for certain exactly what was shown in the pictures. The report of obscenity is not to be taken lightly.

I'll not participate in this Texas-Bush-"dubya" bash, and I'll not call your ideas "idiotic" if you disagree.
posted by hama7 at 6:00 AM on April 21, 2003


The link works fine for me.
One of the pictures are there - and I can't see anything obscene or indecent about it.

It's a picture of a mother (apparently) breastfeeding her baby.
posted by spazzm at 6:03 AM on April 21, 2003


Texas Penal Code on:

Possession or Promotion of Child Pornography

Sexual Performance by a Child
posted by thatweirdguy2 at 6:04 AM on April 21, 2003


(sigh)

I've lived in the Richardson/Garland area for 15 years, and while this is a depressing story, it does not surprise me in the least. You have to spend some time here to realize just how conservative this part of Dallas is. I'm not a fan of the attitude.
posted by TeamBilly at 6:48 AM on April 21, 2003


I bet it's likely that photo development employees are required by law (upon penalty thereof) to report ANY incidence of photos of nude children with adults. My wife is a teacher, and there;s a similar law in Illinois that requires her to report any incidence of suspected child abuse. There are criminal penalities if she suspects, doesn't report, and later on something bad happened to the kid. In any event, the legal aspects have apparently been solved: "In the months since, one of the couple's most onerous problems has been resolved. In late March, a week after the Dallas Observer asked District Attorney Bill Hill about the case, he ordered the criminal charges against both parents dropped. " But the DCFS crap - which is always a nightmare - is the real crime here. I'm not sure that Dubya is in charge of DCFS in Texas, so we can probably absolve him of complicity in this one.

The hard part is that real crimes against children are so egregious, so foul, that law enforcement tends to react as swiftly and harshly as they can at first glance. As a father, I can understand their zeal; and I am pleased that, even in Texas, when it turns out that mistakes have been made, the DA's move definitely to correct them.

DCFS, on the other hand, continues to be a nightmare, and not just in Texas. A guy in Missouri last week, an award-winning foster home father, got busted for molesting two teenage girls. HOW does DCFS manage to fuck up so uniformly and continually in the face of all reason? Seems like a contest, sometimes, so see which state's department can ruin the most lives. High caseload does not explain or excuse it.
posted by UncleFes at 7:03 AM on April 21, 2003


It's an inaccessible (to me at least) news link without any details construed to point out some imaginary erosion of rights, and I'm sorry (or not) to say I'm not ready to leap aboard that sinking ship.

So clearly you haven't read the story. It does state all the facts of the case. You chose only to chime in when the term "dumbasses like Dubya" was used. How many stories has Rush Limbaugh told that linked some behavior to "Democraps" and "feminatzis". Did you wait and check out the facts for yourself or just assume that it was true and chuckle to yourself and say "that figures!".
posted by bas67 at 8:07 AM on April 21, 2003


Nobody in their right mind would call a photograph of a mother breastfeeding her baby "obscene", so I'm inclined to believe that there's much more to it

Rather than deny things out of hand because they are at odds with your personal (and I must say rather rigid and idiosyncratic) worldview, perhaps it would be more rational (and useful) (and engender you less criticism and derision) to address the actual facts, rather than try to spin them from the first instant they enter your radar.

It is one thing to want more details about a particular case before becoming outraged; it's another to constantly refuse to believe anything that you don't like the sound of, which is how you often come across.

(This is not an attack, merely an attempt to explain why you are once again provoking a negative reaction from other posters.)
posted by rushmc at 8:14 AM on April 21, 2003


They must be guilty, or else the police wouldn't have arrested them. Why do you hate America so much?

Seriously, I have a hard time believing there was much more to the story; if there were lurid details of child abuse to be had, they would likely have been leaked and reported by now. The cops would leak it because they want to have the parents tried in the press and to make themselves not look like dumbasses (or jackbooted thugs, as the case may be), and the press would report it because it sells newspapers.
posted by RylandDotNet at 8:43 AM on April 21, 2003


Well, now that I've had a chance to sleep on this story, I've come up with a plan of action...

I'm contacting various members of the local la leche league and a various pro breastfeeding groups and businesses, and I'm going to try to start a "feed-in", whereby lots of us go to the DA's office and the Richardson cop shop and nurse our children. You see, under Texas law, anywhere that a mother can go, she can legally breastfeed.

I'm not sure it'll help much, but this story is getting virtually no press outside of the indy papers...this couple deserves to have their children back...and I'm willing to bet that 20 or more nursing moms in a cop shop or a public building is bound to attract a little attention.
posted by dejah420 at 8:53 AM on April 21, 2003


I don't see that it's the cops or DA that's at fault here - they have to respond to these sorts of reports, and they have no control over DCFS. And it looks like, once they were sure that there was no abuse here, they dropped the criminal charges. But yes, these people deserve their kids back. I don't understand what the hold up is there, beyond typical redtape.

Nurse at the Department of Children and Family Services. Or better yet, email/call the state senator for that district, to see if he or she can throw some clout at the bureaucracy. PO'd politicos can make things happen.
posted by UncleFes at 9:04 AM on April 21, 2003


The picture's right here, hama7. See, on the web, you click on special blurbs of text (called 'links'), they magically whisk you away to other websites.

If it's inaccessible to you, then you're commenting as ignorantly as you claim everyone else to be, since there's obviously "much more to it" that we're missing (and that the Dallas reporter missed, too).
posted by gramcracker at 9:10 AM on April 21, 2003


hama7, is there no idiocy that your ideology cannot be bent to accommodate?

I understand you're equally vocal protesting the thousands of similar "inappropriate" right-wing talk-radio hosts boycotts, right? It's not that you have a little double standard on this one, I hope?


It is one thing to want more details about a particular case before becoming outraged; it's another to constantly refuse to believe anything that you don't like the sound of, which is how you often come across.

Does anyone deserve this type of treatment for voicing an opinion (and yes rushmc, that was an attack, I don't see much constructive in you criticism), and an actually coherent and prudent opinion at that? Sure Hama has shown some right wing opinions in past posts, not that it has ANY shred of relevance here. so he chooses not to jump to a conclusion like the rest of the band wagon either for or against this issue and wants to wait for the facts, so suddenly HE's the idiot? Good for you Hama, you are entitled to believe and say what you want, whether I or anyone else agrees with it is irrelevant, particularly when you do it in a well argued way without any ad hominem attacks. Good for you for realizing that harassing some minimum wage retail worker who's coworker on another shift was probably following the orders of their supervisor so they wouldn't lose the shitty job they rely on is not only rude but futile and idiotic.

For those of you that want to argue the issues I suggest that you find opposition to some of the points raised by jann or kablam's comments about how the adult porn industry is the no. 1 opponent of kiddie porn. So you let their comments go unchecked while you jump on someone who calmly suggested that we not give in to mob mentality and fly off the handle and do/say stupid things without all the facts being in because that person in past instances has voiced a more conservative viewpoint. Good work guys, way to show tolerance. Remember freedom of speech is a two way street.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:19 AM on April 21, 2003


Oh, and gram, that has got to be one of the shittiest pictures I've ever seen in a news report. You are basing your whole argument that Hama is a moron on some sketchy dot matrix printout superimposed over a photo of Mary and Child and a shot that depicts the Richardson police look like bumbling idiots, this article appears to be as unbalanced a news report as one might find on Fox news.

For everyone, not anyone in particular, gram, hama, anyone, base your arguments on more than one reliable source before you open your mouth, it will help you not look like an ass.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:26 AM on April 21, 2003


"I think the police department and the DA's office select people to prosecute who have the least ability to defend themselves," says Chatham, who says he took the case on principle. "If these pictures were on their way back to some big home in Highland Park, they would have turned around and left. They were going after easy marks."

Here is your crux. Makes one think of that farmer who held off the entire NPS and DC police force from his tractor in the reflecting pool recently, for days. Wonder how quickly he'd've had a bullet in his head had he been non-Anglo?

[/derail]

dejah420, I'd be interested to hear how your efforts turn out.
posted by gottabefunky at 9:34 AM on April 21, 2003


pollo: No, I'm basing my argument on the fact that I'm using the cited article, and hama7 hasn't even read it. Hama hasn't mentioned a single thing about the article, only disliking the Bush bashing.

The photo's a terrible one, yes, but unless you have some better source, I'm going to comment on the one that I have available. I can't find anything else on Google news about the story.

And if the police really are just wrong, is the story still unbalanced?
posted by gramcracker at 9:57 AM on April 21, 2003


Wonder how quickly he'd've had a bullet in his head had he been non-Anglo?

Not fuckin' fast enough... that's for sure.

Spic = 4 days
Nigger = 3 days
Nip = 2 days
Towelhead = 1 day

Anyway...
posted by Witty at 9:58 AM on April 21, 2003


Not knowing any of the background of the story, if I were to have just seen the photo by itself, I must admit I'd look askance, at least initially. The picture is grainy, but shows what appears to be a woman kneeling with a small child (not an infant) standing up and suckling at her breast.

We don't know at first glance that it's her child, and it's not a typical nursing position, so to speak. Traditionally, the mother would be sitting and the child sitting in her lap. (If he's too big to fit in her lap, he's probably too old to nurse, IMHO.) So I can see how the photo in the hands of a drugstore clerk that doesn't know the people involved would raise an eyebrow.

It seems, though, that the police would've answered all questions to their satisfaction upon first interviewing the parents. Why the Child Services folks had to get involved at all is a mystery.
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:35 AM on April 21, 2003


Everybody knows that breasts are for adults alone, and belong nowhere near children.

I bet the arresting officers celebrated at Hooters.

What a truly odd country the US is. Breasts everywhere in advertising, entertainment, blahblah - but people getting uptight when someone uses them for the original intended purpose.

I am pleased that, even in Texas, when it turns out that mistakes have been made, the DA's move definitely to correct them.

Weren't the charges dropped only after the press contacted the DA's office? Oh yeah, coincidence.

Of all the dumb f'ers in the world, Texas seems to have a disproportionate share. Anyway, this story broke my heart. I'm trying to think what I can do to help them (having no money myself to contribute to their legal expenses).

And go dejah - whip out that boob for freedom, babe.
posted by NorthernLite at 10:40 AM on April 21, 2003


Fascist morons? In Texas? Boy, that's hard to believe.
posted by mark13 at 11:11 AM on April 21, 2003


Maybe we can get the People's Republic of California and National Socialist Texas to go to war...? I predict more rejoicing than after the eating of Robin's minstrels.

:D
posted by UncleFes at 11:17 AM on April 21, 2003


Absolutely amazing.

Instead of debating and discussing the facts of this particular situation, many of you resorted to using your uninformed perceptions of this case as a means to base naive and generalized conclusions.

Suddenly this thread became an attack on a very large state and its inhabitants as a whole, a reflection on the president, and some sort of capstone piece to what I can only imagine is a colossal, boundless 'conspiracy' theory.

If you want to parade under the flag of the 'informed leftist', please, spout something that may actually inform us. We've already heard for the umpteenth time your tired and overly trotted out dis-idealism.
posted by jazzkat11 at 11:32 AM on April 21, 2003


The location comments raise valid points...my logic for choosing the DA office and the cop shop was the thought that perhaps they wouldn't be so aggressive the next time they ran across pictures of a baby at breast...but perhaps the CPS office may make more sense...I've never seen that office, so I don't know how disruptive to business we would be there. I don't want to stop business, so much as I want to make a point.

The Richardson police office has a huge lobby, as does the DA, so we wouldn't really be in the way there...obvious and potentially annoying...but not legally obstructing anything. Also, there's always press folks hanging around those buildings...and the real goal (for me) is to get enough press coverage that the Mercado's get their children back and this sort of thing not happen again.

As to the size of the baby...the baby was a year old. Pediatricians recommend that you breastfeed for "at least" one year. There are some women in this country and many women in other countries who breastfeed for 2 years or more.

Someone suggested contacting the local elected officials...I think that's a darn good idea also, and have added it to the action items list. Thanks. :)
posted by dejah420 at 11:54 AM on April 21, 2003


dejah420, your plan is absolutely wonderful. If there's anything I can do to help from NC send me an email.
posted by jennyb at 12:45 PM on April 21, 2003


dejah, the feed-in is a brilliant idea. Maybe another good location for one would be the Eckerd store where this whole mess started, just to give them some embarassing publicity.
posted by homunculus at 1:11 PM on April 21, 2003


recently i attended a presentation by anthropologist Katherine A. Dettwyler whose research indicates humans have evolved to breast feed at least 2.5 years up to about 8 years of age. [something like that.] She teaches in texas dejah, you should drop her a line--she is often called upon as an expert witness regarding breastfeeding and is quite an activist (heavily involved with LeLeche actually, so i'm sure she has already heard what is going on).
posted by th3ph17 at 1:41 PM on April 21, 2003


Why the Child Services folks had to get involved at all is a mystery.

Usually in ANY case involving children, child abuse or child issues, and I'd have to say child pornography would fit squarely in there, the Child Services (called different things in different states) are required to step in. Even if the cops or the DA don't prosecute, CPS still gets involved, its the law. It was also the law that if someone has ANY suspicions at all of child abuse or molestation that they MUST inform authorities. The Eckerd worker, who was probably told to do so by a supervisor was following the law and contacted the police, who in turn contacted CPS, just as the law prescribes. Its not Eckerd's fault, its not the cops' fault, it is perhaps, if all charges have been dropped as this one article would suggest, be the CPS and/or judicial system hang ups that prevent the children from being returned. If there are genuine questions still remaining wouldn't it be better that the children be held in protective custody? Are you really advocating that people accused of abuse and exploitation of children get their kids back because of one newspaper's human interest story? I, we rather, don't have any more evidence either way as to why the protective services in this community have not returned the children, isn't an indictment of the entire system a bit premature based on one sappy article with a grainy picture? And yes, before someone tries to argue it, I AM just as ignorant of the situation as anyone else here, that's not really an argument against me saying that we are jumping to conclusions, we are all basing all our handle flying on one lousy human interest piece.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:59 PM on April 21, 2003


I thought it was quite a good human interest piece.

Similar thing happened over here in the UK. But it was a high-profile newsreader and her husband. They were questioned by police, and that's as far as it went. Whether this is related to the fact she is famous, white, rich or whether we do things differently here I honestly don't know.
posted by squealy at 2:17 PM on April 21, 2003


we are all basing all our handle flying on one lousy human interest piece.

I thought it was quite a good human interest piece.

All right, I'll concede that, just an expression, but regardless, any single article on its own is nothing to go crazy over, let's get more facts before we jump all over this!
posted by Pollomacho at 2:32 PM on April 21, 2003


dejah420 : Good on you!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:59 PM on April 21, 2003


let's get more facts before we jump all over this!

Thanks for your comments, Pollomacho. Well said.
posted by hama7 at 5:13 PM on April 21, 2003


Part of the problem here is that there is a significant segment of the population that considers the female breast to be a sexual item only and does not consider that its real purpose is to provide the best possible sustenance for babies. Unfortunately, many of these people have responsibility for making and/or enforcing laws, hence the need for women to hide themselves away to perform a perfectly natural, totally non-sexual act.

dejah420 - go for it and good luck!
posted by dg at 5:18 PM on April 21, 2003


In Texas, Sodomy between two men is illegal. However, screwing a cow is simply frowned upon.

In Summary, Texas is nuts.
posted by benjh at 7:34 PM on April 21, 2003


I don't think the issue with these pictures was sustenance. The issue seems to be whether or not a child was exploited when simulated breastfeeding pictures were taken with a weaned child. They didn't take the kid into custody for being breastfed but rather for the pictures that were taken. If a porn movie portrays a "nurse" erotically sponge bathing a "patient" is it thus not porn because it simulates a healthy, clinical event? So why would simulated breastfeeding come under a different heading? What if it was the 4 year old in the photos? I can't really do anything but speculate as to the true motivations behind the actions by authorities though, after all I've only read one article and seen one grainy picture.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:22 AM on April 22, 2003


The issue seems to be whether or not a child was exploited when simulated breastfeeding pictures were taken with a weaned child.

We don't know whether they were simulated, since it depends on what they mean by "weaned". In many European countries, it's very common for children to continue to breastfeed long after they're eating solid food (well past the age of four in many cases). A child can be said to be weaned when breast milk is no longer the child's main source of calories, but that doesn't necessarily mean that regular breastfeeding is completely finished.
posted by biscotti at 8:57 AM on April 22, 2003


The issue seems to be a cutural bias against nursing toddlers. Considering the well-documented nutritional, emotional, developmental benefits of extended breastfeeding, I'm sickened to hear people suggest that it's reasonable to think that kids of x age or size shouldn't be nursing.
posted by sudama at 9:14 AM on April 22, 2003


Breast-feeding in a time of war
posted by homunculus at 9:58 AM on April 22, 2003


To clarify, my comment was meant to state the same sort of thing as sudama's. Breastfeeding a child of this age isn't unusual or unhealthy by any means.
posted by biscotti at 10:07 AM on April 22, 2003


Why does it matter if the kid is standing or not? For God's sake, my husband's wacky Aunt breast fed her son until he was SIX! Should she be arrested for just being odd? It still made sense for that kid, is it okay but ONLY if she doesn't take a picture of it?

This makes me sick. Damn, but I wish I could join you Dejah. I would protest until the idiots realized that breasts are first and formost tools for feeding infants. Their secondary and least useful purpose is to get men excited.. This is a prime example of narrow fundamentalism and cultural rigidity getting in the way, yet again, of common sense.

I read a billboard today in SF for the SF Commonweath club that says "if Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers now, would he be prosecuted as a terrorist?"
I say "yes," and that quote and this whole sad story are scary examples of how Big Brother is taking over everything, despite the fact that Republicans generally say they want the government out of your life (except in the bedroom, religion, and other incredibly private areas of your life.)
posted by aacheson at 1:50 PM on April 22, 2003


I would protest until the idiots realized that breasts are first and foremost tools for feeding infants.

From the Texas Department of Human Services site (they run both nutrition programs and child protective services):

"It is recommended that breast milk be served in place of formula from birth through 11 months"

From their policies for State run Child Nutrition Programs (CNP):

"Breast milk may be served in place of fluid milk in the CNP. Breast milk may be served at meals, snacks, or other appropriate times throughout the day."

Texas DHS guide on feeding infants (pdf)

Obviously the Texas DHS finds breast feeding to be dirty. Damn those narrow minded fundamentalists who jump to conclusions without doing any research into their decisions! I bet all Texans are just stupid, bible beating, rednecks just because I'm pretty sure that's what people say about them! Like I said, once again, let's try not to jump to conclusions with the tiny shreds of information we have.

We don't know whether they were simulated, since it depends on what they mean by "weaned".

I'm going by what I read, which is no more or less than anyone else read. The parents themselves said it was simulated feeding of a weaned child, no, I can't be sure that they didn't mean partially weaned or fully weaned or that they gave it a couple of cheerios in a bowl of breast milk for its meal, but all I read was that it was simulated feeding of a weaned child. Regardless, since when did Peru become part of Europe?
posted by Pollomacho at 2:29 PM on April 22, 2003


I'll grant that the weaned, not weaned issue comes into play...but not during the intial reporting stage. It's a red herring. Better said, the Eckerd's employee and the police who took the report and request further investigation, had no way of knowing how the child was being fed.

Just the *sight* of a toddler nursing was enough to warrant a police report and an investigation. That is the real point that has breast feeding advocates up in arms. (Myself included.)
posted by dejah420 at 3:49 PM on April 22, 2003


I live next to Richardson, their police force it not what I would term a country cop force, they're pretty city minded, imho. If the case has been dropped by them, then they saw it as most have commented here. From my run-ins with them, they are pretty stern.

Ever think it was CPS that went too far? Seen that a lot when children are involved, out of the police's hands.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:01 PM on April 22, 2003


Not a fan of Richardson: the police who now are reportedly perturbed that their case was dumped.

The four photos in which Mercado is seen with her forearm closely covering her chest, for instance, Wakefield described thusly: "Mercado is in the photograph topless and touching her breast." In two others he notes that the older boy was "touching his genital area." Mercado told Wakefield, and anyone else who cared, that the boy had a rash and was constantly scratching himself there. She produced a tube of prescription medication to prove he was being treated for the problem, police reports show.

Did not see this follow up, my bad.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:35 PM on April 22, 2003


Pollomacho: Clearly, Peru's not part of Europe, I was just pointing out that if it's not uncommon in some parts of the world, it may not be uncommon in other parts of the world, that's all.
posted by biscotti at 5:42 PM on April 22, 2003


It's true that the weaned/not weaned issue could not have fully been determined simply at a glance. However, the picture, even in grainy reproduction, makes it clear that the child is a toddler. In American culture, the breastfeeding of toddlers is seen as an aberration.

What was the Eckerd clerk supposed to do? He/She has been told: "Look out for strange pictures of naked children, or you will lose your job and possibly get in trouble with the police." He/She has probably also been told, "if you aren't sure about something, but it strikes you as a little odd or a little off, contact a supervisor or the police and let them decide."

Then the ball is rolling, the bureaucracy has to react to itself, et cetera. This whole thing is really tragic and seems really full of fear rather than common sense, but the problem seems to be a lot more complex and thorny than that awful story of the Canadian mother on Continental Airlines.

Still, if I were a nursing mother in Texas, I would join the nurse-in, because I do think that those are the kind of things that can change the paranoid sexualized views of women and children as objects of male desire into views of women and children as subjects and actors in their own lives -- as humans.
posted by jann at 12:12 AM on April 23, 2003


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