You Have To Make Them Bleed

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Sam Wilkinson

According to a faithful reader, I'm Ordinary Times's "least thoughtful writer." So I've got that going for me, which is nice.

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  1. Avatar greginak
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    Hmm I’ve done hiring in social services and worked in some version of SS for 20+ years. Plenty of people don’t get hired. I’ve certainly known 5 minutes in to an interview that many had no hope. But there is truth that the pay is so low that lots of places can’t be very choosy. I hired a poli sci major and history major when i worked at teen shelter, but both ended up being very good workers because they had lots of related skills.

    I’ve seen the pix of AP’s kids bruises, it looks like obvious abuse and was clearly reportable. Yes some parents believe in that but it is becoming more rare.Report

    • Avatar Sam in reply to greginak
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      Being able to say that “Sometimes, bad candidates ARE turned away,” only illustrates the point I was going for. A job paying better would (presumably) attract better candidates and more competition. At the rates my agency was paying, we were barely above McDonalds.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Sam
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        Not necessarily disagreeing but hiring entry level workers is often a bit of crap shoot. The pay is way to low in general. But any place hiring entry level people had better be doing a lot of supervision and training, that is where you will make a good worker. Most people in human services can’t make it a career without going to grad school which is real problem.Report

  2. Avatar Michael Drew
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    Not that I disagree with anything you wrote but… of course Charles Barkley is saying that. What else is he going to say?

    I’m fairly confident a late number of people around the country, not just in the South, are also saying it, so it’s not really here or there. But it’s Charles Barkley. He’s going to say that.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew
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      large numberReport

    • Avatar ScarletNumbers in reply to Michael Drew
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      To be fair, Tony Dungy said the same thing, and he isn’t wont to say things for the sake of being outrageous.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew
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      And Michael Wilbon now. Which… fish Michael Wilbon. I’m done with Michael Wilbon now. I don’t even believe he believes what he’s said today (Google it) all that strongly. I guarantee he doesn’t switch-whip his kid. I think he’s just a particularly big fan/booster of AD. AD is TBTF, at least for Michael Wilbon. AD is Tom Brady for everyone who resents quarterbacks and watches football to see pretty boys get their blocks knocked off by real men. Fish Michael Wilbon.Report

  3. Avatar Will Truman
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    This is one of those issues where the perspective I read from people involved in the system are so different. Sam argues that if we cared about kids we would become much more proactive in acting. My Hit Coffee coblogger believes that our system is already too active and takes troubled families and as a solution tosses dynamite in their living room. Greg sees problems on all sides.

    I wouldn’t oppose paying CPS workers more in hopes of attracting a better lot, but “If we gave a fish about children we would do more more more about abused children really puts me on edge, as I fear more money for dynamite in living rooms.Report

    • Avatar Sam in reply to Will Truman
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      That’s a conversation/argument I’m willing to have.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Will Truman
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      CPS case worker should not be an entry level job. There is to much responsibility, to many choices, to much to know. The job i do now requires a masters and least two years post grad school experience and we wouldn’t hire anybody who only had that little experience. And we don’t do CPS work, we have no emergency responsibilities, no need or ability to take children out of homes. To a degree it is with inexperiences or bad workers that will lead to an over active system. There are of course other reasons why a system is over active including racism, poor priorities and an overbearing CPS.

      Not speaking for Sam but there are lots of other jobs in the social service system that aren’t CPS that do have a major effect on kids. When i was a therapist of mentally ill children we hired entry level workers who might spend up to 30 hours with the kids. Most of the workers had some education in mental health or some related field. They had the most contact and the least experience. What we were doing was supporting families many of whom had CPS contact but were raising their children. Those families needed, and usually wanted, all the help they could get. When i worked for teen homeless shelter then we hired who ever seemed decent and what was all we could do. I was able to hire a felon and people still in college there so i guess that was a positive.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Will Truman
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      Oh and another thing. From the pix of the bruises that is a pretty clear case of abuse even if some people don’t’ believe it. That would be consistently considered abuse around the country. But in that case the mom can have the child while AP will have some combo of education and punishment, it wont’ entail taking the child into foster care. Assuming i haven’t forgotton some details.Report

    • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Will Truman
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      @will-truman

      As with many things, I wonder how much the dynamite stories are more confirmation bias coupled with “those are the stories that are told”.

      The family that gets CPS intervention, that stays together & gets better… we never hear those stories. But dynamite in the living room, with weeping parents & children – whoa Nelly! That is going on the evening news!Report

      • @mad-rocket-scientist Sheila argues that it’s the other way around: When the system misses something horrific, everybody notices. When it busts up some poor family without a megaphone, nobody notices. To be fair, her job puts her on the opposite side of the table as the CPS, so she’s not an unbiased observer, but the comparatively light standards she outlines for removing a child from a home for pot use makes me cringe.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
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        Oh, yeah, the misses are also evening news fodder, which I think incentivizes CPS to run wild with the precautionary principle in the aftermath.

        I do agree that the light standards where drug use is concerned is unfair (alcoholics can be bad parents forever, but smoke one joint…). My parents were old hippies & smoked weed regularly. It didn’t make them bad parents, but knowing how quickly the state would put me & my sister in foster care if they were ever busted… That is not something an 8 year old should have to worry about.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
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        I wonder if there’s some data (for once, I’m not exactly sure where to look). My impression, from my own personal experience, is that the number of CPS misses is orders of magnitudes higher than the number of CPS false positives. However, the false positives look so bad — taking kids out of their homes for what looks like nothing — that people tend to focus on those, particularly since the misses remain largely hidden. Some quickly discovered news stories suggest I’m not wrong: it takes a lot of misses for anyone to notice.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
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        MRS,
        the only “nearly lost a kid without cause” story I know of (as in personally), is one where the kid was honestly turning up with /serious/ broken bones as a toddler. CPS was RIGHT to be raising eyebrows.

        CPS works for some things — mostly physical abuse. But there are places where parents wind up killing their kids, after what they’ve done to ’em — just to make certain they are kept quiet.Report

  4. Avatar Murali
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    I’m going to push back a bit. The mere fact that Patterson went too far in administering corporal punishment does not itself, or in conjunction with other cases of excess, render all or even most attempts at corporal punishment abusive.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Murali
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      That is true. It is possible to use corporal punishment in a non-abusive and effective manner. It does require a bit of skill and common sense.Report

      • Avatar Murali in reply to greginak
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        Common sense is the key here. There will always be stupid in the world. I mean, what was Patterson thinking taking a switch to a 4 year old, or for that matter, anywhere other than a person’s buttocks? Thinner, rattan canes (called rotans) are safe for use almost everywhere except face and genitals. They are too light to bruise. At most, they raise light welts which leave no permanent damage.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to greginak
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        @murali Is corporal punishment using those canes typical where you live?

        In general if you leave marks that will often lead to problems with CPS here.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to greginak
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        I got around to following the link. Interesting. Very different from here. It would never fly in the US.Report

    • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to Murali
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      I believe corporal punishment is one of those things that’s very difficult to get right. I imagine there’s a limited window, developmentally, where it can be applied both efficaciously and non-abusively. My understanding is that it’s most appropriate to give a very young child a swat on a well-padded bottom primarily just to get their attention.

      The main problem is that it’s a response to the kid doing something that has you pissed off. And that’s precisely when you’re most likely to take it too far.Report

      • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Road Scholar
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        @road-scholar

        I think I agree. In theory, I suppose corporal punishment can be okay, and in some cases is. But it would be easy to get out of hand.

        I’m not going to jump to quick judgments here. I know people who do spank, for example, and seem to do so lovingly and not in anger. But one reason my wife and I choose not to have children is because both of us are afraid that we might lose our temper with them. (Some people, trying to reassure me, helpfully say “well, knowing your limitations is the first thing to being a good parent.” They’re right, but she and I don’t really want to be reassured. We simply don’t want to raise children and that’s one of the reasons.)Report

      • Avatar Reformed Republican in reply to Road Scholar
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        I grew up receiving spankings, and I spanked my son when he was younger. However, if I had to do it all over again, I am not sure that I would. Perhaps in very limited circumstances (not that it was something I relied on all the time to begin with). I grew up thinking it was normal. When I look at it now, I am not sure if it is okay.

        Of course, if someone else grows up being switched until bruised and bleeding on a regular basis, they probably think that is normal too.

        I guess the important question is “how effective are other means of discipline.” If a child can be effectively disciplined with other methods, then corporal punishment can (and probably should) be avoided.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Road Scholar
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        Reformed Republican,

        My father was prone to spankings and The Belt. He rather enjoyed (it seems to me) using a switch on the family dog. (One of his methods of discipline when our dog ran away was to call the dog back then beat it with a switch. Even as a 5 year old this struck me as counterproductive!)

        When I was in the role of The Punisher, it never really occurred to me to use physical methods to discipline my kids. That isn’t to say I never got angry with them or used some pretty harsh language (which I regretted at the time and to this day). Thing is, tho, my father wasn’t trying to hurt his kids by hitting us. He was just doing what he thought was right with what he viewed as an effective means of punishment which had (for him) the stamp of Cultural Approval on it. If he was wrong in acting that way, his failure strikes me as more about a lack of awareness than an attempt to deliberately harm us. Which I have no problem forgiving him for, all things considered.Report

      • Avatar Murali in reply to Road Scholar
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        @reformed-republican

        Conservatives would say the same thing about gay parents. Being raised by a gay couple would be very likely to inculcate the value homosexuality was acceptable and normal. For social conservatives, this itself would constitute abuse. That a given family arrangement normalises for the child behaviour that the rest of society finds abhorrent cannot itself justify the larger society placing restrictions on those family arrangements.Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to Road Scholar
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        It’s funny. I’m the “stern parent”, at least the one that won’t cave at all on punishments and handles most major problems (although my wife has an ability to inspire guilt in children that is award-winning).

        I’ve never actually spanked my kid (he’s 17 now). My wife has, but the last time he was…9? And even then, it was more swats to get his attention. The skin didn’t even turn red. And frankly, we never found it all that effective — it got drug out maybe a dozen times over his life, and honestly was just a way of highlighting “this is important”.

        As he got older, grounding and withholding of privileges was simply far, far more effective. And sarcasm. He was never a fan of a sarcastic dressing down, after he hit his teenage years.

        Now days, well…even at 17 I have to make the occasional threat, but it involves changing the wi-fi password or confiscating his phone. Because, as I tell him, I pay for BOTH of those and if he can’t bother following a few simple rules (“Do the handful of chores you have, which takes you less than 15 minutes a day”. “Tell us where you are going, be back when you’re told to be back, and don’t go anywhere else without telling us” and “Don’t have people over when we’re not home”) I’m certainly not going to spend money on his entertainment, and he can pay for his own phone.

        Which, when he enquires, I point out that if he’s going to pay his own bills — car insurance comes first. 🙂Report

      • Avatar Sam Wilkinson in reply to Road Scholar
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        Murali,

        The very obvious difference being that gay parents do not inflict bleeding welts and deep bruising. Unlike taking up weapons against a child.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Road Scholar
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        Obviously, we need to make NFL parents act more like gay parents.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Road Scholar
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        The research on corporal punishment is pretty unequivocal: it has a pretty wide range of negative consequences for development, not many (if any) good ones that couldn’t be obtained through other means, and the potential for abuse and overuse is great.Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to Road Scholar
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        What Chris said, right there ^^^

        I’ve popped a light swat a couple of times, but not as a punishment… as as “I need your immediate full attention, right now, as you’re about to hurt yourself/your sibling”… because kids don’t fully engage in listening at the drop of a hat and aside from bodily hauling them away from whatever the danger is, sometimes you don’t have a lot of time to reason things out.

        But as a punishment, I don’t think it’s as effective as any one of a number of other options, it’s just easier.Report

      • Avatar Murali in reply to Road Scholar
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        @sam-wilkinson

        1. I’m not talking about caning your kid till he bleeds. The vast majority of parents in Singapore who do cane their kids manage to not draw blood. And a good half of all parents in Singapore can be said to cane their children. The issue is not whether what Peterson dealt to his kid is abuse, but whether other parents who are far more judicious in their use of corporal punishment can be said to abuse their children. Of course, the fact that you are a person who tends to see what happens when corporal punishment is used stupidly, but seldom otherwise makes you likely to form a more jaundiced view of the practice as a whole. But that would be like my dad who sees what happens when consuming recreational drugs/alcohol goes wrong similarly wanting to ban all recreational drug use.

        2. You are missing my point. For the pro-CP* parent, having a bruised buttock is not necessarily a harm. In some circumstances (especially when the child has done something heinous) the bruised buttock is a benefit because it sends a reminder every time the kid sits down and is thus highly conducive to the moral instruction of the child. If the child then grows up to believe that CP is an acceptable tool for disciplining one’s kids, from the pro-CP parent’s point of view, all the better. In order for the state to interfere with all instances of corporal punishment, it must lean on justifications that a significant proportion of the people will not find acceptable. And this is situation mirrors what happened in the past (and perhaps still occurs where same sex couples cannot adopt) with gay couples and the resistance to affording them rights to adopt. Furthermore, unless it can be shown otherwise, arguments that purport to show that particular bodily injuries in certain given situations constitute harms are just about as epistemically justified** as arguments that purport to show that being accepting of homosexuality is a harm.

        *pro – corporal punishment
        **which is to say that they rely on popular opinion, intuitions and a whole lot of begged questions and bald faced assertions.***

        ***Which incidentally brings up a deep problem for people who don’t care to justify moral beliefs to people who are already committed to them. If we cannot, in principle, justify to a slave owner why abolition is justified, it is very likely that we are committed to at least one of the following conclusions:

        1. Slavery may or may not be justified, but we are nowhere near being anywhere near certain about the answer one way or another

        2. Slavery is wrong for us but not wrong for a southern plantation owner

        3. All moral statements about the rightness or wrongness of slavery are false.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Road Scholar
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        “The main problem is that it’s a response to the kid doing something that has you pissed off. And that’s precisely when you’re most likely to take it too far.”

        My wife and I argue about this, though with regards to raising our voice with Mayo (17 months). She will often raise her voice in anger, frustration, and/or fear. It is not a controlled response. I will raise my voice when necessary. My response is intentional, purposeful, and rarely* emotional. When I push back on her yelling, she says, “But you yell, too!” I try to explain to her that it’s not yelling that is the issue, but how and when and why the yelling is taking place. If you are raising your voice or giving a swift swat to the rear in order to deliver a message that could not be delivered in other ways, I think that’s okay. If you’re reacting emotionally, it’s probably not.

        * I can remember the two times I lost my cool with Mayo. In part because they shook me so much that I can’t unremember them.Report

      • Avatar Mo in reply to Road Scholar
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        @gabriel-conroy It makes me wonder if corporal punishment, like running for political office, is best done by those that have no desire to use it.Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to Road Scholar
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        @kazzy

        If you’re reacting emotionally, it’s probably not.

        Eh, there’s “not okay” and there’s “not okay”. It’s to be avoided, but sometimes the kids are gonna make you nutbar.

        I make it a point to discuss *why* I lost my temper, and why it’s something to be avoided, but you try and bottle all that stuff up all the time and you might pop.

        Unless you *are* a robot, anyway.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Road Scholar
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        @patrick

        Great point. I am fairly robotic and my job is to not be annoyed by children. But we’re human. Using it as a teachable moment is great. “I yelled because I was frustrated. I was frustrated because blah-blah-blah. I shouldn’t have yelled, but here is what I need you to understand.”

        What I should have said is that reacting emotionally is non-preferred and shouldn’t be the norm but by itself is not abusive or otherwise evidence of awful parenting.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Road Scholar
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        “I am sorry I yelled at you; I should not have done that, but I was frustrated because…” is how I began many a conversation about what to do and what not to do with my son when he was young. Usually something about me having to ask him to do/not do something multiple times.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Murali
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      @murali, my feeling is that corporal punishment should be illegal because its assault and battery. The mere fact that we are dealing with a parent-child relationship rather than another type of relationship like husband-wife, employer-employee, or two drunk strangers in bar does not make corporal punishment just or ethical. In all of the other situations, the law does not allow the use of violence unless self-defense is involved. Parents really have no need for self-defense against their kids in most circumstances so they have no reason to use violence. Neither does its alleged pedagogical benefits because many other people claim that they needed to resort to violence to teach somebody a lesson. Parents shouldn’t hit their kids for any reason.Report

      • Avatar Murali in reply to LeeEsq
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        @leeesq
        Other people have no business teaching other adult strangers in that way. Parents ought to have a pedagogical role and are and ought to be given latitude in how they raise their children. Parents are not their children’s social equals (at least not while the kids are minors)and the rules that ought to operate between social equals do not necessarily exist between social superiors and inferiors. Especially, when the former are specifically tasked with the proper socialisation of the latter.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to LeeEsq
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        Parents can fulfill their pedagogical role without resorting to corporal punishment. At least in the United States, we officially hold that its illegitimate to use physical force to punish adults for a lot worse than what most kids do. Even in states with the death penalty, the official policy is that the punishment is death and not the pain that accompanies death. In theory, the death penalty is supposed to be as painless as possible. There is simply no justification for allowing parents or people acting in a pedagogical role towards children the right to use physical punishment as a teaching method. It doesn’t work and it goes against the general principles of modern society.Report

      • Avatar Murali in reply to LeeEsq
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        @leeesq

        You seem to be making a lot of assumptions about what the right values are. Sure, if your substantive values lean towards a more egalitarian view and you believe children should be “free spirits” and should feel free to talk back to their parents etc then corporal punishment may be unnecessary and even counterproductive. However, if your values lean more toward a hierarchical ordering and you think children should be seen but not heard and should respect and fear authority etc etc then corporal punishment would seem to be more necessary to inculcate those values. But, the state cannot antecedently suppose that egalitarianism is right and hierarchy is wrong. Nor can the state assume the reverse. If basic social institutions are to be justified to everyone in a pluralistic society, said institutions cannot burden particular groups so severely (and it is a severe burden) by preventing from raising their children as they see fit.

        To bring this a bit close to home, ordinarily, lopping off an adult’s foreskin without his consent is assault. Yet, I doubt you would want to label it as such when it is performed on babies. In fact, I suspect that you would find that at least some of the calls to have it labelled as such possess an anti-Semitic flavour. You wouldn’t be wrong about that. The same applies here. The standard for when interference is considered appropriate is when the adult does something that would ordinarily be clearly and sufficiently* detrimental to the future adult selves of children. a bruised buttock or some welts on a person’s forearms and thighs seem to have negligible lasting detriment to the adult selves of current children.

        *sufficiently meaning that it is not merely possible but clearly the case (according to most of the values held by people) that putting him in the foster system would be better.Report

      • Avatar Mo in reply to LeeEsq
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        @murali That seems to assume that corporal punishment is the only way to prevent kids from talking back, to respect their elders and that their parents are not their social equals when they are children. That strikes me as completely false and based on stereotypes of children raised in the West. It seems more fair that use of corporal punishment contradicts the lesson that Peterson was trying to teach his son, which is not to hit other people and that violence is nopt the solution to solving disputes. Hitting someone as punishment for the child hitting someone else strikes me as counterproductive at the very least.Report

      • Avatar Mo in reply to LeeEsq
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        Also, @murali, in the US, Asian parents are the ones least likely to use corporal punshiment.Report

  5. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    The argument I always heard for low-payed social services/social work jobs is that the pay is kept low to make sure that the people who want to be there want to be there for the right reasons. I heard being a home health-aide uses a similar calculus to determine pay.

    Now I am not sure that I believe this totally and there are lots of holes that can be poked into the argument because people have all sorts of reasons for taking particular jobs/careers and sticking to them but this is what I’ve heard.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Saul Degraw
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      Never heard that. FWIW….its crap. SS providers would love to pay people better so they can get more staff, train them better and keep them in the field. It sucks to have good staff leave because they want to own a home or raise a family of their own someday and will never afford it by working in SS.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw
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      Thats a crap theory. The reason why social service providers are low paid is simply because there is no political will to pay them well just like their isn’t much will to pay other government workers well. Its why social service providers are over-worked and under-staffed. Somebody can be an excellent social service provider even if they are only doing it for a paycheck. Lots of people become doctors for some not very noble reasons and end up as fine doctors.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Saul Degraw
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      @saul-degraw I’m not sure who makes this argument, but it’s a bit disconnected from the system.

      I’ve worked with hundreds of social service agencies over the years, and I can tell you the reason the pay is low is far more mundane: The pay is low because depending upon the agency it is generally mostly or entirely funded by government dollars, and tax payers find them very low priority. I mean REALLY low priority.

      In years where there are unexpected costs or dips in revenue, the first place legislators look to take money from Peter to pay Paul are social services. And when revenues return, they are rarely brought back to where they had been a year prior because other bright shiny things tax payers really care about want that new revenue for themselves, and legislators with reelections coming up don’t want to disappoint them.

      And even though some of the employees who come and stay do so because of their passion, the truth is most do because no one else will hire them. Most agencies I have worked with would eagerly fire and replace half of their staffs this year if they had the funds to hire people that would be any better.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Saul Degraw
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      Wages in these sectors are low because that’s where the supply and demand curves meet. Employers cannot just set wages arbitrarily low without it affecting the pool of applicants available to them. Wages for home health aides are low because just about anyone can do it with a high school diploma and a crash training program.

      Insofar as social services workers not being in it for the money has a connection to pay, the causal relationship runs the other way. If they’re willing to pass up higher-paying jobs because of the intangible benefits they get from working in social services, then the government is able to offer lower wages and still get the applicants it needs.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Brandon Berg
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        Somewhere in here lies the difference between getting workers and getting workers who can handle a complex job. Low wages can get people, but not necessarily the people that you want.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Brandon Berg
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        Pay in SS is low because those agencies are almost all non-profit or charities. They have little money in general so pay is low. If they get gov grants then lesson number 1 is the feds don’t hand out giant buckets of money to SS agencies. Most SS agencies struggle to some degree with getting good enough workers and if they could offer more they would. But they aren’t selling products that they can just increase the price and rarely have much they can cut.

        SS often lose good workers because they can’t afford to buy a house or have a family unless they have a spouse making good money. I’ve seen it happen many times. Or the other option is they go to grad school so they can move up the ladder, which is fine as far as it goes.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Brandon Berg
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        Synthesizing this with Tod’s comment above, paying low wages for subpar workers (or a mix of subpar workers and people who really, really aren’t in it for the money) is another equilibrium. As I said, employers can’t set wages arbitrarily low without affecting the pool of available applicants, but if they’re willing to accept a lower caliber of applicant, then that’s an option.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Brandon Berg
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        I think that the wage/quality spectrum is the one Tod was referring to.Report

  6. Avatar Gabriel Conroy
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    says:

    For a slightly different view of the Adrian Peterson case, but a view that’s still consistent with what most here are saying: http://drx.typepad.com/psychotherapyblog/2014/09/more-nfl-scandal.htmlReport

  7. Avatar Dr X
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    says:

    “One wonders though if the standard for interactions between adults is as strenuous. My guess is that it wouldn’t be, that one adult mercilessly punching another without drawing blood would still be considered criminal assault, nevermind one adult whipping another with a switch.”

    I can tell you that in Illinois, an adult doesn’t even have to lay a hand on an adult to be charged with assault. Getting up in someone’s face and shouting at them can get a person arrested for assault. This isn’t merely theoretical. Police will arrest someone for this, though if the victim doesn’t wish to press charges, the police generally go with the victim’s wishes. Here’s the relevant part of the Illinois statute:

    (a) A person commits an assault when, without lawful authority, he or she knowingly engages in conduct which places another in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery.

    And what is battery under Illinois law?

    “(a) A person commits battery if he or she knowingly without legal justification by any means (1) causes bodily harm to an individual or (2) makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with an individual. ”

    Practically speaking, number 2 means if you merely touch another person while angry, you can be arrested for battery. I recently evaluated a middle aged man who was arrested for touching someone on the chest during a shouting match at a fraternal order board meeting. The charges were dismissed in court when the victim said he didn’t want to testify.The circumstance was two 60ish-year-old men up in each others faces, one called the police, and when he found out the other could be arrested for battery for merely touching him on the chest during the shouting match, he said: arrest him. But the victim thought differently of the matter after he had time to think it over.

    By these standards of assault and battery, I’d guess that a large majority of parents could be arrested for assault and battery at one time or another.Report

  8. Avatar Citizen
    Ignored
    says:

    My son at 4 had a stubborn desire to sprint to nearby roadways at any given time. I don’t know how you can explain the pain involved from getting hit by a car to a toddler. I myself was run over when I was 2.

    I don’t necessarily endorse negative reinforcement, but will say that pain associated with roadways changed that particular behaviour subjectively.Report

  9. Avatar Kazzy
    Ignored
    says:

    First, I’ll point you to Chris Carter’s comments Sunday morning. To paraphrase, he said he understood his mother did what she had to do raising 7 children alone, and that she no doubt loved her children, but he thankfully learned that some of what she did was wrong and vowed that his children would learn the same.

    Second, child abuse is one of those crimes where I feel the long-term best interests of the child need to dictate the course of action. There should be consequences for Peterson, provided the accusations are proven true (which I believe they will be). But if those consequences exacerbate the harm done to the child, we are simply doubling down in pursuit of bloodlust. I don’t know much about Peterson off the field and know even less about his family. But if jailing him makes his child’s situation worse off, than it is the wrong course of action. Our focus NEEDS to be on creating as ideal a situation as possible for the child. Ideally, Peterson will be given the necessary counseling, support, and supervision to be the father he should be. If he can’t be, then other routes need be pursued.Report

    • Avatar Patrick in reply to Kazzy
      Ignored
      says:

      But if those consequences exacerbate the harm done to the child, we are simply doubling down in pursuit of bloodlust.

      Sometimes eggs will be broken. Ray Rice’s wife probably wishes the Ravens had not cut her husband’s contract.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Patrick
        Ignored
        says:

        Yeah, bloodlust can be distinct from pour encourager les autres. That sucks for the individual family members in a given incident, but there is at least the possibility that outside observers might say “I never want those consequences to happen to ME”, and so avoid certain actions to begin with.Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to Patrick
        Ignored
        says:

        I don’t know that deterrence should be a major goal when it comes so tightly coupled with collateral damage, but deterrence is part of the justice system and whenever you’ve got family-related malfeasance, you’re going to get collateral damage.

        Murky waters.Report

      • Avatar Lenoxus in reply to Patrick
        Ignored
        says:

        I agree that deterrence should be a priority (in fact I think it should be almost the entire point of the criminal justice system, rather than “punishment” to correct some sort of karmic imbalance), But in some cases “les autres” to consider are other victims, especially children. You want them to report abuse, but if it always means the abuser is jailed that can be a disincentive — “If I tell someone then it will be my fault Dad went to jail”. Of course that emotional dependency is yet another thing that makes family abuse so horrific. I wonder if there’s a better solution that somehow deals with both problems at once.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Patrick
        Ignored
        says:

        You want them to report abuse, but if it always means the abuser is jailed that can be a disincentive — “If I tell someone then it will be my fault Dad went to jail”.

        I totally get what you are saying, but would think that can cut both ways – that is, I imagine “If I tell someone and Dad DOESN’T go to jail, he’ll kill me next time for real” could be just as powerful a disincentive to tell anyone.Report

  10. Avatar Shelley
    Ignored
    says:

    Every funding request that goes before the state legislature or the U.S. Congress should have to first pass the test: is it more important to spend on this than to spend on Child Protective Services and foster care?Report

  11. Avatar Dr X
    Ignored
    says:

    “Sometimes eggs will be broken. Ray Rice’s wife probably wishes the Ravens had not cut her husband’s contract.”

    Which is a warning to abused NFL wives: turn in your husband and your financial life will be devastated. It isn’t a nontrivial matter for advocates for abuse victims. Potential for financial ruin is a major reason abusers aren’t turned in.Report

  12. Avatar Kim
    Ignored
    says:

    It’s not “Southern” parenting to beat children.
    It’s far more ScotchIrish. Of course, traditionally, it was okay to beat your kids unconscious. And if they wound up dead, well, they were just too weak to take it.Report

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