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No doubt about this one

August 18, 2008

In my last post I equated withholding proper psychological treatment from a disturbed child and actively cultivating their delusions with child abuse.  Some might say this is a stretch.

Well not this one.

It seems Ria Ramkissoon’s son Javon didn’t want to say “amen” after a prayer.  This was a sign of disrespect that Ria felt needed to be remedied.  If her child wasn’t going to obey her and show respect for their cult, I mean religion, then he just wasn’t going to be allowed to eat.

For two days.

Did I mention that little Javon was 18 months old?  Gee, imagine that. A toddler who doesn’t do exactly what they are told!  When Javon died, Ria sought help from other members who prayed for a message from god in the form of a resurrection.

It didn’t happen.

Instead Ria stuffed her son’s body into a suitcase with mothballs and dryer sheets.  The group left the suitcase outside of their Philadelphia house when they relocated to New York.  Ria’s attorney now says that the group she belonged to was a cult .  Ya’ think so there, Sherlock? He claims she was brainwashed and not responsible for her actions.

What tripe.

Religious extremists don’t just come in the form of the Taliban, or crash airplanes into buildings.  It isn’t just suicide bombers and dictators with WMD’s that we should worry about.  This child was starved to death by his mother because of her radical beliefs, fueled by a manipulative cult of quacks.

I’m disgusted.

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Child Abuse?

August 18, 2008

Let’s say your child’s behavior undergoes some changes.  They are restless, withdrawn and they spend little or no time with their friends.  You’re maybe worried they’re on drugs, but then they tell you “I See Dead People”.  Unless your kid is Haley Joel Osment, you get them psychological help IMMEDIATELY, right?.  Ok so maybe Haley Joel Osment’s parent’s should have suspected drug use, but I digress.

According to a new show on A&E entitled Psychic Kids, we should help these troubled children understand and cope with their “gifts”.  Now to be fair, I haven’t watched any episodes yet, but just clicking through the episode guide is enough to make my blood boil.  At best, these kids are being exploited in the name of making a buck off the current popularity of paranormal “reality” shows; at worst, these children are being denied proper care.   The adults in their lives, including the so-called professionals are, by allowing their continued indulgence in these delusions, preventing these kids from getting better.  This is akin to letting a child with peanut allergies continue to eat PB&J sandwiches!

Even M. Night Shyamalan‘s fictional mother in the movie got it right – Bruce Willis’ character was a child psychologist after all.

This is a perfect example of how bad information can lead to people, in this case children, getting hurt.  I’m going to watch this show and hopefully talk to some experts about this – Stay tuned

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Hello, world indeed!

August 18, 2008

daunt·ing [ dáwnting ]

disheartening: likely to discourage, intimidate, or frighten somebody

That pretty much sums up how I feel at the moment.  As in creating this blog is daunting.  I’m staring at an empty page with no idea what to write, uncertain if I can summon up the ideas, let alone the wordsmithing required to place them down on…uhh…my keyboard.

Hmmmm…

Still staring back at me. It’s not gonna go away.

I read a great comment by Wil Wheaton on his blog that essentially said “Just start writing!” and fix it later.  His point being that it is much easier to fix problems on a full page than it is to fill up a blank page.  But Wil, what if my whole page turns out to be crap?  What if I turn out pages of crap?  Ahh. There goes that nasty fear, that intimidation, that daunting-ness.  Hearing Dr G say “you’re writing in passive voice”!

But what is fear?  In this case, I guess it would be that I get horrible comments criticizing my writing, my style or my facts.  Worse yet, what if no one even reads this?  Ok, ok, I have a little writer’s anxiety.  So where do these fears come from?

The unknown.

I’ve never written for an audience before, so I have no idea what to expect.  A bit of fear is natural, I suppose.  That’s kinda of why I wanted to write to begin with – to take away people’s fear.  Provide people with facts and hopefully they won’t be afraid.  But providing information alone isn’t enough.  Each of us should carry around with us what the late Carl Sagan called a “baloney detection kit“.   What does it mean?  I’m not going to begin a discussion on critical thinking, partly because it is late, but mostly because there are lots of good sources on it.

Am I being naive?  Probably.  Can I make a difference?  I hope so.  Look, I have no idea where this is going to lead except hopefully, to the truth.  At least the truth as we can know it.  Whether it be print media, television, radio, the internet or even <shudder> at school, the public is fed a lot of wrong information.  Information on everything from global warming to stem cell research.  From alternative energy to alternative medicine.

Knowing what to listen to and more importantly HOW to listen certainly can be a daunting task.

Thanks for reading TheBIOT.

Joe