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Washington Sniper Background & Working on Senator Schumer

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Date: Tue Nov 26 2002 - 13:25:02 EST

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Good People & People of Faith

This message contains info on:

1. The Washington Sniper - Comments by Dr.Warren Farrell.
2. Meeting Senator Schumer's staff - Interested in Reform.
3. Jessica Elgie - On trial in Buffalo.

1. The Washington Sniper - Comments by Dr.Warren Farrell.

Child Without Dad; Dad Without Child: The Making of a Killer

November 18, 2002

by Warren Farrell, Ph.D.

A prison can be thought of mostly as a men's center.  More precisely,
a center for fatherless men. John Allen Muhammad and John Lee Malvo,
the D.C. area sniper suspects -- both raised without their biological
dads -- are among the latest additions.

Children raised without their biological dad are more likely to join
the military at an early age, as did John Allen Muhammad. They are
more likely to have temper tantrums; Muhammad was known for temper
tantrums. And they are more likely to commit homicide and
suicide. Both Johns have, in essence, it appears, done both.

We associate crime with poverty, but a boy or girl raised without a
biological dad is more likely to become a criminal than a child
growing up in poverty.  "Biological" is key.  During 13 years of
research for Father and Child Reunion, I discovered, although I am a
step dad and not a biological dad, that step dads do not seem to fill
the void experienced by so many children who have little or no contact
with their biological dad.  John Malvo had a quasi-step dad figure in
John Muhammad -- but no contact with his biological dad.

Children raised without their biological fathers are more vulnerable
to being recruited by a strong substitute dad -- be it a gang, cult,
religion or a final solution.  When Nazis sought young recruits they
sought boys raised without dads -- especially those raised by dominant
and protective moms. Both John Allen Muhammad and John Lee Malvo were
vulnerable to being recruited by the strong cause of a religion, and,
in Malvo's case, the strong leadership of Muhammad.

When these vulnerabilities are magnified by child custody battles and
divorce wars, and especially the vulnerability of masculinity --
after-divorce, have gasoline near a match. The strength of
masculinity-after-divorce is a facade.  After divorce men are ten times
as likely as women to commit suicide.  Men's weakness is their facade
of strength; women's strength is their facade of weakness.

Women's biggest fear after divorce is economic deprivation; men's
biggest fear is emotional deprivation. The law attempts to help women
reduce their economic fear, but does not help dad reduce his emotional
fear.  Instead, it exacerbates it: the legal bias toward children being
with their mom increases a dad's feelings of emotional desertion and
uselessness. Muhammad's biological son, Lindbergh Williams, now 20,
identified the two experiences he felt were so stressful to Muhammad
that it caused him to "just snap": the military and Muhammad's loss of
his children.

A man without someone to love after divorce has the four ingredients
most likely to make him prone to suicide: the feelings that no one
loves him; that no one needs him; that there's no hope of that
changing, and the inability to express those feelings. A man prepared
to commit suicide is a man with nothing to lose by committing
homicide.  If he is angry with someone he can find, he has someone to
kill. If he cannot find his particular source of anger, he gets less

John Allen Muhammad was just such a man. According to John Mills, the
Tacoma attorney who represented Muhammad in his custody battle with
his ex-wife Mildred, Muhammad had heard Mildred had fled from Tacoma
to Maryland with the children.  Muhammad was trying to track her down
to serve her court papers so he could also be with his children.  He
had been trying to find them for more than a year.  Doubtless the
frustration and anger finally exploded.

Obviously the solution is not to let men like this have their
children -- it is to prevent our sons from becoming men like this.  After
divorce, the process starts with doing everything legally possible to
have children raised by both their dads and their moms.

Even after divorce, children who are most emotionally stable are ones
with about equal contact with both parents. Children do best when they
are exposed to both of their parents about equally, even when one of
the parents is considerably imperfect (the exceptions are child
endangerment and consistent bad-mouthing of the absent parent).

Why? Growing up is about discovering oneself, and the child's self is
both of its parents.  Children who have only one parent after divorce
seem to feel rudderless -- as if they are in search of the other half of
themselves.  They act out by being anti-social, bullying and being
bullied, being aggressive, overly sensitive to criticism, doing worse
in school in every academic subject, being sick more often-in brief,
doing worse on all twenty-five of the major areas of measurement:
academic, social, psychological and physical health.

The immediate solution for Muhammad and Malvo, if convicted, is prison
or death.  One way to prevent such snipers of the future is for society
to encourage the father involvement that creates more emotionally
stable children. These children will in turn become more emotionally
stable parents who can put their energy into raising children, rather
than divert energy and, in the case of men, catalyze anger by fighting
just to be a father.


Warren Farrell, Ph.D. is the author of the international bestsellers,
The Myth of Male Power and Why Men Are The Way They Are, as well as
Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say and Father and Child Reunion.  He
is the only man in the U.S. ever elected three times to the Board of
Directors of the National Organization for Women (NOW) in New York
City.  He has taught at the School of Medicine at the University of
California, San Diego, and currently resides in Carlsbad, CA. Visit
his website at

2. Meeting Senator Schumer's staff - Interested in Reform.
The following from Mary Jo Marceau-Hawthorn, our PR person,

Joe Hamm, legislative assistant to Senator Schumer.

Dan M., professional family counselor and a former employee of
Catholic Family Services contracted by CPS, accused of sexually
molesting his daughter.

Tim Starkey, a former machine operator currently disabled and accused
by CPS of sexually abusing his step daughter.

Herb, a friend of Mr. Starkey and supporter of his who drove him from
Oswego for this meeting.

Myself (Mary Jo Marceau-Hawthorn)

I began the conversation on the need for accountability in CPS and the
power this agency has in the court room.  Mr. Hamm asked for specific
examples of the lack of accountability and we all contributed our

Then we talked about the need for family court reform, in specific the
guarantee of our constitutional rights in the family court room.  We
also discussed the need for family court reform due to the separation
of families and other consequences in family court, the unfairness of
having a judge make these life changing decisions for families.

Mr. Hamm asked many questions specific to Dan's experiences and Mr.
Starkey's.  They shared their cases in great detail.  We urged
Mr. Hamm that Mr. Starkey's situation needed immediate attention.

I stressed the constitutional bearing on all of these matters and when
asked what the Senator could do for us I said enforce the constitution
as it pertains to life and liberty, the right to raise our children.

I also tried to stress with Mr. Hamm that children are suffering
needlessly from the arbitrary placement of children according to the
courts and in many cases CPS.  I mentioned that 2/3 of the cases where
children are separated from families are unfounded according to the
NCCANS.  I left him with the 20 Years of CAPTA article by Dammon and
the TCB Article at CPS Watch.  The TCB Article looks closely at the
state reported stats and how these stats show that more children die
in the State's custody than with parents.  Mr. Starkey mentioned
taking the alleged perpetrator of abuse out of the home instead of
removing the children. We also discussed the lack of family
preservation efforts and the monetary incentives to place children.
Also discussed was the immunity of reporting allegation of child abuse
and the abuse of this type of reporting.

I am afraid we didn't get equal parenting in the discussion as I would
have liked but Mr. Hamm was asking so many questions of the gentlemen
with me that the time just flew.  We were talking constantly from 1:30
till 3:00 pm.  It was a good meeting!!!  Much better than any I have
gone to yet.  Mr. Hamm showed a general interest.

Mr. Hamm said that the late Senator Wellstone would have been a great
champion for our issues in Congress.  We plan on a forum with the
Senator when he is in Rochester on his next visit.  I told Mr. Hamm
our goal is congressional hearings and that we would make ourselves
available to talk to the Senator at any time.  Mr. Hamm suggested the
forum and we will remain in contact with his office to set this up. I
would like others to join us during this forum.  We need as many as
possible to give all sides of the issues.

God surely blessed us yesterday.  The weather was perfect for our
meeting at the downtown Rochester Rundel Library where we meet at
noon.  Talked for one hour and then left and arrived promptly at 1:30
to meet Mr. Hamm. They know about Senator Clinton's refusal to let us
in her office for a meeting and were quite surprised.

Have a great day and onward with reform! I feel we are gaining
momentum!  Lets keep the ball rolling.

3. Jessica Elgie - On trial in Buffalo.
The following from Mary Jo Marceau-Hawthorn, our PR person,

Was in the Buffalo News Papers and has been on going now for two
years.  She has been separated from her family as the result of her
son's death which resulted from the ingestion of a chemical detergent
and a disgruntled sister in laws complaint of alleged child abuse to
CPS.  The remaining three children where placed in foster care.

Jessica agreed to leave her home so her children could come back
and live there with Bill.  No criminal charges were filed until this
last year, yet Jessica has not been able to live in her home for two
years and has limited contact with her children. Bill has been active
in the VOCAL forum and fully supports Jessica as a good parent.

Jessica and her husband Bill are professionals, she is a school
teacher and he is a chemist.  The criminal trial is the one I will be
attending and Jessica would love support.  I am going because of the
interest VOCAL has in terms of the CPS involvement in this case.  Very
similar to Mr. Starkey's in the way that CPS has pushed this to the
criminal level and will probably exert their power over this family no
matter what the outcome.  

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