Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Grapes of Pique.

The airwaves are ablaze in Indiana this morning. In the kind of story that gives local TeeWee reporters a veritable journalistic chubby, a family of migratory Pennsylvanians was pulled over on their way to California.

Acting on a phone tip from an unnamed family member, Hoosier state police opened the back of the rental moving truck and found five of the couple's seven kids, four of them minors, huddled in their coats and sleeping bags among the stacks of boxes. Oh, and eighteen cats, too.

Two kids were riding up front with Ma & Pa Joad; talk about being mommy and daddy's favorites...

Of course the parents are now facing four counts of neglect of a dependent, a Class D Felony, which strikes me as a little harsh. I'd say that perhaps we could somehow make sure they didn't reproduce, but the damage is well and truly done on that front. However, is this really something for which we need to strip people of all their rights?  I mean, if you can't pack your own kids across country like cargo in the back of a truck in the middle of a Depression winter, whose kids can you do it to?

44 comments:

Spud said...

What have we come to when poor people are harassed for just doing what they must in order to survive. It was not uncommon for kids to be riding inside the camper shell on the back of a pickup truck when I was growing up. So what's the difference between this and a large truck ? When they make rules from an Ivory tower, things get all eff'd up for the poor.

Tam said...

It's For The Children. And Safety. But mostly For The Children.

Nobody thinks through the possible consequences of these laws when they get passed.

(Out of curiosity, though, how would reactions differ if the story had been about the load shifting and suffocating a couple of the kids?)

Joseph said...

My parents would be multi-time felons if time shifted by 30 years.

Anonymous said...

"(Out of curiosity, though, how would reactions differ if the story had been about the load shifting and suffocating a couple of the kids?) "

But it isn't.

Honestly, I don't see much wrong with it, especially if they were switching out. That way you would only really have to stop to fill up the gas tank, and deal with food I/O (unless you packed enough food and mason jars). It gets you there faster, and means you don't have to worry about hotels.


Seriously, any hotel I've ever been to would declare that they need 2-3 hotel rooms, and it would be bloody expensive.

-HSR47

TBeck said...

If you want to stuff a bunch of children into a vehicle with no seatbelts, airbags, or safety equipment, your name needs to end in "School District".

Tam said...

TBeck,

Heh. :D

JohninMd.(help!) said...

Heh. "The Grapes of Wraith", circa 2012. At least we don't have the Dust Bowl to go with it. YET....

Leatherwing said...

"They knew it wasn't right, but I think they just did the best with what they had at the time. Of course, it's not good enough and they're going to jail," Bowling said.

"Not because it's the best thing for the children. But because we can. And it makes us feel superior."

Reporter left off the last quote.

Brian Turner said...

I need to apologize to my daughter posthaste. All those times we stuck her in the back of the pickup with the dog and some coloring books.

Thing is, she really liked it back there.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

It's Obama's Depression, but we have to deal with it.

Brian said...

Its the eighteen cats that makes it bad. God what that must have smelled like.

Woodman said...

So I guess the job offer is gone now.

We just added to the roles of Indiana homeless an entire family. Assuming they are ever reunited.

With at least four people of driving age I have to assume that either finances didn't allow for a second vehicle, or there was no second vehicle that could make the trip.

I suppose the totally correct thing to have done would have been to throw themselves on government aid in place and not try to look for work. Oh, and who the hell is hiring in Southern Cali anyway? I could see them going to one of the Dakotas or Utah or something.

mikee said...

As a small child in a family of 5 kids (at the time, 6 later), I was transported on vacations to the beach by my parents, some 200 miles. My younger brother and I shared the well behind the back seats in a VW bug, while baby sister rode in mom's arms in the passenger seat for 4 hours. Big brother & big sister got the back seats, the lucky, pampered swine.

When #6 came along, so did a blue and white VW minibus. I recall with glee years of leaping from seat to seat while mom stoically drove us to sports after school. There may have been seat belts in there somewhere, but only as good ideas.

Dirt Sailor said...

I'm sure the cats will be much happier being put down by strangers in the shelter than they would have been living with their family. Just like all those kids are so much better off in foster care- or homeless shelters, I suppose, for those of age.

Anonymous said...

The evidence is clear that in case of an accident, kids properly secured in appropriate seats fare better than kids free to become projectiles.

Kids obviously can't make that choice for themselves.

The harder question is if the short-term increased risk here for a different(better?) life was better for the kids than not moving at all. As Tam pointed out, opinions on that could vary with the outcome. But you don't know the outcome when you make the choice.

I suspect that many folks here have seen situations that made them think "those parents are f---ing idiots for doing that to their kids." Where do you draw the line?

sobriant74 said...

Apparently they draw the line somewhere in Indiana.

SewerDweller said...

I want someone to explain to me, ideally one of the government-employed turd-munching morons(redundancy alert) who jacked up this family, how this entire cluster-f*** was to -anyone's- benefit?

Seriously? Mom and Dad are going to jail, the kids will be scattered to the four winds, and the 18 cats will, most likely, be 'euthanized for thier own good'.

How did this huge expenditure of my tax dollars, which is going to go on for the next -twenty years- most likely, improve the life anyone involved, other than the government employed turd-munching moronii?

rickn8or said...

"Acting on a phone tip from an unnamed family member...

Well, that's going to make things awkward at the next family gathering.

"...but they had no way of communicating with the parents in the front of the truck..."

Mmmmm, a pair of Go-Phones??

And what Dirt Sailor said about the cats and kids.

Jeffrey Quick said...

Moving to CA on a job LEAD?! 'Scuse me, this isn't the Joads, it's the Snopes and Kallikaks, and if the boys froze their weewees off in the trailer, it would be chlorination of the gene pool.

Ygolonac said...

I didn't even think of comparing it to a school bus (it's been that long since I was a passenger in one), but rather an RV - no windows or appliances/restroom, but still...

The last couple of big rental trucks I used actually had a connecting door between the front and the cargo box - of course, this was about 15 years back, and the biggest ones they had available. ("Hmm, why are the air shocks taking so long to fill?" (looks back at the houseful of books and magazines all boxed up))

Anonymous said...

I had to sleep in coats and blankets in the back of a Vega from Indianapolis to Wyoming!

I demand the waive of the statute of limitations and prosecute my father and mother immediately!

Oh, wait, if you send my father to prison he would have EVEN MORE time to watch the Weather Channel and organize his insurance papers. My mother would be subject to early release by driving the guards crazy with talk of my brother's kids.

Shootin' Buddy

pax said...

Ya know, it would be a better use of tax dollars to just buy this family a car with seat belts, and send them on their way.

Will said...

"...but they had no way of communicating with the parents in the front of the truck..."

What, pounding on the cab/body wall won't be noticed?

When I was a kid, if a cop had caused this much hassle/cost for the local gov't, he would have also been looking for a job.

Damn do-gooders will be the death of the USA.

KM said...

I suspect that many folks here have seen situations that made them think "those parents are f---ing idiots for doing that to their kids

Not nearly as much as I think, "those parents are f&%king idiots for having kids."
If those tots 'n cats were in a $300k RV nobody would have batted an eye.
Exact same safety systems but you get a pisser.

Anonymous said...

Tam said "Out of curiosity, though, how would reactions differ if the story had been about the load shifting and suffocating a couple of the kids?" Answer: I really wouldn't care. Social Darwinism at work.

perlhaqr said...

I guess the big difference between the moving van and the RV is the potential for carbon monoxide poisoning. RVs are usually built with a mind towards dealing with that issue, whereas exhaust fumes have been known to fill the boxes of moving trucks.

On the other hand... if they don't have a spare car and driver, and they need to move to find work, what else are they supposed to do?

global village idiot said...

Folks like this make it harder and harder to make a compelling case against eugenics.

gvi

Anonymous said...

CITIZEN! CITIZEN! Hear Ye the Voice of the Party:

Children belong to the State. All responsibility for their welfare lies with the parental units. Failure to conform to all pertinent child welfare regulations, explicit or made-up-on-the-spot, will be severely punished. All rights to the Kinder units belong to the Glorious People's Democratic Republic of Change-n-Hopestan.

That is all.

Anonymous said...

I guess they should have taken along some instruments and started a polka band.

Joe in PNG said...

Here in New Guinea, they'd be wondering why there aren't more people packed in. Typical long distance transportation here is a flatbed 3 1/2 ton Toyota filled with as many people as they can cram in. The posh ones have a roof.
As for car seats, I don't think I've ever seen one in use here.

Aaron de Bruyn said...

It's not like the kids were on the roof rack... ;)

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

Folks like this make it harder and harder to make a compelling case against eugenics.

I am trying to wrap my mind around the concept of being arrogant and uncaring enough to write those words, and I'm failing pretty badly.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

(Unless you're talking about the cops and the idiot relatives who turned them in, but even then you're going a bit too far for my liking.)

Anonymous said...

All 50 states have child seat laws covering infants. 48 states have laws regarding booster seats and restraints for children. It's not just Indiana.

The problem I see in this case is that the enforcement methods chosen did nothing to help the safety and security of the children -- which one would hope was the intent of the law.

Windy Wilson said...

Joe, are you back in new Guinea? I remember you from the forum on Nation of Riflemen.

As for the family, what if the occupants of the cargo box had all been over 18? I mean there were two parents, and seven kids, only four of whom were minors. Put the four in the cab with the licensed driver and Voila! No problem with CPS.
I wonder what family member dropped the dime (quarter?)?

Anonymous said...

Anyone who leaves Pennsylvania for the green fields of California these days already has serious problems. Even the illegal aliens are leaving. The Canadians are driving around California on their way back to British Columbia from Phoenix, Arizona.

Don M said...

A minor fact: 59% of underage prostitutes in CA are farmed out by their caretakers in the foster care industry.

Of course most foster care industry parents are legit. The ones that are not are a big part of the crime industry. The government seems to be unable to distinguish between the two.

Anonymous said...

A faceless bureaucracy is much better equiped than thier parents to treat children with callous disregard.

Netpackrat said...

Even my great grandpa didn't make any of the kids ride in the back of the truck when he moved the family cross country during the depression. That honor was reserved for his son in law. The one that agreed to marry his daughter at the point of the 1897 Winchester shotgun that resides in my safe.

Anonymous said...

Hope all you like, but the intent of most law is to punish and create revenue.

Buzz said...

I'm with Joseph and Spud.

That's how my family went somewhere when I was kid: Three kids in back of the truck, sleeping bags and blankets, and enough reading material to keep us occupied between gas stops. If we REALLY had to pee off-cycle, we'd beat on the front window of the topper, hoping it was loud enough to transmit through the air space to the the back window of the truck. God help you if your piss request was within 30 minutes of the previous gas stop. -Dad isn't known for his patience or tolerance.

The only difference from "the evil criminals" was Mom's dogs rode up front, in the AC.

We had plenty of space to spread out and sleep as we wished. (although opening the topper window seemed to "help" the sleeping effort)
Nope, we weren't riding first class, but we were happier back there than cramped in the back seat of a car, since extended cab trucks hadn't had their market exposure yet.

Just because something's stupid or not uber-safe doesn't mean the gubmint needs to pass a law and penalties of a "do something!" law rarely improve the situation.

Joe in PNG said...

Yep, I'm back in the land of the hot and humid.

Justthisguy said...

But what about teh Kittehs? Y'all know how partial I am to Kittehs, even though most of them are assholes, just like teh Huminz are.

I was really bummed out when reading about the sinking of HMS Hood, in which none of the bandsmen (my people) and none of the kittehs (also my people) got out.

Don said...

It's not the same thing, quite, but I crossed the country with three of mah cuzzins in the bed of a 1979 Ford F150 Ranger one summer. (It was OK, there was a camper shell and I had a sleeping bag and paperbacks.)
Woulda been better with seat belts . . . and a muffler . . . . and we weren't desperate; grandpa just wanted us to see Mount Rushmore and Yellowestone.

I honestly wouldn't do the same with my kids today unless I thought I had no other choice (I wouldn't do it so they could take a trip to Yellowstone, for instance) but I did survive.