Thanks for bringing the 2 girls in NYC up. That is very wrong. But, the 5-year-old is another case. What could they do? The teachers are not allowed to discipline the kids, and the parents won't. The Assistant Principal had her hands tied, as did the cops she called. Had they restrained her some other way, say a bear hug, the mother and the press would have been just as outraged.

The problem is undisciplined children and an over-litigious society. When I was that age, my butt would have met up with a piece of wood for throwing that fit and for being so disrespectful.

(Thomas D.)


The stories recounted are not all that surprising and, in my opinion, a direct consequence of America's growing paranoia, nurtured deliberately by the current Administration for its own political benefit.  We are becoming a surly garrison state; the populace is treated to blood and circuses in lieu of political leadership; and outrageous debt-financed conspicuous consumption is encouraged to distract citizens (the plebes) from what is actually going on: economic stagnation, loss of civil liberties, and disastrous foreign adventurism. 

Just go to the nearest mega-shopping mall one Saturday and spend the day watching your irascible fellow Americans waddle by, lugging shopping bags full of junk purchases they probably do not need and which they financed by borrowing against the equity of their homes, on the way to their monstrous gas-guzzling SUVs, done up to look like combat vehicles with a polished shine. Nothing, but nothing, and no one anywhere in the world is to interfere with their self-centered comfort search or their short-sighted consumption binge--which they occasionally assuage with maudlin bursts of banal charity dumps that soon fade from memory or concern as a new Reality TV series or celebrity tempest catches their limited attention span. 

Oh, yes, let's not forget how many of them proclaim themselves God's chosen, in a march of the morons toward the Armageddon they seem so earnestly to desire and believe in. And every one of them voted, if they bothered at all to vote, for the anointed of God, who is clearly just a step below actual divinity (and there are those, I fear, who actually confuse him with some member of the Trinity): George W. Bush, President of the United States by the Grace of God. 

They believe (wrongly) that George the Dragon Killer has high values, and will keep them safe from bushy-bearded towel-heads who are evil and out to get us... a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. However, I have to admit, Mr. Bush didn't bring us to this point all by himself, nor did America turn out this way solely because of him. He just rode the wave and encouraged it, like any good prophet, and that, I suppose, is why I find it all so unforgivable. 

It did not have to turn out this way, but we did little to stop its happening.

(Teddy G.)


Ted Rall is a joke, no pun intended. A certain segment of society did everything they could to destroy the family and any institution that supported it. Well, you reap what you sow.

When it comes to these school issues, its simple. Everyone is afraid of getting sued so you get bizarre behavior from schools. Case in point:  The burrito gun. Instead of going to the boy and simply saying "can I see what's in the bag", the school freaked out.

Ted Rall wants to blame the bogeyman, Big Brother. Well, I do not believe they will be knocking on my door or my neighbor's or anyone that I know. I do not know one person that has ever been falsely accused by police/government. Have Ted review Occam's Razor. You will find in law enforcement (it's a family member who did it), corporate deals (it's about the money), or any situation, this theory holds true. Maybe, just maybe these girls are guilty of something. If Ted knows for sure, have him go on Real Time and tell Bill Maher.  They can talk about that and high fructose corn syrup.

(Michael P.E.)


Is this really a post-9/11 issue or a post-Columbine issue?

(Irsabenda A.)


It is horrible to see our children handcuffed and jailed. I think this is the preparation for the police state and fascism that is on the way in this country. And you are right, people have become desensitized due to the war, all the President's orange alerts, fear propaganda, which we don't hear about anymore since the Presidential election. It's as if people are afraid to speak out.

(Khaliif S.)


I agree in principle with your evaluation of the case of the 16-year-olds. However, I believe that you are definitely off base with the case of the handcuffed student in Florida. In the latter case, the child was raging out of control because she did not want to take a math test.  She had already destroyed her classroom and had disrupted at least the administration at her school. The school called the police because talking did not stop the child and the school was afraid that if they restrained her, then they would be sued. Placing the child in handcuffs was a much safer way of restraining the child than "holding" her, as the much stronger police officer could easily, and very much accidentally, have exercised too much force during an outburst as the child tried to break free. Such action could easily have resulted in broken bones or dislocated joints when all that was needed was restraint until the parents arrived. [...] As it turns out, the parents are looking to sue anyway rather than either teaching their child self-control or looking for appropriate psychological or sociological help.

(Joe N.)


I believe a majority of the American public would be outraged to learn of the stories you reported... if they thought it directly affected them. In my opinion, the majority of the American public chooses to be preoccupied with other matters (e.g. important stuff like celebrity gossip); they aren't interested in being participatory concerned citizens (although they claim to be), unless they themselves will suffer. It is for this reason our democracy continues to elect politicians like the electorate; that is, those interested in serving themselves and their cronies... practicing the politics of gross irresponsibility.

(Charles L.)


Please keep up the necessary work of informing the public of the need to be outraged at this mistreatment of our children!!

(Richard M.)


I am 67 years old, so I've lived through a lot and seen many changes in the world and especially in our country, and so many of them are not good. I can only begin to imagine what these children are going through. 

I remember what I felt like at 6 years old when I was blamed for something that happened on the opposite side of the playground and the teacher used a ruler to swat my hand twice. It wasn't that the swats hurt that much or even that I was blamed for something I didn't do, but the real hurt was that the teacher believed the lie rather than believing me. Our grandson went through a similar thing about 4 years ago where someone wrote on the third-grade classroom floor with crayon & blamed him. It really hurt and humiliated him that the teacher wouldn't believe him when he told her he didn't do it. It's time we go back to believing a person is innocent until proven guilty, instead of jumping to the conclusion that they're guilty until or unless they prove themselves innocent.

(Carol F.)


I am an ex-patriot living in Spain and when I read some of the items of new America, it makes me want to vomit. Cases of Zero Tolerance that are published by the periodicals, and articles like the Children in Handcuffs article in your current e-mail, plus the ethnics and protocol which is demanded in our speech in not offending anyone, and most of all the lowering of American standards in not allowing religion or patriotism in the schools/courthouses/etc is approaching the heights of the ridiculous. The next thing is that some dumb goofhead will say that our coins are unacceptable. Please let us get off of our high horses and get back to the good old America that brought us to where we are. I don't like to see where we are going.

(Arthur R.)


I wonder if Ted Rall knows what was on these girls' computers. If not, I suggest he shut his pie hole. Does he remember Columbine and the other school shootings. Had somebody gone through Dylan Klebold personal belongings, perhaps that tragedy may have been averted. Typical liberal criticizing police, homeland security, etc. But he would be the first one in line ripping them a new one had these girls succeeded in bombing a restaurant or movie theatre. As for the five year old in handcuffs, so what. That is what's missing in a lot of these kids lives, strict discipline. Maybe scaring the bejeepers out of her might make her change her total-out-of-control, bratty behavior. Handcuffs and a little fear now hopefully will scare this kid straight and save her a lifetime of imprisonment later.

(John C.)


I too am sorry that there is no fervent outcry concerning these atrocities. But unfortunately there is no outrage on these kind of stories anymore, because we are not surprised or shocked by them.   
And many of us are too busy trying to stay afloat financially and out of the scrutiny of our corrupt government--whether it is local, state, or national--ourselves, to worry about those unfortunate others we read about who have had their constitutionally guarantied liberties yanked.
It sucks... but unfortunately it has now become every man for himself. My advice is man the lifeboats now, they will fill up fast. Some days I feel like the mouse in the trap... I no longer care about the cheese. I just wish my tail was free. 
(Michael G.)


Rather than being so worried about the law enforcement response to these situations involving children, where is your concern for the conduct of the "children" involved in these situations? Why are you not concerned with a teenage girl who expresses thoughts about suicide? Why are you not concerned with a 5-year-old girl who demonstrated absolutely abhorrent behavior towards an adult at school? You want to criticize the police who are having to deal with obvious failures in parenting. The children in the cases you refer to are indeed victims--victims of a society that makes excuses for their conduct and never teaches them about personal responsibility.
[...] Let me guess--the fine, upstanding citizen from Compton, CA who led the police on a high-speed chase while endangering his neighbors and their children (maybe they stay out late in Compton) was also a victim of excessive force? If you think he was, get in line with the  black leaders who will no doubt reinforce the learned first response to their fellow disenfranchised followers when you do something incredibly stupid like run from the police--"Throw the race card, throw the race card!!!" Two words--personal responsibility.
(Ricky P.)


I know you think you are evenhanded in your treatment of most subjects. Though I find that not to be true, I usually enjoy reading your perspectives on many issues. But, in your article on Children in Handcuffs, citing Ted Rall's rant and backing it up with only the NY Times reporting is lazy, one-sided journalism.
On the subject of the five-year-old in Florida, Dr William Douglass' account at, which follows, gives quite a different perspective on that incident. One wonders what a little digging might turn up on the other incidents cited to discredit Rall's rant.
(Bill R.)


The reason why no one speaks out in America about children being tasered and handcuffed is that the adults in America fear that the government will do the same thing to them if they do speak out.

(Steve J.)


I think you're missing the point with this vignette. Post-9/11, nobody wants to have another terrorist act happen on their watch. Not to mention that time and again, with these school shootings and other acts of violence, friends and family of the perpetrator continually say that they should have heeded the warning signs.

So while I feel horrible for the kindergartners being handcuffed and 16-year-old girls being held without access to a lawyer or being formally charged, you've got to ask yourself, why are these people engaging in this sort of behavior to begin with? In the case of the kindergartner, the parents are at fault here. Parents need to have a talk with their children that the violent things on TV are not to be mimicked in real life. (Frankly, children of that age shouldn't even be seeing that crap on TV, but that's a different discussion for a different day.)

And the 16-year-old girls, why would they have any reason to write about suicide at all? Seems to me that if they feel they must write about that subject, they need some psychiatric help and their parents need to be in better tune with what's going on in their children's lives.  This doesn't come down to a complacency issue or the fact that no one seems to care at all. I, as a concerned American, am deeply outraged. Not at the girls, but at their parents who don't appear to be doing their jobs, parenting. Or the people that appear to feel that certain ethnic and religious groups are "justified" because of America's foreign policy or because of our business allegiances. People like Ted Rall are just wrong, because they don't understand terrorism, terrorists, or how they think. Furthermore, they have absolutely no idea how to combat the threat. 

The only antidote to terrorism is catching them by any means necessary, before they do their dastardly deeds. If that means capturing a few innocents in the meantime and making them uncomfortable for awhile, so be it. People are smart, they know what types of things show up on the radar of terrorist hunters and if they decide to play with fire, they just may get burned.

(Jeff Y.)


"Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."
Samuel Johnson- 1775
Combine end-justifying "homeland security" with evangelical "Anything I do to you is ok because God is on my side" and you have a truly frightening mixture.

(Rick M.)


You ask "What's wrong with us? Have we become so complacent...?"

I believe your questions indicate complacency on your part by not recognizing the breakdown in manners and decency and of good behavior by so many people in our society. Children and adults who do wrong and exhibit antisocial behavior always seem to have apologists.

I saw the video of the five-year-old girl in Florida. I believe her teacher tried talking to her. I was amazed at how restrained and calm she was. She was in danger of being injured. If she had been injured, no advocacy group would have spoken for her. I refuse to accept that the risk of being injured by a student is part of her job description and is what she receives a paycheck for. Children with behavior problems are not only being kept in school, but their parents are demanding that they be placed in "regular" classes.

I do not like to children in handcuffs, but this girl needed to be restrained in a manner that did not injure her and whoever was restraining her. Our teachers, our police, and our healthcare workers are all in a position of authority and may be required to use force to protect themselves and others. I see much evidence that they are restrained in all but exceptional circumstances.

I don't know you. It does appear that your commentary is an emotional response. Things should not be like this, but when parents don't raise their children well and adults don't respect each other, this is what happens.

(Ron V.)


It is interesting that you made your headline about the 5-year-old's temper tantrum and not the two 16-year-olds.
As to the 16-year-olds, their situation is abominable. Not only are they held for weeks without being charged, but to me it appears the way they obtained the "evidence" was unconstitutional. Has a lawyer presented that point? You are absolutely right, there should be a "march" or something to bring the case to all of America.
As to the 5-year-old, from what I saw on TV, she deserved what she got, i.e., the handcuffs. It was clear that unless restrained, she was going to continue doing damage and possibly hurt herself or someone else. Schools should not have to put up with that behavior. She should have psychiatric (not psychologist) help and not be allowed to return to school until the psychiatrist certified that she was under control.
(Dave R.)


You pose the question "What's wrong with us? Have we become so complacent--or so afraid--that we think handcuffed kindergarteners and indefinitely detained teenagers are business as usual?"

When the US government murdered 85 innocent American citizens in April, 1993 at Waco, TX, after torturing them for a month with Nazi torture tactics, the American public did nothing. This was a signal that the American public had turned into sheep. They have lost the will to defend their liberties, which they take for granted.

By the time they realize that their liberties are gone, it will be too late.

When the government fears the people, it is called liberty. When the people fear the government, it is called tyranny.



Your thoughts are marvelous. As you probably realize all too well, successful repression produces apathy rather than resistance. Resistance is silenced, co-opted, or crushed.

(William C.)


Actually, I find your end quote by George Wallace the most disturbing piece of info. How many more people do we have in office who feel this way? Possibly, this is why police have free reign to handcuff and stun-gun babies, to drag young girls into indefinite, unspecified lockdown without repercussions, and to increasingly behave like actors in a Clint Eastwood/Bruce Willis/Jet Li flick with us, the general public, as the target.

[Ed. Note: This is the quote she's talking about: "There's nothing wrong with this country that we couldn't cure by turning it over to the police for a couple of weeks." George Wallace, former governor of Alabama]


Don't scare the sheeple on the way to the slaughter... Baahaa, Baahaa go the sheeple. What do ewe expect them to do? Most can't friggin even read.

(Joseph D.)

Posted 05-16-2005 3:16 PM by Doug Casey


on 01-10-2008 3:18 PM

Last week's WWNK article on treating children like terrorists has solicited a flood of reader email

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on 08-11-2017 6:29 AM


on 08-11-2017 10:48 AM

Nice article