Wednesday, May 20, 2009

If you wrote the story

If you wrote the story of Daniel Hauser in an English class where you were given the job of writing a piece of realistic fiction, you would flunk. It is too bizarre to believe. The latest twist is speculation that Daniel and his earth mother have fled the country. Having fled reality some time ago, this is perhaps a natural development, so to speak, in the plot.

Daniel is an “elder” and “medicine man” in the Nemenhah Band:

"My son is not in any medical danger at this point," Colleen Hauser testified at a court hearing last week. She also testified that Daniel is a medicine man and elder in the Nemenhah Band.

The who? An elder? A medicine man? Apparently, with this outfit:

Nemenhah was founded in the 1990s by Philip Cloudpiler Landis, who said Thursday he once served four months in prison in Idaho for fraud related to advocating natural remedies.

But boys and girls, for an upfront payment and a nominal monthly stipend for Philip Cloudpiler Landis, you too can probably qualify to be an elder and a medicine man:

Nemenhah members are asked to pay $250 to join and a monthly $100 fee.

Although Daniel probably got the junior high rates until just recently.

Speaking of junior high, did you know that Daniel was home schooled, boys and girls? Why is this not a surprise? Apparently, our young elder has so benefitted from the tutelage of his earth mother that he can barely read:

Not only could Daniel neither read nor understand the affidavit he signed saying he preferred "native" treatments over chemotherapy for his Hodgkin's lymphoma, but he also could not read. Period. When tested by his teacher for entrance into a charter school, according to court documents, Daniel, who had been home-schooled, could not identify the following word:


Let Spot amend that; he can’t read. As PZ put it so well, this kid suffers from the dual afflictions of Hodgkin's lymphoma and idiots for parents.

Regrettably, the former may be more curable than the latter.

Child protection services and the court agonized over whether to help this kid out, and in a fifty-eight page opinion the judge held that Daniel was indeed in need of protection. But here’s Daniel Hauser’s lawyer’s frame for it:

Daniel's court-appointed attorney, Philip Elbert, called the decision unfortunate.

"I feel it's a blow to families," he said. "It marginalizes the decisions that parents face every day in regard to their children's medical care. It really affirms the role that big government is better at making our decisions for us."

Right Phil. The court just trampled all over the Hausers’ right to watch their kid die for their mail order religion. And just exactly who are you representing, anyway? It sounds like Daniel needs a genuine guardian ad litem, not some collaborationist jerk who is willing to sell Daniel down the river. It may come as a surprise, Phil, but a lot of people think that “big government” is better at making this decision than the reality-challenged earth mother and her illiterate son who has, as the court found, only a marginal understanding of what is going on.

Spot just hopes that Daniel is found, gets the treatment he needs, spends some time in foster care, and learns to read, so that he can figure out what dipshits his parents really are.

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