On Wednesday, July 27, 2016, I strolled through the main gate of the jail into the blistering heat of a late July afternoon. Walking into a furnace never felt so good. I thank my dear friends and family for their perseverance to secure my freedom. I was told that certain county employees were either too confused, disorganized, misinformed or immature to carry themselves like professionals, and so did what they could to hold up my release. Imagine: The Mean Girls Club conducting — or rather obstructing — the business of Northampton County.
I was thrilled to be going home. I had company, I would enjoy a decent meal and I could catch up on my favorite TV shows. I knew there was plenty to do the following morning but that was fine because I was up for it. For weeks now, I’ve been working my way back to normalcy and momentum continues to be on my side. Even as I’m poised to burst through the barricades erected by my detractors, I have not lost sight of my long term goals. Mark those words.
I don’t tolerate bullies. I’ve come across enough of them to know how they think and how best to turn their tactics against them. It’s never enough to simply confront them. The thing to do is tear down their support structures. A spider without a web won’t catch many flies.
Over the course of my short blogging career, I might have mentioned that I kinda like my kids. As long as I am doing what I need to do for myself and them, no one should be meddling in our affairs.
I might have also mentioned that kids need their fathers. Any system that would alienate a concerned father from his children should fall like a house of cards in a wind tunnel.
My five days away? Aside from inconveniencing me, they meant absolutely nothing. To any one. Incarceration has its purpose, but in my case, it is useless as either a teaching tool or deterrent to behavior that displeases those who would put me in my “place” as it were.
I’m as unassuming and easy going as you please, but I will never be cowed by ostentatious displays of what some consider power. Rather, I’ll consider the cowardice at the root of such behavior and counteract any credible threats.
The concept behind the original “Jail for Justice” post was simply to draw attention to under-reported and systemic bias exercised by court officials against fathers caught up in the divorce/custody/support complex. I had been so outraged by the flippant, petulant and often silly actions of the opposing parties and even judges in my case that I felt compelled to exercise my First Amendment right to tell it on the mountain.
That first post was cathartic and conspicuously free of the kind of spin typically employed by bad lawyers to obfuscate facts that either don’t support or even contradict their positions. Though no judge might hear it, I knew I had made a convincing case without having to lie under direct or implicit oath.
Regardless, my ordeal continued long after the original “Jail for Justice”. As events unfolded, it seemed reasonable to carry on the narrative in subsequent posts under the same title with added enumeration. I allowed these to take on a life and meaning of their own. The posts became less of a protest and more of a chronicle of judicial and attorney misconduct from the perspective of a literate — and literal — victim.
The posts ultimately relate a modern day attempt to railroad a man into a vicious cycle of debt and incarceration that threatened to tear him away from his children and impair his ability to provide for them emotionally and financially. The idea that a system ostensibly designed to protect mothers and children was, in this instance, used to persecute a father simply for speaking truth to power is absolutely repugnant. In a sense, it’s a good thing that it happened to me. God knows how many men have experienced this who could not have effectively expressed it via the written word.
And so, I sum the series up as follows: As I have on multiple occasions already, I call on the media to tell the stories of fathers who love and do for their children, even with a legal deck stacked against them as tall as a skyscraper. Tell those stories, lest my next series of posts bears the title “Jail for NO Justice” because in the cases of the men I met on that unit, that would be more appropriate.
Oh, and the “punchline” mentioned in the title? There is none; the term is used ironically. There’s nothing funny about this kind of nightmare for any father anywhere who ever loved his babies.