Written By: Anton Sawyer
In a dark room, with a single bright light hanging from the ceiling, a police officer starts the third hour of interrogating the suspect he has in front of him. This suspect is a tough cookie to break, but the cop knows it’s only a matter of time that he’ll get the confession he wants. I mean, how long can a six-year-old really last?
It seems that most Americans aren’t aware that the police are legally allowed to psychologically victimize children. Though that thought is horrible in and of itself, it’s only one piece to the overall story. Today I’m going to go to look at one of the most systemic—though common—elements which have lead us to many of the current back-and-forth struggles that plague our society as a whole: the indoctrination of children.
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Whether it’s putting complete trust in the legal system, believing that police officers are there to be almost “super-human” in their way to fight bad guys or making them dedicate their eternal soul to an invisible man that lives in the sky (even though the child can’t even fully explain what concepts like “eternity” truly mean), children are being barraged by a copious amount of bad information. Information which they will willingly accept because of the trust that children have in their caregivers.
Immediately there are going to be those who think I just hate religion and are looking for a new angle to ham-fist this into some sort of plausibility in an attempt to bring any faith down. I don’t hate religion in and of itself; it’s when people, power, and money become involved that it all falls to bits. In essence, a majority of organized religions have the same basis. Don’t kill, don’t steal, don’t lie, treat others as you would want to be treated, etc. In fact, I do like many of the teachings of Jesus Christ, and use some of those ideologies when it comes to exposing the deception used by the “kings.” It’s when you add in personal bias, money, and power, things go off the rails. On one occasion when visiting the southern part of the US I witnessed a fist-fight break out because one person identified as a Baptist, and the other person identified as a Southern Baptist. They both believe in God. They both pray and live the teachings of Christ. But because the leader of one group made it clear that their opposite group is engaging in utter blasphemy, and had been drilling this into the minds of the entire flock since their childhood, there was no way that either man would have been able to gain perspective.
The leaders of these organizations know this and know that indoctrinating children as soon as possible is key to the continued success of that branch of faith.
The strongest argument made by parents who raise their children in organized religion is that they want the child to share the same morality as their family unit. It’s this ideology that if you don’t pound your “truth” into the head of the child, they will not have any moral guidance and will end up raping or murdering someone. First off, if you need a book to tell you not to rape or murder people, then other larger issues seriously need to be addressed internally/mentally; the Holy Bible isn’t going to make a difference by itself.
Raising children in this way automatically forces the child into a very rigid “right or wrong” viewpoint about everything. Life simply isn’t that way. But when you take someone and condition them from the get-go, you get an adult that lives in absolutes. This absolute mentality is what has lead to many of the problems facing America today. You are with me, or against me. You cannot be pro-choice and own a gun. You cannot be homosexual and believe in God. I’m not saying that it should be made illegal to take children to church or enact some law that prevents a specific morality from being adopted by a family. What I am saying is that when you indoctrinate a child in such a way, when they become an adult, that rigidity stays. It makes the brain impermeable to anything other than what comes from a “trusted source.” What I do think we should do as a society is try to introduce children to a plethora of different religious ideologies. Once they’ve reached adulthood, even if they have adopted what the family does as a unit, they at least have the ability to see a perspective different than their own, and not immediately try to destroy it. I never understood how a grown-up could look at a child before the age of 10 who is getting baptized, typically infants, and can rest assured knowing that the child has a full understanding of concepts like “immortality,” “ the rapture,” and the essence of “free will,” all while knowingly pledging their eternal soul to a specific deity. Keep in mind this is also the same child that sometimes has to be reminded to “not put their finger in that part of the doggy.”
Knowing that children trust adults who have some kind of power, the next bit is going to come as a shock to many. As of June 1st, 2021 it is legal in all 50 states for a police officer to lie, cajole, or do anything they can to elicit a confession or a “proper response.” Though this is truly horrifying, there is hope. Illinois passed a bill at the end of May 2021 which would now make it illegal for police to influence children. Democratic Illinois Senator Robert Peters, one of the bill’s sponsors, made the intention of the law pretty clear. "When a kid is in a stuffy interrogation room being grilled by adults, they're scared and are more likely to say whatever it is they think the officer wants to hear to get themselves out of that situation, regardless of the truth." He continues, “police officers too often exploit this situation in an effort to elicit false information and statements from minors in order to help them with a case. Real safety and justice can never be realized if we allow this practice to continue." The bill, originally sponsored by Democrats Peters and state Rep. Justin Slaughter, passed with bipartisan support, with state Minority House Republican leader Jim Durkin being among the dozens of co-sponsors. It would seem that terrifying a child to gain a certain response would already be illegal, but surprisingly, it isn’t. According to the non-profit Innocence Project (an organization that works to exonerate those it believes to have been wrongfully convicted), both New York and Oregon have introduced similar bills. When you look at the numbers, the only emotions one could feel would be confusion and sadness that this is only being stopped in one state. A 2017 article published by New York University Law Review explained that children are two to three times more likely than adults to falsely confess to a crime. For Illinois specifically, the Illinois Innocence Project found that about one-third of wrongful convictions based on false confessions have involved minors.
Many will think that this entire article is a lie. That they’ve watched enough “Law and Order: SVU” to know what should, or should not, happen during an investigation. But I can promise you, this is true. In 2008 I had left my wife Lori* and had started dating a mutual friend of ours named Alexis*. The breakup was incredibly messy, and once Lori found out I was dating our friend, she took revenge. Alexis had two children from a prior marriage that she shared custody of with her ex-husband. The children would be there most weekdays but would be gone for the weekend. During the weekend when the kids were away, Alexis and I would smoke marijuana. Because I have Crohn’s disease, and Alexis has fibromyalgia, pain was a big part of our lives. Though illegal in our state at the time, we used the drug medicinally. Lori knew this and felt the best way to get her revenge was to call The Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) saying that Alexis was doing drugs around the children. We didn’t know this until AFTER the police had already become involved. It seems that a couple of days after Lori made the call, a police officer/DCFS liaison had gone to the elementary school and pulled out her son to discuss the allegations. Her son came home that day and told us everything that happened. That the DCFS person went into a room with him and his teacher and then began asking questions that would essentially lead them to have enough suspicion for a warrant of further investigation. He told us that the officer gave him candy and was extremely friendly, and the teacher was exceptionally nice in trying to help the officer, and he answered all of their questions honestly. As soon as we found this out, we made a call to DCFS and found that an agent would be coming to do a home inspection that same day. At the end of the whole episode, no consequences really happened. They did not find drugs or anything related in our home, and the case was closed without prejudice. We learned from then on that the perceptions she and I both had about what law enforcement could legally get away with were vastly incongruent with the applications of reality.
We’re lead to believe that the best way to judge a country is by how they take care of their most vulnerable; the young and the elderly. Looking at the elderly aspect is something that’s going to have to be addressed another time, but when it comes to the youth, we’re failing. Whenever I hear adults complain about how everything is black and white, that if you even support one element of the democratic party’s platform, then you are ousted from the GOP, and vice-versa. It’s events like I wrote today that have allowed this to occur. We need to start teaching perspective to children. If we don’t, then this entire "us versus you" mentality will not only become the standard, but it will also get far worse. The youth of this country need to have more legal protections. If you have children, I highly recommend checking the laws in your state. There’s an excellent chance that with the current laws, your children can—and will—be weaponized against you.
*: Names changed to protect the innocent, or guilty.
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