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Sunday, August 09, 2015

Twenty Years a Kidnapping: Happiness and Horsies and Home-Grown Extremism



By Sean Aaron Cruz

American home-grown religious extremism isn’t always about Muslims and jihad, and the violence the extremists inflict on their victims does not always involve bombs, bullets or bloody knives.

What they do have in common is a slavish belief that they are answering to a call higher than what either civil or moral authority allows, utterly beyond mortal law.

They share this core conviction that they are doing what The Man Upstairs (aka God, Allah, Joseph Smith, and by other names) wants them to do.

And there is nothing quite so satisfying as getting over on someone who has insulted one’s Big Religious Deal and whom one doesn’t like personally.

My baby girl Allie (Alexis) Cruz made these five drawings one day in August 1995, when she was 7 years old and just 6 months before she disappeared into Utah in a Mormon shunning/kidnapping along with my other children: Natalia, Tyler and Aaron.

I found them just this morning in a box that I haven't opened in a long, long time. 



 My mom and I would often watch Allie draw and color and create actual stories while we talked at the kitchen table in my three-generational household. All we had to do was supply the paper and assorted supplies, and Allie would sing and tell us her stories while she worked, often for hours at a stretch.

Each of these images corresponds to the story she wound out for my mom and I, inventing characters and conversations, talking and singing all the while she colored and drew, and she made these five pictures in a single sitting.




Allie especially loved to draw horsies, and her scenes and stories were always clever and lively, full of sunshine and happiness, and more horsies….

Our home was our castle, and it was a place where she and her horsies were safe, while the dramas surrounding her mother’s marriages and divorces took place….




Allie began exhibiting this talent, this creative impulse that had to be expressed, when she was four, and I have those drawings also, to be published on another day, but this is her book of five pictures, made on our kitchen table that day in August, just about twenty years ago. 

While my mom and I were watching Allie make these very drawings, Mormons in three states were planning the abduction, intent on separating my children from me.

I had told them, these members of the Battle Ground and La Center, Washington LDS wards, years before, that I wanted their church influence out of my family, and that I did not like what they were teaching my children.

But my ex wanted to put these Mormons in charge of educating our children, and they were determined to take them and keep them forever, hidden in Utah.




These Mormons felt that I had insulted their big white church (they all carry that persecution complex), and maybe I had, you be the judge.

I had told them that they were like the Borg, if the Borg were all white and ignorant; that the Book of Mormon was full of nonsense; that their baptism for the dead rituals was just so much busy work; that there never were any golden plates, and I’m pretty sure that we disagreed over some other fine points of doctrine and plain common sense, especially that Kory Wright character in Vancouver, who was the architect of the kidnapping, using his leadership position in all three states.

He’s a Big Deal in the Mormon Church, an executive with a Mormon debt collection company, Columbia Ultimate, based in Vancouver, Washington, with lots of Big Church Embarrassment potential.

So there was Kory and Chris Wright, the principle Mormon jihadists, and in Battle Ground there was also Connie and Barry Dunford and the Mormon bishop Donald Taylor. The group of Mormons organizing the kidnapping/shunning came to include church leaders in Hillsboro, Oregon, also, but I would not learn that until after the fact.

Later, I learned that Mormon Relief Society President Evelyn Taylor and Bishop David Holiday organized the "taking, keeping, and enticing" my children from Hillsboro, Oregon, a Class B felony good for up to five years in prison.

So they made their own plans for my children, while Allie made these drawings for my mom and I, and my other kids played out in the yard. I was my mom’s sole caregiver at the time. She had been medically fragile for many years.





Once my children were sequestered in Utah, being moved from place to place, Mormon households and motel rooms, the drawing ended, as did every other part of normal life for all of us, my children, my mom and myself. Allie’s creative spark was snuffed out, Aaron fell into suicidal despondency.

The Mormon Wall went up, my kids hidden behind deserts and mountains, the Wall protecting all of those involved in the abduction from public scrutiny and legal consequences.

The Mormons had and have their victory, permanently severing my family.

My mom died four years later without seeing or hearing from her grandchildren again, and my son Aaron is dead, all in their service to the LDS White Man in Charge.  God‘s favorite hangout and Number One Confidant lives in Salt Lake City, you see.

A cheap price to pay, in the eyes of a religious extremist.

No blood, bullets or bombs…it’s as if nothing happened at all….

Nothing at all….

Nothing happened at all….



Now, twenty years later, I can photograph the life we had together, expressed in  Allie’s drawings and stories in high-definition color and post them on the web, and there is nothing the Mormons who kidnapped my children can do about it.

I will be my children’s father forever, and I want to make that clear to everyone who had a piece of this action.

You are in it forever too.


And I am coming for you....





Monday, June 01, 2015

On the Kyron Horman kidnapping at the five-year mark


By Sean Aaron Cruz

June 1, 2015

The Kyron Horman kidnapping is at the five-year mark, and the investigation is still stalled behind Kyron's step mom's unwillingness to account for her whereabouts for a critical couple of hours that day, and law enforcement’s inability (so far) to fill in the gap with hard evidence. Kyron’s step mom Terri Horman continues to stick to her non-story.

Kyron's mom Desiree Young was quoted in The Oregonian on what five years into a kidnapping feels like:

It's said that time heals all wounds. For Desiree Young, it's not worked out that way.

The pain she first felt five years ago when her son Kyron disappeared hasn't softened. If anything, her emotions are more ragged today, she said. Tears flow often. The gnawing hole inside hasn't filled, not even a little.

"It doesn't get easier with time," Young said. "I still wake up crying and praying, hoping today will be the day."


http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2015/05/kyron_horman_disappearance_cry.html

I remember the five-year mark of the kidnapping of my four children very well.

That was in February, 2001, and marks when I first drove to the Oregon state Capitol, where I met Senator Avel Louise Gordly​ and told her what had happened/was happening to my family, how both the family law and criminal law systems had failed to protect my children despite an order for joint custody that had protected my family for five years at the time the kidnapping began.

She promised to do something about it.

The following year Senator Gordly offered me the job as her legislative aide, and that is where the road to Senate Bill 1041 (2005) and House Bills 2601 and 2603 (2015) began.

There is yet much work to be done on the issue of non-stranger abductions here in Oregon. Expect more legislation in the future, including:

Emotional abuse. The current Custodial Interference I and II statutes are triggered if there is physical abuse, but there is no reference to the emotional abuse that abducted children suffer. The Parental and Family Abduction Task Force concluded that children abducted by any person suffer emotional harm as severe as any other form of child abuse. Oregon became a mental health parity state in the 2009 legislative session, and these facts need to be recognized in statute.

Domestic violence. Parental and family abductions should be added to the statutory definition of domestic violence. They are crimes committed against the parent from whom the child has been abducted as well as against the child victim. Threatening to abduct a child should be treated in statute as any other threat of harm made under domestic circumstances.

Continuing crime. Kidnappings are “continuing” crimes. The public perception is generally that the traumas of crimes fade away with time, and maybe they do, but not before the crime comes to an end. A crime against a child cannot end simply because the child “ages out” of the crime.

It is my contention that a kidnapped child becomes “more” kidnapped as time goes on, and the age-progressed images of Kyron Horman ought to drive that point home to everyone listening. The House and Senate Judiciary Committees should take this issue on in reframing the Custodial Interference I and II statutes.

Organized kidnappings. Every person who engages in taking, keeping or enticing a child in violation of the Custodial Interference I or II statutes must be held accountable, not merely the parent. The statutes are clear. The issue is enforcement.

Law enforcement could have wrapped up the abduction of the Cruz children in short order if they had included the dozen or so adults who participated in planning and executing the kidnapping. The Washington County D.A.’s office was aware of the group, which included Mormon officials in three states, but made a decision not to prosecute them. This decision could have been influenced by Mormon church members, as the church is very powerful in Oregon.

Definition of “protracted.” Time is of the essence in any kidnapping, yet under current law the person(s) must intend to keep the child “permanently or for a protracted period of time.” Yet there is no definition of “protracted”. No one knows how long that is. It is a completely subjective measure.

House Bill 2601 (2015), requiring local law enforcement to notify the Oregon State Police within 24 hours of having probable cause to believe that a violation of Kidnapping I or II or Custodial Interference I or II has taken place, has more than one purpose: to urge the law enforcement and legal systems to take the issue of time more seriously, and spur the legislature to formulate and enact a definition of “protracted.”

HB 2601 was enacted with an emergency clause, meaning it went into effect immediately upon Governor Kate Brown’s signature.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On Wisdom and Moral Authority:

“Please tell Sean that I also wish him the best. I have also followed his career and believe his personal experience has given him the wisdom and the moral authority necessary to make a real difference in making Oregon safer for our children.” –Hon. Judge James L. Fun, Washington County Circuit Court, January 24, 2007


163.245 Custodial interference in the second degree. (1) A person commits the crime of custodial interference in the second degree if, knowing or having reason to know that the person has no legal right to do so, the person takes, entices or keeps another person from the other person’s lawful custodian or in violation of a valid joint custody order with intent to hold the other person permanently or for a protracted period.


163.257 Custodial interference in the first degree. (1) A person commits the crime of custodial interference in the first degree if the person violates ORS 163.245 and:
      (a) Causes the person taken, enticed or kept from the lawful custodian or in violation of a valid joint custody order to be removed from the state; or
      (b) Exposes that person to a substantial risk of illness or physical injury.








Tuesday, April 14, 2015

HB 2601 child abduction passes House Judiciary Committee, House floor vote next



The Oregon House Judiciary Committee passed HB 2601 as amended today, sending the bill to the floor with a DO PASS recommendation.

State Representative Barbara Smith Warner will carry the bill on the House floor.

This is the second of two 2015 child abduction bills that stem from Senator Avel Gordly’s landmark SB 1041 (2005), now ORS 30.868 in statute.

HB 2603, naming ORS 30.868 “Aaron’s Law” for my late son Aaron Cruz, has already passed the House on a unanimous 59-0 vote, and is in Senate Judiciary.

Both bills are sponsored by Representative Smith Warner.



Aaron Cruz

HB 2601 requires local law enforcement to notify the Oregon State Police within 24 hours of having probable cause to believe that a violation of either Kidnapping I or II, or Custodial Interference I or II has taken place (is taking place).

There is currently no reporting requirement, and law enforcement can be slow to respond if a parent or family member is abducting the child.

It was gratifying to see that local law enforcement saw no barriers to complying with the requirement and that it treats all kidnappings alike, regardless of who the abductor(s) is(are).

The 24-hour notice requirement for probable cause of a child abduction should effectively remove the barrier to law enforcement response that the lack of a definition of the word “protracted” in the ORS creates.

With HB 2601, local law enforcement won’t have to parse the definition of “protracted” anymore. That will be up to the courts to decide.

Before SB 1041 passed in 2005, there were only the criminal and family law paths, and among them no common definition, no measurement of time that defines “protracted”.  

Now, with ORS 30.868 on the books—and knowing that every precious second that your child is in the hands of his or her kidnapper and away from you is time destroyed forever—there will be an opportunity for kidnapping victims to measure time in civil court.

I am grateful for the work of Kevin Campbell and Craig Campbell of Victory Group and the Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police as well as the Oregon State Police for their support and for dialing in the language in the amendment.


Sean Aaron Cruz
April 14, 2015




Thursday, February 19, 2015

Oregon House of Representatives votes to remember Aaron Cruz forever



February 18, 2015

Shortly before the Oregon House voted to name ORS 30.868 "Aaron's Law", I saw former Governor Ted Kulongoski in the corridor, and he graciously signed this photo of himself signing Senate Bill 1041 into law ten years ago. SB 1041 was sponsored by Senator Avel Louise Gordly, standing beside the Governor in the photo.

A short time after Governor Kulongoski and I spoke, the House voted 59-0 to remember Aaron Cruz forever....



78th OREGON LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY--2015 Regular Session

House Bill 2603

Sponsored by Representative SMITH WARNER (Presession filed.)

SUMMARY

Provides that ORS 30.868, regarding civil damages for custodial interference, shall be known and may be cited as “Aaron’s Law.”

A BILL FOR AN ACT

Relating to citation of ORS 30.868.

Whereas during the 2005 regular session, the Seventy-third Legislative Assembly passed Senate Bill 1041, sponsored by Senator Avel Gordly, which became chapter 841, Oregon Laws 2005, and was codified as ORS 30.868; and

Whereas with the enactment of Senate Bill 1041, Oregon became the first state in the nation where abducting a child creates a civil cause of action; and

Whereas Senate Bill 1041 is the culmination of the work of the 2004 Interim Task Force on Parental and Family Abductions and of Senator Gordly’s chief of staff, Sean Aaron Cruz; and

Whereas Sean Aaron Cruz’s own four children disappeared from Oregon in 1996; and

Whereas Sean Aaron Cruz’s eldest son, Aaron Cruz, died in Utah in April 2005 as a consequence of the abduction, inspiring the Legislative Assembly to act on Senate Bill 1041; and

Whereas Senate Bill 1041 passed 26-3 in the Senate and 59-0 in the House of Representatives and was signed into law by Governor Theodore R. Kulongoski on September 2, 2005; and

Whereas Senate Bill 1041 is referred to as “Aaron’s Law” by members of the legal community, including presenters at the State Family Law Advisory Committee’s Family Law Conference; and

Whereas designating Senate Bill 1041 as “Aaron’s Law” is a fitting tribute to the memory of Aaron Cruz, whose death was not in vain; now, therefore,

Be It Enacted by the People of the State of Oregon:

SECTION 1. ORS 30.868 shall be known and may be cited as “Aaron’s Law.”








Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Storm Waters on the Cusp of a Kidnapping



February 11, 1996. The Pacific NW dealing with the Great Storm of 1996, I-5 closed at Tacoma, I-84 closed in the Columbia Gorge.

Mormons in three states busy making my kids disappear into Utah.

They vanished on Feb 12.

Now, tomorrow, 19 years later to the day, I will testify on the kidnapping before the House Judiciary Committee, considering HB 2601 and HB 2603....




HB 2601

HB 2603



Monday, February 02, 2015

Thoughts on an abducted daughter's birthday....

February 2nd is my baby girl Allie's birthday. She disappeared into Utah along with her sister and two brothers ten days after her 8th birthday, 19 years ago, in an abduction/shunning organized and carried out by Mormons in three states. 

She is living somewhere in the LDS empire, still in the grip of the congregations that took her so long ago. 

She drew the "You will shine for ME! Every day!" for me and my mom a few months before she vanished. Her drawing kept me alive more times than I can count over the years. When hope of seeing her and her siblings ever again faded, I promised her drawing that I would shine for her, every day, never giving up. 

Now, within the next few weeks, the Oregon legislature will take up the issue of child abduction again, and I will see that these images are entered into the public record. For you, baby girl, wherever you are, know that your daddy never stopped loving you....











Thursday, January 22, 2015

Oregon House to hear bill naming Aaron's Law for Aaron Cruz

UPDATE: HB 2603, officially naming Senate Bill 1041, "Aaron's Law", after my son Aaron Cruz will be heard before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, February 7, 2015, ten years after the passage of Senate Bill 1041, and 19 years after Aaron and his brother and two sisters disappeared from Oregon in an abduction/shunning organized and maintained by Mormons in three states: Oregon, Washington and Utah. Aaron died from “undetermined causes” in Payson, Utah.


78th OREGON LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY--2015 Regular Session

House Bill 2603

Sponsored by Representative SMITH WARNER (Presession filed.)

SUMMARY

Provides that ORS 30.868, regarding civil damages for custodial interference, shall be known and may be cited as “Aaron’s Law.”

A BILL FOR AN ACT

Relating to citation of ORS 30.868.

Whereas during the 2005 regular session, the Seventy-third Legislative Assembly passed Senate Bill 1041, sponsored by Senator Avel Gordly, which became chapter 841, Oregon Laws 2005, and was codified as ORS 30.868; and

Whereas with the enactment of Senate Bill 1041, Oregon became the first state in the nation where abducting a child creates a civil cause of action; and

Whereas Senate Bill 1041 is the culmination of the work of the 2004 Interim Task Force on Parental and Family Abductions and of Senator Gordly’s chief of staff, Sean Aaron Cruz; and

Whereas Sean Aaron Cruz’s own four children disappeared from Oregon in 1996; and

Whereas Sean Aaron Cruz’s eldest son, Aaron Cruz, died in Utah in April 2005 as a consequence of the abduction, inspiring the Legislative Assembly to act on Senate Bill 1041; and

Whereas Senate Bill 1041 passed 26-3 in the Senate and 59-0 in the House of Representatives and was signed into law by Governor Theodore R. Kulongoski on September 2, 2005; and

Whereas Senate Bill 1041 is referred to as “Aaron’s Law” by members of the legal community, including presenters at the State Family Law Advisory Committee’s Family Law Conference; and

Whereas designating Senate Bill 1041 as “Aaron’s Law” is a fitting tribute to the memory of Aaron Cruz, whose death was not in vain; now, therefore,

Be It Enacted by the People of the State of Oregon:

SECTION 1. ORS 30.868 shall be known and may be cited as “Aaron’s Law.”




Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Last Christmas Eve – Deeper than the Core of the Earth

The Last Christmas Eve – Deeper than the Core of the Earth


The video is a home movie, documenting that the Cruz family existed: Grandmother Cruz, single dad Sean Cruz, and his four children. But Mormon zealots had other plans, and the children disappeared into Utah just six weeks later. The story of the abduction and the legislation that resulted begins here....







Thursday, June 12, 2014

Deeper than the core of the Earth



Deeper than the core of the Earth
By Sean Aaron Cruz

The abduction of my four children
Blew a hole in me
More than 18 years wide
Deeper than the core
Of the Earth
Pain measured in light years
Blew holes in my children also
Innocent victims
Aaron died from the shock
From “Undetermined Causes”
In MormonLand Utah
All this because I disagreed
With some Mormons
Long ago….





Friday, March 21, 2014

On Trust and Conditional Love


By Sean Aaron Cruz
March 21, 2014 (Aaron’s birthday)

This photo of my late son Aaron has always had a special hold on me. Every time I look at it, ever since I took this photo, the word “trust” comes to my mind, and I think about how this beautiful boy had every reason in the world to trust those around him, family and friends, and the people his parents allowed into his life. He is looking at me. I am looking at him. He is looking back at me. We are One Together.





Aaron had every reason to believe that his future and those of his brother and two sisters were secure; secure in the sense that love in our family was unconditional and permanent (“I love you to infinity”, we often said to each other). He knew he was loved, that he was a priority in his parents’ lives, as were each of his siblings, and in this love was the foundation of his confidence, the trust so clear in his eyes. He is looking at me. I am looking at him. He is looking back at me. We are One Together.

There came a time, however, when his parent’s priorities changed, after his mother became involved in Mormonism, like falling into a deep chasm full of crazy-ass ideas, which led to the breakup of his family, and now there were a different sort of people allowed into his life, True Believers with smiling faces and religious agendas, home-baked cookies and Books of Mormon, people with status and impressive church titles in his mother’s new world, and the foundation he had grown up on had changed, had vanished utterly; love was now conditional….

 I never got on with his mother’s new Mormon friends, not while we were still married, and never after. They looked at me and the word “Mexican” would explode in their brains, along with all their stereotypical imagery. You could see it in their eyes, their demeanor, their assumptions. I had seen that look many times before, growing up in California, where one’s Mexican-ness was always an issue one way or another, and these Mormons didn’t like race-mixing much either, so the term “half-breed” was knocking around in their heads also when they looked at me. There was that part of it.

The Mormons now intruding into our family saw me as a threat to the whiteness with which they were now enveloping my children, and in my personal religious views (more agnostic than anything else) they saw a cause for direct action. They were fighting a religious war personally directed by God Himself (to Whom they had Exclusive Direct Access right there in Salt Lake City) against people who don’t see things the same way. Seriously crazy, bug-eyed religious fervor, a group of people bent enough to plot the disappearance of four children on a school day and to conceal them in the mountains east of Ogden, Utah. Mormons with titles: Bishop, Counselor, Relief Society President were now speaking directly to my children, from their positions of “trust”, reeking with conditional love….

First came a press of Mormon “counselors” who put a lot of hours into trying to convince me to get with their program, and after that campaign failed, after I rejected their last arguments, the same group of ideologues convinced my children’s mother to file for divorce, provided a top Mormon lawyer, and a 15-year marriage came to an end in a matter of weeks, our family itself now conditional….

My ex’s Mormon friends decided to separate my children from me as a punishment, a consequence of my “apostasy”, although I had never believed the LDS dogma, had agreed to join their church only because I had made a deal with my wife, made after years of fruitlessly attempting to persuade her to stop smoking while she equally without success pressured me to join up (“You quit smoking, I’ll join your church,” I had finally said). This was/is by far the worst deal I ever made in my life, this one here, and if only I had simply gone back on my word, things would have turned out differently. The point is, leaving the LDS church can have negative consequences….

Aaron and his siblings vanished from Oregon on February 12, 1996, now isolated in remote Mormon enclaves, breaking our physical connections, and the Mormons now in control of their lives worked hard to destroy every emotional connection my children and I had shared. It was a deliberate, structured campaign that included introducing Aaron to Prozac, Ritalin, Zoloft, a long list of other such drugs, and Oxycontin, the gateway to the Mormon-infused opiate addiction that wrecked his chances of success in high school and gave these Mormons an excuse to blame him for his troubles, for not fitting in.

Within a year of arriving in his Utah concealment, Aaron’s despair was so intense that he began cutting himself with a knife. Years later, I saw the scars as he lay there on his Utah deathbed, long, overlapping, crisscrossing scars on both his upper arms. I had no idea a knife’s sharp edge could make a scar so wide, these marks of conditional love laid out on my beautiful son, scars on top of scars, each a remnant of the Big Bang in his shrunken universe, where Trust had become a distant, red-shifted blur, falling away hopelessly into amorphous gas and dust….

Aaron’s siblings succumbed to the pressure, joined up with his mother’s church, became fully immersed in Mormonism, made friends of their own, fell in and out of love with other Mormons, and this is where they remain today, surrounded by Mormons infused with all of the conditional love the Mormon Universe has to offer, love that would be withdrawn in a heartbeat should they ever reach out to me.

I have boxes of photographs of my children, of Aaron, of Natalia, of Tyler, of Allie, with that same look of Trust and Unconditional Love in their eyes. They are looking at me. I am looking at them. They are looking back at me, and we are One Together.

There is nothing the Mormons can do to change that.

--Portland, Oregon, March 21, 2014


Saturday, November 23, 2013

12 Years a Slave - 18 Years a Kidnapping

By Sean Aaron Cruz

Portland, Oregon—

The movie 12 Years a Slave shocked me a bunch, but not for the reasons one might expect.

What shocked me the most was not the bloody, detailed depiction of the barbarism and cruelty of America’s Slave Era, because those facts are all well known, but in the more subtle reaches: the forced separation of families, the scenes of Scripture-quoting monsters in everyday life justifying their crimes against humanity, and in the other parallels and contrasts I could see between Solomon Northrup’s experiences and my own as the father of four kidnapped children whose abduction began some 18 years ago and continues beyond today, and in the attitudes we both encountered along the way.

For me personally, Solomon Northrup’s story was more about the present than it was about the past, more about the pain of indifference than about the pain of the lash.

I went into the theater thinking about the horrors of slavery, but early on the movie put me on a different course of thought: knowing first the suffering that lay ahead for the Northrup family, the father losing his wife and children, and the children suffering the sudden, mysterious loss of their father, and then during the slave market scene, in the attitudes the slave Patsy encountered when she was sold separately from her two children, never to see them again.

My children and I were abruptly parted on February 12, 1996, when they disappeared from Oregon in a kidnapping/shunning organized by Mormon church members in Oregon, Washington and Utah, an abduction also intended to last forever.




My mom never saw her grandchildren again, died four years into the kidnapping, an extension of the shunning, how they disappeared from Grandma’s life, Mormons in control, the indifference I encountered….

Three different forms of abduction between us, I was thinking, sharing much in common: Each was organized. There was planning and logistics and a larger social structure that supported the crimes. Beyond their reckless disregard for life and liberty, there was the kidnappers’ desire to do actual harm to a person they did not personally know. The kidnappers’ actions resulted from their respective religion- or race-based hatreds, and with which they intruded into their victims’ lives.

My first thought was that I would rather have been kidnapped into slavery than for my children to be the kidnappees, that I would be beaten and chained in a box if it meant my children would remain safe in their home, and that at least Solomon Northrup knew that no one was tricking and tormenting his children during the captivity, deliberately destroying every emotional as well as physical link between them and forcing his children into complicity in the kidnapping. And none of his children died during the course of his ordeal. It could be worse, I thought, than this. I would take those beatings, and 12 years of separation is much better than 18.

In the slave market scene, a slave trader told Patsey in not so many words that she would forget about these children sooner or later, so she ought to move on and focus on her new life with the new master, and I found myself saying out loud to no one in particular, “That’s what they expected me to do, too.”

I was referring to the attitudes I have encountered. People have been telling me this ever since the beginning of the abduction, that I ought to “move on” or “accept this”, in one way or another, and my children’s kidnappers were all of this mind also, believing that they could get away with their crimes if I did move on, and for so long as they could continue to maintain control over my children’s lives, which they do even as adults.

The larger society was indifferent to all of these abductions as they were taking place. Years went by before Solomon found a person willing to get out of his comfort level and take an action that would lead to resolution and reunification, if not justice. It was not wishing or hoping or praying or pissing up a rope that brought the Northrup kidnapping to an end, but a person taking action.

In all of the 18 years of the Cruz kidnapping, I only encountered one such person, a retired police officer named John Bissell, who saw the situation for what it was and did everything he could to help.

But I don’t believe that anyone in the movie’s audiences would expect Solomon to ever do this, to move on or accept these injustices, a contrast between our experiences that arises from people’s attitudes entirely, although we do know that Solomon was in fact reunited with his children. No one knows, however, if the Cruz abduction/shunning will ever come to an end, if the Mormons will ever release my children to have contact with their father again, he who dared to criticize LDS doctrine in his own home….

Scripture-thumpers dominate both of our stories. Sunday worshippers committed the crimes against the Northrup and Cruz families, pious slavers and prayerful shunners, each reading from their Good Books the lines that made fit their crimes. Woe be to those who disagree with The Teachings that justify our respective Peculiar Institutions; punishments of Biblical proportions resulting, they intone in their Psalm-singing and Tabernacle Choirs….

18 years of painful separation, so far, 18 years a kidnapping, and a whole church to keep it that way….

------------------

Coming soon:

12 Years a Slave – 18 Years a Kidnapping, pt 2.