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BS: Traveller Discrimination in the USA

Ron Olesko 25 Sep 02 - 01:28 PM
GUEST 25 Sep 02 - 01:39 PM
Ron Olesko 25 Sep 02 - 01:40 PM
SharonA 25 Sep 02 - 01:54 PM
Áine 25 Sep 02 - 02:42 PM
GUEST,Sad 25 Sep 02 - 03:15 PM
jimmyt 25 Sep 02 - 03:39 PM
SharonA 25 Sep 02 - 03:55 PM
SharonA 25 Sep 02 - 04:22 PM
NicoleC 25 Sep 02 - 04:33 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Sep 02 - 07:41 PM
GUEST 26 Sep 02 - 12:27 AM
GUEST 26 Sep 02 - 12:35 AM
GUEST 26 Sep 02 - 12:52 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 26 Sep 02 - 06:36 AM
InOBU 26 Sep 02 - 07:59 AM
Art Thieme 26 Sep 02 - 09:16 AM
SharonA 26 Sep 02 - 10:17 AM
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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in the USA
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 25 Sep 02 - 01:28 PM

I love how things get so twisted.

It is standard procedure in ANY case of SUSPECTED child abuse to remove the child from the family and find placement in a foster home. It is ridiculous to assume that Irish Travelers are singled out. This is S.O.P. If you want to rail against authorities for that it is another story, but don't try playing the poor downtrodded card in this case. It isn't the issue.

Children are removed while the investigation takes place and examinations are made. The family does not get custody for fear of the child being manipulated into changing the story.

There are no winners in these cases, but again THIS is not a case of discrimination. Discrimination exists and it should be brought to light, but don't cloud the issue!

Ron


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in the USA
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Sep 02 - 01:39 PM

Resource Links for Travelers

http://www.pitt.edu/~alkst3/Traveller.html


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in the USA
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 25 Sep 02 - 01:40 PM

Jerry,

That is a great sentence. I could use a copy of that line!

It reminded me of a saying that is attributed to someone I have some reservations about, but in this case I think his words are very well put. Jack Welch, the former CEO of GE once said after listening to a panel of "experts" give their opinions, "If I have to trust someone's opinion it might as well be my own". I thought it was one of the few things that I agree with Welch on. We can each make our own judgements based on the facts.

I think we know where most people's opinion's lie. The spin doctors can twist this story all they want but the underlieing facts (and admissions) are out there for all of us to see.

Ron


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in the USA
From: SharonA
Date: 25 Sep 02 - 01:54 PM

I have to disagree with "Hancock and other academics" as referred to in that Associated Press article that Larry posted. The case was initially sensationalized in the national media because of (a) the apparent severity of the beating and (b) the fact that there was a nationwide search for the woman based on her family's story that she had left the state of Indiana with her child. I did not see or hear any mention of Toogood's ethnic origins in the national media until after she'd arranged to turn herself in 8 days after the beating. The only place I saw it mentioned that she was a Traveler was on the WNDU-TV ("Michiana" area) website. This may or may not mean that discrimination against Travelers is an issue in the Midwest; I don't know. I got the impression that the Traveler connection was mentioned in the news story simply because it was informational, nothing more, and at that point (when her name was known to police but they did not know her whereabouts) I believe they were putting out such information in an effort to locate her, not to discriminate against her based on her ethnic background!

Sorry, Larry, but I have to agree with those who are saying that this case is not an example of discrimination. The crime here is not that she is an Irish Traveler in the US; the crime here is that she is a woman who struck her child over 20 times, shook her and pulled her hair all in the space of a couple of minutes and who was caught on tape doing it. Her sister, meanwhile, was caught on tape doing nothing to stop her, and later that sister would not cooperate with the police's efforts to find Toogood and Martha. Both women broke the law, and certainly they cannot be excused from prosecution because of concerns about discrimination. They are in the US; therefore they must abide by US law or face the consequences, no matter where their ancestors came from.

I think that the fact that the police cooperated with the arrangement made by Toogood's lawyer to have Toogood turn herself in shows that they are not interested in any sort of vigilante action against Travelers. Likewise, the court process as reported thus far does not seem anything but routine. I think that the news media's focus on Travelers as a human-interest aspect of the news story is just another example of the milking of a story by the media after the event (in this case, Toogood's beating and disappearance) is over. Falling for the media's tricks is, IMO, sensationalizing the sensationalism.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in the USA
From: Áine
Date: 25 Sep 02 - 02:42 PM

I think that the news media's focus on Travelers as a human-interest aspect of the news story is just another example of the milking of a story by the media after the event (in this case, Toogood's beating and disappearance) is over. Falling for the media's tricks is, IMO, sensationalizing the sensationalism.

FYI -- here's an example of how one national TV news channel is treating the ". . . Travelers as a human-interest aspect of the news story . . .":

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

Who Are the 'Irish Travelers?'

This is a partial transcript from On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, September 24, 2002.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,64041,00.html

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Back now with more on Madelyne Toogood. The woman who has gained so much notoriety in recent days is part of a secretive nomadic group called Irish Travelers. Who are they?

Joining us from South Bend, Indiana, journalist Don Wright who has been investigating the Irish Travelers for 24 years -- he's the author of Scam: Inside America's Con Artist Clans and St. Joseph County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Ellen Corcella.

Welcome to both of you.

Ellen, first to you. What is she formally charged with?

ELLEN CORCELLA, PROSECUTOR: She's formally charged with battery on a child, which is a D felony here in St. Joseph County.

VAN SUSTEREN: What does it mean? Is that a -- I mean, a single strike can -- because most people think that she's charged with child abuse and she's going home and beating up the kid every single day and that that's what she's doing. Is -- one single hit can be battery?

CORCELLA: Yes, under the definition of Indiana law, rude and insolent touching that leads to physical injury, whether it's once, is battery, yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: How is -- how do you differ that from, let's say, something like spanking? I mean, that's -- that's technically a battery, too, when you whack a kid.

CORCELLA: Yes, but I guess we could argue that here -- or try to find the difference, and I'm not sure this is a case to make that distinction because what we clearly see on the video goes so far beyond spanking that it's probably not the case to worry about we're overstepping the parental rights of people who have children.

VAN SUSTEREN: Ellen, do you intend -- or does your office intend to talk to Martha -- and I presume in a very sort of gentle way -- to sort of find out from her what's going on in the family home?

CORCELLA: We intend to investigate all leads and all people who have information about this. What is the typical procedure here in St. Joseph County is we have something known as the Casey Center.

It's a child advocacy center with interviewers who have been trained forensically to talk with children, and I do believe they've already met with Madelyne once, and we will let them do the interview.

It's done sort of where prosecutors and other entrusted parties can monitor the interview and even talk to the interviewee, but we let the forensic trained interviewers meet with the child one on one.

And I'm sure that may be done again in this case.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Don, to you. Travelers. We've heard so much about it. Who are the Travelers? What are they?

DON WRIGHT, "SCAM" AUTHOR: Well, these people are Irish Travelers. They are descended from the Irish Tinkers who came to this country about 150 years ago. They are full-time, lifetime con artists. They are con artists from the time they're old enough to know what con games are, and so...

VAN SUSTEREN: Does that mean -- let me ask you -- are all people who are Travelers in your mind con artists and then maybe even criminals, or can you have people who are in Travelers who are a lawful people in your mind?

WRIGHT: I have never heard of an Irish Traveler who was not a con artist. They say that only a small percentage of them are con artists or criminals, but my belief is that all of them are.


VAN SUSTEREN: Can you become a -- can I -- can you become a Traveler? Can I become a Traveler tonight if I want to?

WRIGHT: The only way you could become a Traveler is to marry into the Irish Travelers, and that happens so rarely that it's almost impossible. You have to be born into the clan. You have to be a -- you have to be a Traveler.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you have any idea of how many Travelers there are here in the United States? Because I remember I studied in Ireland, and there were lots. At that time, they were called Tinkers. About -- how many here in the United States?

WRIGHT: There are between 12,000 and 20,000, depending on which estimates you accept. About -- somewhere between 8,000 and 10,000 of them are Irish. The rest...

VAN SUSTEREN: Ellen...

WRIGHT: The rest are Scottish and...

VAN SUSTEREN: Ellen.

WRIGHT: I'm sorry. The rest are Scottish and English.

VAN SUSTEREN: Ellen, let me go back to your county. Do you have any clue -- I mean, are you folks learning about Travelers in your county, or is this something that -- you know, there are a lot of people in St. Joseph County who are Travelers?

CORCELLA: This is something really coming to light through this investigation. While we have heard of some people having something of a transient existence through the Midwest, quite frankly, this is the first time we've really focused on this as a group that's come out through criminal investigations.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are you troubled at all by Don's statement that they're all con artists? I mean, in your mind -- I mean, you've practiced law for a number of years, I mean, that -- you know, an individual -- at least, I assume, could be in the group who could be, you know, not a con artist. Do you agree or not agree?

CORCELLA: Oh, I agree with that statement. I -- I don't know or have the experience of Mr. Wright to be able to make that statement. We do know that there are criminal groups out there and that many people who are part of the group have to adopt the criminal element as part of their culture.


I'm not prepared yet to adopt Mr. Wright's statement on the matter, and, in fact, our concern here is not about the con artist part of it, but the fact that Ms. Toogood beat her child and what we're going to do about that.

VAN SUSTEREN: In a -- in the run-of-the-mill case in your county, Ellen, a first offender -- person -- parent who's arrested for this type of conduct -- what usually happens?

CORCELLA: We take the child abuse cases very seriously, and we would vigorously prosecute it, and, depending on the circumstance, I don't think this could be considered a first-offender case when it involves a child the same way you might do a first-offender shoplifting or some other cases.

What happens in this county, though, is always up to the judge, and that's probably what's going to happen in this case.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Don, Ellen, thank you.

And as a little note to the viewers, 22 years ago, Ellen Corcella was my student, and she taught me everything I know.

But thank you both.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you, Greta.


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


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in the USA
From: GUEST,Sad
Date: 25 Sep 02 - 03:15 PM

"the tape, and I have seen the tape played over and over, does not show a beating, it shows a repeted slapping,"

I think it may be time for a few of us to leave this thread before we get very angry. The defense of this woman on the stated grounds above is disgusting.

Sad


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in the USA
From: jimmyt
Date: 25 Sep 02 - 03:39 PM

Amen, Sad


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in the USA
From: SharonA
Date: 25 Sep 02 - 03:55 PM

P.S. – Larry (InOBU) says, "The tape... does not show a beating, it shows a repeted slapping..." Frankly, Larry, I'm distressed that you don't see this as a sign that the child may be "seriously mistreated" as a matter of routine, or even as a good reason for authorities to investigate to make sure that the child isn't being seriously mistreated as a matter of routine. Let's face it: the child was struck over and over again – Toogood admits knocking Martha on her forehead in addition to slapping her, shaking her and pulling her hair – and the fact that the mother made sure she struck her child in such a way that no bruises would show does not change the fact that the child was struck over and over again. That's what battery, the charge against Toogood, means! That amount of repetition of striking a child crosses the line from punishment to abuse.

Another sign that this abuse may be a routine part of Martha's life is Toogood's description of her daughter to the media as being hyperactive and as being the sibling who always picks fights with her brothers; this behavior can indicate that a child is being abused and has no healthy outlet for the anger and aggression caused by that abuse.


Still another clue is that the videotape shows clearly that Toogood looked around the parking lot on both sides of her car before she began to strike Martha, which would indicate premeditation rather than a flare-up of temper. She also made sure that Martha was in the car, hidden from plain view of passersby, before she began to strike Martha. It all looked too much as if Toogood knew what she was doing. I don't think it's unreasonable of the authorities to separate the child from her mother until it can be determined that this sort of incident hasn't happened before and, most importantly, that it will not happen again.
Larry also says "The doctors, not me, said this was not an abused child, nor did she show any signs of past abuse." It's my understanding that a medical doctor examined Martha and did not find any physical signs of past abuse. Remember that Toogood first fled Indiana after her sister was arrested four days after the battery, and took Martha to Maryland and then to New Jersey before visiting a doctor there – she did not take Martha to that doctor the day after the battery, as Larry claims – so, if there were any bruises, they'd have had plenty of time to heal before a doctor examined her. The very fact that Toogood traveled from the Midwest US to the East Coast before seeing a doctor speaks to a grievous disregard for the child's physical wellbeing. I have not read or heard that Martha has had any sort of psychological evaluation at this point to determine whether her mother has also abused her in ways that would not be detected in a medical examination.

I have heard, however, that this is not Toogood's first run-in with the law. She had outstanding warrants for her arrest for failing to pay a $202 traffic ticket and for failing to appear in court in Fort Worth to face charges of theft of $50-$500; interestingly, the arrest for theft had been made in a Kohl's department store – the same chain as the Indiana store where she'd tried to return merchandise and had been refused just before abusing her child. Had she been attempting another theft, this time by deception?


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in the USA
From: SharonA
Date: 25 Sep 02 - 04:22 PM

Áine: Yup, that's what I meant when I said (as you quoted me saying) that the media's focus on that aspect of the news story is just another example of the milking of a story. Your example is quite obviously one of sensationalism in the media. The "On the Record" program found some guy whose point of view about the Travelers is extreme, and put him on the air so he could say something extreme.

Long before the Toogood news story broke, I'd seen several features on TV about the Travelers on the prime-time news programs (the "20/20" genre), claiming to give viewers a look inside the life of the clans. None of them painted an entirely positive or entirely negative picture. But this story has brought the negative aspects to the fore, for the time being. I'm sure that, with time, the pendulum will swing back toward center, but some pressure on the media to find some Travelers who aren't con artists or underage wives wouldn't hurt!


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in the USA
From: NicoleC
Date: 25 Sep 02 - 04:33 PM

Ouch! The news outlets love doing that stuff because it's good for ratings, and Fox is way up the list of biased reporting.

And they call that "journalism." I'm appalled... but not surprised. Fortunately, it seems like the local authorities are behaving responsively -- they're under a microscope right now, and maybe being more cautious than normal, but I think that's understandable.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in the USA
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Sep 02 - 07:41 PM

This thread is a wee bit too long for people to open it - and clearly there are people with stuff to say still. So here is Part 2. And it'd be better if they posted there.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in the USA
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 12:27 AM

The gypsies of Eastern Europe are acknowledged by InterPol as being in child prostitution rings.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in the USA
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 12:35 AM

Among the earliest childhood memories of many Europeans is this: mother and father were telling us that if we were not good children, the old Gypsy would come to take us away. Why were they lying?! They had got the story wrong! The opposite is true, mother. It is not that the Gypsies steal children; it is that Gypsy children are stolen and put away inside some blurry, chilling bad dream that has lasted ever since.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in the USA
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 12:52 AM

The Roma/Traveler Community appears to be moving into "DAMAGE CONTROL" and the Web is one of their resources.

Practically all major institutions - schools, army, police, penitentiaries, media, welfare agencies - ate permeated by institutional racism, whose favorite victims are the members of minority groups, especially the Roma people. They are subjected to various forms of discrimination, ranging from routine bureaucratic neglect and humiliations to overt violation of basic human rights. This only exacerbates the dire lot of the Roma population, which appears to be the worst affected by the economic crisis and the consequent collapse of the safety net and is now the most undereducated, pauperized and marginalized group in Bulgaria. Many Roma abide isolated neighborhoods with desperate living conditions, who quickly turn into segregated ghettos, with enormous concentration of poverty, unemployment, violent crime, drug abuse, child abuse, juvenile prostitution, etc., and "Roma" becomes increasingly synonymous with underclass.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in the USA
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 06:36 AM

To pull this into line with the forum's intent http://www.travellersrest.org/Travellers.htm has midi music associated with the travelers....it also has interesting information.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in the USA
From: InOBU
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 07:59 AM

Dear Friends...
My travel plans are now set, I am part of a legal team being consulted on the rights aspect of this case, and will have things to say when I return. There was a lot of hurry up and stand by in getting our travel arrainged, but Friday I am off to the mid west. I have been doing a number of interviews and have been asked to do an interview on the Fox cable network.
Garg, as you know I never was one of those terribly outraged by you, when in the past you were less descrete, even in your wry comments about me, which, frankly I enjoy a good laugh at myself... I knew there was a good heart in a lot of your synical observations. You make me very happy to have known the good in you was there. That web site you link is great. Most folks want to promote Traveller culture, use their music and exclude the people themselves. Great link and thanks. Where would we be if we judged the Bush family culture by the acts of a few members, including the young Mr. Bush, who has certainly been a heavy drinker and hell raiser, and if you use the same standard applied to Travellers, the drug use by his daughter proves his drug use, and more, proves that all the Bush family use and tollerate drugs. That would be a silly statement, but it is the logic used against Travellers and Roma.
Cheers to all, Larry


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in the USA
From: Art Thieme
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 09:16 AM

One thing this forum and this discussion shows me quite vividly is that, for me and those close to me, we will be much better off if we keep to ourselves.----And, also, it's best not to be caught on surveilance gear of any kind since the information collected WILL BE used by the media for ratings, by bureaucrats and special interest defamation groups to justify the existence of their jobs prove and promote their narrow agendas and views of the world. It is in my interst to invent a stealth garment any way I can so that those I love can stay effectively underground and under the radar. Alas, the crime of Mrs. Toogood was to act out emotionally in a way that blew the centuries old cover of her group.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in the USA
From: SharonA
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 10:17 AM

There's a new thread for continuation of this discussion. Please, let's use it! Click here to go to Part 2


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Mudcat time: 26 February 5:43 PM EST

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