A woman made a few sarcastic tweets, one of which said, “3-year-old for sale. $12 or best offer.” The tweet was enough to trigger some high moral troll into calling CPS (Child Protective Services) to report a potential abuse situation.
As it so happens, there is a fairly good chance the do-gooder was simply a political troll who didn’t like the politics this woman was selling on Twitter. I want to highlight a few key points from the article from Magnolia State Live called “How a Tweet about my son launched a human trafficking investigation.” This article is actually an editorial from a mother named Alex McDaniel.
The saga began when a caseworker and supervisor from Child Protection Services dropped by my office with a Lafayette County sheriff’s deputy…..
They told me an anonymous male tipster called Mississippi’s child abuse hotline days earlier to report me for attempting to sell my 3-year-old son, citing a history of mental illness that probably drove me to do it.
Beyond notifying me of the charges, they said I’d have to take my son out of school so they could see him and talk to him that day, presumably protocol to ensure children aren’t in immediate danger. So I went to his preschool, pulled my son out of a deep sleep during naptime, and did everything in my power not to cry in front of him on the drive back to my office…..
As you will read from McDaniel, the investigation was triggered by a tweet, a tweet on twitter that any simple-minded person would be able to determine was sarcasm, and sarcasm only:
As many of my readers and social media followers know, I’ve been quoting my adorable son on Twitter since he was two. He says the sassiest, smartest, most ridiculous things when I least expect it, and it’s one of my favorite things about him (and parenting, in general). I’ve written about it a handful of times before and am always so tickled by how many people keep up with our mother-son adventures.
A day or so before the anonymous caller contacted authorities, I tweeted a funny conversation I had with him about using the potty, followed by an equally-as-funny offer to my followers: 3-year-old for sale. $12 or best offer.
It was that tweet which CPS deemed worthy of launching an investigation against McDaniel, with the suspicion she was somehow taking part in human trafficking of her own son. McDaniel continues to describe the horror that followed:
….I prepared for a home visit in which my case worker would inspect my home and the possibility of more interviews with my son….
Now, this next part, to me, reflects the knee-jerk reaction people who have been conditioned by government schools have when they are confronted with the absurd reality of bureaucracy run by an entity that has a monopoly on power, the coercive enterprise:
CPS has a hard job, both in the nature of what they do and the day-to-day demands of handling each case. As I shared with my followers Sunday night, it would be easy to read this and assume I’m upset with them, which couldn’t be more untrue. Everyone has a job to do, and I don’t blame them for doing what they felt they had to do in this case.
How in the hell are you not upset about a system in which a life-invading, deeply personal, liberty-violating process is triggered by an obviously sarcastic tweet on twitter? How? Isn’t the Fourth Amendment supposed to protect you from gross violations of your personal space?
While I feel for this woman, the fact that she is giving CPS ANY grace whatsoever reveals only one of two possibilities, either she is a true-blue believer in the coercive enterprise, or she is afraid that if she says anything harsh about CPS they could come at her for another round of “let’s invade this woman’s private life and threaten this critical relationship she has with her son.”
It if it is the latter, yeah, I completely understand, and I give her a total pass. The power the people who claim the authority of the state has over our lives is very real, and they have individuals, individuals with guns and other weapons, to back up that power.
In McDaniel’s case, she had what she called a “fantastic attorney” that got the case dismissed in a couple of days. But really, this could have been a lot worse, for her and her child, if she did not have the resources to call on a “fantastic attorney,” and it was all triggered by a sarcastic tweet on twitter that was reported to CPS for reasons that she suspects were due to her opinions.
I have no proof it was a targeted attack, but enemies come with the territory in this business. It seems unimaginable that someone would despise my opinions on flags and statues so much that the only answer is to harm my family, but in some ways, it doesn’t seem that far-fetched.
She says that her main point is that CPS is being called upon by people for reasons that have nothing to do with actually keeping children safe, that when this is done it ties up resources that could otherwise be used to help children with genuine needs. She concludes this way:
Mississippi is obligated to empower CPS with the resources needed to do its job. That means putting measures in place to ensure people can’t use their services as means to attack innocent families.
It also means making sure there are clear, enforceable consequences for those who do.
She does not question the basic competency of a department that is ‘entrusted’ with so critical a power as being able to interfere with a parent-child relationship (not that some relationships don’t merit being ‘interfered’ with).
She only expresses concern for people who use CPS as a weapon against their enemies, as well as the lack of consequence for people who use CPS in this manner, hiding as they can behind anonymity.
Mississippi CPS demonstrated a fundamental lack of judgment. At best, they did so because they saw an opportunity to ‘take a case’ that would justify their budget and their existence. But more likely, this reflects the probability that the Mississippi CPS is staffed by grossly incompetent zealots who lack even the basic common-sense skills it would take to quickly discern the tweet in question that triggered this investigation was, right on its face, hardly credible enough to warrant an investigation.
With the caveat being that this woman MIGHT be protecting herself from CPS abuse, the fact that this woman chose to spend no time whatsoever questioning CPS’s judgment shows how effective the state has been in propagandizing the infallibility myth of the state. If this woman did restrain herself for fear of CPS reprisal, then it shows the power the state has over our lies to chill dissent through investigatory intimidation.