The Child Warfare System

We, as in you and I, are at war. If you are an American your country has been at war for twenty years, but we can’t feel it. We don’t hear the earth shattering consequences of our imperialistic military machine. We read about it in the newspapers and magazines, we listen to pod casts and shift through you tube videos searching for an opinion we can agree with, but we cannot feel the human effects of the tragedy we inflict on the world on a daily basis.

Trillions of dollars are spent killing people and we shutter the lens on responsibility and try to focus on what is best for us, today, right now.  I speak of this because there is another war being waged in this country. It is a war that is capturing our children, housing them in detention facilities, instilling violence and apathy and creating soldiers who line the cell blocks in every city in America.

I’m talking about the child warfare system. In this country of abundance, children are being stripping from their homes, paraded through countless residential treatment facilities, foster homes, pharmaceutical experiments, and torture. These children are typically already victims of poverty, child abuse, molestation, and neglect before they are placed in the care of the STATE.

There, in the hands of their new parents – the government, they are housed, fed, controlled and provided for, but love, family, hope are rarely, if ever, apart of the process of recovery. I am talking about trauma. I am talking about children who molest their siblings, beat up their parents, and kill their dogs. Children who cannot control the monster that has developed inside them. The fact that they need help is an understatement.

I know these children because I was one of them. A vicious biting, sniveling, manipulative sexualized six year old with devil horns and a bad attitude.  What I found in my thirteen years living in the child warfare system was never what I needed, it was only what could be afforded. You see the system for traumatized children is operated like a business, much like war, there are casualties in this business, those casualties are children with extreme emotional, mental, and physical disabilities.

These are not unknown issues, but where is the change? I keep waiting for someone to actually change this system. There is research, there are conferences and conversations on the web and in cities all across America talking about the failings of the child warfare system but nothing happens. Poor people keep losing their children and the children end up in prison.

I know I did and in prison I found this thing called writing. I guess they call it cathartic writing now in the academic circles but at the time I found my short little pencil and yellow lined pad I was never supposed to leave that cell; statistically I had all the makings of a career criminal, a violent monster and a number. That pencil became my salvation from the rain but it did not take away my anger or my rage; it transformed it.  No longer did I have to rely on my fists or my lack of empathy to protect me from the terror of this world, now I could use a different sword because this is a war and I am a soldier.  A page of sorts now instead of the knight in shining armor I used to imagine myself to be on the cold rainy nights I spent under awnings as a teenage boy. This pen and now keyboard are my weapons and my words are my stories because I believe that stories create change, people are good, and we can do something about our world.

Its the greatest part about being an American. It may not be easy or equal or fair, but if you got the guts to take on the world than you can.  This is just the beginning of a dialogue, a journey into the child warfare system. I will tell you my story , I will talk about how to change this system and I will shout as loud as I can to free the other children trapped in cages because children cannot be prisoners and families cannot be broken. Someone has got to testify, speak up and share the silence. It’s about time I raised my hand.