Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Honest officer...I was just walking his dog...

You are out walking the family hound, a happy puppy. Suddenly a stranger appears and snaps his leash on to the collar of your precious pup. Your are astonished when the stranger claims that "Rover" is his dog and you should relinquish your claim immediately. Steadfast, you hold your leash. Equally staunch in his position the stranger holds his leash. The dog cannot follow two masters.

Being civilized and knowing that violence is no answer all three interested parties patiently await the arrival of the civil authorities. After taking confidential statements from the two humans the authorities are at an impasse. Each human appears to have a valid, albeit verbal, claim on the pooch. What is to be done? Impartiality rules, the family dog is remanded to the custody of the Animal Control office. The humans are encouraged to seek legal counsel and resolve the matter in court.

Ok, so this is a far-fetched story about a hypothetical circumstance and a made up family pet. What if this scenario is played out with an young child instead of a theoretical canine? Oh, I/we/she/he could tell who is the parent and who is the stranger. In this day and age of blended families it might even be possible that the stranger was in fact one of the parents.

How many days would I be willing to wait while authorities straightened out a mess like this. How many days should my child remain in the custody of the civil authorities before a determination can be made?

Joi's Slippery Slope is a persuasive argument. I however disagree with the concerns about privacy and freedom. I submit that we have completely surrendered our privacy. Any concern voiced regarding freedom or control is make-me-feel-better rhetoric. Enter into a protracted custody battle that is predicated on identity theft and possession-equals-9/10ths-of-the-law and see how much real freedom and control we actually have.

. . .