Guideposts and The Upper Room

I would like to take a minute to tell you about how things were back in the day.  I know any post that starts with “Back in my day” should be immediately suspect and so I must also ask you to take this with a grain of salt.  I haven’t done any research on this post and perhaps I am misremembering.

But it seems like back in my day the religious materials in my house–Guideposts and The Upper Room–used to be a bit more exciting.

Now, The Upper Room is a daily devotional guide and the devotions are written by different people with the end goal of giving you a prayer and a little anecdote and a Bible verse to dwell upon.  But every once in a while, the anecdotes were awesome, like about how some kid lost his best friend in a terrible white water rafting accident and he could never go near the river again until he came home one day and found a mysterious white water rafting raft oar in his kitchen still wet and this was a sign from God that his friend was in Heaven.  Blessed are the pure in heart, etc., etc.,

And you could count on that every month from Guideposts.  They had a feature called “His Mysterious Ways,” that was every month chalk full of the creepiest-assed shit you can ever imagine all retold to prove that God really does exist and meddles in our lives in such a way as to cause little Methodist girls to not be able to sleep at night.

Well, I was flipping through my parents The Upper Room and that thing has gotten deathly dull.  It’s all full of “oh, here’s some small thing that got me thinking about God” or “here’s a time that I thought things were bad, but it all worked out just fine, thanks to God.”  Day after day, same thing.  No ghosts, no weird voices, nothing.

And Guideposts… don’t even get me started.  Have you seen an issue of Guideposts lately?  It’s all “Maria Menudos loves her dad very much” and “this woman loves her paralyzed brother and Superman very much.” and “This woman loves her dog and sheep very much.”  I didn’t see any mysterious ways.  It’s just this “We’re all good people who love each other very much and God loves us.” crap.

What happened?  Was there some big scandal where it was discovered that there was just one guy, perhaps a failed fiction writer who was submitting all these stories as all these different people, but the events never actually happened?  Has it just fallen out of fashion?

It’s kind of sad.  I feel like a scary bit of my childhood is gone.

One Last Things about Juana Villegas DeLaPaz

I see that the understanding about this story has boiled down on both sides to “Juana Villegas DeLaPaz was treated inhumanely while she was in the custody of the Davidson County Sheriff: True or False?” with both sides then weighing in on whether what happened to her was extraordinary.

I want to reiterate–though it may be shouting into the wind–that nothing unusual happened to Villegas. Women who give birth while in custody give birth under circumstances very similar to how Villegas was forced to give birth.

Women in the custody of the Davidson County Sheriff who give birth, give birth like that. That is a problem, I believe, but that is a slightly different problem from the Villegas situation.  We should not let ourselves get distracted by that (though, I believe, it is the point of some people to distract us by that).

The problem with the Villegas situation is this: Every law enforcement officer in town knows what I know–that women who give birth while in the Sheriff’s custody give birth shackled to a bed, without the presence of any family members, and then have their baby taken away from them.

Every law enforcement officer in town also knows how 287(g) works–that a person has to be arrested and enter the jail in order for the Sheriff’s department to run her name through the ICE database. Tim Coleman did not know (or should not have known) that Juana Villegas DeLaPaz had a previous deportation order when he was deciding whether to give her a ticket or to arrest her. Let us not be mistaken about that. That information is supposed to be available only to the Sheriff’s department after a person has been arrested, not to an officer on the street making a decision about whether or not to arrest someone.

The Sheriff’s department has been trained by ICE and works closely with ICE on immigration matters.

Police officers on the street have not been trained and do not work with ICE.

Arresting officers are not supposed to be working as untrained immigration enforcers.

Officers are not supposed to be arresting people they think are likely to be in ICE’s database for the sole purpose of getting their name run against ICE’s database.

The reason, I believe–and again, I speak only for myself, but based on what I’ve read and conversations I’ve had–that local activists are upset is that when Officer Coleman was faced with a pregnant woman who had, at best, committed a misdemeanor ticketable offense, he did not do what most officers in his situation do–ticket her, make sure she did not leave him still driving without a license, and get on with his day.

Instead, he arrested her.

It was within his discretion to arrest her–that’s why the Berry Hill police department can say he did nothing wrong–but it’s very, very weird that he arrested her, especially because HE HAD TO AT LEAST SUSPECT THAT ARRESTING HER WOULD LEAD TO HER GIVING BIRTH WHILE IN JAIL.

When he decided to arrest her, he was deciding that she would give birth in jail, and he, being a smart dude familiar with how the jail works, knew that she would end up giving birth shackled to a bed, alone, with her baby ripped from her.

Now, if you ask any police officer in town if they think that being shackled to a bed without your family around you while you go through one of the most scary, painful ordeals a woman goes through is a proper consequence of driving without a license, he’s going to say no.

So, why, when faced with a pregnant woman, about to give birth, who had committed an offense that only warranted a ticket, did Coleman arrest her?

She wasn’t a flight risk. She clearly has ties to the community.

It seems to me obvious that he arrested her SO THAT she would be checked against the ICE database and deported.

Maybe that doesn’t seem like a flagrant violation of the job of a police officer, but it’s pretty shocking once you start to think about it.

It’s not his job to run around finding excuses to pull over Hispanics and arrest them so that they’ll get kicked into the 287(g) program.

It’s his job to enforce the laws he knows are being violated.

It’s not his job to decide who gets to be here and who does not.

Am I a Wiccan from Indiana?

Because, if I were, this is exactly the kind of thing that would happen to me.

Last night I had a dream that I was going through a swamp to a little house and, in the house, I was a little girl and I was given some beads to play with.  When I got to the seventh bead, which stood for mystery, I was shoved into a cave, where a woman wrote F-E-H-U on the wall, which, of course, was weird, because she could have just written Fehu.

Wealth and cattle.  Hmm.

Causing discord among kin.

Oh, subconsience, why can’t you be more direct?