Family Values

Aww, that's so cute. Baby's first stripper pole!
Aww, that's so cute. Baby's first stripper pole!
There are days I rant and rave, while worrying and gnashing my teeth, about the impending take over by our robot overlords and then there are days like this. Days where I figure we’ll probably be better off. The kind of day where it’s painfully obvious that humanity has jumped the rails and is just lying in the ditch waiting for something new to pass by.

Most of us, at one time or another, have had parents. Those people who seemed incredibly dense when you were young yet, somehow, managed to look kind of smart as you matured. Well, the was the common conception. After all, if they’re smart enough to procreate they must be smart enough to be responsible adults as well. Right?

Wrong.

Thanks to websites like Bad Parenting and Bad Breeders, with the former going for laughs and the latter being more insightful, it’s becoming clear that many people should not be allowed to breed. At the very least they should be required to pass some basic test before we untie their tubes and set them free.

Yesterday I wrote about a very good family. Today I’ll note that they’re outnumbered, at least, three-to-one.

We’ll take a look at the losers in chronological order based on the age of each child involved.

Starting with an infant. Isabelle Zehnder tells about grandma’s ‘gone wrong’ moment.

It was a bizarre abduction, to say the least. Before leaving her home in Southern California and coming to Northern California, (ED: the infant’s grandmother) Ericka Gallego told her roommate and friends that she had given birth to a baby girl. When she returned home with the baby her roommate became suspicious.

Jaime Portugal said Ericka is his roommate in El Monte. Ericka told people she was pregnant and had just held a baby shower, he said. Ericka told people the baby was 2 ½ weeks old.

Portugal became suspicious something was wrong when the baby looked too mature to be a newborn. “She wasn’t all there from the get-go,” he said. “She was always a little off her rocker.”

“It’s a good feeling to know the baby’s going back to her mother,” he said.

A contractor and handyman from El Monte, Martin Jimenez, said he also knew Ericka and that he was suspicious about her claims she’d recently given birth. He went to a local Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Baldwin Park and was told they had no records of her giving birth.

He said he’d suggested previously that she should seek psychological help. He was concerned enough to call police.

Police actually had Ericka in custody Sunday night. Captain Steve Warne of the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office said, “Ericka was arrested late last night. Our detectives interviewed her and others in the early morning hours (of Monday). We haven’t specifically established a motive. We consider this an act criminal in nature.”

“Ericka Gallego never had permission to take Ramy from her house. We believe she snuck into the home without the parents’ knowledge. The parents had no idea Erika was in the possession of their baby until we notified them,” Warne said.

First off, a big tip of the Nude Hippo hat, even though the producers are too cheap to actually give us hats, to Martin Jiminez for calling the cops and helping this family get reunited. As to the grandmother, “WTF WAS SHE THINKING?!?!!”

Yeah, that about sums it up.

But not all stories about bad parents involve people who are clearly delusional. Some are just patently evil. For example, Erin Alberty tells us of the nice mommy who wanted to sell her, 13 year old, daughter’s virginity.

A Salt Lake City woman is accused of trying to sell her 13-year-old daughter’s virginity for $10,000.

The woman’s boyfriend reported the alleged plot to police after finding text messages on the woman’s phone detailing negotiations with a man identified only as “Don,” said Salt Lake County prosecutor Sim Gill.

The woman, 32, had promised Don that her daughter would perform oral sex and other sex acts in exchange for $10,000 and later confessed the deal to police, Gill said.

The girl told police she initially consented to the arrangement but later decided she didn’t want to follow through, Gill said.

The mother also admitted to taking the girl to a Victoria’s Secret store, where she opened the dressing room door for Don to watch the girl model bras and thong underwear, Gill said.

The woman is also accused of sending pictures of the girl wearing lingerie to another man in exchange for money.

The negotiations for the pictures and the sex acts are alleged to have occurred from April 1 to May 18, Gill said.

Gill would not discuss details of any investigation of the man known as Don or the other man who received photos of the girl. He would not comment on whether police have identified those men or whether their ages are known.

The woman is charged with two first-degree felony counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child and two second-degree felony counts of sex exploitation of a minor.

The Salt Lake City Tribune, and all other media outlets, are honoring the police’s request not to name the mother for fear of harming the child, so we here are Nude Hippo will respect that as well.

But, seriously, when did this seem like a good idea? How do you go from “Honey, would you like to wear your school sweatshirt to the dance?” to “Honey, let’s go to Victoria’s Secret so mommy can be a pimp.”

I would have thought the gap between those thoughts was a gaping chasm, not a fine line.

As to the men involved in this venture, I hope there’s a special place in hell for them.

But, for our final story, we turn to Texas where the kids are in their 30’s and share the loving story of their demented dad. Steve Campbell reports on a story that would be funny as heck if it weren’t so sad.

On the other side of the barbed-wire fence, John Joe Gray, a “free-standing man” and fugitive from the law, is locked and loaded for the coming apocalypse or authorities – whichever shows up first.

“It’s coming,” he says. “It’s time this country knows God is coming.”

A rifle is slung across his back and a gun belt around his waist holds a revolver and extra cartridges. A knife is strapped to the other side of his lean torso. A battered felt hat frames a deeply lined face and bushy beard.

Dangling from a nearby tree, a hangman’s noose strangles a weathered sign that sums up his stance: “Solution to tyranny.”
Warily covering Gray’s flanks are two of his six children, sons Jonathan, 39, and Timothy, 33. The dark-bearded, fit and tanned brothers are as well-armed as their 62-year-old father.

Ten feet behind her brothers and father, long-haired Ruth Gray, 31, stands solemn and silent. She, too, is armed to the teeth.

Next to her is teenager Jessica Gray, “who is old enough,” according to her father, Jonathan. She has on a cowboy hat that the wind keeps blowing off, a long denim skirt, a sequined denim vest and cowboy boots. She’s packing a pistol and binoculars.

This is one stubborn side of what has been called America’s longest-running standoff with law enforcement.

But it’s been a single-sided siege. Henderson County authorities have pointedly ignored the would-be war.

For more than 11 years, John Joe Gray and his country clan have been holed up inside their own private prison, a 47-acre strip of Trinity River bottomland about 100 miles southeast of Fort Worth in Henderson County.

They’ve scraped out a harsh life here ever since Gray was bailed out of jail in January 2000 after he was charged with assaulting a state trooper on Christmas Eve 1999.

During a traffic stop, Gray and the driver of the car told two Department of Public Safety troopers that they were armed. When ordered to get out, the driver did but Gray wouldn’t budge.

One trooper pushed Gray out, and he then lunged for the other officer’s sidearm. Gray bit the trooper as they struggled for control of the weapon, according to investigators.

An Anderson County grand jury indicted him on two felony counts – assaulting a public servant and taking a peace officer’s weapon.

“We’re here because two highway patrolmen lied about what happened,” Gray said last week. “Land of the free and home of the brave? That’s a bunch of bull.”

He has refused to be taken alive and in a long-ago letter to authorities, the family warned officials to “bring extra body bags,” if they come for him. Authorities kept tabs on the compound for months but haven’t maintained an active presence for years.

“We fear no man,” John Joe Gray maintains. “We believe in an eye for an eye and a bullet for a bullet.”

But nobody’s storming the gate.

Henderson County Sheriff Ray Nutt, who is the fourth lawman in the post since 2000, says, like his predecessors, that he’s not willing to risk a gunbattle just to arrest Gray.

“John Joe Gray is not worth it. Ten of him is not worth going up there and getting one of my young deputies killed,” he said.

The hardscrabble compound has no phone, no refrigeration, no power.

Contact with the outside world is through a handful of “supporters” and via shortwave radio, John Joe Gray said.
Drinking water comes from springs, and Gray and his sons say they subsist by growing beans, potatoes, corn, squash, tomatoes and peppers on fields they plow with donkeys. They can vegetables and dry meat to get through the year, they said.

They also raise goats and chickens and catch catfish, carp and drum from the Trinity and hunt deer on the wooded property. Friends bring them staples they can’t produce themselves. Last year, they harvested their first crop of peaches.
One supporter, who frequently visits the farm, said eight children are inside the compound. The kids are armed at an early age, she said. They are equally adept at reciting the Constitution or Scripture.

“It’s sort of Wild West. It’s what a traditional American family looked like 100 years ago,” said Dolores McCarter of Arlington, who says she once worked for Homeland Security and now operates a small nonprofit called Dee’s House that helps battered women and children.

“John is standing as a free man. He loves his family. They are prepared to live out their lives there,” McCarter said. “Some people pity them and they … pity us.”

No, I feel no pity for this particular fool. For his family, maybe, but not him.

“Why not? You heartless S.O.B.!”

Well, because, the statute of limitations ran out years ago. This paranoid moron is as free to shop at WalMart as you and I. He, and his family, can leave at any time. Even if he did get picked up on the outstanding warrant, a judge would cut him free in a nanosecond. And that would be the end of that.

In other words, he’s ruined the minds and lives of his family for nothing.

Then again, that does seem to be the common denominator in all our stories today, doesn’t it?

Listen to Bill McCormick on WBIG AM 1280, every Thursday morning around 9:10!

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