Friday, June 28, 2019

Freddie Prinze

Freddie Prinze was a comedian famous for co-staring in the hit 1970's television show Chico and the Man.

Tragically, Prinze killed himself in 1977. He was 22 years old. Why? Many people say he was depressed. Well yes, but why was he depressed? According to his mother:

Sometime during the day, Freddie received the divorce papers from Kathy's lawyer demanding $25,000 in lawyers' fees, $10,000 in court costs, $4,000 a month alimony for Kathy and $1,000 a month support for the child, as well as retention of all properties held in Kathy's name, plus dental and medical expenses for her and the baby. And all of this was retroactive to December 8, 1976. In all of it, what hurt Freddie the most was that he was restrained from going to the house except to visit Freddie Jr. 

You would have to be pretty cold hearted not to feel depressed.

If there is a silver lining to his Freddie's life it is that his his son, Freddie Prinze, Jr,. overcame the tragedy and has had a very successful career as an actor as well as a, rare in Hollywood, successful long-term marriage with Sarah Michelle Gellar with whom which he has two children.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Wow! Suicide Risk for Divorced Men

For years I have always thought the risk of suicide for divorced men was four times that of women. Boy, was I wrong. It is actually 9.7 times.
These results dramatise the terrible consequences of being a divorced man in America, and lead to the question: why are divorced men killing themselves? Some analysts argue that the research community has ignored a plausible explanation for the excess suicide risks experienced by divorced men. As Perrault and Farrell observe, while social, psychological, and even personal problems facing women are readily denounced, societal institutions tend to ignore or minimise male problems as evident in suicide statistics. For instance, in many jurisdictions in the US there seems to be an implicit assumption that the bond between a woman and her children is stronger than that between a man and his children. As a consequence, in a divorce settlement, custody of children is more likely to be given to the wife. In the end, the father loses not only his marriage, but his children. The result may be anger at the court system especially in situations wherein the husband feels betrayed because it was the wife that initiated the divorce, or because the courts virtually gave away everything that was previously owned by the ex-husband or the now defunct household to the former wife. Events could spiral into resentment (toward the spouse and “the system”), bitterness, anxiety, and depression, reduced self esteem, and a sense of “life not worth living”. As depression and poor mental health are known markers of suicide risk, it may well be that one of the fundamental reasons for the observed association between divorce and suicide in men is the impact of post divorce (court sanctioned) “arrangements”.
In my case, custody of the children was joint although in reality I have had sole custody. Yet despite that and despite a vocational evaluator determining Spring could make just as much money as me, not to mention the clear and overwhelming evidence of fraud on her part, I am required to work the rest of my life for her.

Why divorced men commit suicide at such a high rate can be debated, but does anyone really thing that the fact that it is the man who pays alimony  98+% of the time is unrelated? 

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Lack of Due Process

Medium has an interesting article on the lack of due process in family court. The articles focus is on veterans but what is true for them is true for all.
Due process is often subverted for many individuals in divorce and custody ordeals — often for reasons of players in the court covering up one track after another in situations where transgressions have transpired both on procedural and substantive grounds whereby established precedents and rules have been disregarded — resulting in rights being terminated without parties being afforded proper adjudication.
“Disabled Veterans are encountering tremendous financial and emotional distress in various forms on a regular basis because of this injustice. Some to the point of suicide…other sufferings include illegal garnishment of entire bank accounts, inappropriate liens on personal property acquired with Title 38 compensation, driver license suspension, and even incarceration. Tragically, many are denied a meaningful relationship with their child(ren) as a result.”

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Real Sexism

I ran across the Real Sexism Project and think you should take a look. I am not going to comment much other to say that it does make you think and the fact that sexism against men exists does not mean sexism against women does not exist and is just as wrong.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

The Saddest Option

I once visited the Nazi concentration camp Dachau which is located in a town of the same name near Munich. Dachau was the first of Hitler's concentration camps and served as the model for many of them. An interesting fact about Dachau is that although gas chambers were constructed, they were never used. Unlike some camps such as Treblinka, which were pure execution camps from the start, Dachau started as a political rehabilitation camp.  By the time they built the gas chambers, the labor shortage in Germany was so severe the Nazis decided it was better to use the prisoners as forced labor in the munitions industry rather than kill them outright.

For some prisoners, making weapons for the enemy was unacceptable.  Rather than do so, they chose to touch the electric fence which surrounded the camp or step into a grassy zone where Nazi soldiers located in towers would instantly shoot them. It was a horrible choice but I can understand their rational. The idea of making a grenade that would be used to kill those fighting the Nazis could easily lead one to decide that death was the more moral choice.

We do not have hard data on how many acts of violence and crime are caused by injustice in family court but it is reasonable to think it is high.  Not only does crime beget crime but the perpetrators of crime in divorce court have a near zero risk of getting caught.

We know that divorce causes a three-fold increase in suicides among men; however, we do not know how much higher the rate is for those paying lifetime alimony. But I think that like those Dachau prisoners who could not in good conscience work to support immorality and crime; many people obligated to pay lifetime alimony to those who committed immoral actions and crimes decide that the correct moral action is death. The fact that this is quite rational and understandable is just incredibly sad.