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I just finished reading Chico Blanco's disturbing diary "Trapped in a Mormon Gulag" about the rampant abuse at The Utah Boys Ranch, a religious reform "school".  I strongly encourage all of you who have not read it to do so.  After reading the diary, and the comments in the diary, I was left speechless, but not for the reasons you might think.  I was left speechless by the behavior of this community in the comments.  

After finishing the diary, I immediately went down to the comments to try to find a way to help end these attrocities.  One of the greatest strength of this community has been it's ability to band together and organize when the occasion called for it.  But instead of finding advice and ideas on how to shut the school down and hold those responsible for the abuse accountable, I ran into a pissing match about religion.

Immeadiately at the start of the diary, I ran into comments like this:

Not hard to take if youre a faithful Christian (49+ / 0-)
because if those dastardly non-believers start to attack the Mormon church, soon then it will lead to attacks on Baptists and Methodists and even Cathlics, and eventually all religions will be banned!

Man Battlestations!

See how easy it is to support pedophelia, incest, rape and all that comes with it? Stage 7 of faith.

Followed by retorts like this:

suppose it is a tribute to the strong community (32+ / 0-)
at Daily Kos that ardent atheists here feel free and safe to express such undifferentiated and blanket  prejudice against all Christians.

The battle seemed to continue like that for about a hundred comments or so, with a tit for tat over "Religion is stupid", "No it's not", without anyone actually talking about how to HELP THESE KIDS.  To me thats worse than any of the I/P or Warren pie fights.  To take an expose on child abuse and turn it into a religious pissing match is embarrassing.  This community can do better than that.

 It took me a while to scroll down and finally find a constructive comment on how to tackle this issue.  

what to do about him (68+ / 0-)
Get into one of his town hall meetings.

Bring a bunch of his victims along, age 18 and above.

See about getting the media there, in advance.

And then, one by one, they stand up and tell their stories, out loud, to the crowd.  And then start chanting something along the lines of "Child abuser! Shame! Shame!" until ordered to leave by the police.

Do it again at his next town hall meeting.

And again.

And again.  

And never let him get away from it.  Dog him at his every public appearance, relentlessly.  

And while we're at it, someone needs to look on his hard drive, because given his behavior, it's probably full of kiddie porn.  

And I don't care how old that bastard is, he deserves to spend hard time in prison.  Speaking of tough love.  Sleeping on a concrete mattress and eating bland gruel for the rest of his life would be just about right.  And if he misbehaves they can put him in solitary for a week and see if that straightens his child-abusing ass out.  

by G2geek on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 08:56:02 AM EST

The "Him" that G2geek is referring to is Utah State Senator Chris Buttars, who was the Executive Director at the school during the time of the abuses documented in the diary, and according to the diary, was complicit in all of the abuse.  

While G2geeks idea is a good start, there is a lot that can be done to help close the Utah Boys Ranch.  In fact, there's a whole website dedicated to solely to that objective.  I encourage all of you to visit The Mormon Gulag

The mission of the website is as follows:

Our Mission is simple -- we want the Mormon gulag to be shut down. We strive to end all forms of abuse perpetrated by the gulag - physical, emotional, and sexual - as soon as possible. Along with abuse, restricting freedom of religion and speech - and the abuse of public trust, specifically the trust given by parents and the Mormon church - must end immediately.  
Notifying the public is one of the most important things we can do. We also exist to support other abuse victims in any way we can. Mormon and non-Mormon alike can and should unite and be outraged this gulag exists in America. Together we have a unique opportunity to end needless suffering and make this country a better place.

The website contains more information on the school, including additional testimonials from former students, and the story of Brian Paulson, who's suicide was allegedly covered up by the school.  The website also contains information on the Utah Boys Ranch Network, an organization dedicated to providing support and assistance to former victims of the ranch.  They are a 501(c) 3 tax deductible organization, and can be reached at utahboysranchnetwork@alumni.com.  They also have a paypal link set up for donations to their organization (The only information I have on them is from their website, so I can't endorse the legitimacy or effectiveness of the organization beyond their own words).  

If you prefer a more direct "take it to them approach", I encourage to reach out and contact both the school and Senator Buttars.  The school can be emailed at help@wramail.com.  Buttars can be emailed at dcbuttars@utahsenate.org.  I'd be surprised if either of them got a high amount of email traffic, so a barrage of emails letting them know we're on to them and that we won't rest until their shut down and brought to justice should get their attention.

Hopefully some of you will read Chico Blanco's diary, and be motivated into action.  Although even if you aren't, spare us the religious bickering. We get that you're smarter than everyone else who doesn't agree with you.  So spare us and let those of us who want to help do so.

Originally posted to smash artist on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 03:25 PM PST.

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