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([personal profile] xtitsx 10 Jul 2017 10:39 am)
on Monday at Law School i was one of only five kids who turned up for class.
it was the Monday before July Fourth and i guess the other seven or eight kids in my class decided to take the long weekend.
but i didn't have anywhere else i needed to be [and i'm not the kind of asshole who ditches class, anyway, an obligation is an obligation] so i turned up.
before class started a girl with “gratitude” tattooed on the inside of her forearm asked me if i had “any plans for the Fourth.”
she was talking to me, i guess, because the other few people she normally talks to weren't there and people love talking.
i told her i would sit quietly on my sofa and she didn't quite know how to take that.
most people have plans for things and they expect you to have plans for things, too.

when the Old Coot Professor started class for the day the subject was the procedures that Government Agencies have to go through to take a child away from their parents.
the preference is to get a court order first, though, that court order can be, and often is, ex parte.
[ex parte, i had to look up to make sure, means 'one side' or, the government getting an order without the other side's notice.]
under certain circumstances, a Government Agency can go and pick up a kid without a court order, but there has to be 'clear and convincing evidence' to 'convince a person of ordinary prudence and caution' that the child is in imminent danger, and Judges are often skeptical of this run around their oversight authority.
in the event of a Government Agency interjecting itself into the parent-child relationship without a court order, there needs to be a hearing on the next day the court is open for business.
and, in either case, the Government Agency's custody of the kid can last no longer then fourteen days, when there is an Adversarial Hearing where the parents are brought in to contest the whole business.
the assumption there is that the parents are fit and the child should be returned to their care, unless it can be shown that there remains a continuing danger to the child's welfare.
that makes sense.

at some point, the Old Coot Professor started going on about the Government putting chips into everybody to keep track of us.
he conceded that it might be a good idea to help locate runaways and kids who have been kidnapped or trafficked but then, there would be no way to get out of the system once we become adults.
the Old Coot is a huge Libertarian and i respect a lot of his opinions that frequently slip out, but, it's hard not to think that for a guy who distrusts the government so much, motherfucker, you are the government.
the guy has spent his entire life in government service, first in Vietnam, then back Stateside as a D.A., State Senator, legislative liaison for the Governor and forty years sitting as a Judge on benches of varying stature.
the Old Coot has written and adjudicated more laws then most people will own cars in their lifetimes. why the fuck are you so down on the government? did you do that bad of a job?

after seventy-five minutes, when it was normally time for our mid-class break, the Old Coot Professor called it for the day.
he didn't want to get into the next thing he wanted to talk about with only five of us in the room so we were all free to go until next class when hopefully there would be a better turn out.
my classmates petered out of the room but i stuck behind for a few minutes to talk to the Old Coot about Mongolia for a while.
the Old Coot has made a pet project out of bringing the poor Mongolians the rule of law and he's been going there every year since the fall of the Iron Curtain.
the Old Coot said he's organizing a field trip out to Ulaan Bator sometime next Fall and he's looking for some kids to join him on that, but he also said strong research and writing skills were important and i don't want to do that.

Wednesday at Law School was our very last class
just like that, our Summer Term has come to an end.
all we have left is a final exam next Tuesday, and however long the Old Coot Judge Professor takes to conclude the class.
it seemed to take extra long, but things always seem to go insufferably slow when you're watching the clock.

before class started, like i always do, i made a point to stop in the Student Lunchroom to see if there was any free food to score.
over the course of the Summer term it's been about fifty-percent of the time that i can score something to eat.
and to my good luck, Wednesday was a winning day.
there were two big bowls of salad and some rolls from one of the regular places the School orders carryout.
the Law School had some function in the conference room earlier in the day and this was left over.
i piled salad up high on a small plate and dressed it with vinaigrette, and grabbed a pair of rolls.
down in my classroom i sat and piled lettuce in my face while i waited for the rest of my classmates to turn up and for the Professor to start the show.

when class began the Professor spent the better part of the first half hour going over all the stuff we talked about on Monday for all the people who missed it the first time.
which gave me more time to stuff my face with salad.
when the Professor finally got around to new material, the topic was Grounds for Termination.
we talked about all the ways parents can voluntarily and involuntarily be severed from their rights and responsibilities regarding their children.
which lead the Old Coot off on a tangent telling horror stories about bad parents he's encountered in his forty years as a Family Court Judge.
he told us about one kid who was chained to a radiator and started to death and another kid who was intentionally left in a hot car to boil to death.
i know kids boiling to death in hot cars is a thing, but i can't really imagine how.
i love sitting in a hot car.
when i was a kid i would go to the community pool with my Mother and Grandma during the Summer and afterward, when we got back to the house, often i would enjoy sitting in the hot Buick for a while, zoning out.
perhaps i was sniffing the chlorine baking off of my skin?
anyways, to me that sounds nice, but i guess i can see how it might kill a toddler.

at the mid-class break i went back up to the Student Lunchroom to see if there was any more salad to be had.
there wasn't, but there was a plate of cakes and cookies and i took more then my fair share.
back down in the classroom the Old Coot Professor spent another several minutes talking about how when he was a boy his shop teacher used to have all the boys make paddles and then he would beat each of them with their own paddle in turn.
if the paddle withstood three whacks, they would earn an A, if the paddle broke before he was done hitting them with it, they got a D.
he also talked about how kids would take their shotguns to school go dove hunting during lunch.
then, finally, the Old Coot ran out of things to ramble about and that was the end.
everybody got up and unceremoniously filed out of the room.
i wanted to tell the Old Coot Judge Professor that i enjoyed his class, that his rambling libertarian old man anecdotes were some of the best education i've received in Law School so far but i didn't.
i just walked out like everybody else and went about my life.
i hope the Old Coot lives long enough for me to take another class with him.
i can't wait to hear more fond memories about how life used to be so much more dangerous and cruel.

//[ab irato ad astra]

September 2017

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