kids defend their homestead! (Political) : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Children hold police at bay in Idaho

SANDPOINT, Idaho (AP) - Six children, believed to be armed, refused to leave their rural home and instead released a pack of dogs on sheriff's deputies who had arrested their mother, authorities said.

Deputies retreated from the house after a two-hour standoff Tuesday and planned to peacefully wait out the children, Sheriff Phil Jarvis said Wednesday.

"I told them, 'We're just going to defuse it, we're leaving,"' Jarvis said. "I'm not going to get into a Randy Weaver thing."

In 1992, at nearby Ruby Ridge, the wife and son of white separatist Randy Weaver were killed during a standoff with federal agents.

Officers on Wednesday were concerned about a boy who has taken a leadership role.

"It's not worth a confrontation with a 15-year-old who believes he is protecting his family," Jarvis said. "We are trying to talk him down."

The children, ages 8 to 16, would not respond to calls from social workers or law enforcement officers. A 19-year-old sister who left home has been assisting authorities.

"We know there are six children in there and guns in the house. The kids are trained to use the guns," Jarvis said.

More than 20 dogs have been running free at the scene, he said.

"They hunt. They pack like wild animals," he said. "They took down a moose a little while ago."

The home lacks power, water and heat. The children have essentially been caring for themselves for the past year, Jarvis said.

The incident was triggered by Tuesday's arrest of the children's mother, Joann McGuckin, on a warrant charging felony injury to a child.

Authorities believe McGuckin, 46, is mentally ill. Her husband died more than a week ago, Jarvis said.

Deputies returned to the home to get the children and put them in the state custody, but one of the boys ran to the house and yelled, "'Get the guns,"' the sheriff said. "They let all the dogs out of the basement."

The home is located about a mile from the community of Garfield Bay, down a dirt road just past a county dump.

Garfield Bay resident Lloyd Wyatt, 84, said the children were sometimes seen around town dressed in ragged clothing. He said he wasn't surprised they were holed up in the house.

"We are a breed of people who say, 'This is our home and we are entitled to protect it,"' Wyatt said.

-- Chamoisee (, May 31, 2001


Response to homeschooled kids defend their homestead!

I wanted to see what you all thought of this. My first thought was that most homesteading families could be portrayed in a negative light such as these folks were. The fact that they made it through the winter alive tells me that they're not without a source of heat, and they probably aren't starving.

-- Chamoisee (, May 31, 2001.

Response to homeschooled kids defend their homestead!

Another news story mentions that their land is adjacent to a national forest...Hmmmm

-- William in Wi (, May 31, 2001.

Response to homeschooled kids defend their homestead!

I don't think that most homesteading families have a mentally ill mother accused of felony injury to a child.

-- Elizabeth (, May 31, 2001.

Response to homeschooled kids defend their homestead!

The media is unable to provide an accurate and unbiased story, so whatever we discuss here is going to be equally skewed. Keep in mind that this "mentally-ill" woman's husband died a week ago. If that happened to me, I'd still be pretty upset -- and I might do things that seem neglectful of my kids, too. But these aren't tiny toddlers; the older kids are probably capable of handling their normal routines. More here than meets the eye.

-- Anita Evangelista (, May 31, 2001.

I changed the thread title since, from the news reports I have seen, there is no evidence these children received any formal schooling. When asked why they weren't in the local school system the mother apparently said she was teaching them herself. Reports say they have had a 'seize mentality' for many years and some of the children have never been off of their property. Having no electricity, running water or heat doesn't necessarily mean they were 'living off the grid', but most likely under extremely primitive conditions.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, May 31, 2001.

Don't forget the report that the mother was a serious alcoholic and the father died of MS (so he wasn't out hunting I'm guessing). It was also reported that the kids were not only in ragged clothes, but malnourished. There's more to this story. What are the kids protecting the home from? The 19 year-old may very well be allowed custody of the other children, so some things may not have to change.

-- Anne (, May 31, 2001.

Perhaps you're right... if someone chose to mislead, it would probably be quite easy to portray homesteading/homesteaders in a negative light. Sometimes the press is so extreme... six armed children in ragged clothing, 20 killer dogs who eat moose, warrants, a death in the family and to top it all off they live down the road (made of dirt) from a DUMP!! If the road was paved or the house was across the street from a church, would they have mentioned that?

-- Max (, June 01, 2001.

Ken, I'm glad you changed the thread title. The former title implied these children were being challenged because they were home schooled. I agree with some of the other threads that believe there is more here than meets the article. Perhaps these children feel that what they're doing is necessary to protect themselves from the "authorities" and from being separated.

-- Dianne in Mass (, June 01, 2001.

Diane, you are right, those kids will definitely be split up.

-- Jerry (, June 01, 2001.

One article said there were over two dozen dogs in the house. Inside. Animal hoarding IS a recognized mental illness.

-- Shannon at Grateful Acres Animal Sanctuary (, June 01, 2001.

And what about the 20 dogs! It said the dogs hunt like a pack and even took down a moose. That should never be allowed anywhere. I would be pretty upset if 20 loose dogs lived near me, and I would scream about it too. How in the world are they feeding the 20 dogs? Things just don't sound too right here. Sounds like the 19 year old wants to get needed help for her brothers and sisters. She will have to get them out herself to keep anything else from happening.

-- Cindy in KY (, June 01, 2001.

From what actual facts of the matter I've been able to glean from this story, others I've read and radio news reports I think it's quite likely the mother is at least moderately mentally ill.

Nevertheless, I've been trying to view this story from the way I think the kids, particularly the fifteen and sixteen year olds, are going to see it.

Dad just died. Mom left the house at the behest of the local authorities to get food only to be seized by them after she left. How's that going to look to the kids? Then along comes the self-same authorities giving every appearance they want to seize the rest of the family!

We keep guns, we plan to homeschool and I've had more than one aquaintence tell me they thought I was "eccentric." If, years in the future when my kids are old enough, I had died, my wife had gone mentally unstable and the authorities grabbed her after first decieving her into leaving the house I wouldn't find it implausible that my sixteen and fifteen year old children might do the same. By that age I'll certainly have taught them to shoot and to start thinkig for themselves.

These kids think they're defending their family. The sherrif is right to back off and look for ways to defuse the situation. At age sixteen I'd already had a year of ROTC in high school and might have been able to give the local deputies a rude surprise if they'd been foolish enough to actually assualt my home after I'd had time to prepare.

Back off, find someone, anyone, those kids will trust or at least listen to and let them act as intermediaries but DON'T, DON'T, DON'T try to force the issue.


-- LiveOak (, June 01, 2001.

I think its important to keep two things in mind:

1. What we know is what we have been told from the media. As someone has said eariler, they have an agenda as well.

2. Public oppinion and cultural norms change. (Sometimes very quickly.) Just think of it - children with guns. What comes to our minds is all the school shootings. A hundred years ago if it was mentioned "children with guns" it may have been considered getting food for the table or protection of livestock.

I am not saying that there are not some problems in this case, (there seems to be quite a few) but when someone is out of the "norm" it is easy to paint a picture of them being weird. You may be too.

If someone were to enter my home they would think me weird also. There are wild turkey eggs in the frig., a stash of guns under my bed (8 - come to me after my father died, most I have not even shot.) and there are cases of canning jars in the basement along with two sons who live down there - (hundreds of jars - This would be evidence for a good case for mental illness. Who in there right mind would want to can when all you have to do is go the grocery store? Or is there child abuse because I keep to sons in the basement? That's where there bedrooms are and there ages are 22 and 20.)

In any case, words are powerful and can paint a variety of pictures.

-- Tom S. (, June 01, 2001.

Agree with you Tom. On CNN the other night, the kids were described as having only "lake water and lily pads" to eat. Made me think of some of my Ozark neighbors who are knowledgeable about wild foods and suppliment their diet with "weeds and seeds". Today, another news report says that the kids had received 200-pounds of staples from a food bank last week. Which report can we believe?

Anybody else on this list read "survival magazines", like the 16-year- old boy in this household does? Magazines like "Countryside", "Backwoods Home", or have a bunch of old "Mother Earth News" stacked up in the attic? Got any guns? Stocks of "survival food" like beans and rice? Anyone on this list could fit the media description of a "survivalist". At least we know one thing: THE BOY CAN READ!!!!

Geez, these people have 20 dogs! Wow! they must be nutz. Ooops....we've had as many as 24 at one time....most were "drop offs" from thoughtless city folk who think Fido would survive in the country. And yes, if you turn 20 dogs loose, they will immediately behave like a pack. But, bring down a moose??? What was the moose doing that close to a home with 20 dogs and a bunch of local law enforcement guys stomping around? If moose are that plentiful, this family should have more than enough meat to eat. Something is wrong with this picture -- and it's the representation of a bunch of pet dogs as a savage killer pack dragging down wild animals which are unlikely to be there. Somebody's exaggerating this story to play up the danger of leaving these "loonies" loose. What do we know, from several sources, that seems most reasonable? 1. Dad just died of MS (which means Mom has spent the past several years giving him 24/7 constant care). 2. Mom has been taken away. 3. Authorities are trying to take kids away from their home "for their own good". 4. Kids don't want to go.

Beyond that, it's spin, spin, spin....

-- Anita Evangelista (, June 01, 2001.

It is so hard to tell from the news what the "real" story is here. From the report on Good Morning America, apparently the parents have always been distrustful of the government and feared having thier home and children taken away. (no did happen). They were very poor since the father was disabled and the mother needed to stay home and take care of the children. The children had been homeschooled and the parents instilled in thier children fear of the government.

The children are held up trying to protect thier "family". Both parents are gone and since being told to always distrust strangers and especially governmental officials, I think the children are doing a very brave thing!

Right or have to admire the parents who did the best they could. Although I am no survialist, etc. I am leary of government as well as are probably most of you. I don't take it to such extreme but, I can see how others can and do and why.

Parents should have the right to teach and train thier children as they see fit. Hey look at most of us....we all said the heck with society and what they all think and took to the hills, valleys, and land for our freedom and the right to live as we wish. I don't see much differance.

Everyone does the best they can with what they know or have resources for!

-- Karen (, June 01, 2001.

Here is a link to a place that says the kids are homeschooled. It would be nice if you'd change the thread title back to the way it was. Since one of the questions in this case is whether or not the children were recieving adequate education, whether they were sociable, etc, I do think that the homeschooling is an important point. Since this is going on about 30 miles from me, it literally strikes 'close to home.' I repeat, most homeschooling, homesteading families on this board could be portrayed in a similar manner by disgruntled family members!

-- Chamoisee (, June 01, 2001.

Oh, by the way, the basis for her 'mental illness' is that she thinks that her husband's multiple sclerosis may have been caused by the county spraying 2-4D (an herbicide) on the county roads. And she didn't want her kids eating food she hadn't approved, in case it might have poison( chemicals?) on it. Now where else have I read stuff like this? Again, many of us, who prefer organic foods, could be portrayed in this negative light.

-- Chamoisee (, June 01, 2001.

I think we should all sit back and not judge anything at this point,we cant believe anything we have heard or read. I have lots of questions #1 the girl who was turned down from the service,has she spoken out? #2 the oldest boy who left has he spoken? #3 a pack of wild dogs sure....would the children not be in danger too? a moose is alot bigger then an 8 yr.old #4 if mom is ill why is she in jail and not a hospital? #5 so they eat "wild" food whats wrong with that?

I think alot is being held back and most we will never know

-- renee oneill{md.} (, June 01, 2001.

I've heard nothing bad about the sheriff up there... But, I love the fact that the story changes about every half hour, making the mother look worse and worse. Then they bring in the lawyer, who gives a completely DIFFERENT one (which I would LOVE to believe), and they have to argue with HIM....

They've added charges, misrepresented facts (on which side - I don't know) and all sorts of things. They have also done exactly what the mother was afraid of... They lied to her and arrested her, then the boy goes to a neighbor for help and she turns him in... If the INTENTION was not what had been feared, the OUTCOME certainly is.

The latest is that the trouble started because one of the dogs attacked a neighbor. Funny, but that's the same neighbor the 15 year old went to who turned him right over to the police....

First there was no electric... now the attorney says there was at least until a few days ago. There is no running water, but there is a well, and supposedly a second pump because the first one quit and they couldn't afford to have it installed. There's no heat, but there is a wood stove... They now tell us that the kids only bathe in the summer when the lake is warm, and don't wash their clothes. First there were 5 dogs, now there are 27... Come on.

-- Sue Diederich (, June 01, 2001.

Anita's post just caused something to occur to me.

The fifteen year old boy likes to read "survivalist magazines" which causes me to ask what survivalist magazines? The sole remaining survivalist magazine in the field just went bust a few months ago and it had been the only one of its kind for the last ten years now.

I think the media needs to define just what the hell a "survivalist magazine" is because I'm pretty sure the answer is going to annoy a lot of us. Like she said, at least the boy reads. That's a damn sight more than I can say for a lot of fifteen year old boys I've met.


-- ThreeTwo1 (, June 01, 2001.

Is it possible that they could be homesteaders just doing their thing, AND mom is mentally ill? We homesteaders are not immune from things like alcoholism and insanity, and homeschooling and distrusting the government have nothing to do with it. Just because this lady and her family have a few things in common with us as homesteaders does not mean she's NOT crazy. If the child endangerment charges are valid, then those authorities are doing the right thing. I suspect that if this had happened in an apartment in Boise, folks on this board would not even be discussing it, much less defending the lady. Calling ourselves homesteaders does not exempt us from the laws of society, thank goodness. If this was a crack-mom in some ghetto someplace, who let her kids go unfed and unwashed and truant from school, do you think folks would be defending her right to live the lifestyle of her choice? Hell no, we'd demand that the authorities intervene. Why does the fact that this lady lives in the woods make such a difference?

-- Shannon at Grateful Acres Animal Sanctuary (, June 01, 2001.

I have been an investigative newspaper reporter for more than 21 years. We are definately not getting the entire story.

All the news stories we've had here on TV, radio and newspaper all had the story of the "dogs taking down a moose," etc. etc. etc.

I think the mama likely should have been left at home and the family left alone. They say a 19 year old is "assisting" authorities. How many 19 year olds do you know that get mad at their families and want revenge?????

Next thing you know they will be saying this family subscribed to COUNTRYSIDE and BACKWOODS HOME so they must have been bad folks all along....

-- Suzy in Bama (, June 01, 2001.

I don't think you can just "leave people alone" which have warrants for felony injury to a child. Since these children are minors without a guardian... someone has to step in at some point.


-- Max (, June 01, 2001.

I usually dont put my two cents in, in these types of discussions put could not resist this time. I agree with the posts above that alot of people on this forum could face simmalar problems when people look at "homesteading" as off the wall. I work with "mentally ill" people and it is a disease just like cancer or anything else. The stigma of mental illness has got to stop. These people have a right to live their lives as they choose as long as they are not threatening themselves or others with physical injury. No where in the above link did I read that this poor woman was harming herself or her children. They did not have running water put had a water source. If they have firearms and live on 40 acres I am sure they were able to hunt and or fish. If the authorities want to run everyones life we all better have a huge wake up call folks. I am sure if I had just buried my husband I would have a pile of laundry also. Give me a break!! And last put not least what about all the AMISH folks who live that way and survive quite nicely?? It is time government gets out of peoples lives.

-- tracy (, June 01, 2001.

ARMED DOGS KILLER KIDS.. SQUAT TEAM ON HIGH ALERT..FB&I TO TAKE OVER....stay tuned film at 11 wow what great headlines!!! lets sell lots of papers on this one...don't worry about the details....

-- Jim in MI. (, June 01, 2001.

I think its about time the goverment buds out of everyones buisness .They could easly say most of us are mentally unstable because we do not do as most of society does .How many of are kids are homeschooled ? How many times do they where old clothes around the farm ? Even a fast trip to town ? I have heard nothing concrete about neglect or adbuse .Officals have a way of making things seem worse than they are .

-- Patty {NY State} (, June 01, 2001.

I guess we will never know the "true story" given on the nightly news. I don't understand why they don't just let the mother return home to bring her children out for help. If the children were so neglected why did they wait until the father passed away to make a visit. I also think possibly if a less threating person than the sheriff had came to the house it might not have seemed like such a big deal to the children. Those children must be scared to death !! I would be with a bunch of police outside my homestead !! Why don't the authorities think things out a little more before going to people's homes. I realize the children probably shouldn't stay at home without an adult but it would be a shame if these children were sent to different foster homes. Thought I remember seeing family members on TV talking about this situation so there seems to be an extended family living nearby. Hopefully this will work out to help everyone involved.

-- Helena Di Maio (, June 01, 2001.

As I watched the news tonight, the one thing that kept flashing in my head was the absence of any discussion with the kids. If one left why isn't he helping to get both sides talking. The news interviewed a few therapists and they made some very good and logical comments on this is where the kids feel safest and probably being afraid of being separated if the police take them. I'm sure all everyone wants is for the kids to be safe, but you can't make them feel safe if they are feeling threatened.

And, if anyone starts up about homeschoolers, just point out that the National Spelling Bee Champ was homeschooled, so it can't be all that bad.

-- jennifer (, June 01, 2001.

Chamoisee, What are the Homeschool laws in your state? The CNN article really paints it like the neglect arrest was because they did not attend school. Oh and I really liked the lily pond water thing too, just playing to the stereotypes. What is interesting to me is the legal age thing, if this family of 16- 8 year olds were in another country would that government be alarmed at their ability to care for themselves? And the older sister, 3 years the senior? She must have split as soon as she reached the legal age, does she want to go back and live there as a family? I think the reason this is interesting, partly in response to your post Shannon, is because these kids might be OK on their own, even though there appears to be alot of shady details in the mix. The kids may have resources and a lifestyle that the general public does not understand, hence the mislabeling and slander in the news (fear as control), whereas a city situation the kids would have, in my opinion, less resources available. But it is too bad they don't have trust and have not established a community there, sigh, the kids are really in a hard spot.

-- becca (, June 02, 2001.

My, how this country has changed. A hundred years ago, this would not have been an unusual situation at all. Did it harm our forefathers who settled this country to only take baths in the summer? If it werent for the knowledge of what plants are fit to eat from the wild, many people back then wouldnt have survived. Face it, these kids were simply raised in the mentality of the mountain folk of the 1800's. Is that a crime?

My own family took care of many many foster kids when I was a child. The news came out and did a story on us, taking pictures etc... When the story came out, if it werent for the pictures,I would hardly have known it was us the story was about, they had gotten facts so skewed!

One thing that taught me, was NEVER to trust anything printed in the newspaper!

-- daffodyllady (, June 02, 2001.

I don't know anything about this situation.

However, about 20 years ago, a situation arose in Australia which rings some bells. A young couple and their three children - one infant - were holidaying, and the infant went missing, The mother said a dingo (wild dog - about equivalent to a cross between a coyote and a wolf) had taken the child from their tent. Turned out the couple had really strange beliefs - he was even a PASTOR (gasp) in a strange sect called the - wait for it - SEVENTH DAY ADVENTISTS. Well, with that to build on, the police in that territory (not even a state) went to town, and they went shopping around the globe until they found forensic "experts" who would support their arguments, and they had "expert evidence" that brake fluid spilt in the car was "infant blood", and the daughter's name meant "Sacrifice to God", and so forth. You may have read about it - the couple were Michael and Lindsay Chamberlain, their lost daughter was Azaria, their story was told in a movie called "Evil Angels"; and they couldn't actually nail him, but she spent many years in prison before the truth came out and she was pardoned.

Now, I'm not SDA; but I had the privilege of going to school with one - might possibly have got a good deal more friendly with her than the good friends we were before she and her father were killed in a car accident. Because of that, I knew the prejudiced (literaly - before justice) attitudes were false. I don't agree with the SDA's, but that doesn't make them evil - just means I think they're mistaken: the best of them probably think the same of me. They (mostly) still make good neighbours - better than many people who profess to hold the same beliefs as do I.

So - I see echoes of that situation here. I said, about the Chamberlain case, that I didn't know the truth, but I was glad I wasn't a juryman having to make a decision on the basis of what I'd heard. Sounds the same here - what I've heard here might be the truth, but I sure haven't heard anything that would convince me "beyond all reasonable doubt", and have heard some things that at this stage would make me doubt the official story. I wouldn't necessarily think that everything was ideal with the kids either, but I don't think "not ideal" is a good enough excuse for "try to override a sensible sherriff and come in with all guns blazing so we can MAKE the stupid kids do what --WE-- KNOW is best so that they - or at least we - will be as happy as possible".

-- Don Armstrong (, June 02, 2001.

I haven't seen anyone mention the one GLARING problem, which is that their property was sold for non-payment of property taxes, and this home and 40 acres of lakefront property in this area of Idaho somehow brought the magnificent sum of $50,000.

Let's see: The property sold very quietly at a tax sale for about 10% of its value. Who bought it and what connections do they have with the local powers that be? That's the question that everyone ought to be asking. It might go a LONG way toward explaining why the mother, after being lured away from her home and arrested, had her bond RAISED from $10,000 to $100,000.

Why don't they want her out of jail? Let me explain: With Dad dead and Mama in JAIL, the CHILDREN are now WARDS. That means that they have NO STANDING to file anything in court, and fat chance that a bunch of broke kids are going to find a lawyer who would buck the local PTB and represent them. The local cops are only "doing their job" by ripping them out of their home, separating them and destroying what's left of the family, all of which is exactly what whoever bought the property wants.

Why is it so important that the kids be removed from the land? because once the family is off the land the seizure is complete. They still have options while they are in possession, so somebody makes a charge of child abuse to provide a perfect reason to remove everyone from the property. Of course we KNOW that NOBODY would ever make a charge of child abuse if it wasn't true, would they?

Isn't it neat that a $450,000 theft can be manipulated by the thief into a child abuse case where the victim winds up paying for his crime, and all the spectators are left discussing the issue of child abuse?

This is a made for media story: First of all, the father is dead and can't tell his side of the story. Second, the mother is not one of the "pretty people" and so everyone will automatically believe that she's a nasty child abuser. (HAHAHA! Ever notice that we tend to judge people on their looks? It's the Hollywoodization of our moral judgement) Third, the kids don't have the standing to go into court and file anything on their own, and as wards of the state wouldn't be allowed to. Somebody got a mighty fine deal on a sweet property, which is gonna be worth a bundle to some yuppies fleeing California.

The media is using this story to suppress the truth, which is about a dirt poor family having their home stolen and their family destroyed, and instead focusing on their agenda: the denigration of homeschoolers, gun owners, homesteaders and anyone else who questions or objects to their brand of brainwashing. Makes me wanna puke.

Any homesteader who has valuable property is at risk. There are police who will plant dope on your property so that it is eligable for seizure. There are corrupt local governments that will do everything necessary to facilitate the destruction of a poor homesteader type family if it profits one of their group. Anyone here with children can have them taken by CPS, usually on nothing more than an anonymous tip. CPS is paid to find child abuse, and anything that they look at is automatically seen in the worst possible light.

Did you know that a close family member can go to a judge and allege that you are mentally ill, and the judge can sign a confinement order on you without you ever having the chance to defend yourself? On top of that, you have to pay the bills for the doctors who would eventually say that you are sane? The icing on the cake is that this close family member would have been made your guardian by the judge who signed the confinement order, with unlimited and unaccountable access to all of your assets.

What that family needs is for a local church to research the issue, and if it's possible to come back after a tax foreclosure sale and pay the back taxes to get the property back, the church needs to do that, ANONYMOUSLY. I believe that with the tax foreclosure sale profits off the table, the child abuse charges would fall by the wayside, given the circumstances.

-- Woody Forester (, June 02, 2001.

i'm praying the media gets close enough to the house for one of those brave kids to get a headshot off.

-- Emmerson Biggins (, June 02, 2001.

Woody, RUMOR has it that the sherriff's brother is the one who bought the 40 acres ( for a pittance of it's actual value). Now, I cannot verify if this is fact, but I would just LOVE to visit the county tax assessor's office and see about it! I wouldn't be at all surprised if the records were 'missing'!

-- Chamoisee (, June 02, 2001.

Woody, I agree wholehardidly with you, except about the issue of mental health[family members, judges, etc] In some states I am sure that what you stated is true but in my state[PA] that is not the case. I stated in my earlier post that I work with people who are classified as mentally retarded/mentally ill, I prefer the phrase mentally disabled. Most of my clients are classified as duel diagnosed meaning that they have both disabilities. I just went through an incedent with a young man that was threatening himself and others and it took 15 hours to get him admitted to a mental health facility and he was willing to sign himself in voluntarily. I do believe in this case there is definatley a hidden agenda and they are using a mental disability as an excuse. I really feel for this family and my prayers will go out to them. Tracy

-- tracy (, June 02, 2001.

The kids left their home with sheriff's deputies just a few hours ago. Read about it at On the right side of the home page, it is listed under IN THE NEWS.

-- ruth in se Illinois (, June 03, 2001.

Updates on this story can be found throughout the day at turns out those 20 something wild dogs were 15, mostly puppies. The children were checked out at the hospital and are all fit and healthy. Once again people were villified to justify government action and it isn't until they are in custody that the truth comes out. I for one know a few people who would call me crazy for homeschooling, could say I was into the occult stuff because I studied Wicca (witchcraft-gasp) so I understood my friend's beliefs better, threatened my neighbors with a gun, the bottle return place could verify that I occassionaly return empty coffee brandy bottlesafter a visit with friends, and write "anti-government' letters to the editor.My house is cluttered with kid's toys and some clothes on the floor now and then and my mother would be glad to tell the world that I am a slob. I also live on land that is slated for depopulation by greenies from Massachusettes, as confirmed by my state representative. My case would be just as sensational as this one except my kids are too young to know how to use a gun and my wild animals would be horses and cats:) Shoot, I even chat on icq with people from the Middle East and China, I could be working with terrorists! Oh, yeah, they could do a whopper on me for sure.

-- Epona (, June 04, 2001.

In our local paper today was this quote from the Mother's attorney, Bryce Powell. He said "Unconventional ideas should not be confused with mental illness".

-- Terry - NW Ohio (, June 04, 2001.

Ever notice how when anyone has an alternative life style the authorities begin to get suspicious and any gossip from neighbors, locals, is believed guilty until proven innocent. Always the children live in a bad situation, deplorable conditions. How convienent to say the mother is mentally ill. We should be outraged, I never believe what is reported.

-- Paticia A. Raunick (, June 04, 2001.

Interstingly, what I have heard on the local news in western Wis. (very little about the situation in the news here) is worded to give the impression that not having "running water and electricity" is the evidence that there is child abuse. We have a number of friends who homeschool, are self-employed, off- the-grid "homesteaders" who could easily be described in the same way as these folks in Idaho. Not too long ago, my family would have fit the description too. Now we have running water, though, so we are okay. I think it is very scary.


-- Jim (, June 05, 2001.

This is some more info on the Idaho situation:

"Charmed Life ends in poverty in Idaho" were the headlines in the regional section of June 4th Boston Globe. It seems that Michael C. McGuckin (the father) was originally from the Boston area. Went to a prestigious Groton prep school. His father was an Army major, his mother was from the distinguished Boston jewlery firm, Shreve Crump & Low Co.

McGuckin, 61 died of dehydration and malnutrition two week ago after rebuffing offers of help. The wife, JoAnn, allegedly suffers from mental illness. According to friends, the six children were taught to fear the government.

McGucklin studied engineering at the U. of NC, learned Arabic in the army, and set up a series of successful business in California: building furniture, buying textile plants, running a home construction business. A divorce (from 1st wife) set him back financially, then he moved to Idaho, where he planned to invest in a sawmill and perhaps set up a home for underprivileged children (according to friends). The sawmill failed despite the financial assistance of Massachusetts relatives. A federal tax lien filed in 1988 listed McGuckin as a debtor to the IRS for $18,842.

According to friends and published reports, McGuckin, his new wife and their children bcame more and more withdrawn, avoiding church and other social events and rejecting assistance of neighbors.

As McGuckin's health deteriorated, so did the family's situation.

This is not the entire article. You can get the entire article by accessing Click on "yesterday" then type in McGuckin in the search.

There was no mention of what (if anything) the rich New England relatives are doing to help the children?

Thanks for reading.

-- Dianne in Mass (, June 05, 2001.

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