My Fellow Fathers in Exile, Friends, Activists,
Fot those of you who have not heard about my Fathers Day as a Political Prisoner.
Thank you for your kindness while I was in hell. The following is the story of what can happen to us if we decide to fight back. Let’s fight back.
In the 2 years the Purple Heart House has been in existence to demonstrate the pain and suffering of families in custody battles, we’ve had three press conferences. In November 1996, about 100 activist fathers, mothers, grandparents and kids paraded with signs-in-hand in front of this colorful old home, relating their nightmarish stories of Family court corruption to the world. In order for the street to be free of cars so the media trucks would have plenty of space to set up, we had arranged with the city that our activists could park at the Hollywood Bowl parking lot and we had shuttle service to the Purple Heart House. It’s only 2 blocks away so several of our demonstrators chose to take the stroll.
There were promises of coverage from several national media sources as well as the 7 local television stations and print press as well. Our invited speakers began making their speeches at 1 PM as announced. By 2:30 PM, not one press person (nor policeman) had shown up at our beautiful event. Can you imagine having 100 demonstrating activists on a street in Hollywood California or any large city without several police there for crowd control or at least to observe?
Our second Press conference was held a few months ago to share the stories of Family destruction by the courts as exhibited on the Purple Heart Wall of Hope. Again, we had promises of coverage from several press-sources. After an hour of waiting for someone from media to show, we were about to call it a day when an NBC video truck pulled up. A somewhat grizzled, frazzled, hostile, haggard, post-menopausal reporter name of Laurel Erickson exited the truck with her driver, the cameraman. No matter how cordial we were, she continued to argue with us that if we were not able to see our kids, there must be something wrong with us. She insisted that everyone she knew got joint custody. After this antagonistic, rancorous, venomous fish-wife drove away, the activists here prayed in unison that NBC would not air any of our interviews because by now we’d learned they would most certainly edit our statements to show us in the most negative light. We had failed in our second attempt to get positive coverage.
As Winston Churchill and Jim Semerad always say, “Never Give Up” ….so even after 2 miserable disappointments at getting the press to cooperate, we were sure our third try would be a success.
Our Fathers-Day-Week Press Conference was set for Thursday, June 18 at high noon. For a week, our activists were busy faxing, emailing and sending out hard copies of our Press releases. We felt at last that our message to the world about corruption in Family courts in the world would be publicized. We had promises of media coverage from even more sources….. and since we were now more sophisticated and wise in how to conduct an event, there was no doubt that finally, victory would be ours.
A little before noon, a reporter from KFWB-AM all News Radio 98 arrived and spoke with a couple of our activists for at least 20 minutes on tape. Just after KFWB drove away, a KTLA television truck arrived and the reporter began to video tape the Purple Heart House and the stories and pictures on the Purple Heart Wall of Hope. A few of the activists were interviewed and we were told that we’d probably get a 10 second spot on News At 10 PM. After the Channel 5 truck sped away, we set up our videocamera and got about an hour of great interviews with a dozen activists for our own cable show. Before we hugged, shook hands and parted, we concluded that if we got a 10 second spot on News at 10, we would consider our hard work a success.
At about 10:40 PM, there it was on Channel 5….PURPLE HEART HOUSE…. a picture of this old house over the left shoulder of the anchor :
“For this Fathers Day weekend, a house in the Hollywood Hills has been decorated with hundreds of Purple Hearts …each one represents the heartache of a child-custody battle. Men and women who have been separated from their children by divorce gathered at the Purple Heart House today. They put pictures of their children on the hearts and told their stories. An organizer explains the message of these Purple Hearts and the participants’ hopes for Fathers Day.
“We feel that the system, given the excessive child support awards and the whole concept of custody…like sole custody, only serves to force one parent into exile.” (Camera pans pictures and stories on the Purple Heart Wall of Hope)
“And some of the men say the best gift they could receive this Fathers Day, is to see their children.”
KTLA promised us 10 seconds and the bit turned out to be 44 seconds. Then, the following morning on the early morning news, KTLA repeated the story. Thank you KTLA! Every little second counts.
STORM TROOPERS INVADE PURPLE HEART HOUSE!
At about 8 PM that night on Friday, June 19, the Purple Heart House was surrounded by 5 LAPD black and white units. I looked out the window and realized this would be the third time in a month that the police had come to this old home for an uninvited visit.
Twice before they had entered my home without a warrant and went through my drawers, opened every door, left every light on and their answer was…”Someone called who was worried about you.” I asked, “Don’t you need a warrant to violate my civil rights?” They said, “Not if there is a reasonable cause to see if you are alright.” Both times, they would not say who had called the Gestapo office to harass me.
My mate Joanie was at the gate trying to get in but there were 8 burly Gestapos there telling her she would not be allowed to enter. She’s 5’4′ and 105… but fearless and very passionate about our cause. She called on her cell-phone to say there were 8 Gestapos accompanied by a huge, masculine, female Psychologist about to enter my property without a warrant. I immediately hid my valuables, dressed in my most comfortable old baggy clothes and went to the gym and sat on a weight bench waiting for them….and had no idea what was in store for me.
The gym is a couple floors below the living room and bedrooms and I could hear a lot of footsteps stomping throughout this old house and finally, the door to the gym banged open and a Gestapo with flashlight in hand said, “Come out of there!” I slowly walked toward the Storm Troopers and as I reached the patio outside the gym door, the head Nazi said, “Turn around and put your hands behind your back.” As they put handcuffs on me, I asked them what I had done and no one answered. I told them I had Degenerating Arthritis in my spinal fusion and that it would harm me to have my hands cuffed behind me. The handcuffs were very tight and I asked if they could loosen them but they said they could not. All 8 of these nefarious cops surrounded me as they led me down 50 steps to the street to a Black and White used for transporting criminals.
It was most certainly a circus for the dozens of neighbors gathered in their front yards to witness the spectacle. I shouted out, “The Nazis have me….call the cops!” The Gestapo closest to me said, “Stop Yelling.” I told him it was my neighborhood and I’d yell if I wanted to. Joanie was close by and warned me to cooperate since she was very concerned they would harm me. I could see that feisty little woman going from cop to cop asking for their cards. When Joanie asked the Roseanne-ish Psychologist for her card, the Behemoth snapped back, “I don’t have one.” Joanie then asked for her name and the Sweat-Hog said something like Weianberg…and spelled it out wrong. Its name was Weissberg.
I kept asking them what I had done and why was I handcuffed. The answer was that they were trying to keep me from harming myself. I was thinking that with 8 cops and “Godzilla the shrink” surrounding me, how could I have harmed myself or anyone else? It was time to get in the paddy wagon so they had me sit my butt on the back seat with hands cuffed behind me….but I’m 6’1″ and the back seat was so small I couldn’t get my feet in so the cop lifted one foot in at a time. Once crunched into the car, I mentioned that I’d hate to be a criminal if this is the way they treated a singing teacher who lived in a house with 775 Purple Hearts on it. Behemoth asked if I had medical insurance. I mused to myself that they were taking me away against my will and my insurance would have to pay for it? “No…I don’t have insurance.” She/it tried to be friendly and commented, “This is a huge house…is it just one house…do you live here alone?” My hands were getting numb from the cuffs, the old Arthritic back was clicking, you can imagine I wasn’t feeling too friendly so I ignored her twaddle and then she answered, “So that’s the way you’re going to be?”
The destination was the Psychiatric Ward at the LA County USC Medical Center where they photographed me, took blood, X-rayed my chest, interviewed me at length. They continued to state that I was not under arrest but had been removed from my home for my own safety. And I was just about to pump iron before Joanie and I had a late dinner when they abducted me.
The Head-shrink, (an older Woody Allen-look-alike with a thick foreign accent) spoke to me…”Haff you effer been in psychiatric hospital before? Haff you effer been under duh care uff a Psychiatrist?” I answered truthfully, “No…I haven’t…but I’ve taught singing to 14 Psychologists and Psychiatrists and they were the nuttiest people I ever knew!” Dr. Woody, the inquisitioner-shrink was not amused.. but it’s the truth. My singing student-psychologists were the absolutely most insane people I have ever met. He was taking notes as fast as he could. I was allowed to continue and related the story of Dr. Leah who brought me 200 pictures of her Naked Body…showing the effects of Rolfing…but mostly to seduce me. Now…Dr. Leah was 65 years old….have you ever seen one picture of a naked 65 year old woman…any 65 year-old woman? But….200 pictures! No matter how great she got Rolfed, It ain’t very seductive. Dr. Woody still did not smile.
Next question, “Mr. Roben….Vy do you tink you are here? Do you vant to harm yourself?” (I noticed already they had changed my name from Robin to Roben.) “Well, Your Honor Sir, I’m a Fathers-Family Rights Activist and I have 775 Purple Hearts painted on my old house to make a statement to the world about the corruption in Family Law courts.” I could see him nodding. “***This man must be delusional…775 Purple Hearts on his home***”
I couldn’t believe what was happening to me. I hadn’t slept for more than 24 hours, had been hauled away… not read my rights, treated like a violent criminal. Even O.J., when he was an ax-murder suspect, didn’t have to go through this. At 6:30 AM Saturday, an ambulance crew arrived to transport me to a Psychiatric Hospital in a place Rosemead, California. All-of-a-sudden I had been transplanted from paradise in Hollywood …. to CooCooVille. There were 2 dozen inmates wandering around, stoned out of their minds, in hospital gowns with asses showing. They had just been awakened for their breakfast trip across the yard to the cafeteria. A couple of the violent ones were not allowed to go with the rest of them so they were brought breakfast. After they had all returned, it was time to check me in. Heidi the nurse, a 400 pounder, who in her former life was probably a Sumo wrestler, was in charge of taking my information. An African American man about 50 who said he was “The President of the United States” and CEO of several international corporations was standing near me. Heidi continued to ask the President to give us some privacy and he strolled away in a very presidential manner.
Hefty Heidi held her notebook in beefy-left-hand, the pen in her sausage-like fingers ready to write. She said, “Mr. Rober….you will be on suicide-watch for 72 hours.” I noticed that they had changed my name from Robin to Roben to Rober in just a few hours. Heidi asked me to tell my story. Before I told my story, I wanted to know what she meant by suicide watch. She said there was a report that I intended on hanging myself on Fathers Day. I told her that we were working at creating a dummy for a Mock-Hanging but the Gestapo stormed my home before we got our project finished.
“If we had announced we were going to hold a Mock-Hanging, no one would have paid attention to the plight of the destruction of families all over the world by Family court judges and lawyers.” I added that the gallows and noose atop the Purple Heart House is just a symbol of the death and destruction of all of us as soon as we get in the system of divorce and custody. I then realized I was talking to a woman who is an integral part of the system…a county employee …a bureaucrat whose salary and benefits we all pay forever. “Heidi…I have no intention of ever harming myself because I have a lot of work to do with other activists and besides, when you see Joanie my girlfriend, you’ll know why I would never want to leave this world.”
It was obvious Heidi wasn’t too interested in what I had to say since she was probably getting hungry again…. plus she had to listen to dozens of new outrageous stories every day. She asked again, “Tell me about what you do.” “Okay… am a voice teacher…have taught 3000 people, from beginners to movie stars., now a Fathers Rights Activists and live in Clark Gable’s 4 story Hollywood Home with 775 Purple Hearts painted on it…one for each day I have not seen my son. ” Her eyes rolled up into her head and her tongue was deep in her very ample cheek in disbelief as she told me that I would have to substantiate my story. I realized my story would not be believed since the President of the United States’ story was nearly as outrageous as mine. If I had known what was going to happen, I’d have brought some pictures of the Purple Heart House with me.
The interview was over and I asked Heidi if there was some place I could sleep since I had not slept for more than 30 hours. She said I could sleep on a couch in the day room where all the other Zombies watched TV. I said, “Do you see how big I am. I have Arthritic spine and the couches are 4 feet long.” She said, “It doesn’t matter Mr. Rober. Rules are rules. We must be able to see you at all times.” When they finally gave me a bed, it was in the security room where they keep the violent ones with bright lights and a television camera on at all times. They would not let me shave for three days …even if they watched me. They did not consider my Arthritis. It was three nights without any sleep whatsoever. That kind of treatment should be against the law.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am patient, kind and understanding. To be a teacher, that’s the way we must be…but the insanity among the staff in that place is enough to turn anyone into a nut!. Dr. Woody visited me one morning…I got all my days mixed up without sleep but he asked … “MR. ROBER… are you still hearing voices?” “What?” He repeated, “Are you still hearing voices?” “I don’t know what you mean Your Honor Sir….I’m a voice teacher.” Then he looked at his chart again and said… “I see…that’s what this says.”
The only pleasant times during my vacation in CooCoovile were visits from Joanie and the phone calls from great activists from all over the world. My apologies to those of you who got hang-ups because I got so many calls, my two antagonists, the President whom I mentioned earlier… and a 20 year old gang member who bowed to Allah but said he was known as Baby Jesus on the street, were envious of all those calls for me.
These two men harassed me constantly because I’m white. I complained to the staff that these fellows were racists and the staff would scold them…but it didn’t help. “We do the best we can, Mr. Rober.” When the phones would ring, Baby Jesus and the President would hurry to the phones and when it was for me, several times they’d hang up on you before I could get there. Baby Jesus was the only violent one there and twice a day, 6 deputies would be called to restrain him, put him in shackles and shoot him full of even stronger sedatives. I didn’t understand why they would have him in with the rest of these very peaceful sedated people who strolled around in a complete haze. On my last day there, I was so exhausted I just couldn’t take any more harassment and I knew that complaining would do no good so I walked very closely to the president and said, “If you say one more word to me …just one more word to me, I will break your nose and shove the bones up into your brain and you will be dead. Do you understand me?” The president nodded “yes” and I never ever had to hear his voice again. If I had done anything, I’m sure I would have been there for life. Your patience can run low after being harassed for three days without sleep.
It has taken me a few days to recover from my experience as a Political Prisoner on Fathers Day Weekend. My wrists and hands are still swollen and numb from the hand cuffs…but I know that is just a passing thing. I am getting some sleep so in a few days, I’ll be my energetic self again.. BUT….I will not recover from the treatment I received. They have harmed the wrong person and I will never ever forgive the system for putting me through that. They have made an enemy out of a peaceful loving man.
Thanks to all my great friends around the USA and the world for Fathers Day phone calls and good wishes from Walter Schneider in Alberta, Jack Garbuz in New York, Steve Galvin in New Zealand, Monica Hoeft Ross in Reno, Donnie Higginbotham in Arkansas, Randy Librete in Saskatchewan, Bob Costa in Maine, Engin Kefeli in Brooklyn, Dave Nevers in Illinois, Mack Jackson in Oregon, Barry Koplen in Virginia, Dan Wilson in Michigan, Paul Clements in New Hampshire, Jim Semerad in Michigan, Colonel Harry Bachstein in Arizona, Dave Foster in Toronto, Dr. Paul Shapiro in Pennsylvania, Glenn Greengalgh in Maine, Steve Rosamilia in New Jersey, Milton Witty in Louisiana, Dave Prichard in Toronto and Jay Samuels, John Smith, Adele Trent, Joanne Rodda, Gene Schoenberg, Bill Kirkendale from California.
My apologies for such a long long letter. I have left out several pages. It could be a comedy! Thanks to you all for your your help, your phone calls I haven’t answered, your emails , your messages.
Before it was time to go, Joanie had brought me lots of pictures of the Purple Heart House and everyone on the staff wanted one for a souvenir. A couple of the staff members had seen our story on television so all of a sudden they seemed to be more friendly. When the social worker came to walk me to the office where I would be released, I did not say good-bye to anyone. When I saw Joanie, I began to sob like an idiot…but I was free.
NO JUSTICE…..NO PEACE!
READ THE LIBERATOR!
RICHARD DOYLE TELLS IT LIKE IT IS!
Christopher Robin, Sr.
PURPLE HEART HOUSE
KIDS NEED BOTH PARENTS
KIDS NEED FATHERS….NOT VISITORS
FATHER IN EXILE
Never ever give up!
780 DAYS WITHOUT MY SON = 780 PURPLE HEARTS
*PURPLE HEART FOUNDATION”
*LEAGUE OF MEN VOTERS” Monica Hoeft-Ross, Pres.
*FATHERS OF AMERICA” Vert Vergon, Pres.
*MR. MOM” Dr. Gene Dorio, Pres.
Never Ever Give Up!
“The only time SUCCESS comes before WORK is in your IMAGINATION…. or in the DICTIONARY.” C.R.
Purple Heart House
2297 Holly Drive
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