Archive for August 14th, 2010

From: “Will Chaucey”
To: am-global@earthlink.net
Subject: Who Should Be Punished
Date: Fri, 13 Aug 2010 22:48:02


“Toma’ke cine ut’ha’ da’y.
Otaprotabha’ve tha’kileo dhara’ na’hi ja’y…” (PS 3291)


O’ my dearmost, I long for You but alas You could not be held. Baba, in
spite of that fact, You are ever-present with me always through Your
ota-prota yoga*; even then it is not easy to realise You. Baba, Your
sublime divinity remains beyond my reach. I could not get You. Baba,
please be gracious and allow me to embrace You with all my heart.

Baba, You are beyond time and space– You everywhere and within
everyone. By Your grace You remain in the supreme effulgence as well as
in the cimmerian darkness. There is no place that You are not. In each
and every moment, You are ensconced and divinely intoxicated in the
tune, rhythm, melody, and bathed in the fragrance of my mental garden.

O’ gracious One, according to Your desire You make me cry or laugh.
Baba, by Your grace You make me float like the deep blueness in the
vast, expansive sky. Baba with Your mystical liila, You make me dance
whatever way You like.

Baba, I surrender at Your alter, please grace me by keeping me in Your


*Ota-prota Yoga= In 1984 Gwalior DMC, Baba has graciously told what the
meaning of ota and prota yoga is in English. Ota yoga is “individual
tactuality” between Parama Purusa and the unit entity; and, prota yoga
is “collective tactuality” between Parama Purusa and all the entities,
simultaneously. So in the above definitions, Baba is exclusively
describing the intimate relation between Parama Purusa and His jiivas
through His ota & prota yoga. Baba expresses this same devotional
concept using slightly different language in the following discourse.

Baba says, “What is ota-yoga? He as the Cosmic Father has a direct
relationship with each and every entity of this world…All are His
affectionate children. This is His ota-yoga. Each and every entity,
animate or inanimate, has a direct link with Him. Just as ota yoga means
the Cosmic Father’s relationship with each entity individually, prota
yoga means His relationship with all collectively.” (AV-6)


The “Barefoot Bandit” was recently caught in the Bahamas (article
appended below). And while the Barefoot Bandit refers to one individual,
there are countless adolescents, teens, and young adults like him – all
around the world.

What is this in reference to? Youths who are alienated from society and
engage in all kinds of unlawful and harmful behaviour with the seemingly
sole aim of taking revenge on society, and at times on themselves also.

Around the globe, there are more and more cases of kids burning or
bombing their schools, mugging elders, open-firing in public, committing
sexual crimes, and so much more.

The burning question is: What is the cause? Are those youths bad in and
of themselves. Shall we just toss these youths in jail or on death row
and claim that they have no good qualities? Does the problem start and
stop with these recalcitrant youths?

Our Ananda Marga philosophy takes a much wider vision of such problems.
Knowing AM’s stand is essential to solving this issue – because the
present approach of juvenile centers, guards, alarms, surveillance
equipment, and metal detectors etc does not get to the core of the matter.


According to Baba, many of the problems related with teenagers stems
from their early home life – not getting proper parental love,
attention, and direction. Because terrible parenting and a destructive
home life, children get caught up in deviant behaviours.

Baba says, “Today civilized society looks down on them [recalcitrant
youths] because they are criminals when they could have been revered as
ideal human beings with impeccable characters if they had been given a
proper environment. They are glaring examples that honest people can
become dishonest as a result of environmental pressures. The sensitive,
honest son of a villainous father is compelled to participate in
antisocial activities out of fear of paternal abuse. This creates a
habit which eventually becomes part of his nature. The daughter of a
prostitute, despite her best efforts to live a virtuous life, is forced
to lead the life of a social outcast due to unbearable maternal abuse or
circumstantial pressure.” (HS-1)

Baba’s fundamental teaching then is that wherever and whenever children
are not properly cared during their early childhood and formative years
then that is going to lead to problems.

And indeed such was the case with the Barefoot Bandit. Reports indicate
he was beaten, abused, ridiculed and malnourished – in his own home, by
his mom and her boyfriends. Some naive people may feel that this is an
extreme case – but unfortunately that is not so.

Neglect manifests in so many ways.

Whenever children experience a lack of love, then they are prone to
alienation etc – beatings and bruisings in childhood may be more
dramatic, but we must also realise that years of apathy and neglect can
be just as harmful. This also does terrible emotional and psychological
scarring to the child. Yet this is what we see happening nowadays as
capitalism spreads to the four corners of this earth.

Now more and more mothers are working and “dumping” their kids in
childcare. Plus many mothers no longer breastfeed as they reserve their
breasts for their sexual partners and instead give a plastic bottle to
their baby. And when the father is himself in absentia, then kids grow
up with a serious deficit. They lack love, compassion, a sense of
belonging, and so much more.

This plays out in all kinds of anti-social and destructive behaviours.

Such youths may be moderately obedient up until the age of 7 or 8, but
after that as they develop their own personality and way of thinking,
the harm already done comes to the fore. Then such kids may exhibit so
many outrageous behaviours including thievery, battery, vandalism, and
even suicide etc.

Tragically, it is not at all easy to undo the ill effects that occur
from a rocky and abusive childhood.

Baba says, “It is very difficult to save them from the evil influences
which reside in their own homes.” (HS-1)

Thus the harm done in those early years can last a lifetime.

Indeed, the Barefoot Bandit is obviously a smart, gifted and talented
person, but he may never be able to overcome the severe storm he faced
as a toddler and young child.


Here the whole point is that when growing up in such circumstances, then
the kids are not the root problem. Rather the environment – i.e. their
home-life with their parents – is a huge factor. So we have to be
careful not to place all of the blame and punishment on the child. In
fact, all the often the children are the real victims, not the cause.


The obvious reaction then is to blame the parents. And while that might
be true in part, that also is not the entire matter.

Baba says, “At first we usually censure the parents or guardians for the
helpless condition of such [youths], but the parents are not always
completely to blame. Sometimes personal difficulties, such as financial
hardship or poverty, compel them to take such steps, even when they know
that what they are doing is wrong. Due to circumstantial pressure they
encourage their children to do wrong and force them to commit crimes.”

Parents and their children exist in a greater context – society. So we
cannot automatically or only blame parents. They may be experiencing
grave problems due to societal wrongs. So we must examine if they are
facing social injustices. In the face of capitalist exploitation, so
many parents have gotten into trouble – financially, professionally,
personally, sexually, legally and otherwise – and consequently their
children also get dragged into that hardship. At present this is
especially happening in “rich” countries.


In most cases we cannot blame solely those recalcitrant youths; in some
cases – but not all – the parents are the cause or exacerbate the
matter; and in all cases, it is society’s responsibility to prevent such
incidents as well as pick up the pieces.

Baba says, “The responsibility for nurturing and bringing up these
children will have to be taken by the society or the government.” (PNS-13)

Indeed in countless discourses, Baba remarks how the leadership is the
cause of most of the problems in society.

Baba says, “Today there is catastrophe and misery in human society and
there is one reason: the defective leadership of society.” (AV-31)

Rarely ever in our present era, does the government or leadership admit
their unsavory role in the ills of society – all the often the
individual gets blamed.


Nowadays, in the US and all over, youths like the Barefoot Bandit are
“brought to justice.”

Baba’s clear-cut warning though is that our justice system should be
careful in dealing with such cases.

Baba says, “During the trials of criminals due to environment who have
not yet turned into habitual criminals, the judge should not attach too
much importance to the provisions of the penal code. If, after thorough
investigation, it is discovered that particular people or circumstantial
pressure have caused these criminals (whatever their age) to take part
in antisocial activities, it will be the duty of the judge to remove
them from that environment with the help of sociologists and
psychologists. Such cases rarely require further corrective measures.”

Unfortunately, this is not happening now in the US; judges do not have
the right to consider the greater social issues involved. The end result
is that our detention centers, prisons, jails etc are filled with
youths. Indeed special penitentiaries are constructed solely to house
the terrible rise in adjudicated youth.

Such is the fate the will invariably meet the Barefoot Bandit, and
thousands others like him.


Here are just a few points for our reflection.

1) Insects do not have a developed mind so if those babies are left
alone it is ok. In contrast, mammals, being more developed, have a
distinct mother-baby relation that takes clear expression. The human
personality is even more developed so our children need maximum love and
attention. Without that, our youths will grow in the wrong way.

2) It is society – and his parents – that caused the Barefoot Bandit to
grow in this unfortunate manner. And there are many cases like this.
Steps have to be taken to right these youths – shower them with love –
and teach them sadhana.

3) The overall answer is not to enforce the letter of the law via
cameras, metal detectors, guards etc. The solution lies in giving
proper love to our babies. That is the long-term answer.


By Baba’s grace He has given us a wonderful teaching that shows us how
to nurture our youths. No child should be abused or told they are
worthless. Rather we are to present all kids with lots of love along
with a healthy outlook and a positive self-image.

“Although you are but a child in a small human frame, you are the veritable
expression of the Supreme Consciousness. You are an ever-holy,
ever-enlightened entity. As long as you think that you are only a small
child, you are spiritually ignorant, but when you realise that you are a
part of that Supreme Entity, you become that Supreme Entity, you become
spotless (nirainjano’si).” (AV-7)



(From the New York Times, July 21, 2010)

CAMANO ISLAND, Wash. — The “Barefoot Bandit” is not all Colton
Harris-Moore has been called in his short splash of life.

Neighbors say his mother screamed things at him so vicious that they
cringed when her words echoed through the giant evergreens that cover
much of this island in Puget Sound. Classmates say he could be a bully —
when he attended school.

Yet perhaps his most benign nickname is the most telling. Long before
stealing boats and planes made him a marvel of elusiveness, an Internet
antihero, Mr. Harris-Moore, 19, was suspected of stealing cookies and
frozen pizza from the Kostelyk family, a few gravel roads from the
squalor that was his home, a trailer on a dead end here, barely an hour
from Seattle. The Kostelyks had waterfront property and a freezer full
of food. He lived inland and had nothing.

“We called him ‘Island Boy,’ ” recalled Linda Johnson, whose mother,
Maxine Kostelyk, was among Mr. Harris-Moore’s first suspected victims.
“He came back over and over again — frozen pizza, cookies, ice cream. He
was a tall boy, and he was growing.”

By the time he was captured on a stolen motorboat in the Bahamas last
week, racing from the police with video-game gall, the 6-foot-5 Mr.
Harris-Moore had become a sensation. After escaping from a juvenile
halfway house here more than two years ago, he eluded the authorities
across North America using his wits and his fleet (sometimes bare) feet.
The police said he made makeshift homes in empty houses for days or
weeks at a time and somehow taught himself to fly, mastering the art of
crash-landing and walking away.

Even in the age of the search engine, Mr. Harris-Moore seemed
untraceable and unknowable, part high-tech Huck Finn, part cunning

An examination of his early life and troubles suggests a picture far
less cinematic. According to court and public documents and dozens of
interviews, Mr. Harris-Moore was nobody’s hero, not even his own. On the
contrary, whether he was hiding in the Kostelyks’ tree house, watching
for delivery of the high-powered flashlight the police believe he
ordered with a stolen credit card, or flying solo to the Bahamas in a
stolen Cessna this month, isolated in the tiny cockpit for more than a
thousand miles — Colton Harris-Moore, for much of his life, was alone
and hungry.

That was true even as he was being celebrated by thousands of fans on

“He says he’s not into any of that,” said Monique Gomez, a lawyer who
briefly represented Mr. Harris-Moore in the Bahamas. “He just wants to
get this behind him.”

Ms. Gomez added, “I think if he had proper direction, he wouldn’t have
done what he did.”

Mr. Harris-Moore had a volatile childhood and was often in conflict with
his mother, Pam Kohler. His father appears to have been absent.
According to public documents, child protection officials had been
referred to the family at least a dozen times by the time Mr.
Harris-Moore was 15.

A social worker’s report from the time he was first arrested, at 12,
drew a succinct conclusion, at least from the boy’s point of view.
“Colton wants Mom to stop drinking and smoking, get a job and have food
in the house,” the report said. “Mom refuses.”

When Mr. Harris-Moore was 4, someone reported Ms. Kohler after seeing “a
woman grab a small child by the hair and beat his head severely,”
according to a psychiatric summary 12 years later. By the time he was
10, an investigation involving “negligent treatment or maltreatment” had
been initiated.

Ms. Kohler does not appear to have been prosecuted for a crime related
to the complaints.

Ms. Kohler, 59, declined to be interviewed. A lawyer she has hired to
handle news media inquiries and film and book proposals based on her
son’s story said he had not seen allegations of abuse against Ms. Kohler
in public records.

Several neighbors on Haven Place, the gravel road on the southern end of
Camano Island where Mr. Harris-Moore grew up and his mother still lives,
recalled often hearing mother and son screaming at each other into the
night. All spoke on condition of anonymity because they said they feared
Ms. Kohler.

A hand-painted sign at the end of her wooded driveway warns: “If you go
past this sign you will be shot.”

Asked whether it was an empty threat, one neighbor said, “She shoots.”

The neighbor recalled a land surveyor telling how he had heard gunshots
fired in his direction when he was surveying the property next door

According to records and interviews, Mr. Harris-Moore was disciplined
frequently in school. One fifth-grade classmate, Mariah Campbell,
recalled other students making fun of Mr. Harris-Moore’s dirty clothing
and said he could be mean to classmates.

“Because he never did his homework,” Ms. Campbell said, “he never got to
go to recess or anything.”

About age 12, Mr. Harris-Moore was determined to have several
psychiatric conditions, including depression, attention deficit disorder
and intermittent explosive disorder, according to a later psychiatric
report. He was prescribed antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs.

He dropped out of school after ninth grade.

“He never wanted to go home,” said Christa Postma, who added that she
became friends with Mr. Harris-Moore in middle school “because we both
got in trouble all the time.”

The crimes for which Mr. Harris-Moore has been convicted or is suspected
of show an increasing focus on technology and transportation, involving
the theft of laptops and mountain bikes, GPS devices and power boats.
But it is hard to find anything in his past that suggests he would soon
be capable of commandeering airplanes and flying them out of the country
without any cockpit training, much less without getting caught.

He is suspected of taking at least five planes — including once during
the Vancouver Olympics — and crash landing all of them. He walked away
each time.

The skies above Puget Sound rumble with small planes going to and from
its islands. Ms. Kohler has told reporters that her son could identify
different models as they flew overhead. The Internet is filled with
speculation that Mr. Harris-Moore taught himself to fly using simulation
software on the laptops he is suspected of stealing. But there is little
hard evidence of how he really learned.

“That will be the question that everybody will want to ask him when he
talks, if he talks,” said Ed Wallace, a detective with the Island County
sheriff’s office.

The “Barefoot Bandit” label is a relatively new nickname here, too,
stemming from real footprints found at some crime scenes last year and
drawings of footprints that the police believe Mr. Harris-Moore made at
other scenes.

“He took the mantle and was wearing it proudly,” said Sheriff Bill
Cumming of San Juan County.

Neighbors say they do have memories of Mr. Harris-Moore going barefoot
at times when he was a boy. Back then, he complained to caseworkers that
his mother did not press him to be more responsible. Caseworkers noted
more than once that Ms. Kohler declined to follow up on the various
counseling and treatment programs that were prescribed for her son.

Ms. Postma, the friend from eighth grade, who now works in quality
control at a fish processor in Alaska, said that she had been in
counseling, and “that really helped me.”

Several people in Mr. Harris-Moore’s neighborhood said he seemed to be
on a search for parental substitutes as a boy — asking people to make
him peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or watching them do basic chores,
then stealing their mailboxes or computers. Some noted that even as his
efforts to avoid capture escalated into spectacle, cheered on by virtual
friends on the Internet, he stayed in contact with his mother.

Mr. Harris-Moore arrived back in Washington on Wednesday and was due in
court Thursday. He faces one federal charge of stealing an airplane and
transporting it across state lines and potentially faces dozens more
charges, including burglary, theft and credit card fraud.

At the end, his mother publicly encouraged him to escape to a country
that does not extradite to the United States. Instead Mr. Harris-Moore
ended up in the Bahamas.

“He wasn’t really trying to get away,” said Kyle Ater, who found bare
footprints drawn in chalk on the floor of his natural food store on
nearby Orcas Island on the morning after the police say Mr. Harris-Moore
burglarized it, destroyed the alarm system, and ate an entire blueberry
cheesecake from the cooler.

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