Hi everyone. I’ve been away from my computer for the last week, but I came back to AMG this weekend and I found something good.
This is Hall of Fame material. It has been some time since I’ve inducted something into the hall of fame, but this thread screamed out at me: “Worthy!”
It was brought to you by Tom C, AMG’s resident “my ex-wife fucked me over” middle-aged white male angst cardboard cutout.
He puts up a link to a New Hampshire newspaper which published the letter of a dead man. Tom C says it is “well worth reading.” Yes, it is, but not for the reason you think it is!
Here’s the short backstory: Some guy in Keene, New Hampshire, wasn’t happy with how his divorce went. It looks like his wife had successfully pursued a protection from abuse order against him, divorced him, and been granted custody of their children.
And now they were dragging him back into court because he wasn’t paying his child support. There was a contempt of court hearing on the schedule, I believe.
This kind of thing happens all the time in Maine and around the country. Some people don’t pay child support. If they can find you, they can hold you in contempt for failing to follow court orders. But this guy had bigger ideas.
He wasn’t going to no silly child support hearing. Instead, he lit himself on fire.
Yes, the man lit himself on fire. He died. And right before he did the deed he sent the local paper his final thoughts.
And by the way, the man from Keene was named Tom Ball. I prefer to think of him as “Tom B.” Tom B, meet Tom C. He is a lot like you!
Anyways, the letter to the paper is fascinating in and of itself, but even more fascinating is the AMG reaction. At first it seemed pretty slanted in favor of Tom B, but later on it actually started to resemble a reasonable evaluation of what happened.
But first let me talk about the letter. It is quite a piece of work. This guy saw his brave act of resistance as the start of some larger movement. Look how he starts it off:
A man walks up to the main door of the Keene N.H. County Courthouse, douses himself with gasoline and lights a match. And everyone wants to know why.
Apparently the old general was right. Death is not the worst of evil.
Dear Tom B: What an ass you are. You just killed the father of your children, and you think the right thing to do is make some sort of political statement to the local paper? And just to make sure we KNOW you’re a complete ass, you throw in some self-centered tripe about “the old general” and “death is not the worst of evil.” Oddly, I might agree. Your LIVING children will have to endure your evil long after you’ve left. Judging from the divorce, you were a pretty crappy father in actual life but you really sunk to a new low in death.
And you say “everyone wants to know why?” No, Tom B, we DON’T want to know why. We already understand why. Because you’re a fucking loser who couldn’t man up and be a good Dad. The only thing everyone wants to do is give your children a hug because they probably need one and, oh, by the way, their Dad isn’t there to do it himself because he lit himself on goddamn fire.
As you can see, I’m not a huge fan of Tom B. But on As Maine Goes he has quite a little cadre of followers! The lead supporter of burning yourself alive rather than pay child support is Tom C.
Naran, showing the old Naran I used to know and love, points out to Tom C that maybe lighting yourself on fire and leaving your children to grow up fatherless is a tad self-centered. A little selfish. I bit, shall we say, evil?
Tom C, of course, doesn’t see it. He is wearing his usual tunnel-vision Ray-Bans. He replies:
I don’t know. Burning yourself alive with gasoline is “selfish”?
You [Naran] are having an emotional defensive reaction.
Are you kidding me??? Naran is having the emotional defensive reaction?? What about the guy WHO FUCKING LIT HIMSELF ON FIRE BECAUSE HE DIDN’T GET THE DIVORCE HE FELT HE DESERVED. If that isn’t an emotional defensive reaction, what the goddamn hell is??
Pardon my caps and extra punctuation. This one really gets me jumping.
The now-crispy Tom B continues to tell his story in his letter:
My story starts with the infamous slapping incident of April 2001. While putting my four year old daughter to bed, she began licking my hand. After giving her three verbal warnings I slapped her. She got a cut lip. My wife asked me to leave to calm things down.
The man slapped his four year old daughter in the face. No big deal, right!? And to all the people on AMG saying that slapping a child is a parent’s prerogative, well, let me just say that I take Tom B’s version of events as the absolute “best light possible” version of the whole story. Call me crazy, but I give out -100 point credibility deductions to anyone who lights themselves on fire. That’s just me, I guess.
So the argument goes on and on, and the letter goes on and on, but Tom C and the other apologists for this maniac never admit what I see as the main point.
So here it is. Are you paying attention? Good. I’ll even put it in bold for you.This case shows that the system works.
“Huh?” Tom C thinks to himself. The system works when is causes a Dad to burn himself alive?
No. That’s not the right question because nothing made Tom B do this other than is warped ego and inability to listen to anyone but his own self-centered impulses.
The system worked because it gave custody to the parent who didn’t think burning themselves alive was a noble, not to mention acceptable, activity.
The judge called this one right. Spot on!
Knowning what you know now about Tom B, would any reasonable parent agree to let him spend one minute alone with his or her children? Would you want Tom B as your child’s babysitter?
“Okay, dear, Mommy and Daddy are going to the movie. We’ll be back by 10. This nice man Tom B is here to take care of you. Listen to what he says, because if you don’t, he will probably slap you in the face. If that doesn’t work, he might commit suicide just to make a point. Oh, and don’t forget to brush your teeth.”
Tom B was mentally ill. Not fit to be around children. Unfortunately, that wasn’t clear until he decided to make himself a human stupidity sparkler.
Without the family court system, Tom B’s kids might be living with him right now and learning that Dad makes you bleed if you misbehave and that you don’t argue back because there is no limit to what Dad will do to show you he is right.
If this so-called man lit himself on fire to make this point, imagine what he did day to day in his household. It boggles my mind that anyone will defend him. My goodness. I’m glad Mom got those kids out of there.
Thank God for the system.