What is your worst nightmare as a parent? We all know the answer to this question. We cannot even fathom it happening. We cannot remotely consider the possibility. If there is any truth to the law of attraction, we are not going to even think about it, lest we invite it to us. The prospect of your child dying before you is too much to comprehend. The first thing you want to know if your child is in an accident, is if they are physically okay. The recent horror of the Sandy Hook Elementary school mass shooting, where twenty children were taken from their families, reminds us of that which we cannot imagine. Twenty 6 and 7-year-old children were shot dead with automatic weapons in their school ... a place they considered to be safe, a place we all trust to be a safe, where our children spend much of their time.
It is unfathomable for a parent to consider this happening to their baby, and yet it did indeed happen. It happens far too often. The mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, friends, teachers and neighbors, have all lost their beloved six and seven-year old babies. As a nation, we grieve. We share our grief with the entire world. There is no justifying this loss, there is no understanding this loss, and there is no considering the possibility that this type of loss could happen to you.
Yet, we all know deep down that it is a possibility. We have been shown again and again that our children dying before us is something we must consider, and yet we continue to push it out of our minds. After all, it is cosmically unnatural for a child to die before us. Conversely, it is purely natural for a parent to deny the possibility with all their might. The feeling of grief that still sweeps over us at the horror of Sandy Hook will never be forgotten. The guilt for these parents must be deeply overwhelming, to say the very least. The guilt must be physically and emotionally debilitating. I cannot even imagine it. Guilt is part of being a parent since we want more than anything for our children to be safe, and happy, and full of the joy they are born with in their perfect little hearts.
Childhood should be a time of laughter and freedom and discovery and joy ... and innocence. We all know that the innocence will be lost as time goes by and the struggle of life sets in for them. We desperately hope for them to have their innocent, pure, beautiful joy, for absolutely as long as is possible. As we watch them grow and learn and have struggles, we cannot help but feel guilty. As our children grow into adulthood, we must let them go little by little and let them make their own mistakes and learn their own lessons in their own way. We help them the best we can along the way, and we let them learn all that they need to learn and hope they continue to love and grow with childlike abandon, and at the same time, face the realities of life. We do not take credit for their successes, but we sure do feel the guilt when they fail, or get hurt, or make a choice we know is not best for them, and still we do our very best to help them get up, dust themselves off, and start all over again with new understandings.
One thing we can all agree on is that our natural course is for parents to die before their children. Anything else is just incomprehensible. It does not matter if our children are 50 years old, it is always unnatural for them to die before us, and no matter how it happens, the guilt is undeniably pervasive. That being said, if you do face the unimaginable, I believe it would matter a great deal exactly how your child died. If he or she died after a prolonged illness with no hope of recovery, it would be horrible indeed, and also a relief that they are out of pain. If he or she died in an accident, it would be important to know exactly what happened, and how, and why. If he or she died by being murdered, as in the Sandy Hook massacre, it would be natural to want their killer to be punished to the furthest extent of the law. It would not be at all unreasonable to want revenge and take matters into your own hands. No one would fault a parent for wanting to end the life of the person who ended your child's life. We all understand this, and yet most of us would not attempt to kill a killer. Most of us would look to the justice system for help. Most of us would spend the rest of our lives finding justice for our baby.
One such story is that of Jaroslava and Hector Mendez and family. Mr. and Mrs. Mendez live in Santa Clarita, a suburb of Los Angeles, California. Santa Clarita is the third largest city of Los Angeles with a population of over 200,000. Santa Clarita was ranked as number 18 of the top 100 places to live by Money magazine in 2006. We who live in Los Angeles know it as the home of the Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park and the California Institute of the Arts. The Mendez's live in a beautiful ranch style home filled with memorabilia from their past, a very homey, loving feel, pictures and treasures adorning the living room ... and, of course, pictures of their three daughters. Their eldest Jara, their youngest, Sasha and their middle child Karla, who died at 31 years old, on August 31, 2011. Karla was a beautiful young woman who was a diabetes supplies medical tech, a great softball player, and loved her dog Chloe as a mother loves a child. Karla was just getting started in life. At 31, she was dating and enjoying life, having fun and beginning to discover herself. She was also drinking alcohol and testing her limits, like most young people do. She had a DUI (driving under the influence) charge, at 30 years old. She was reportedly driving with a bac (blood alcohol level) of 0.8 and had gotten into an accident. Fortunately, she was not injured, nor had she injured others. At the advice of the doctor in the hospital where she was taken after the accident, she attended inpatient rehab at The Action Family Counseling Center and was taken in a van, with all the other patients, to AA meetings. The problem, as we all know, with drinking and driving, is no small problem. Jaroslava and Hector wanted their baby Karla to get the help she needed and were happy to see her getting some help.
Soon after becoming a member of AA, Karla met a man and bought a condo in which the two were living together. His name is Eric Allen Earle, and he was mandated by the courts to attend AA meetings as a condition of his parole. His rap sheet reads like something out of a CSI show. It is truly terrifying the number of restraining orders that have been filed against Earle, by his ex-wife and by his own father. His rap sheet includes multiple charges of battery, assault with a deadly weapon, domestic violence, disturbing the peace, evading arrest, reckless driving, elder abuse, multiple DUI's, and now, felony murder. Earle allegedly murdered Karla by strangulation after she had asked him to move out of her condo. The coroners autopsy report allegedly revealed that Karla had more than 30 cuts and bruises on her body. A few weeks before her death, Earle was arrested for battery after beating Karla. Earle's AA sponsor, Patrick Fry, allegedly talked Karla out of pressing charges, and the charges were dropped. Since 1991, Eric Earle has been charged and convicted of 22 civil cases, has 8 restraining orders filed against him, has accumulated more than 52 criminal charges, has spent more than 2 years in at least 2 different prisons ... and all the while has been in and out of AA, as the terms of his parole have required. It might seem strange that he did not spend more time in jail, but his record shows that he was more often than not put on probation, with AA attendance as a stipulation. As any thinking person knows, AA and the 12 steps are cult religions that require one to give one's life over to a higher power, pray, have contact with God and recruit others to the cult. Those indoctrinated in AA are now screaming (and boy do they scream when someone tells the truth), "AA is spiritual, not religious." No sorry, you are mistaken and brainwashed. The general public may have been fed a pack of lies about AA and the steps, but those of us who have studied this cult and have been exposed to it know that it does more harm than good. The founder, Bill Wilson, was a compulsive liar, a cheat and a plagiarist. The so-called Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous was taken directly from the Oxford Group teachings, but the references to God were softened in order to attract the most members possible. AA and the 12 steps are a dangerous cult religion. Please see the link below (more can easily be found online) for proof. The claim that AA is "spiritual, not religious" is one of many ways Wilson covered his tracks, and sold his program to the vulnerable and lost people it still attracts and brainwashes today.
Just like Eric Earle, the founder of the cult known as AA, was a liar and a cheat. Earle had proposed marriage to Karla and she had accepted. According to his criminal history, Earle is not only a deadbeat father and has been sued for child support, but he is also still legally married. Earle is one of those guys who preys on vulnerable women like Karla, gets into their lives as fast as possible, proposes to them, making all kinds of promises for the future, and then bleeds them dry of all their money and simply moves on to his next victim. Within days of Karla's death, Earle had moved in with another woman (allegedly Amy Potter) he met in AA. Originally, Earle was not charged with murder since he claimed he woke up to find Karla unresponsive the morning of August 31, 2011. Allegedly, the police believed Karla was the victim of an overdose. Months later, after an autopsy was finally conducted at the insistence of Karla's family, Earle was arrested for the murder of Karla Brada. Jaroslava and Hector knew that their daughter had not overdosed, for she did not take drugs, and at the time was not even drinking.
Just as the general public has been fed a pack of lies about 12 step programs, Jaroslava and Hector had no idea of the danger their daughter was in. They had no idea that Earle had been mandated by the courts over and over again to 12 step meetings. They had no idea that Earle had been kicked out of his parent's house for beating his father. They had no idea that Earle was living off of Karla, had free room and board at her condo, and had Karla paying for all his expenses, including his child support. They trusted this program, they trusted the pervasive dogma from this cult that anyone who wants help with substance abuse problems need only attend their meetings and work their miraculous "steps." They had no idea. Is your child safe in 12 step meetings? Absolutely not. The guilt Jaroslava and Hector are now living under 24 hours a day, 7 days a week is truly heart breaking. Their once beautiful family has been torn into pieces by this senseless tragedy. Be warned ... No one is safe in a 12 step meeting as long as people like Earle are there.
Not only that ... the 9th circuit appeals court in 2001, deemed that "coerced participation in a religion-based program was unconstitutional because eight state and federal courts had ruled on the issue and all had agreed that a parolee has a right to be assigned to a secular treatment program." The 9th Circuit Federal Court System has deemed mandated AA attendance unconstitutional. This federal court system covers Alaska, Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, Montana, Nevada, N. Mariana Islands, Oregon and Washington. However, all these states continue to mandate AA because a circuit court decision is a ruling, not a law.
This does not mean that people do not fight it, they do, but very few because it is a costly pursuit. Normally, like in the case of a DUI, AA is mandated because it takes far less time and money for lawyers to fight a case if AA is involved. This saves the time and money of incarcerating someone. Clients can object, but this means the price of defense skyrockets due to the amount of time the lawyer is going to need now that they cannot simply push the person off into AA. Most people do not know their rights and go along with whatever the judge, lawyer and parole officer says in order to comply. It is also a get out of jail free card for criminals like Eric Earle. Eric Allen Earle was mandated to AA for at least 17 years before murdering Karla.
Has AA been established to be a religious organization? You betcha. Anyone in their right mind can see clearly that AA is a cult religion and therefore is a breach of the Establishment Clause of your first amendment rights - that is, as the First Amendment says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . . ." What's not at issue in these cases is the question of whether AA is, in fact, religion-based. All litigants typically agree that it is, and the courts are unpersuaded by the idea that it's "spiritual" and not religious.
Technically, mandating people to AA is not illegal in any state ... yet. It can be fought if you have the money and the time, which few have who find themselves in situations of this kind. Even if the court or probation department cannot mandate attendance as a condition of parole, secondary establishments such as the DMV can. As part of the court sentence, there can be a stipulation that you must complete classes at the DMV. These classes require attendance at AA. This is a loophole commonly used by judges and parole officers. The way things stand now, the most dangerous people are mandated to AA, while the most vulnerable people attend out of a desire for help. Neither party is getting what they deserve. Please see the link below for the AA Guidelines on cooperating with the courts. As you can see, AA tells members to avoid criticizing the program but to actively sell the AA way of life to incarcerated people. Please see the link below for further information regarding court mandated AA attendance, how and why it came to be.
Is AA complicit is harboring the criminal past of it's members? There is no doubt. AA actively recruits new members from courts and prisons. There have been numerous cases such as Karla's that have been settled out of court. Do not think for one second that Karla's case is an isolated incident. Nothing could be further from the truth. AA does not want the publicity lest the truth be revealed. Why? Because if the general public knew the truth, AA would turn into the fringe cult for desperate religious fanatics which it is destined to become. Also, if the truth came out, all would see that AA does not work. AA simply hides behind "anonymity" to protect the revelation of the truth. Please see the below link for research of how and why AA does not work and yet continues to survive regardless. Like any good cult, it has covered it's tracks to perpetuate it's survival. AA is not about helping the alcoholic recover. No, AA is about helping AA stay in power, in spite of all the inherent dangers. That is all. The indoctrination is indeed powerful. I did not always think this way about the 12 steps. After all, I was trained at the Hazelden Graduate School for Addiction Studies, which is the mothership of all 12 step based recovery. Since 95% of rehabilitation facilities are in bed with the 12 steps, it is difficult to get training other than in the steps. My transformation happened slowly and was sealed after writing an article for the Huffington Post (link below). I was astounded at the anger and vitriol exhibited in the comments on my article. The fact that the indoctrination is so strong to bring someone (many in fact) to the brink of threatening me and others who criticize their beloved program, is enough to reveal their brainwashing. Even those who have been in the program for years and years and do not attend meetings any longer will still claim that it is "spiritual, not religious," along with all the other dangerous dogma. It is truly a remarkable and dangerous cult. The number of stories I have heard of "13th stepping" and of abuses of power financially, emotionally and physically, are truly mind-boggling. If you have not yet been indoctrinated, you can clearly see that the members of this program are sick and dangerously brainwashed. To see my article and the over 800 comments, please refer to the below link.
So now you know - convicted criminals are routinely mandated to attend 12 step meetings as a condition of their parole. The worst nightmare a parent could conceive has happened because of this mandating by the courts, and the recruitment by brainwashed AA members. Jarloslava said to me while sitting in her lovely kitchen, "I have no reason to live anymore. My only reason to get out of bed in the morning is my attempt to get justice for Karla. My joy is gone." The unimaginable horror of losing your child has been realized for her and for her husband Hector. Hector could barely stay in the room for the over 4 hours I was able to spend in their home. They are completely lost and are grieving a loss of incomprehensible magnitude. The worst nightmare of a parent has come to pass for them.
What makes matters even worse is that Jaroslava and Hector are rightfully suing AAWS (Alcoholics Anonymous World Services), but are having a very difficult time finding the proper representation. This is not an isolated incident. There are crimes being settled under the table every day in AA. There are convicts sitting next to our daughters in AA meetings. The Mendez's have a strong wrongful death case against AAWS and yet, Earle has more rights and protection in jail than Jaroslava and Hector have in their attempt to get justice for their beautiful Karla. This lovely American couple is looking to our justice system for the help they deserve. Thus far, we are failing them. I do not plan to allow this to go unreported and unnoticed. I do not plan to stop trying to do everything I can to help them find justice. I do not plan to let the atrocities inflicted on society, and individuals, and families, by the dangerous cult known as AA go unnoticed for one moment longer. If I can help Jaroslava and Hector and their entire family to get their rightful justice, I can also expose the truth about AA. If this can be, perhaps more people will be able to find real help for their addiction problems and those of their loved ones. Karla should be alive. She is not alive due to the negligence of the practices of Alcoholics Anonymous. There is no excuse for allowing the dangerous practices of AA to continue. Exposing the truth is the only solution.
The beginning of the truth rests in finding true justice for Karla Brada.
[If you are looking for secular help and find a group setting helpful, please refer to the link below for the many safe and secular alternatives available.]