As Yeoldfurt posted on his blog (http://yeoldfurt.blogspot.com/) a couple of hours ago, I've been doing some digging about the stand-off between John Joe Gray and law enforcement in Henderson County, Texas. The first I heard of the situation was yesterday when I watched two Youtube videos on another blogsite. It was my first impression after watching the videos that this was a current event. It is current in that it is still ongoing, but the videos are of an interview that was conducted with John Joe Gray back in 2000.
I have to say that after watching the videos and even before I did my own research, my sympathies were with Keith Tarkington. He is the ex-son-in-law of John Joe Gray and the father of two little boys that he hasn't seen since their mother, Lisa Tarkington, took them with her to the compound just before the divorce was final. The kids were only toddlers when the Tarkingtons divorced in 1999 and custody was awarded to Keith Tarkington. In my opinion, it is just plain wrong to come between a parent and their children and my heart goes out to Mr. Tarkington who has endured over ten years without knowledge of or access to his young sons.
Since this morning, I have read dozens of articles written about the situation and have yet to find any accusations of abuse or mistreatment of the children or their mother by Keith Tarkington, either while they were married or since she absconded with the children. Keith Tarkington's 'crime' in the eyes of the Gray family appears to be that he was raised as a Catholic and does not embrace the Gray family's separatist religious views which advocate no participation in or interaction with government at all ...including not using social security cards or drivers licenses, not registering or inspecting their vehicles and not paying property taxes.
I'm all for religious freedom and I, too, think our government has gotten out of hand in many areas including legislation and taxes. But I'm not an anarchist and I don't advocate blatant disregard of all existing laws and tax codes. As a bible-believing Christian, I feel that anyone who undermines the relationship of a man and his wife, and certainly, a parent and their children, is just wrong ...morally and scripturally. If Lisa Tarkington chooses to divorce her husband and live with her parents in a quasi-militant compound, she is free to do so. But to withhold those children from any contact with their father is just wrong.
No one is saying where Lisa Tarkington or the boys are now. Vague allusions are made that they are living somewhere out of state with Gray family sympathizers. How sad and unjust for Keith Tarkington who must be wondering what his boys are being told about their father.
I hope you will do your own research before you form an opinion about this story. The following link has a dozen or more articles dating from late 1998 to 2003. The second link is to an article written in 2009. Other than these articles, I could not find any new or different information other than the missing persons ads for the two Tarkington children.
On January 3rd, I put a post on my blog entitled "Hazards of Going Off Half-Cocked" (http://womanrunswithhorses.blogspot.com/2010/01/hazards-of-going-off-half-cocked.HTML) I think this story is perfect example of the collateral damage that can be done when the whole story isn't told. Preppers are already marginalized and touted as tin-hat extremists by the left-wing press in this country. If I thought this was a current story when I first read it, how many others came to the same conclusion? The timeline of the story was clarified in a comment after the post, but not everyone reads comments. Please understand, I'm not criticizing anyone for posting the story or anyone who commented on the story. I am just saying we need to careful to do our homework and to tell the whole story.
After all my research and writing this post myself, all I can say is God help those two little boys.