Darren MackThis week marks the one year anniversary of Darren Mack’s murder of his estranged wife and shooting of a Nevada judge. The event is being recounted in several articles, including One Year Anniversary Haunts Reno (KREN, 6/12/07) and the more detailed Violence reverberates through lives (Reno Gazette-Journal, 6/10/07).

I’ve written about Mack on numerous occasions, including “Do I Even Need to Say This?”(6/19/06, see below), Thomas Jefferson Murdered Women? (6/26/06), First Darren Mack, Now Herbert Chalmers– More Radical Fathers’ Rights Idiocy (2/10/07), and Darren Mack and the Presumption of Innocence (2/24/07).

The evidence of Mack’s guilt seems overwhelming, but we’ll see what happens in his trial. Some of those on the not insubstantial lunatic fringe of the fathers’ movement expressed sympathy for Mack, even likening him to the 18th century American revolutionaries. My view is that, after a fair trial, Mack deserves little more than a rope and a tree.

(Note: some have criticized me for ignoring the presumption of innocence in Mack’s case. However, the presumption of innocence is a legal right–it has little to do with how I, an opinion columnist, am supposed to judge him. I’ve little doubt that Darren Mack committed the crimes I’ve mentioned. If it somehow turns out that he is innocent, I will of course correct myself and apologize.)

Reprinted below is what I wrote immediately after the killings last year. In reading it again now, I can’t say I’d change a word.

Do I Even Need to Say This?

I’m not sure that this even needs to be said but I will say it anyway–I condemn without qualification the crimes allegedly committed by Darren Mack in Nevada last week. Mack was angered by his divorce and custody case. Some on the not insubstantial lunatic fringe of the fathers’ rights movement see Mack as some sort of freedom fighter. Most of the commentary by other fathers’ rights advocates seem to be of the “he couldn’t take it any more and snapped” variety.

I don’t buy it. Though everyone is focusing on Mack’s attempted murder of a judge, everyone seems to forget that he first stabbed and killed his ex-wife. After murdering her, he shot the judge through the judge’s third-floor office window with a sniper rifle from over 100 yards away. That’s not “snapping”–that’s premeditated murder. Mack is not a good man trapped in a bad system. He is a bad guy. Because of men like him the system had to create protections for women, and unscrupulous women have misused those protections to victimize countless innocent men. Men like Mack aren’t the byproducts of the system’s problems–they are the problem.Whenever a divorced dad has done something crazy and I refuse to make excuses for him, certain misguided individuals get mad at me, call me a wimpy moderate, a sellout, etc. Often the fact that I have never been divorced or dealt with the family law system in my personal life is cited as the reason that I “just don’t get it.” For example, I heard this type of criticism when I condemned Perry Manley here. (I will admit though that Perry Manley is a saint compared to Darren Mack).

To all the radicals out there about to descend on me over my comments on Darren Mack, I offer the counter-example of the Englishman David Chick. If the system has screwed you and you want to do something about it, have the courage to do what David Chick did. Chick was denied access to his little daughter by the girl’s vindictive mother, and had been to court 25 times and spent the equivalent of $30,000 in unsuccessful attempts to get English courts to enforce his visitation rights.

Chick then launched a world famous, traffic snarling, six day, one-man protest atop a 150 foot high crane near the Tower Bridge in London in November 2003. Facing a prison sentence for his protest, Chick was acquitted by an English jury, some of whom were reportedly moved to tears by his testimony. In 2003, Chick came in second in the Evening Standard London Personality of the Year contest and was the runner-up Political Personality of the Year on a major English television station.

In September 2004, Chick struck again, climbing the London Eye, an enormous 450-foot-high Ferris wheel on the banks of the River Thames. Chick spent 18 hours there–one hour for every month that had passed since he had been able to see his little daughter. Nearly 20,000 people were prevented from visiting the attraction because the police closed it down during the protest. Popular still, a London jury again acquitted Chick of causing a public nuisance.

Chick succeeded in changing his case and is now a regular part of his young daughter’s life. David Chick acted with humanity and courage. Darren Mack possesses neither.

To read more on similar issues, visit Glenn Sacks’ blog here.

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