Kaney O’Neill: who’s an unfit parent then?

A while back, I read a heart-warming story about a woman who was paralysed in an accident during Hurricane Floyd in 1999 while she was serving with the US Navy who had a baby boy earlier this year. However, not long after she had the baby, Kaney O’Neill ended the relationship with her boyfriend, who filed for full custody of the boy when he was just two months old (HT: Wheelie Catholic via Twitter). The case is due to return to court next month. (More: The Curvature, Bad Cripple.)

The boyfriend’s main reason for demanding custody is O’Neill’s disability, which allegedly “greatly limits her ability to care for the minor, or even wake up if the minor is distressed”. A local attorney by the name of Howard LeVine had this to offer:

“Certainly, I sympathize with the mom, but assuming both parties are equal (in other respects), isn’t the child obviously better off with the father?”

LeVine, who has specialized in divorce and custody cases for the last 40 years, pointed out that O’Neill would likely not be able to teach her son to write, paint or play ball. “What’s the effect on the child — feeling sorry for the mother and becoming the parent?”

This strikes me as something of a flimsy reason to deny custody to the mother at such a young age; after all, there are many reasons why a child might “become the parent”, such as if the parent is ill or indeed becomes disabled later one. A lot of able-bodied mothers, after all, do not teach their children to do some of these things: they learn playing ball from other children, and writing and painting from teachers. They may also learn things from members of their extended families. Besides, Kaney O’Neill would not be the first disabled mother, or the most severely disabled one, to bring up a child. I recall watching a video about the American gospel singer Renée Bondi, who became a quadriplegic after a sleepwalking accident in 1989, who married and had a son after her injury. Although she had considerable help, ways were found to make sure Mrs Bondi was involved at the most important moments:

When Daniel (her son) was about two years old, maybe three, he was up in the orange grove behind us with his cousins, and they were running and running and running and running, and somebody was on bikes, and they collided — bam! — and Daniel hit the ground. And I was up there, but not right there, and I heard this blood-curdling scream, urrrrgh, and I go running over there in my chair, and my sister Denise comes running over from the other side …

We had already talked about— if Daniel ever falls, or if he’s crying about something, bring him to Mom first, so that he knows who Mom is. So Denise swept him up, came running over, sat him right on my lap right away; she didn’t try to comfort him.

Kaney O’Neill is also a quadriplegic, with an injury one level lower than Bondi’s, giving her a little bit more arm function. (You can watch the whole video about Renée Bondi here, and another featuring her with the show’s presenter, also a quad, and their respective husbands here. These two videos [1] [2], about pregnancy or having children while disabled, might also be of interest.)

The boyfriend’s case is not solely based on her disability; he also alleges that she smokes and drinks around the child, which (although neither are illegal) she denies. However, the importance of her disability should not be overstated, because she is not completely incapable and because she has a lot of help. She lives with her mother and brother and has a carer who also helps; she has a service dog and receives $91,000 annually from the Veterans’ Affairs department. She is also the boy’s mother, and surely there is only one answer as to who is better equipped mentally to deal with a child of that age. It hasn’t been mentioned whether she is still breast-feeding or if she ever did, but surely a house where there are three women is a better place for a baby than one with a single man.

The news site comments are full of speculations as to her ex-boyfriend’s motives and general condemnation of him, much of it regarding him sleeping with a paralysed woman. I don’t want to add to that (anyone who reads the comment boxes knows how full of stupid bigotry they often are), but the fact remains that he did know that she was a quadriplegic when he got her pregnant. Besides which, if the relationship had stayed intact, their son would have been looked after by the same four people who look after him now when he was off doing his law work, including the ‘unfit’ quadriplegic mother. If he thinks a quadriplegic is by definition an unfit parent, how fit a father is he given that he had a child by one?

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  • Surely the father also has some rights to custody too?

    I don’t think it should be automatic that the mother gets custody “by default” and only loses it out of incompetence. If the father is the better carer, he should be the one with custody.

    If you were a father (I am not and I have no idea if you are, so the “you” is generic), I am pretty sure your first thoughts would be for the child.

    If the father thinks he can do a better job, why should he be denied the right? .-= You´s last blog ..Chance =-.

  • M Risbrook

    Personally, I consider a high proportion of what you publish on your blog as complete nonsense that has no direct relevance towards Islam, and is largely secular material that appears to have been lifted from liberal lefty newspapers like the Guardian.

    Your blog is a disgrace, not only to yourself as an ambassador of Islam, but to the entire Islamic world. I happen to know many Muslims (mainly white and Middle Eastern) who have expressed concern that your blog is counterproductive by hindering Islam from being viewed as a viable or respectable religion by non-Muslim westerners. These Muslims overwhelmingly conclude that the owner of this blog is a nutter and a crank who’s knowledge of Islam is superficial at the best. To make matters worse, a few of these Muslims have also brought up the question whether the owner of this blog is a real Muslim or whether he is a stooge from the same mould as George Galloway who is employed by Zionist liberals and atheists to destroy Islam.

    A final comment from myself: This blog does absolutely sod all to counteract the masses of anti-Islamic propaganda sloshing about all over the internet, especially the countless videos on YouTube. I am reaching a conclusion that the Muslims are seriously losing (or may even have lost) this propaganda war.

  • I don’t care one way or the other what you or your anonymous shadow buddies think of my blog. I don’t know whether you are telling the truth or who these supposed Muslim friends of yours are, so why should I care? I am sick to death of arguing with cowardly backbiters. Yes, some Muslims have said my blog sucks and some have called me a Zionist in the past. All utter nonsense. Anyone who’s read my blog knows that this accusation in particular is ridiculous.

    George Galloway is not a Muslim and has never claimed to be. I disassociated myself from him around 2004 (i.e. almost as soon as the mayoral/London authority elections that year were over) because I disliked his grandstanding, because I knew that his alliance between the SWP and the Muslim Brotherhood was flimsy and almost designed to break down, and because he’s a crap MP. I have no connection with him whatever.

    If you think I shouldn’t be writing about this particular issue, I refer you to http://www.blogistan.co.uk/blog/mt.php/2009/07/11/dont_tell_me_what_to_write">http://www.blogistan.co.uk/blog/mt.php/2009/07/11/dont_tell_me_what_to_write“>this earlier entry. You have no business telling me what I should or shouldn’t write about. I have a friend (not a Muslim, not that it matters) who has a similar disability to this lady. This is my blog, I pay for its hosting and I can write what I like. Besides, most issues which affect the community at large affect us as well, not just Palestine, the Iraq war, hijab or other specifically Muslim issues and I don’t think Muslims should not be interested in what happens to others.

  • M Risbrook

    If you are capable of overturning IQ Al Rassooli I am willing to offer you a financial reward. That’s the type of game you should be playing. Not whining about the demise of Borders bookshop.

  • I’ve had a look at that guy’s site. Much of it consists of “Muslim does bad thing” claims and there is the “Muslim Demographics” video which was debunked months ago for its dodgy stats and maths. (See http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8189231.stm">http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8189231.stm“>here and http://www.blogistan.co.uk/blog/mt.php/2009/05/09/scaremongering_over_muslim_demographics">http://www.blogistan.co.uk/blog/mt.php/2009/05/09/scaremongering_over_muslim_demographics“>here.)

  • M Risbrook

    Have you any idea who IQ Al Rassooli is? He / she has a YouTube channel called AhmadsQuran3. Are you capable of unmasking the individual? I’m sure the Islamic community will be far more grateful of your efforts than those spent on most of the material that spews forth from your blog.

    Why haven’t you mentioned this steel wall being built by Egypt to cut off Gaza? Surely this is more important to Muslims that secular topics that look like they are lifted out of the Guardian.

  • LOL! I hope you’re listening - how dare you have your own blog and then blog about whatever YOU want. The nerve! .-= Tasmiya´s last blog ..Insensitive =-.

  • Salaam Alaikum,

    So if Yusuf only wrote about ‘Islamic matters’, then he’d be accused of being an uncaring isolationist, but if he does write about other issues then he’s a bad example!

    I don’t care who these backbiters are, I’ve been reading Yusuf’s blog for a long, long time. I very much appreciate his take on current affairs in the U.K. I think Yusuf’s blog does a great job of showing Muslims as well rounded individuals, with interests beyond cutting and pasting the latest lecture.

    To conclude,I will not repeat the low insults Mr Risbrook used, but instead state that I am happy to have Yusuf as my brother in Islam and may Allah preserve his blog and reward him for it. .-= Safiya Outlines´s last blog ..Back From the S.A.R =-.

  • saggal

    M Risbrook,

    What’s the matter? Didn’t nobody invite you to Xmas dinner/lunch? You can come by mine for paratha and halal chicken curry but I am in rural france and transport from old blighty isn’t too good right now.

    Merry Xmas and Happy New Year to you, M Risbrook.

  • Thersites

    Three people wrote books about elephants. Yhe Frenchman wrote The Love Life of the Elephant, the Englishman wrote How to Hunt Elephants and the muslim wrote- or should have written- The Elephant and Islam.

    Variant on an old joke/

  • LeedsLad

    Risbrook needs to relax. Everything people do whether professionally or not always tells more about the person in question than anybody else. From your contribution, you are an impatient and belligerent militarist.

    This dude just wants make pizzas at home and chill out. You want him to be ran over by some armoured Jew bulldozer?

    AlJazeera Reports: “Israeli .. ran over the wounded Palestinian TWICE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFgZ8LjJvUA

  • M Risbrook

    you are an impatient and belligerent militarist

    I am neither impatient nor belligerent. I’m just passing on a few tips of advice that one is fiddling like Nero whilst Rome burns.

  • Thersites

    Actually, that isn’t a bulldozer on the clip shown. If it were a bulldozer it would take remarkable carelessness (if it was accidental) or remarkable incompetence (if it was deliberate) to run over someone twice.

  • saggal

    M Risbrook,

    You are right, there is a massive propaganda war against Muslims esp. on YouTube and Wikipedia mostly conducted by Zionists in the hope the rest of the world will hate Muslims as much as Zionists do (which has now happened it seems thanks to the actions of a few fruitcakes wanting to blow up passenger planes) and perhaps you’re right to be surprised that Muslims aren’t fighting back in this virtual war. The main difference is that Muslims don’t feel an obligation to explain themselves to anyone. end of. The majority of Muslims are just ordinary folk concerned with the hereafter and trying to get on with the mundane stuff in life.

    You’ve probably noticed how every blog written by a Muslim has a ‘resident chief obscurist’ (Zionist naturally, like our THERSITES) who while managing to sound perfectly reasonable to all intelligent people, will stop at nothing misleading readers into believing that something really is the exact opposite of what it actually is, like his post just above this one which might be a response to LeedsLad’s. Muslim bloggers routinely let these twisted and bitter characters post their evil comments on their blogs. A Muslim on the other hand, or anyone with impartial views can never post a comment on an anti-Muslim blog. But like I said, these things have very little meaning to the majority of Muslims.

  • Thersites

    My remark was,/b> a response to Leedslad’s. It is foolish to claim that “You want him to be ran over by some armoured Jew bulldozer? AlJazeera Reports: “Israeli .. ran over the wounded Palestinian TWICE” and then put up a clip that very definitely does not feature a bulldozer.

    In what way am I a ‘resident chief obscurist’? Who are the nonresident assistant obscurists? After all, you acknowledge that what I say sounds perfectly reasonable to all intelligent people, so what, precisely, do you object to about it? What, for that matter, makes you think that I am a Zionist? How do you define Zionist anyway, by the way?

    “Muslims don’t feel an obligation to explain themselves to anyone. end of.” On the contrary, muslims feel a very strong obligation to explain themselves to anyone. It’scalled dawah. They also often get upset when others donot find their explanations as convincing as muslims do and do not treat them with the seriousness muslims think they deserve.

    ” The majority of Muslims are just ordinary folk concerned with the hereafter and trying to get on with the mundane stuff in life.” One problem there is that muslims feel that they- and everyone else- will do better in the hypothetical hereafter if the mundane stuff in life they get on with includes forcing everyone else to behave in ways that muslims think proper, regardless of the wishes and desires of everyone else.

    You are mistaken in your claim that only Zionists loathe islam. The basic premise of islam- that god is going to torture most of the human species for ever as punishment for so-called sins- is so disgusting and contemptible that even if I thought such a god existed I would refuse to worshipit.