Aransas County Court-at-Law Judge William Adams spoke out through his lawyer today, questioning his daughter’s motives for releasing a video that amassed millions of hits on YouTube, sparked a national debate about child discipline, and thrust his family’s personal turmoil into public scrutiny.
Perhaps Hillary Adams should explain, if she felt she was raised by a tyrannical father, a claim shared with no one until five years after adulthood, why she insisted on living with her father and not her mother from the time of her parent’s divorce, until she moved out on her own. Hillary Adams has been living on her own for some time, and has been an adult for almost six years, so why post the video in late 2011?
I guess an answer to that question would require Hillary to reveal: how long before the date of the video had he been abusing her like that? Because if this was a one-time incident, then maybe he’s right; maybe he wasn’t a tyrannical father; maybe he just had one bad day. (Not bloody likely.) If this was a common occurrence in the Adams household, then I am not sure William Adams wants the world to hear the real answer to his question. Maybe her mother was even worse than him? Maybe abused children aren’t the best judges of what’s in their best interest? Or maybe he had Hillary convinced that he loved her and she deserved all the abuse he heaped on her, until after she had moved out, became independent, and realized what an asshole he had been all along?
William Adams’s response to the video is typical of a sociopath: when caught doing wrong, he tries to make himself out to be the victim. His argument is essentially, “don’t look at what I did; look at what she did. She’s a spoiled brat who revealed a damaging videotape because she didn’t get her way.”
Some suckers will buy it. Even here, some of my commenters have asked what the girl’s motivation was. Assume that she is a spoiled brat who ruined her father because he threatened to take the Benz away. So what? Does that mitigate in any way Adams’s conduct? Let’s assume that Adams’s daughter grew up to be an utter shit. Does that make Adams’s conduct better? Or does it make it worse?
Releasing the videotape was harsh. Beating Hillary with a belt was also harsh. William Adams is a grownup with a law license; he can defend himself and hire a lawyer to write deflective letters to the press for him, making him out to be the victim. Hillary was sixteen years old and Adams was the one human being who should have made her safe. I judge the beating to be harsher than the release of the videotape. I suppose that there are probably those who disagree, and sympathize with William Adams. (If you are one of those who think that revealing the abuse is worse than committing it, please do not reproduce.)
But if Hillary is a shit, what made her a shit? William Adams did. Her father. The one who raised her. The one who beat her. The one who betrayed her.
That’s a problem with blaming your kids: you are partly responsible for what your kids have become, and sometimes lines can be drawn from your conduct to your child’s behavior: a parade of nasty pathologies are attributed to childhood physical abuse.
Maybe he scarred her for life, or maybe she’s just vengeful, but William Adams did a bad thing, putting himself, without realizing it, at the mercy of his adolescent daughter. Rather than blame her for his predicament he should just admit that he was wrong, and take it like a man.
Were I representing Adams, he would have written something like this:
Hillary has brought to public light a terrible family incident. I have long regretted my shameful actions that day, and hoped that Hillary had forgiven me. But I do not fault her for bringing the incident to light seven years later: some betrayals are too great to be easily forgiven, and a parent should never treat his child like I treated her that day. I love my daughter very much, I am very proud of the strong woman that she is growing up to be, and I will do whatever can be done to repair my relationship with her. While I deserve whatever punishment or vilification I receive for this, my wife and young child do not. I hope that the media and the public will respect my family’s privacy.
But either William Adams is getting bad advice from his lawyer, William A. Dudley, or he is not heeding good advice. Adams (or Dudley) writes: “Those investigations will require answers to many questions raised by the media and public and for which no appropriate forum has been chosen to date.” To the contrary, the appropriate forum has been chosen by default: he avoided prosecution because of the statute of limitations and the Commission for Judicial Conduct is unlikely to find itself in possession of a backbone, and so this—the court of public opinion—is it. To the pain!
Adams (or Dudley) also writes, “The public may ponder what consideration Hillary Adams gave her little sister before subjecting the entire family to world-wide microscopic scrutiny, and permanent consequences.” Maybe the beatings haven’t started yet—maybe beating Hillary was about a pedophile taking out his frustrations on the off-limits object of his lust, and maybe her little sister hasn’t started causing that stirring in William Adams’s loins yet—but my guess is that Hillary saved her little sister a beating or two. Let’s not ponder that. Instead, let’s ponder what consideration William Adams gave Hillary before subjecting her to a beating.