This article by The Thinking Mom’s Revolution is one of the most compassionate and well-written articles on the Stephan family that has been circulated in the media. Bravo.
Let us keep in mind that the Stephan family, in particular David and Collet are being held up as an example and a warning to the rest of us. The Crown of Canada has charged them with failing to provide the necessities of life. One of those necessities is vaccination. This comes at a time when the vaccine awareness movement has reached a pinnacle of awareness and is forcing the American public to realize that their child’s chronic illness and/or cognitive disorders are related to the intensive vaccination schedule in the United States. No where else in the world are infants and children forced to succumb to over 50 vaccines.
There were so many flaws in this case – it is astounding that the jury found the family to be guilty… And article published in the Troy Media asked the question: Why Did the David and Collet Stephan Juror’s Cry? citing that
Canadian juries are denied the knowledge that they have the power to pass judgement on laws they deem unjust.
David is a friend and colleague of mine, as well as the Stephan family. I invited David to attend the AutismOne conference in Chicago last year and introduced him to many of the movement’s influencers. His enigmatic, compassionate personality radiated and he created connections with so many of the attendees. A loving father, a loving mother and beautiful children. This case is far from over, and in my humble opinion, justice for family health freedom will prevail.
Last Tuesday, April 26, was a red-letter day for the TMR community. Many health “revolutionaries,” myself included, were thrilled to be able to attend a United Nations conference where Dr. Martha Herbert, Kevin Barry (filling in for Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. who was absent due to a family emergency), and Dr. Leonardo Trasande spoke about the deleterious effects of numerous environmental intoxicants, including those that are injected, on developing brains, and NYU Professor of Law Mary Holland spoke about the human rights implications of compulsory vaccine programs and the need for truly informed consent.
At the same time that we were enjoying this historic step toward international recognition of the rights to bodily integrity and to make one’s own healthcare decisions, a heavy blow to those principles was struck in the province of Alberta, Canada. If you’ve been with TMR for a while, you may be aware that we have been following with interest the trial of David and Collett Stephan, the parents of Ezekiel Stephan, a 19-month-old boy who died of a mysterious illness back in March of 2012. David and Collett were charged with “failure to provide the necessaries of life” for Ezekiel, a charge approximately equivalent to manslaughter in the United States. The trial had been going on for seven weeks, and the previous week Alberta’s former Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Anny Sauvageau, rocked the proceedings by providing dramatic testimony refuting all the important claims of her previous employee, Dr. Bamidele Adeagbo, the medical examiner who had performed Ezekiel’s autopsy. So it was more than a shock to receive the news Tuesday evening that the Stephans had been convicted.
This verdict hit all of us at TMR very hard, not least because many of us met David Stephan last year at the AutismOne Conference, and all of us were immediately impressed by his humble humanity. In fact, if I were to imagine the ideal father for a child, chances are good he would look and sound a lot like David Stephan: accessible, involved, loving, and wise. Since that time, we have seen pictures of him with his family, his wife, Collett, and their three other sons, and the impression has merely deepened.
The guilty verdict probably hit me the hardest of all of us, though, because I too had a child who died of a mysterious illness, and all I could think was how easily that could have been me if the medical examiner in my son’s case hadn’t decided that there was nothing that we or the hospital could have done that would have saved my son’s life. While that was a relief to hear at the time – I had spent the previous twelve weeks thinking up elaborate scenarios where my son would still be alive “if only I had . . . ,” – there remained a cynical doubt in the back of my mind whether or not it was really true or whether the need to exonerate the hospital played any role in that conclusion. In any event, it did help me to drop the guilt of the “woulda, shoulda, couldas” to a large extent, and begin the painful process of healing. You see, whenever a child dies, loving parents will find themselves wracking their brains for something they could have done differently that might possibly have saved their child and then berating themselves for not making those choices in the first place. Through various support groups, I’ve met many parents of children who have died, and I’ve found that nearly all of them go through this exercise – repeatedly. After all, it is our job to keep our children safe, and there is nothing worse than failing at that job.
Unfortunately, we are not given instructions up front about the best way to go about that for our particular children, however, and we have to make thousands of decisions on the fly as to how best to proceed. There is no possibility that every decision we make will be the “right” one; we just have to do the best we can, based upon the information we have at hand, and hope that we get lucky and are “right” when it matters most. I have had the heartbreaking experience of listening to a grieving mother berate herself for choosing to co-sleep with her child on the very same day as another grieving mother berated herself for putting her child to sleep in a crib. Each mother was convinced that, had she made the opposite choice, her child would still be alive. But as a witness, listening to their sobs, it was glaringly obvious that neither choice guaranteed a living child. And that is a very hard lesson for any of us to learn: When it comes to life, there are no guarantees. Period.
Possibly the most excruciating example of “no guarantees” I’ve ever encountered was the father who was also a paramedic who had been unable to save his own child. This father was crushed by guilt; if anyone should be able to “guarantee” their infant’s survival, it would be an emergency medical technician, right? That’s what they do, all day, every day. And yet . . . There are no guarantees. Period.
If given the option, any of us would have gone back to a time before our child’s death in a heartbeat and made different choices in an effort to forestall it. And it’s possible that, for some of us, those choices would have changed the outcome, but as was made crystal clear by my son’s autopsy report, making different choices cannot provide the guarantee we seek. Despite the cliché of 20/20 hindsight, we can’t truly know what would have happened if we had done things differently. I feel for the parents who are told that a different choice could have made a difference as, unlike most of us whose mistakes do not have such dire consequences, their mistake ended in the worst possible outcome. That can be a tremendously heavy burden to bear for parents who were only doing what all of us parents do every day, making the best choices they could with the available information.