Think Before you Speak: An Open Letter to Latta, S.C. Mayor Earl Bullard
By: Caitlin McGee
On Tuesday, Latta, South Carolina lesbian Police Chief Crystal Moore was fired by the town’s Mayor. In and audio recording of a phone call, Mayor of Latta, Earl Bullard, is heard “I would much rather have … and I will say this to anybody’s face … somebody who drank and drank too much taking care of my child than I had somebody whose lifestyle is questionable around children.” The following is my response:
I was eight when my parents got divorced, and despite her mile long rap sheet of reasons why she was an unfit parent my mother was awarded custody of me anyway. I wouldn’t necessarily go so far as to call her an alcoholic, but she certainly did drink a lot, often a bit too much, and there’s no doubt that my step father was at the very least a borderline alcoholic. During the twelve years that I had to spend living with them, my mother abused me physically and emotionally and even went so far as threatening to kill me a few times and on more than one occasion I was verbally abused by my step father. As a result, I not only feared them but I hated them more than words can express.
By the time I was fourteen I had started on a downward spiral as a result of the abuse. I became depressed, I started self harming, and eventually got to the point where I wanted nothing more than to just be able to end it all… and I came damn close. But I got lucky, because despite my mother’s refusal to wake up and realize what she and her husband were doing to me, their refusal to change their actions, and maybe get me the help I needed rather than continuing to drag me down even further and continuously tell me that I was an embarrassment because of the self inflicted scars on my wrist that they had helped put there, I still managed to find somebody who was willing to help and who gave me a reason to keep hanging on no matter how badly I wanted to let go. Of course that individual moved away a year later and we lost touch for a number of years, and during that time that we had lost touch I spiraled right back down until I finally worked up the courage, during a Summer visit to my Dad’s just before I turned 21, to tell my mother that I would be staying with my Dad because I was sick of being a prisoner and I couldn’t deal with the abuse and the depression anymore.
Like I said… I got lucky. Other kids who have been in the same sort of situation haven’t been so lucky. Some of them have been pushed to the point of taking their own lives. Some of those kids end up being killed by their abusive alcoholic parents, Mr. Bullard…. KILLED by the people who are supposed to love them and protect them but who instead hurt them as bad as they can. That said, based on my own experiences and based on what we all know has happened to other children of abusive and alcoholic parents, I can honestly say that in the unlikely event that I ever had children I wouldn’t let them near somebody who clearly drank too much let alone risk my child’s life by allowing that type of a person to take care of my child… it’s irresponsible. Mr. Bullard, your words are the words of an ignorant coward who clearly didn’t think about the impact his words might have. So next time Mr. Bullard, think before you speak.
An openly gay, aspiring writer and photographer just trying to make a difference in the world and fighting for the equality we all deserve.