The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil,
but because of those who look on and do nothing.

~~~ Albert Einstein

Monday, December 29, 2008

""I may not be God, But I tell you what, I'm the closest damn thing to it." ----Ellie Nesler

It used to be that sexual abuse of children was a topic that was taboo. If you were unlucky enough to have someone in your family that was a child molester- you were also unlucky enough to understand that it wasn't ever going to be a topic that you could openly talk about. There was a shame that pass unduly passed to victims of sexual abuse that meant that even while people were insisting it wasn't your fault, you just weren't suppose to mention it outside the small confines of a tight circle of people who had to know.

In the late eighties, and early nineties, thing began to quickly change. Sexual abuse became a day time talk show subject- with even Oprah spilling her sole to millions of people via the cable box. After decades of victims being shamed into silence by the unspoken rule that talking of such things was just improper- survivors starting finding their voices, and encouraging others to stand up and speak along with them.

However, despite society's willingness to play a role in this new era of strength of victims, it wasn't fully prepared for Ellie Nesler, or the way she would break through the last remaining strings that attempted to keep the effects of molestation out of prime time news. No one was really ready for her sudden action that would thrust the long last effects that sexual abuse has into a completely new light. And no one was ready for the debate that her actions would cause. It could be said that it all started when Ellie Nesler sat in a court room with the name, Daniel Driver, who had admittedly molested her son, along with three other young boys while working at a Christian camp. But, really the story could have started long before that, it could have began during the four years that Ellie waited to see justice brought to the man who had abused her son. Or even back in 1883 when Driver was convicted for molestation of another child, but was only sentenced to probation by the residing judge. For Ellie, it could have started long before Driver abused his fist victim- details would come into play later on regarding whether Ellie had also been molested herself as a child. But, whatever the case- whatever started this story- it would never match the chapter of Ellie's life that contained what happened that day, in the court room during recess prior to court convening.

SOURCE, which provides a detailed outline of the entire story On the day of the preliminary hearing, he vomited when he woke up and again in the street when he met the accused molester outside the courtroom. "The man looked at him, and he smirked," said Ardala Inks, who is Nesler's cousin and accompanied her to court. "He thought it was a big joke" (Frank 1993a:1). The feeling among the parents of Driver's alleged victims was that the hearing had not gone well up to the noon break. A child can be a notoriously unreliable witness, especially when confronted by the person who victimized him, then threatened to kill him if he told anyone. One of the mothers, who later got a "Support Ellie Nesler" tattoo on her ankle, told Ellie at the break, "He's gonna walk." Nesler's son was supposed to testiffy against Driver after the recess. His mother saw to it that he would not have to. With court still in recess, Nesler strode back into the courtoom and shot Dan Driver five times in the head and neck with a semiautomatic pistol.
At that moment, not only did Driver's life end, but Ellie's life as she once knew it ended also. She'd be seen by many as a hero, by others as a cold murderer. Reporters from around the world would want to write about her story- a movie on her plight was even produced. But outside of the effects of the shooting on her own life- would be the ripple effect that it would have for other parents, other molestation victims... If the court fails you, and the chance to have justice seems to be slipping away- can one really take the law into their own hands and act as judge, jury and executioner? Ellie's own jury would later decide no, and sentence her to 10 years in prison. A judge would later toss that conviction, Ellie would take a plea deal and serve 3 years while fighting breast cancer. And now, years later- after serving time for murder, battling cancer and drug addiction- Ellie is once again in the news, reminding us again about the controversy that she caused that one day in a California court room.
Nesler died at UC Davis Medical Center of complications from cancer -two days too soon to meet her grandson, born to her daughter, Becky, on Sunday afternoon, said family friend Diane Morrow. SOURCE
With all her faults, the single mother who lived a troubled life did what few would dare- she was the ultimate momma bear, defending her child regardless of costs.