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Friday, June 11, 2010

Andy Martin criticizes Tonight Show host Jay Leno for glamorizing suicidal behavior by teenagers

Andy Martin: Abby Sunderland and her parents belong in jail
Social critic Martin says it is time to put Abby Sunderland in protective custody until her parents are mature enough to be responsible for a teenager. Martin says Abby Sunderland's parents should be billed for the cost of airplane search and rescue for their daughter. Martin believes that it is time to assert societal rights against crackpot parents that forfeit parental responsibility for their children.

“Do adults, or children, run the world?” Andy Martin asks

Martin says parents such as the Sunderlands who allow their children to engage in daredevil stunts should be jailed or lose parental rights
Andy Martin
Executive Editor

“Factually Correct, Not
Politically Correct”


Andy Martin says Abby Sunderland belongs in state custody and her parents should be jailed for allowing a child to engage in suicidal activity

Andy calls for protests to Jay Leno and the Tonight Show for glamorizing wacko children.

(NEW YORK)(June 11, 2010) Why am I not impressed or amazed by the “Sunderland” drama on the high seas, and by the latest "rescue?" It is starting to take on the attributes of another “balloon-boy” fiasco. It is time to tell children that adults, not adolescents, run this world. It is time to put crackpot parents in jail as a deterrent to other whackos such as the parents of Abby Sunderland.

The tip-off that something is amiss is always when you find out the parents and child have a “spokesman,” in this case a moron named Christian Pinkston. Pinkston said Abby was “well-equipped” and “well-trained” to sail through dangerous seas alone.

The public is being inundated with these crackpot parents and their daredevil children. A few days ago it was the 13 year-old with the “dream” of climbing dangerous mountains. Who’s next?

Children by definition have impaired judgment. And even when family circumstances, such as the loss of a parent or family income, compel a child to take on adult responsibilities, their brains are still not ready to process complex environments such as daredevil stunts and suicide missions. That is a medically proven position.

What kind of a parent would allow a child to sail off on a suicide mission? Abby is the latest, but not the first, of these demented teenagers who “dream” of risking their lives in a suicide sailing. If she said she wanted to drag race on a mountain highway, would her parents say “yes?” (The Sunderlands probably would.)

There was controversy in California before Abby Sunderland left. Many people felt as I do that her parents should be chastised for allowing their daughter to engage in this life-threatening stunt. Now we have the “missing” episode, and the supposed “rescue.” This drama is starting to smell.

I know that taxpayers somewhere are being billed tens of thousands of dollars to pay for the “search and rescue” mission for the Sunderland family’s nonsense. The Australians should send the Sunderlands a bill for the costs of rescuing their mentally impaired daughter.

Maybe it is also time for some self-restraint on the part of the media. As long as whacko parents and their immature parents can end up on the Tonight Show or elsewhere as daredevils, the media are willing accomplices in allowing antisocial behavior to be broadcast. Moreover, glamorizing suicidal activity only encourages copycats to engage in the same ridiculous behavior.

Every reader should contact the Tonight Show, Late Show and other late night programs and ask them to boycott the Sunderlands. Do these shows publicize antisocial activity by mental patients? Of course not. But the behavior of the Sunderland family is mental and deserves to be condemned.

Where is the psychiatric profession? It is time to add a DSM classification for “parental daredevil activity syndrome” or some similar psychiatric condition. Society has been much too accepting of these dysfunctional parents and their delusional children. Watching the Sunderlands is almost enough to call for imposition of the burqa on rambunctious teenagers.

In olden days kids used to go off on group activities, with adult supervision, to engage in athletic activity. No one would have proposed sending a single 16 year-old girl into high seas alone in a dangerous dinghy. Today society is afraid to condemn crackpot activity and believes that teenagers should be the masters of their own fate. Rubbish. What part of "no" don't these families understand?

It is time for society to say “enough, “and to criticize media that glamorize nut cases such as the Sunderlands.

Recently I was visiting my family in Palm Beach, Florida, where a 17 year-old was killed by a stray bullet at a “club.” What was a 17 year-old doing out alone at 1:30 A.M. in a dangerous neighborhood? If we were to “map” the instances of where teenagers get killed, most of the tragic episodes would happen between midnight and 6:00 A.M. Jay Leno makes a joke of the phrase, “Where are the parents?” Maybe it’s time for us to stop laughing.

I know California is bankrupt. But the state is bankrupt financially because the public has begun to act in a manner that is bankrupt socially and societally. Societies that engage in self-destructive behavior will ultimately destroy themselves. The same is true for families and 16 year-old high school girls.

It is time to clamp down. Governor Ahhhnold, enough.

Where are the so-called “family movement” organizations when we really need them?

We can start the process by asking the Australians who were forced to pay for rescue planes to bill the Sunderlands for the costs of their folly. Being slapped with a big bill for rescuing their daughter might bring the Sunderlands back to reality, if only for a day.

And every sentient citizen can condemn Jay Leno and discourage him from glamorizing the Sunderlands on the Tonight Show or similar programs. It is time for a new Television Code of Media Self-Restraint.

Andy Martin is a legendary Chicago muckraker, author, Internet columnist, radio talk show host, broadcaster and media critic. He has over forty years of broadcasting background in radio and television and is the dean of Illinois media and communications. He is currently promoting his best-selling book, Obama: The Man Behind The Mask and his Internet movie "Obama: The Hawai'i years." Andy is the Executive Editor and publisher of Martin comments on regional, national and world events with more than four decades of experience. He holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois College of Law and is a former adjunct professor of law at the City University of New York (LaGuardia CC, Bronx CC).

UPDATES: Andy's columns are also posted at;[NOTE: We try to correct any typographical errors in this story on our blogs; find our latest edition there.]

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