By: Rana Goodman, Political Editor
Isolate, Medicate, Steal the Estate. That has been the mantra chanted by families of the guardianship victims from Clark County, Nevada and many other states all over the US for years.
The Vegas Voice picked up the gauntlet a year and a half ago and, although we have seen a few positive changes, it still seems like one step forward, two steps back.
Our group of advocates and victim family members have over the past year, tried over and over again to file police reports about abusive guardians or questionable behavior. I have personally filed reports with the Ombudsman regarding living conditions in group homes that didn’t seem up to standard for seniors not able to fend for themselves.
The police reports fell on “deaf ears.” The Ombudsman never seemed to see what I saw.
I believed things would improve a few months ago when a letter was read at the Nevada Guardianship Commission meeting (which I am a member) announcing that police departments all over the State were now cooperating with the Commission and would assist with the guardianship complaints. Really! I had no idea that meant one sided.
Let’s look at some recent events and see if I’m being paranoid.
In June, a lady was removed from a top notch memory care center that her husband had chosen for her while he was hospitalized. His wife had Alzheimer’s and he wanted to make sure she had the best care.
This facility is rated the best in the state of Nevada and has scored an “A” on every inspection. Suddenly her husband died.
Very soon afterward, the lady was removed by the Clark County Public Guardian’s office and taken to an undisclosed facility. This government office claimed it would be guardian of her estate.
Our advocates and The Vegas Voice made a lot of noise about her removal and demanded to know where she had been taken. Then a flurry of activity and events began to happen.
We received assistance from Barbara Buckley’s Legal Aid office who appointed an attorney to represent this lady to try and get her returned to the care facility her husband wanted her in.
Days later, the care facility was bombarded with an inspection team led by a police officer who must watch Chicago PD a lot; since we hear that was her style. Once she was done, the seniors who wanted more than anything to stand tall for our lady, are now terrified to do so.
Then our Vegas Voice guardianship columnist, Rick Black, who wrote an email making statements about the behavior of some of the long-term “insiders” in this fiasco, received a telephone call within a few hours from the police department (from the anti-terrorist unit, no less) - the same police department that wanted to “know nothing” a few months ago.
In 1986, when Elie Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, in his acceptance speech he said: "Whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation, take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."
Those words are just as relevant today as they were when Mr. Wiesel spoke them. They apply just as much to our guardianship victims and vulnerable seniors as they did to the holocaust victims he spoke about then.
And remember the famous poem by Martin Niemoller, German Protestant Pastor.
AND THEN THEY CAME FOR ME
They came for the Communists, and I didn’t object – For I wasn’t a Communist;
They came for the Socialists, and I didn’t object – For I wasn’t a Socialist.
They came for the labor leaders, and I didn’t object – For I wasn’t a labor leader;
They came for the Jews, and I didn’t object – For I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for me –And there was no one left to object.
The Vegas Voice has written many articles about Commissioner Jon Norheim, Judge Charles Hoskins, Judge William Voy, private for-profit guardian April Parks and the rest of the guardianship ‘insider” gulag. I have to wonder if they ever stop, just for a moment and put that proverbial “shoe on the other foot.”
We, and those of us lucky enough to still have mothers and fathers still alive, may one day be ripe for guardianship. All of these things we have fought so long and hard for can happen any time, to any one of us, or them. THINK ABOUT IT!
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