If this video of a judge beating his 16-year-old daughter in a fit of profane rage doesn’t disturb you, there’s something wrong. Judge William Adams can’t even control himself, but he’s had power over other people. He’s a perfect example of why it’s immoral and scary for a few to have power over others.
This video was made in 2004, but it was only posted to YouTube last week. Hillary Adams was 16 when she set up a camera in her bedroom to finally catch her father on videotape during one of his angry rampages. She finally decided to post the video last week. You can read her comments to a Corpus Christi television station here — along with her father’s admission that it is indeed him in the video. (You’ll have to scroll down the page to find comments from both of them.) Police are investigating to decide whether the beating was a crime.
There are a lot of things to read and digest about this story. In the video, the father is angry at the girl for something involving a computer. She now says it was because she was downloading music over the “file sharing” service called Kazaa, which wasn’t legal at the time, so this is the “stealing” that the father was upset about. You have to wonder what the man would have been like if she had don’t something really serious.
This video is upsetting because it’s all about control. Adams turns into a raging and profane maniac because he can’t get his daughter’s co-operation for the beating. She won’t bend over her bed to be beaten as he orders, so he starts flailing away and threatening to beat her in the face. If you’ve been around abusive people before, you know the one thing they hate most of all is to lose their control over others. This man is a control freak.
I know that because I grew up with an abusive control freak. He spanked us, but it wasn’t anything like what’s in the video here. We were too afraid of him to rebel even as much as this girl did. The abuse we suffered was mostly of the emotional and psychological kind, but that’s just as bad. I grew up feeling that every move I made was watched and recorded and judged harshly. For people who didn’t experience that kind of rage and intense level of control from a parent, it’s impossible to explain, but the feeling I get from that video is eerily familiar to me — and it brings back disturbing memories.
I don’t want to have my life controlled by anyone, whether it’s an abusive parent or by a coercive state. Part of the problem is that you never really know who a person is on the inside. The articles I’ve read claim that Adams has been a fair judge, but seeing this raging and profane man — and knowing what he’s willing to do to one of his own children — makes me believe he’s not to be trusted. How many others of those who we trust to exercise coercive power are just as untrustworthy as Adams? How would we know unless something such as this comes forward?
By the way, even though Adams has admitted to the beating, he claims it wasn’t that big a deal. He told the Corpus Christi TV station, “In my mind I have not done anything wrong other than discipline my child when she was caught stealing. I did lose my temper, I’ve apologized. it looks worse than it is.”
I have no idea what Texas law is, so I can’t say whether what’s depicted in the video is a crime or not. I do know without fear of contradiction that it’s serious abuse, though. Until and unless the man can be made to understand that it’s unacceptable to treat other human beings the way he did, he’s not fit to judge others.
The truth, though, is that no one is fit to wield the power of the coercive state over others. Adams just seems less fit than others, now that we see what he’s like without the black robe.