By Alexis Stevens
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A northwest Georgia couple arrested for giving six of their children homemade tattoos say they didn't do anything wrong. The kids, they say, wanted the tattoos to be like Mom and Dad.
"I'm their mother," Patty Jo Marsh said late Saturday. "Shouldn't I be able to decide if they get one?"
Georgia law prohibits tattoos from anyone other than a licensed professional. Children under 18 are also prohibited from getting tattoos.
Marsh and her husband, Jacob Bartels, did the tattoos in their Summerville home. They cleaned up a tattoo machine someone gave them, and used guitar strings as a needle. Out of the seven children in their custody, only the youngest child did not get a tattoo.
"They weren't hurt by them," Marsh said. "We would never do anything to hurt them."
Marsh said the children, ages 10 to 17, wanted the small cross tattoos, and the couple did them after Thanksgiving. But when two of the children spent a weekend after Christmas with their biological mother, she reported it to DFACS and police.
At least 10 police officers searched the family's home on Dec. 28, Marsh says, and she and her husband were arrested. They were each charged with cruelty to children, reckless conduct and tattooing, something Marsh they didn't realize was illegal.
"If we knew that, we wouldn't have done it," Marsh said.
The couple bonded out of jail Friday, and now is awaiting a court date. DFACS temporarily took the children out of the home, Marsh said. But now all of the children are home.
Marsh says she feels that the entire incident has gotten blown out of proportion. The couple contends they are good parents, but now they're being labeled child abusers, which Marsh says is untrue.
“If I’m such a bad parent, then how come they brought the kids back right after I got out jail?" Marsh asked.
I disagree. I see no difference between tattoos and piercings. They are both a type of body modification that traces back over ten thousand years. If a parent is able to make a choice to allow their child to have a piercing then they should also be allowed to make a choice to allow their child to have a tattoo.
I understand the law about not allowing those without licenses to give tattoos, but only as a business practice. I think a person should be allowed to give themselves or friends/members of the family tattoos if both parties understand the process and know the risks of doing an at-home tattooing versus going to a tattoo parlor and does not charge for it. We don't bust people for giving themselves piercings why should we for tattoos?
When I was four and busted my chin open and had 12 stitches my mother pierced both my ears as a reward for letting the doctor stitch my chin up without having to strap me down to the table while he stiched me up.
If she chose to give me a tiny tattoo, like a little gold star, instead of piercing my ears is she a child abuser?
Update:My issue was about the state considering the parents actions child abuse that they arrested the parents, took the children away and they focus so much on cases such as this when there are other more dire cases of child abuse that sits on the wayside and never gets taken care of because this is one of those 'headline' cases.
It just pisses me off that they are ignoring other child abuse cases for stories such as this and that these parents who seem like good parents can possibly lose the custody of their kids while other parents who beat the living shit out of their kids or who starve them to death get ignored because cases like those don't make the headlines.
So maybe I overreached on trying to justify the parents parental rights and how the state is superimposing it... I don't like the state butting into things when everything is fine and no one is hurt.
I was trying to discuss this in philosophical terms of understanding the existential differences of what makes such and such different from such and such if the method and goal is the same or the design is the same but comes about in a different manner. The deliberate action vs accidental. The choice vs unchoice. The born with vs choosing to get.
Excuse me if it sounded like wanking. I'm have a degree in philosophy I'm interested in the way things are and presented as and the different meanings and connatations of the same result happening in different circumstances and why it has different meanings.
I was trying to pick the brain of people who commented and not cause a wank fest. Believe me I learned my lesson. It shalt happen again.
I never said I agreed with the people or not. I never said they were right to do it or not. For me it was about the arbitrariness of the situation and the fact that they could have their kids taken from them over this when other child abuse cases go on the backburner and never get looked at.
I disagreed only in that the people deserved to be arrested, have their kids be taken away, and face child abuse charges and be labled as child abusers.
Cases such as this remind me of cases where kids have been abused horrifically for years and no one does anything until one of the kids die. It just pisses me off.
It especially pisses me off because I personally know people who were able to keep their kids and they sure as hell did worse than these parents here. They were able to work around the system to still have their kids even though they lost custody of them and they didn't have their parental rights stripped of them.
Now I'm done. I got better things to do than to keep trying to explain myself.