There are two items of interest regarding the Madelyne Gorman Toogood, the woman who was videotaped beating her young daughter, in today’s Chron. First, columnist Ken Hoffman interviews Toogood and her attorney, Steve “Rocket” Rosen. Whatever good they may have hoped would come out of this will probably be sunk by the opening exchange:
“Hi,” she said. “I know you think I’m a monster. I think more people hate me than Osama bin Laden.”
In the video she appears to be, as she said, a monster. On the phone, she sounded like a confused high school girl, much younger than her 25 years.
Incredibly, she made a joke when I asked what she thought the first time she saw the video of herself beating her child.
“I thought, you know, I’m not the babe I thought I was,” she said. “I thought I was better looking. So not only am I hated by everybody — I’m not as attractive as I thought I was.”
I was stunned by her answer. Maybe she doesn’t understand what’s happening to her, or what she did, or how much trouble she’s in. Maybe she uses humor when she’s scared.
That’s pretty understanding of Hoffman, but the damage is done. I don’t think a whole lot of people are going to change their minds in her favor after reading that, despite her repeated statements of remorse and acceptance of responsibility afterwards.
Toogood is a member of Texas-based Irish Travellers, insular, itinerant laborers who often earn their livelihoods through home improvement and business repair work. They are descendants of 19th-century immigrants who fled the Irish potato famine.
“I’ve represented members of the (Travellers) for 15 years around the country,” Rosen said. “Mainly it’s been petty crimes, thefts, fights among each other. Someone referred one to me, and they liked the job I did. They’re like the Mafia in that if they find a lawyer they like, they keep using him. I wouldn’t want to compare them to the Mafia, though.”
Too late for that. Perhaps you need to take a class in Analogies Management.
For what it’s worth, I agree with TalkLeft’s opinion, which is to wait for all the facts are in before calling for Madelyne Toogood’s head on a platter. If this is typical of her parenting, then by all means take her kids away from her. If this was a one-time event, then it’s in everyone’s long term best interests for her to get the kids back after an appropriate sentence that includes anger management classes. In the meantime, take a deep breath and pay attention to the followup stories, which are sure to get nowhere near the airplay of that infamous video.