Occupy Wall Street? No, Irresponsible Parenting

This may be the most despicable person I’ve read about in a long time:

A married mother of four from Florida ditched her family to become part of the raggedy mob in Zuccotti Park — keeping the park clean by day and keeping herself warm at night with the help of a young waiter from Brooklyn.

“I’m not planning on going home,” an unapologetic Stacey Hessler, 38, told The Post yesterday.

“I have no idea what the future holds, but I’m here indefinitely. Forever,” said Hessler, whose home in DeLand sits 911 miles from the tarp she’s been sleeping under.

Hessler — who ironically is married to a banker — arrived 12 days ago and planned to stay for a week, but changed her plans after cozying up to some like-minded radicals, including Rami Shamir, 30, a waiter at a French bistro in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.

She swears she’s not romantically involved with her new friend.
Yesterday was a typical day for the pair, who woke up at 8 a.m. on their little patch of paving stone near the communal kitchen and dashed off to Trinity Church to wash up.

Hessler emerged an hour later, her brown hair in dreadlocks, wearing a T-shirt depicting Han Solo and Princess Leia kissing, and bearing the slogan “Make Love Not War.”

She got coffee and a granola bar from the protest kitchen before sorting laundry for two hours.

The unemployed Long Island native compared her decision to abandon her family to Americans serving in the armed forces.

“Military people leave their families all the time, so why should I feel bad?” a defiant Hessler said. “I’m fighting for a better world.”

She said she had been following the movement on Facebook, and the more she learned, the more obsessed she became with joining the demonstrators.

At around 11 a.m. yesterday, Hessler moved from laundry duty to park cleanup — a four-hour detail from which she broke just once to give a troubled protester a hug at the “empathy table.” She also found time for a meditation session later in the day.

Hessler has spoken with her family — husband Curtiss, 42; son Peyton, 17; and daughters Kennedy 15, Sullivan, 13, and Veda, 7 — just three times since leaving them. “Friends are taking care of them,” she said.

Sounds to me like she could use some time at the Empathy Table.
FILED UNDER: Quick Takes, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed for too young in July 2021.

Comments

  1. Will.Spencer says:

    It sounds like her husband and family are far better off without her.

  2. CJ Robinson says:

    This may be the most despicable person I’ve read about in a long time

    And this sounds like the most ridiculous hyperbole I’ve read in a long time. No context or background on her family life, good reason to believe that she’s not the primary breadwinner and the kids are being cared for, but she’s despicable because in the process of leaving her husband, she also joins a social movement.

    Spare us the faux-outrage.

  3. @CJ Robinson:

    Yes because its perfectly acceptable for a mother to leave her children, go camping in a park, and say she’s never going to return.

  4. john personna says:

    So how many did she kill exactly, on her shooting spree? lolz, to make “most despicable” I’d think there would have to be a death toll.

    Other than that, my comment is “if you are going to have a mid-life crisis, by all means score national press coverage.”

  5. Tsar Nicholas says:

    We’ve known for a long time to save the country we need to increase the minimum voting age; it’s important not to forget, however, even those who chronologically speaking are “adults” are not immune from being dumber than lamp posts. Stacey Hessler here is Exhibit Z.

    Ergo we also need to make basic I.Q. and personality tests prerequisites to vote. Something along the lines of the Wechsler combined with the MMPI. If your test results obviously are well below standards — and we’re looking at you, Stacey — you should not be allowed anywhere near a ballot box. Elections simply are too important to leave in the hands of the terminally idiotic.

  6. john personna says:

    You know, shows like Arrested Development or movies like The Royal Tannenbaums have plot twists like this, because there is the recognition that liberal sympathies can lead to mis-wired priorities.

  7. WR says:

    @Doug Mataconis: If she’d left her family to kill Muslims for Uncle Sam would she still be loathesome? If she left to enter a convent? If she’d run away with a lover? Just wondering how much of your contempt is about leaving the kids and how much is your hippie hatred…

  8. CB says:

    @john personna:

    +1 for name dropping the best TV show that no one ever heard of.

  9. Tano says:

    What is really despicable is when media people (including bloggers) publicly denounce specific individuals whom they know absolutely nothing about, for the sake of building their audience, stoking outrage, or just for their own personal ranting pleasure.

  10. michael reynolds says:

    She’s the WORST PERSON EVER! Worse than Hitler! Worse than John Wayne Gacy! Worse than Gaddafi!

    Jesus Christ, Doug, she’s another middle-aged mommy having a mid-life freak-out. Throw the middle-aged daddies having mid-life freak-outs into the mix and you have a substantial portion of the population. It happens. It’s not good, in fact it’s quite bad, but worst person you’ve heard about? Seriously? Where do you live, in Disneyland?

  11. John Peabody says:

    “Military people leave their families all the time”. Yes, this is exactly the same thing. Good to know that my past deployments were equivalent to OWS.

  12. CJ Robinson says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Yes because its perfectly acceptable for a mother to leave her children, go camping in a park, and say she’s never going to return.

    That’s a really effective tactic for argumentation you’ve got going there, because “indignant repetition” clearly makes your weak arguments stronger.

    People leave relationships all the time. Maybe her husband was a real d-bag. Maybe in his spare time he wrote judgmental posts on the internet armed with little to no underlying knowledge and she finally got fed up.

    You don’t know any of this, so you’re jumping the gun. All you know is that she a) left her family, and b) joined OWS. Which of the two is unacceptable? If she left to move into a hotel and told her husband she’s never going to come back, that would be perfectly acceptable? Is it the camping in the park thing that makes it “despicable?” Or is it the fact that she didn’t stick out her marriage no matter what?

    Maybe she really didn’t handle it well, but christ on a stick, even you have to recognize that calling her the “most despicable person (you)’ve read about in a long time” is a ridiculous exaggeration.

  13. mattb says:

    While Doug is entitled to his opinion — and we’re entitled to our opinions of what it says about him — I’m hoping he’ll never post about the ridiculous hyperbole/moralism of partisans again now that’s he’s handed out his “most despicable person evah” award.

  14. JKB says:

    Leaving was one thing but now with this national coverage, her kids will have to endure the taunts, “Your mom’s a hippie.”

    But really, if she was committed, shouldn’t she have started an occupation in her home town? She could have stopped to help the occupy Atlanta folks, especially if she has good orienteering skills.

  15. Moosebreath says:

    “But really, if she was committed, shouldn’t she have started an occupation in her home town? She could have stopped to help the occupy Atlanta folks, especially if she has good orienteering skills. ”

    The article says her hometown is DeLand, Florida, so she could have gone to Jacksonville or Orlando easily enough. Atlanta, on the other hand, is about 6 hours drive time.

  16. MM says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Just because it’s not the worst thing ever does not make it acceptable. Likely, she is either unbalanced or otherwise significantly emotionally damaged. Leaving your family to live with OWS is (on the whole)bad. However given that you read about Khaddaffi yesterday, if not today, she cannot be the worst person you have read about in a long time unless you consider hippies worse than genocidal dictators.

  17. PD Shaw says:

    Goal-post moving: Doug never said she was the worst person ever, that was michael reynolds. And I think he might have been sarcastic.

  18. mantis says:

    This may be the most despicable person I’ve read about in a long time

    Really? More despicable than Joseph Kony, whom you’ve read about quite recently?

  19. michael reynolds says:

    @PD Shaw:

    And I think he might have been sarcastic.

    Usually a safe bet. 😉

  20. Racehorse says:

    @WR: sounds like some sort of delayed LSD reaction or watching too many documentaries about Woodstock. Bad, but compared to Casey Anthony?

  21. MM says:

    @PD Shaw: I’m not moving the goal posts. CJ Robinson accused Doug of being hyperbolic (which he was). Doug responded with

    Yes because its perfectly acceptable for a mother to leave her children, go camping in a park, and say she’s never going to return.

    , implying that if you don’t consider this woman “the most despicable person [you’ve] read about in a long time” you are condoning her behavior.

    I’m merely stating that you can consider this person many levels of bad, anywhere from “misguided” to “selfish” to “awful mother” and she still wouldn’t be the worst person that most readers of this site have read about in the last 24 hours.

    Doug is just doing his usual “overreact and attack” shtick. JUST LIKE HITLER!

  22. Moosebreath says:

    PD,

    “Doug never said she was the worst person ever”

    No, just the “most despicable person I’ve read about in a long time”. And since I am willing to bet that Doug has read about Qaddafi, Kim Jong Il and Robert Mugabe (not to mention various serial killers) fairly recently, it says quite a bit about Doug’s priorities.

  23. Brett says:

    The only source we have on this is the New York Post, which is prone to sensationalism at the best of times.

  24. PD Shaw says:

    @michael reynolds: The one thing missing from your analysis of how mixed up adult relationships can be is the children. I’ve got a seven year old and I can’t imagine how damaging it would be for one of his parents (particularly his mom) to leave indefinitely.

    I don’t have to travel for work as much as some people, but from my experience, grade school kids need a little explanation and understanding of what your doing and when you’re coming back. (Seven is also a good “why” age; why do you have to go? why can’t you do it here? why can’t I go? why aren’t my other friend’s moms not going? Are they bad people?)

  25. Murray says:

    I wonder how many guys have succumbed to the temptation of unlimited days and nights frolicking around in a park and engaging in public lewdness, for which they should be promptly arrested; leaving their wives and jobs under the excuse of “helping the cause”, throwing together some sort of protest sign and heading out the door . Some, not all, of these people should be arrested and immediately sent back to Russia or China; where ever they came from. This movement does have a mission: “tune in, turn on, and drop out”. Empathy table? It should be a drug treatment tent!

  26. rcade says:

    @Doug Mataconis: You’re judging her entirely by a New York Post hatchet job that’s clearly written to make people hate her. Her Facebook wall tells a different story. She’s an attentive mom engaged in a large number of activities with her kids who has 12 friends willing to help her extend a planned one-week OWS protest longer.

    There are more details on my blog. The Post did a real number on this woman.

  27. PD Shaw says:

    No less than 12 of her friends are offering to help out. Sound like a bad mom to you?

    Yes. Do you know who appears to agree?

    “My mother told me I was being very selfish,” she admitted

  28. Tlaloc says:

    You can play right wing bingo with that article. The emotionally laden terms are everywhere. I particularly like the reference of her home being 911 miles away… almost as if that number could trigger a gut visceral reaction in the typical NY Post reader.

  29. de stijl says:

    You punch hippies with the the anecdotes you have, not the anecdotes you wish you had.

    Even if it’s the lamest anecdote you’ve read in a long time.

  30. anjin-san says:

    Yes because its perfectly acceptable for a mother to leave her children, go camping in a park, and say she’s never going to return.

    Well Doug. maybe you and your right wing pals can get together and try to pass more laws restricting the ability of women to make their own choices about their lives.

  31. anjin-san says:

    frolicking around in a park and engaging in public lewdness,

    Why does the idea that someone, somewhere is getting laid always seem to drive conservatives into a tizzy? The only exemption seems to be for rich white men with trophy wives.

  32. CJ Robinson says:

    @rcade:

    There are more details on my blog. The Post did a real number on this woman.

    So, mea culpa. I guess even I jumped the gun. I assumed that she HAD abandoned her family, but was willing to withhold judgment about whether or not it was excusable since I didn’t know more. I should have assumed that, being the Post, this article was simply character assassination.

    Of course, this means that my assumption that Doug was being a judgmental douchebag was spot on, so I guess 1 for 2 ain’t bad.

  33. Lit3Bolt says:

    If a yellow journalism conservative friendly British style tabloid prints it, Doug Mataconis may be counted on to repeat it, after Drudge and Instapundit have beaten him to it.

    It’s a hard life being a third-hand, third-rate, third-place conservative parrot.

  34. PD Shaw says:

    @CJ Robinson: What new information is provided in the blog? We already knew her friends were helping look after her kids from Doug’s piece:

    Hessler has spoken with her family — husband Curtiss, 42; son Peyton, 17; and daughters Kennedy 15, Sullivan, 13, and Veda, 7 — just three times since leaving them. “Friends are taking care of them,” she said.

  35. CJ Robinson says:

    @PD Shaw: It’s about the way it was presented, “Friends are taking care of them,” is tossed in as a cast-off, as though she doesn’t care. As if she just walked out, and her friends cared so much about the kids to pick up the slack. What they leave out is that she’s actually coordinating that assistance. Throw in the implication that she’s there indefinitely, and the statement that she only spoke to them three times, being presented as though she walked out for good.

    Is it not obvious that the Post piece was a slime job? Fair and balanced for sure. It’s a blatant ad hominem, intent upon undermining the OWS movement by playing to stereotypes and conservative sensitivities about the individuals involved.

    And Doug took the bait. Not that he’ll own up to it, but hopefully he at least feels a twinge of embarrassment.

  36. An Interested Party says:

    And Doug took the bait. Not that he’ll own up to it, but hopefully he at least feels a twinge of embarrassment.

    Considering how Doug feels about OWS, I highly doubt he feels even that twinge…