Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Desmond Hatchett-30 children and counting

You have probably heard about this Knoxville, Tennessee man of profound potency and vast virility, Desmond Hatchett, who at the time of this writing has acknowledged 30 children by 11 different women. This may be a county or even state record. Just three years ago he only had 21 children so obviously Mr. Hatchett is something of a crosscut saw that some women like to have buried in their wood. Unfortunately for Mr. Hatchett, unlike other noted men such as Clint Eastwood (seven children by five different women) or Ted Nugent (eight children by four different women) Mr. Hatchett has apparently no marketable skills other than his good good loving. He makes minimum wage. He's 33 years old and only earning minimum wage which is $7.25/hr.

There's a saying that you can't get blood from a stone, though you can apparently get some other bodily fluids. So Hatchett recently went to court to try to get the state to reduce the child support payments. State law allows the state to take up to 50% of a non-custodial parent's income for child support but since Hatchett doesn't earn much money in the first place his children don't receive very much assistance-one child's mother is paid just $1.49/month.
Just where is Octodad? That's perhaps the most pressing question -- among the many -- pertaining to Desmond Hatchett, a Knoxville, Tenn., man who reportedly has so many children that he's struggling to keep up with child-support payments.
Hatchett, nicknamed Octodad by various media outlets, gained considerable notoriety last week after WREG in Memphis posted a story and video describing his struggles to keep up with child-support payments for his 30 children.
To say the story went viral would be an understatement. It was republished, reposted, tweeted, shared and commented on thousands and thousands of times. We wrote about it as well on Friday. That story alone was shared more than 26,000 times.
One of the most common questions among readers who have called, e-mailed and commented on the story is this: If Hatchett is having trouble paying child support for these children, who is paying for them? Tennessee taxpayers?
Now in my opinion he is a sad excuse for a man. And of course most of the media or blog coverage of this situation also promoted that opinion. Some people even called for castration or vasectomy.  That's good for a chuckle and allows people to vent their frustrations with this situation. That's fine. I did the same above. But if we can be serious for just a moment we should realize that unless Hatchett forcibly raped a woman or slept with an underage girl (which is rape of a different sort) it takes two, or in Hatchett's case, 12 to tango. The women's names, photos and situations have not been released but I'm sure that they're all upstanding citizens with great jobs who are not on any sort of public assistance. In any event they are just as responsible as Hatchett for their children. If he's a reprobate and a clown, then so are they. We can't demand that Hatchett be more responsible than the women he's running around with. Can we?  But neither Hatchett nor the mothers of his children have broken any laws. One would wonder why a man would want to impregnate so many different women that he can't support or why so many women would want to be impregnated by such a man but I wonder about a lot of things that I'll never figure out.
The moral of this story is that you can't fix stupid. You can't take more than 50% of someone's income. You can't prevent someone from having children they can't afford. You can't stop someone from valuing short term pleasures more highly than the long term costs of bringing another human being into this world. All you can do is show people the costs of stupid behavior and try to change their incentives. That's what freedom means.
1) Should the state be able to take more than 50% of your income for child support?
2) What would happen if we just got rid of all assistance to unmarried women or children born out of wedlock?
3) Should the state be able to force sterilization on irresponsible men or women? 
4) How did people's lives become so empty that someone like Hatchett is considered a good catch by so many women? Why wasn't anyone using protection?
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