Observations of an Irishman: Lessons from Alder Hey Hospital and the fight for Alfie Evans

Today, media and social media are filled with shiny irrelevant objects that catch our attention and spur lively “debates.” We talk about Stormy Daniels, listen to an FBI director hawk a book about “honor,” celebrate the Royal wedding and discuss who is and is not invited.

Can we have a discussion about something more meaningful?

There is a major story in the UK that is only now starting to get mainstream attention and it affects everyone in America and around the world. It is the account of young Alfie Evans who is fighting for his life. I want to tell you why this matters and what everyone in America can learn from it.

Who Is Alfie?

You may remember the tragic saga of Charlie Gard who we lost last year. Alfie Evans is in a very similar situation, and if we do nothing, we will also lose him.

Alfie is the baby boy of Tom Evans (21) and Kate James (20). Over his first few months on this planet, young Alfie missed several key developmental milestones. After catching a chest infection, he was admitted to Alder Hey Hospital in December 2016 and sadly has never left. To this day, doctors have not diagnosed him with any illness (apart from saying he has severe brain damage), and now want to want to remove his life support machines because it is supposedly "unfair" on Alfie.

Photo credit: Thomas Evans

The Pope has gotten involved several times, pleading for Alfie's life and there is an open offer from the Vatican-linked Bambino Hospital in Rome to care for and to try to diagnose him. But the hospital refuses to release Alfie. Earlier this week, Italy officially gave Alfie Italian citizenship, but this changed nothing. His parents have gone to every court possible, starting with local courts and all the way to the European Courts to fight for Alfie's right to life, but at every juncture, they have sided with the doctors and Alder Hey.

There are countless issues and principles to be discussed, including:

  • Is life precious?
  • Is life worth fighting for?
  • Parental rights?
  • Socialized medicine
  • How doctors and judges are NOT GODS
  • Why doesn't the media care?

I have been following these events very closely for several weeks, and on Monday, I traveled to Liverpool for the day to find the truth. Here is what I learned.

Shocking Absence

I arrived at Alder Hey around 10 am, and found a group of people playing music off a portable speaker, which was connected to an iPhone (or iPod), and singing along in the park beside the hospital. Among the popular songs played throughout the day was "Hero" by Enrique Iglesias and "Simply the Best" by Tina Turner. The group used famous chants and songs and adapted the words to include Alfie.

Behind the group were several banners and posters of support for Alfie, including a tall picture of Jesus with the words, “I stand with you.”

Where are the Protestant pastors? Where are any religious leaders? Why are they silent?

I am a quiet and reserved person at the best of times, so I stayed quiet, respectful and simply observed. This did not last long. A gentleman came up to me and asked if I was a priest (I wear a cross a lot), and I told him I was not a priest but that I do my best to share the word as a Christian. This started several conversations with a common question no one knew the answer to --- where are the Catholic priests? The Pope spoke out for Alfie --- where are they? Where are the Protestant pastors? Where are any religious leaders? Why are they silent?

Every time I heard this comment, one phrase kept repeating in my mind: “Silence in the face of evil is evil itself.”

Photo credit: Thomas Evans

When you research the account of Alfie, I hope you realize the magnitude of work we must do to fix our broken society. If you are reading this and are a Christian, I really hope you understand why we must lead by example and get OUR HOUSE in order. We can rightly point blame at others, including doctors, judges, laws or socialism, but where are the leaders of the Church stepping up to make a difference and be the leaders? Remember we are told in scriptures to worry about the log in our eye before worrying about the speck in another’s eye.

Media Bias

The media is something to behold when you see them up close. It was clear from looking at them, they had an agenda and that agenda had little to do with standing up to this injustice. Sadly, pro-life issues don’t equal ratings, and this is a reflection of our society. A small scattering of media --- nothing compared to the press camped outside another hospital waiting on the birth of a prince --- were there to do the bare minimum and wait for something “news-worthy” to report.

Sadly, they got what they wanted on Monday.

The people protesting are very passionate and care deeply about Alfie and his family. I believe they are there are many reasons --- in part because they want justice, in part because they know politicians have forgotten about them and don’t care about them so they are rallying around as a community, but also because they know this could happen to any of them or their children and they know they would not want to be alone.

We were told by the family Alfie's life support machines were going to be turned off at 1:30 pm. People were filled with emotions ranging from hurt, despair, frustration and anger that this was actually going to happen. With a minute to go, they felt they were out of options and I heard someone near me say, "we have to do something" --- ever hear that argument before? "Let's run and storm the hospital."

As soon as this started, a quiet media went into over-drive, took their pictures and videos and started typing their stories, highlighting how these people charged the hospital. After reading many reports online, it is clear those there did not see, did not care or just ignored the facts.

Roughly half of the people protesting did not storm the hospital, but shouted loudly using colorful language to “come back,” “there are sick children in there.” I was alone, so I did not get recording right at the start, but I started a Facebook Live so we have the proof, which you can view here:

I am not defending the decision to storm the hospital (it is not something I would do). Look at this video and ask yourself an honest question --- do the majority look like they are storming the beaches of Normandy, or more like following the crowd because a group decided it was a good idea to go to the hospital doors?

Hard Life Questions

This whole experience has been life-changing for me. I have despised politics for a long time. I am blessed with a weekly show on TheBlaze where my focus is based on eternal principles and trying to find self-evident truths. People in America and around the world spend so much time focused on politics, which for many includes supporting the answers their side is currently promoting, automatically assuming the other is wrong and then condemning them as stupid and evil.

Photo credit: Thomas Evans

If we continue on this path, we will dehumanize the individual to a point where we only see the humanity and show empathy to those who agree with us. This will lead to balkanization, sides will weaken, extremes will gain attention and eventually, a strong man will take charge. If you don’t believe this, take a journey through history.

On Monday I spent 12 plus hours with protestors outside Alder Hey standing for Alfie’s right to life. We did not discuss any politics, but if we did, I would have been shocked if even one person I met shared any of my principles when it comes to the size of government and basic economic issues. I am sure many who attended might have even openly described themselves as socialist, and I am sure some would have said they don’t like Donald Trump and America. If your priorities are helping a young baby for the fight for life, does any of this matter?

Yesterday, we stood together as one (despite our disagreements) to stand for a common uniting principle.

Yesterday, we stood together as one (despite our disagreements) to stand for a common uniting principle: Alfie Evans and his parents' right to decide what is best for their children, their right to a second opinion and to seek additional treatment. These are all eternal principles. Imagine what we could achieve if we stopped looking for the Right-wing or Left-wing principles and focused entirely on basic human principles or the principles of nature’s law.

Or, we can continue to have teams, see everyone who has a different opinion as the enemy and seek to destroy them --- and then we ALL lose.

It Could Never Happen in America

This story should be a wakeup call for everyone, because it can and will happen anywhere, including America. If you know anything about me, I hope you know how much I love America. That being said, sometimes some people have an arrogance that thinks America is different, and that things like that could never happen. Please do not believe this line.

The situation in America is very similar to the UK, and BOTH parties are to blame. The government has been expanding into your health care for decades now with George W. Bush expanding Medicare, Obama introducing Obamacare and now, the GOP running on repeal and doing nothing. You combine this with a $21 TRILLION (as in $21,000,000,000,000) national debt, Congress's refusal to enforce basic budging principles like a balanced budget amendment, and judges ruling more and more with the side of government. This is the path both parties have put you on and if you don’t act soon, these stories could and will start happening in America.

Helping Alfie

If you are touched by this and want to help, please see below ways you can help:

  • If you are a person of faith, please pray for young Alfie, for his family and that doctors and judges see the error of their ways. We have witnessed a MIRACLE already. Doctors said when Alfie’s life support was switched off he would only survive a few minutes --- here we are nearly 48 hours later and Alfie is still fighting.
  • Please do your own homework and share it with as many people as possible. We need as many eyes and ears on this as possible to touch hearts. (Here is an 8-minute fact-based audio clip on the subject.)
  • Lastly, if you are in a position to financially help the family, please consider making a donation right now.

Keep the prayers coming, let's hope this miracle is the spark to make a change and turn the world to the side of life.

Jonathon Dunne is an Irishman with a lifelong dream of becoming an American citizen. After waiting for over 13 years, Dunne received a job offer from Glenn Beck so he could achieve his dream, but unfortunately, he did not meet the requirements to apply for a visa. Unless laws change or Dunne decides to break the law (he won't), his American dream is dead. Despite this setback, he still loves America and seeks to be a positive influence on society by promoting the idea of America and God-given freedoms. While on a recent vacation, Dunne delivered sixteen presentations (for free) in eight different states across the U.S. During this time, he kept notes and we asked him to share some of his experiences. As you read the column below, imagine the words are being spoken in a thick, Irish accent. If you're having trouble imagining how that sounds, you can hear it for yourself by tuning into Dunne's free weekly podcast, "Freedom's Disciple," on TheBlaze Radio, available on SoundCloud, iTunes, iHeart Radio, Google Pla

Stop trying to be right and think of the children

Mario Tama/Getty Images

All the outrage this week has mainly focused on one thing: the evil Trump administration and its minions who delight in taking children from their illegal immigrant parents and throwing them all in dungeons. Separate dungeons, mind you.

That makes for a nice, easy storyline, but the reality is less convenient. Most Americans seem to agree that separating children from their parents — even if their parents entered the US illegally — is a bad thing. But what if that mom and dad you're trying to keep the kids with aren't really the kids' parents? Believe it or not, fraud happens.

RELATED: Where were Rachel Maddow's tears for immigrant children in 2014?

While there are plenty of heartbreaking stories of parents simply seeking a chance for a better life for their children in the US, there are also corrupt, abusive human traffickers who profit from the illegal immigration trade. And sorting all of this out is no easy task.

This week, the Department of Homeland Security said that since October 2017, more than 300 children have arrived at the border with adults claiming to be their parents who turned out not to be relatives. 90 of these fraud cases came from the Rio Grande Valley sector alone.

In 2017, DHS reported 46 causes of fraudulent family claims. But there have already been 191 fraud cases in 2018.

Shouldn't we be concerned about any child that is smuggled by a human trafficker?

When Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen pointed out this 315 percent increase, the New York Times was quick to give these family fraud cases "context" by noting they make up less than one percent of the total number of illegal immigrant families apprehended at the southern border. Their implication was that Nielsen was exaggerating the numbers. Even if the number of fraud cases at the border was only 0.001 percent, shouldn't we be concerned about any child that is smuggled by a human trafficker?

This is the most infuriating part of this whole conversation this week (if you can call it a "conversation") — that both sides have an angle to defend. And while everyone's busy yelling and making their case, children are being abused.

What if we just tried, for two seconds, to love having mercy more than we love having to be right all the time?

Remember when cartoons were happy things? Each panel took you on a tiny journey, carrying you to an unexplored place. In Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud writes:

The comics creator asks us to join in a silent dance of the seen and the unseen. The visible and the invisible. This dance is unique to comics. No other artform gives so much to its audience while asking so much from them as well. This is why I think it's a mistake to see comics as a mere hybrid of the graphic arts and prose fiction. What happens between . . . panels is a kind of magic only comics can create.

When that magic is manipulated or politicized, it often devolves the artform into a baseless thing. Yesterday, Occupy Wall Street published the perfect example of low-brow deviation of the artform: A six-panel approach at satire, which imitates the instructions-panel found in the netted cubbyhole behind seats on airplanes. The cartoon is a critique of the recent news about immigrant children being separated from their parents after crossing the border. It is a step-by-step guide to murdering US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents.

RELATED: Cultural appropriation has jumped the shark, and everyone is noticing

The first panel shows a man shoving an infant into a cage meant for Pomeranians. The following five panels feature instructions, and include pictures of a cartoonish murder.

The panels read as follows:

  1. If an ICE agent tries to take your child at the border, don't panic.
  2. Pull your child away as quickly as possibly by force.
  3. Gently tell your child to close his/her eyes and ears so they won't witness what you are about to do.
  4. Grab the ICE agent from behind and push your knife into his chest with an upward thrust, causing the agent's sternum to break.
  5. Reach into his chest and pull out his still beating heart.
  6. Hold his bloody heart out for all other agents to see, and tell them that the same fate awaits them if they f--- with your child again.

Violent comics are nothing new. But most of the time, they remain in the realms of invented worlds — in other words, not in our own, with reference to actual people, let alone federal agents.

The mainstream media made a game of crying racism with every cartoon depiction of Obama during his presidency, as well as during his tenure as Senator, when the New Yorker, of all things, faced scrutiny for depicting him in "Muslim clothing." Life was a minefield for political cartoonists during the Obama era.

Chris Hondros/Getty Images

This year, we saw the leftist outrage regarding The Simpsons character Apu — a cartoon representation of a highly-respected, though cartoonishly-depicted, character on a cartoon show composed of cartoonishly-depicted characters.

We all remember Charlie Hebdo, which, like many outlets that have used cartoon satire to criticize Islam, faced the wrath and ire of people unable to see even the tamest representation of the prophet, Muhammad.

Interesting, isn't it? Occupy Wall Street publishes a cartoon that advocates murdering federal agents, and critics are told to lighten up. Meanwhile, the merest depiction of Muhammad has resulted in riots throughout the world, murder and terror on an unprecedented scale.

The intersection of Islam and comics is complex enough to have its own three-hour show, so we'll leave it at that, for now. Although, it is worth mentioning the commentary by satirical website The Onion, which featured a highly offensive cartoon of all the major religious figures except Muhammad. It noted:

Following the publication of the image above, in which the most cherished figures from multiple religious faiths were depicted engaging in a lascivious sex act of considerable depravity, no one was murdered, beaten, or had their lives threatened.

Of course, Occupy Wall Street is free to publish any cartoon they like. Freedom of speech, and so on—although there have been several instances in which violent cartoons were ruled to have violated the "yelling fire in a crowded theater" limitation of the First Amendment.

Posting it to Twitter is another issue — this is surely in violation of Twitter's violent content policy, but something tells me nothing will come of it. It's a funny world, isn't it? A screenshot of a receipt from Chick-fil-A causes outrage but a cartoon advocating murder gets crickets.

RELATED: Twitter mob goes ballistic over Father's Day photo of Caitlyn Jenner. Who cares?

In Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud concludes that, "Today the possibilities for comics are — as they've always been — endless. Comics offers . . . range and versatility, with all the potential imagery of film and painting plus the intimacy of the written word. And all that's needed is the desire to be heard, the will to learn, and the ability to see."

Smile, and keep moving forward.

Crude and awful as the Occupy Wall Street comic is, the best thing we can do is nod and look elsewhere for the art that will open our eyes. Let the lunatics draw what they want, let them stew in their own flawed double standards. Otherwise, we're as shallow and empty as they are, and nothing good comes of that. Smile, and keep moving forward.

Things are getting better. Show the world how to hear, how to learn, how to see.

People should start listening to Nikki Haley

ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images

Okay. Let's take a vote. You know, an objective, quantifiable count. How many resolutions has the UN Human Rights Council adopted condemning dictatorships? Easy. Well. How do you define "dictatorship"?

Well, one metric is the UN Human Rights Council Condemnation. How many have the United Nations issued to China, with a body count higher than a professional Call of Duty player?

Zero.

How about Venezuela, where socialism is devouring its own in the cruelest, most unsettling ways imaginable?

Zero.

And Russia, home of unsettling cruelty and rampant censorship, murder and (actual) homophobia?

Zero.

Iraq? Zero. Turkey? Iraq? Zero. Cuba? Zero. Pakistan? Zero.

RELATED: Nikki Haley just dropped some serious verbal bombs on Russia at the UN

According to UN Human Rights Council Condemnations, 2006-2016, none of these nations is as dangerous as we'd imagined. Or, rather, none of them faced a single condemnation. Meanwhile, one country in particular has faced unbelievable scrutiny and fury — you'll never guess which country.

No, it's not Somalia. It's Israel. With 68 UN Human Rights Council Condemnations! In fact, the number of total United Nations condemnations against Israel outnumbers the total of condemnations against all other countries combined. The only country that comes close is Syria, with 15.

The Trump administration withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday in protest of what it perceives as an entrenched bias against Israel and a willingness to allow notorious human rights abusers as members.

In an address to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, Nikki Haley said:

Let's remember that the Hamas terrorist organization has been inciting violence for years, long before the United States decided to move our embassy. This is what is endangering the people of Gaza. Make no mistake, Hamas is pleased with the results from yesterday... No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has.

Maybe people should start listening to Haley. Hopefully, they will. Not likely, but there's no crime in remaining hopeful.

Here's a question unique to our times: "Should I tell my father 'Happy Father's Day,' even though he (she?) is now one of my mothers?"

Father's Day was four days ago, yes, but this story is just weird enough to report on. One enjoyable line to read was this gem from Hollywood Gossip: "Cait is a woman and a transgender icon, but she is also and will always be the father of her six children."

RELATED: If Bruce was never a he and always a she, who won the men's Olympic gold in 1976?

Imagine reading that to someone ten — even five — years ago. And, honestly, there's something nice about it. But the strangeness of its having ever been written overpowers any emotional impact it might bring.

"So lucky to have you," wrote Kylie Jenner, in the Instagram caption under pre-transition pictures of Bruce Jenner.

Look. I risk sounding like a tabloid by mere dint of having even mentioned this story, but the important element is the cultural sway that's occurring. The original story was that a band of disgruntled Twitter users got outraged about the supposed "transphobic" remarks by Jenner's daughter.

But, what we should be saying is, "who the hell cares?" Who cares what one Jenner says to another — and more importantly and on a far deeper level — who cares what some anonymous Twitter user has to say?

When are we going to stop playing into the hands of the Twitter mob?

When are we going to stop playing into the hands of the Twitter mob? Because, at the moment, they've got it pretty good. They have a nifty relationship with the mainstream media: One or two Twitter users get outraged by any given thing — in this case Jenner and supposed transphobia. In return, the mainstream media use the Twitter comment as a source.

Then, a larger Twitter audience points to the article itself as proof that there's some kind of systemic justice at play. It's a closed-market currency, where the negative feedback loop of proof and evidence is composed of faulty accusations. Isn't it a hell of a time to be alive?