The Tide of Time
Ellison Lowry | Pasadena, CA | 08/20/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When history passes over it is people who are forgotten. Looking back on any period in history it is difficult, but not hard, to see the faces of individuals and how they felt about the defining moments of their lives. When the Kniffens and McCuans were tried and convicted in Kern County, Califoria of crimes of child abuse it couldn't have been a more perfect time for it to happen.
At that time in the early 1980s no one knew just how life-threatening one allegation of child abuse could be. All it took was an allegation by a paranoid schizophrenic and highy mentally unstable woman who could not tell fact from fantasy and two families were torn apart and used as scape-goats for the government's inability to end child molestation.
There are some similarities between this case and the McMartin trial as well as other so-called "child-sex rings" of the 1980s that resulted in "witch-hunting" trials but this case saddened me more because of the abuse of legal power over its people.
The entire justice system of Kern County violated every civil right law in the constitution and got away with it in the name of "saving children."
This film more so than any other on the subject shows just how the children were coerced into believing that they had taken part in acts of depravity the likes of which no one can even imagine.
Finally what you didn't see about the McMartin trial was just how the children had false memories planted in their mind and used to put away their innocent parents for 13 years.
What is so sad about this story is that those 13 years will never be given back to those families torn apart simply because no reversal of errors can turn back the hand of time.
There was a moment when Brenda Kniffen in the film begins to give up hope and she admits to herself and her husband that their sons childhoods have passed them by and that their only hope left is to hope for the happiness of their sons wherever they may be.
There are wrongs beyond redemption and what the California "justice" system did to these families can never be forgiven.