Perry Manley of Seattle carried on a 15-year tirade contending that child support is unconstitutional. He was shot to death by police officers at the federal courthouse in Seattle on Monday after walking into the lobby with a hand grenade, reports the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Lawyers who practice family law acknowledged that Washington is one of the toughest, most inflexible states when it comes to enforcing child support. Finding a parent in contempt for failing to live up to court-ordered payments is common, they say, as is wage garnisheeing and driver’s license suspension. The federal government applauds this direction, rating Washington seventh in the nation for determining paternity, tracking down parents, and enforcing payment.
A growing chorus asserts that well-intentioned government efforts have crossed the line. “Unfortunately Perry was pushed too far and went about things the wrong way, but the underlying cause he was fighting for is a very real problem today,” said Joseph McGill, a Manley friend from The Other Parent, a group that advocates for the rights of non-custodial parents. Several legislators have floated family court bills seeking to encourage cooperation between parents on matters of custody and child support, so far without success. “Once you’re in the system you cannot get hurt at work, you cannot be out of work. They assume you’re going to have a certain amount of dollars on the table every month,” said Mark Mahnkey, a poster on the blog Hate Male. “It’s a tremendous burden. This guy went to an extreme measure to get some attention to those issues. But he’s not the only one.”