Please contact E. B. Davis at for information on guest blogs and interviews. Interviews for July: (7/6) Jennifer J. Chow (7/13) Meri Allen/Shari Randall (Book 1--Ice Cream Shop Mystery), (7/20) Susan Van Kirk, (7/27) Meri Allen/Shari Randall (Book 2--Ice Cream Shop Mystery).

Monday, March 19, 2012

Monday, March 12, 2012--NBC Channel 4 (Washington, D.C) carried a story about a woman who left her child in the backseat of a car--for seven hours. The child died of heat and dehydration. The mother was sentenced to six years probation and 400 hours of community service. That miscarriage of justice would have been bad enough, but then the broadcasters went on with the following helpful hints, as if they were saying something sane, which appeared on a white screen—bulleted.

  • Place something of value in the backseat of your car so when retrieving the item, you will be reminded of your child’s presence.
  • Car manufacturers should be required to put a sensor in the backseat when a loaded child’s car seat is buckled in so that an alarm would sound when the car is stopped to remind parents that the child is in the car.

Do I need to explain why these suggestions are obscene? For those of you who understand, stop reading and go about your day, hopefully teaching others what you know.

For those of you, who, like the broadcasters, don’t get it, let us review.

“Place something of value…” Whatever could be more valuable than a child?

“Car manufacturers…” Why make car manufacturers responsible for your child when you can’t? Will they then be held liable if you forget your child for seven hours? Why are individuals no longer responsible? It is as if we don’t exist anymore. We’ve relinquished our power to the collective them, who are responsible. Will we be outraged and surprised when the government regulates all aspects of our lives?

Individually, these helpful hints shocked me. Collectively, they were presented by a major network operating in the densely populated region of our nation's capital as the norm. The Washington Posted didn't decry their presentation. Is the devaluation of our children the new standard? If so, our standards have dropped to a new low.

Along side the devaluation of our children, there are those who are adamant about supporting the Right to Life movement. If we devaluate our children, why are we adamant about bringing them into the world?

I don’t understand. I'm outraged, saddened and depair for the human race.  

 Let me explain.

Neglected children have no self-worth because their parents don’t care—not a hard lesson to learn for children whose parents place more value on a pocketbook or briefcase than on them. These children perceive that other humans have no worth either. That illness—seeping into our society, malingering, festering and multiplying like an infection—is the irony of the Right to Life movement—we care enough to bring you into the world so that we can neglect you, teaching you that human beings have no value.

Life itself is not valuable. Flies have life. It is the love that is valuable—it is the caring. It is what gives us joy, self-worth, courage and faith. Without love, life isn’t worth living.

And you ask why Columbine? Now you know.


Warren Bull said...

Situations like the one you describe are heart-rending and much much too common. In addition to neglect, like in the case you mention, there are instances of abuse — sexual, physical and emotional. If children are our future, our future looks grim.

Pauline Alldred said...

I was totally taken aback by the crass suggestions. It seems we have to sympathize with the perpetrator of the misdeed and not the victim. There's a fifties song that is semi-humorous--people who are shot are not victims but accident-prone. Understanding the perpetrator at all costs is deeply ingrained by now.

Linda Rodriguez said...

EB, I so agree with this post! The suggestions of the media in this case seem to presuppose that one would not care enough about one's own child to remember them unless prompted by something "really" important like a briefcase or purse. Grrr!

Linda Rodriguez said...

EB, I so agree with this post! The suggestions of the media in this case seem to presuppose that one would not care enough about one's own child to remember them unless prompted by something "really" important like a briefcase or purse. Grrr!

Gloria Alden said...

As a teacher I saw this, but not as much as I'm seeing now as a substitute in poorer districts. Some of the stories I hear, break my heart and the hearts of the classroom teachers who deal with these children everyday. Unless there is physical or sexual abuse, not much can be done about the emotional abuse.

I was teaching a unit on reptiles and amphibians to a special ed class, and because anything about nature interests me, I talked about how beneficial snakes actually are, etc. One little girl giggled and said, "I shouldn't be telling you this, but my dad's been in prison seven times, and once when he was out, he chased me with a snake. It was so funny." At least I didn't get the impression he was actually abusive. She obviously still cared about him, but can you imagine the life she's living with a father in and out of prison? So sad.

E. B. Davis said...

It's clear, our children no longer have the importance they once did. Part of the problem is the economy. When both parents have to work, no one really is there for the children, who tend to fall between the cracks. Great incentive to keep debt down. Like Pauline, I was struck when I heard what they were saying, as if it was normal to value your briefcase more than your child. Of course! No wonder some many people have problems.

Michele Drier said...

This kind of behavior happens frequently...and there are people who say "Don't punish the parent, he/she has been punished enough by losing a child", Bushwah. This is a form of child abuse and should be treated as such.
And make the car manufacturers responsible for alerting parents that their child is in the car? Oh, please!

Jessica Ferguson said...

Several months ago our newsteam in Lake Charles, LA repeated these same instructions and I was stunned. Why would any parent need to be reminded about their child in the back seat? Talk about dumbing down ...

I think we're taking "education" too far. If we have to educate mothers and fathers HOW to BE mothers and fathers, then we're in huge trouble. This makes me angry to the point of tearing my hair, but it also makes me incredibly sad. If a child is betrayed by a parent--in any way--it's the ultimate betrayal. Breaks my heart.

Chris Roerden said...

Warren, I agree 1000 percent with everything you said. As for the irony, I've seen up close the hatred, not love, on the faces of most clinic protestors, whose anti-choice venom spews from their mouths. When tax cuts to the police in NJ (Trenton, was it?) meant ignoring domestic violence calls, voters allowed untold numbers of children to be at even greater risk for abuse, not to mention all the abused mothers. I watched that abuse up close, too, at ages 4 thru 15. And no, the child who called the police back then (and probably today too) was met with indifference. "Domestic violence"--don't you love a euphemism that removes individual responsibility for inhumane action?

E. B. Davis said...

Yes, Chris, and the awful part is that the kids learn that that treatment equals love. Then, they perpetuate the cycle by marrying someone who treats them abusively because they think that's what love is or raise their children with indifference thinking it is normal. It's how an entire population gets skewed. Thanks for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

I once lost my middle son outside of his preschool. He was two and a half and his sister was not quite four. I let them run outside with the other children in front of the church and its gardens. Although I spoke to a few other mothers, I had my eye trained to my children, my daughter in her bright orange jacket and my son in the red.

It took me a only a few minutes to remember that my son had not worn a red jacket that morning and that I had, in fact, been keeping an eye on another child who looked very similar to my son. By the time I realized that, he was gone.

I made sure that someone watched my daughter while I searched. I ran around the garden calling his name. I ran back into the school and looked in each room all the while begging for the remaining teachers to help me. We all headed back outside searching for him and running around the sidewalks that circled to the parking lot. No sign of him.

I was in a near state of collapse and was never as scared as I was right at that moment.

As it turns out, my son had followed a playmate and his nanny into the far end of the parking lot. The nanny could not speak English, and had been trying to coax my son to take the long walk back to the church (in his perfectly reasonable misery, he had taken on the 'lie on the ground and be wet cement' tactic and could not be moved) with little success.

I can't explain why I thought he had worn his red jacket nor why it took me so long to realize that I had been watching a boy other than my son. I don't know if I could defend myself to someone who would accuse me of neglect.

Because that is what happened. I neglected to remember. On a day like any other, I forgot something as little and as crucial as the jacket my little boy wore.

I am in no way saying that these parents who leave their children in their cars are innocent. It chills me to think that locking a child in a car is, for some parents, yet another link in the chain of cruelty that they've inflicted on their children.

But I cannot believe that, in every instance of these crimes, the parent practiced the kind of hate and dispassion that people identify with the tragic negelct of a child.

I know in my heart that I didn't.