29 May 2007

Stuff I have no business writing about.

Seriously. So not qualified. That never stops me from having an opinion, though.

Child abuse is something I'll never understand. A few days ago, DH was testing a computer that he'd fixed for a friend of ours by randomly surfing his bookmarked sites. Our online interests have no convergence whatsoever, hence the 4 operable computers in the room where we spend the most time. He reads MSN, I'm not a Micro*suck devotee.

MSN had an article about a 4 year old boy whose mother was serving in Iraq, the child was beaten to death by the woman's boyfriend. How the hell do you beat a 4 year old to death? You are at least three times the kid's size. (The link takes you to Military Times, since I can't find the article on MSN. That's what I get for not bookmarking it at the time.)

Last year, I wrote a few posts about a Massachusetts girl, Haleigh Poutre, also beaten by someone charged with caring for her, except in her case, she was beaten almost to death, and when her case hit the news, it was a right-to-die case because she was on life support and the decision to remove her from life support was a court battle.

Not only does this stuff mystify me, but it sickens me as well. I held a newborn the other day, perfect and tiny and helpless. I looked at her in wonder, her tiny fingers and toes each an individual miracle.

With that wonder firmly in mind, I don't understand how on earth someone can hurt a child. I understand temper and rage, believe me, I do. I have a fearsome temper. It is part of the reason that I'm not a parent.

Ohio's foster care system occasionally comes under fire for horrible atrocities suffered by the kids who live within its intricate mess. When I worked in the big bad city, that county's foster care system ended up being taken over by the state because of their ineptitude. There were a bunch of horrific cases, such as a kid "escaping" from his foster home in the middle of winter in boxers and t-shirt and no shoes; his siblings, in that same home he'd escaped from, were so malnourished that it was reported that they might never grow to proper size. How do you starve a child?

I just can't get my brain wrapped around the idea. That isn't a bad thing, you understand, but I'd like to know how things like this 4 year old dying could be prevented. I'm not naive enough to think that all child abuse could be prevented, however, what could prevent the beating deaths of children?

But then the problem is a case of Quis Custodiet, who watches the watchers? If we mandate parenting classes for all potential parents, (i.e. nearly the entire population of this country) who runs them? Please let me be crystal clear, I don't think that the government has any business at all telling you if you can or can not have a child. Mostly. Nor do I think it would be a good idea to put Uncle Sam in charge of parenting classes; the government has screwed up HUD, Medicaid, Medicare, welfare, Social Security, just about every social program ever started by Uncle Sam is a wreck. So by no means should they get into the business of telling people how to be better parents.

If they were to be voluntary classes, those who truly need them would never be touched by them. Have them be mandatory in schools? Please! Twisty wrote a fantastic post the other day about the broken-ness that is America's schools, from the feminist point of view, that is most excellent reading and speaks to part of the reason I don't think high school parenting classes would work. Mandate parenting classes for university students? So many people 1. don't go to college and 2. have already had babies by the time they do go. I don't know what the answer is. I just know that the death of this little boy is senseless, brutal, tragic, and heartbreaking, and I wish I knew a way to prevent it from happening to another family.

I deserve that "hemorrhaging heart liberal" label, I'd like to save everyone and everything.

Listening to: "Save Yourself" Dave Matthews Band

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