11 January 2008

Who is at Fault?

http://www.cnn.com/2008/CRIME/01/11/bodies.found/index.html?iref=topnews

Salient points of the article and my thoughts:

Four children murdered, allegedly by their mother. The family had applied for housing and food stamps and been turned down.

(OK, so what? That drove her to murder? They're mentioning this... why? God forbid a tragedy strikes MY family after I put in an application in for aid. I wouldn't want everyone to know this shameful fact. Isn't disclosing this information a violation of privacy, or does the public's "need to know" these little details overshadow that?)

A nurse is concerned because the parents have drug addiction problems.

(Hmm... what kind of nurse? A school nurse, perhaps? I'll bet you it was. And she knew this information about the family ... how? Asking the children questions? Observing the parents? Sounds like a bunch of hearsay or judging a book by its cover to me. A lot of people might look like drug addicts who aren't and vice versa. Mind you, I don't advocate taking drugs... but even if this nurse SAW EVIDENCE of drug use that does NOT mean that the person is a drug addict. It just doesn't.)

The children stopped going to school after their dad died. A "suspicious social worker" alerted police, who checked up on the children. The children seemed just fine in the officer's judgment.

(Would YOU keep your kids home from school for a bit after dad's passing? I would! I especially would have a hard time sending those kids back to school if I suspected the school nurse was making reports about me to the authorities! Would YOU have a little trouble getting your act together for a while? I would. Did you notice the idea that the poor murdered children were "homeschooled" is played up prominently??)

Now, apparently the mother went nuts and killed her children. Whose fault is that? Oh. The article implies that it MUST be the GOVERNMENT's fault for not protecting the children... probably (it's implied) because not enough "help" was given or the children not taken away from a dangerous situation. So now they're going to comb through all the area's 300-plus child welfare investigations that were closed in 2007, just to be sure this sort of thing doesn't happen again.

This sort of thing scares the crap outta me.

The lady who killed her children was nuts, ok? I don't know if she was crazy because she was on drugs, or had bad life circumstances, or was biologically loony, or a combination of all three, or *whatever.* It does NOT make it anyone else's fault when someone goes off on a killing rampage. It just doesn't. These people are going off looking for answers or a place to put blame. Put it on the mom and (if applicable) anyone who heard her make a *specific* threat against the children.

It's a sad, sad story.

But that doesn't mean we all have to ratchet up our "care" for people who are suspected of child abuse. Social agencies should leave these families alone unless their workers have seen the actual abuse committed and are willing to testify to such in court. Otherwise it's a police matter that should be investigated like any other crime... you know, gathering evidence and having probable cause in a court of law if you want a warrant? You know, fourth amendment and stuff?

If you're that concerned about the welfare of children, be a little less judgmental of the parents - even "bad" parents - if you want them to trust your organization, access the system or ask for help. You're NOT going to change parental behaviour with "investigating" and coercion. How about, instead of sending armies of these workers out to look into family lives, organizations concerned about child abuse and domestic violence set up a phone number for people to call and ASK for help? You know, voluntarily asking for help and knowing you can stop the process at any time with NO repercussions. Voluntarily looking into what these social services can do for your family and thinking about whether that's something you want to pursue. Trust builds up over time. I guarantee the 300-odd families whose cases were closed, who suddenly are open to more scrutiny and "investigation," are not going to trust anyone in that arena again.

And I'm sad to say it, but it makes genuine help for people with problems in their families less likely to happen. I'm concerned that when the state begins to steal children away when criminal activity against them has not been proven in a court of law, that the abuse is just going to go underground. That means MORE abuse you don't know about, not less. The solution of more social workers and more foster families is NOT GOING TO WORK.

I think that the "powers that be" will use stories like this to gain more and more control over our families. Notice how the children being "homeschooled" is mentioned in the article as if that in itself were to cast doubt on the parent's fitness? I doubt they were being homeschooled in light of all that happened, but I'm thinking the next step is that these agencies will get their feet into all our homeschooling families' front doors for the sake of "protecting the children" or some such nonsense.

7 comments:

  1. The nurse who reported the family to CFS was treating the father of the youngest 2 girls for his leukemia. She was concerned because both parents were on drugs and the family was living in a van. I don't think that's "snoopy" at all but what any reasonable person would do in the situation. If I learned of young kids living in a van with druggie parents, I'd try to get help for them too- wouldn't you?

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  2. This is why all homeschooling families ought to be concerned about what is going to happen next. You know that some liberal representative somewhere is going to try to pass legislation "for the children" sometime soon.

    Did you notice when people go crazy and kill their kids they never want to make a big point when they were in PUBLIC SCHOOL. I think they ought to name the schools the kids are from and maybe a few comments about how bad the school is from someone. Or if it's a rich school in an affluent area they can get all upset about its lack of diversity or something.

    --Jaysa

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  3. Crimson Wife, I'm not sure where you got your information from but for now let's assume it's accurate, which it may well be given the gaps I see in the story.

    I wouldn't try to get them "help" by unleashing social services on them. I would actually talk to the people involved. I'd refer the couple to different agencies in the area. Most people don't want to live in a van and will accept help when they get to that point, if only for the sake of the children.

    I don't know how anyone would ever know someone has a drug problem. You can see evidence someone is ON drugs, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they are druggies or have a drug problem. It also doesn't mean they're abusing their children.

    Now, mind you, if I saw marks on the children that I thought were suspicious I'd call the police. But they'd have to be pretty suspicious for me to get to that point. I think if I were a nurse I would be able to see the difference between the child falling and someone punching with fists, but currently I do not have that training.

    I think constitutionally we should have the right to be reasonably safe and secure in our home life. Even if we're "druggies" living in a van. Even if we're black and illeducated, and have multiple children out of wedlock by different fathers. Just saying.

    I think when rights are eroded for others -- even when they're obviously not the most stable people -- our rights will certainly be next as homeschoolers. I never argued that this couple should win any parenting awards, or even that they were competent.

    I'm just saying it's not the GOVERNMENT's fault when a parent does something stupid. They're not there to prevent all cases of child abuse just like they can't prevent all traffic accidents. Of course if someone SEES you hitting your child with a bat or SEES you speeding at 105 miles an hour in a 45-mph zone, you're going to have a problem with the cops.

    This, as far as I know based on the info given, was not one of those situations.

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  4. I think you're right but it makes me sad to see parents who do this. I don't think every abusive parent would get help like you do though. I have been a foster mom before and what some of these kids have been through is very bad.

    T

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  5. There is a lot more information out now, including the nurse that was treating the father at the hospital who turned in the family for suspected drug abuse.

    Agency procedures were not followed and the case was closed against their own policies. It looks to me that the reports were fully valid and it was the agency that dropped the ball. Maybe nothing would have changed had contact been made. But it is certainly better to look there, where there is a known problem, than at tracking every homeschooled child in the District.

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  6. I agree that more social workers and gov't regulations are not going to stop abuse. Anonymous reporting is ridiculous, because so many folks use it to control and intimidate family and neighbors. And let's face it- evil exists- you can't keep removing liberties in the hope that you will remove all opportunities for wickedness to occur- it ain't possible.

    I also agree that there aren't enough ways for folks in need to get help, and gov't programs are not the answer. If folks were more free to use their money (shameless promotion of The FairTax here :D ) to support charities and causes they felt important, I think we'd see folks doing more volunteerism and giving more money to charities.

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  7. Haven't you learned? Any heinous act is always the fault of someone else. Personal responsibility is such an outmoded concept.

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Non-troll comments always welcome! :)