DEAD TODDLER DEBATE
Malkin cites a handful of such cases to make a rather broad point:
Parent activists are demanding more laws, regulation and government oversight to prevent similar deaths. “Kids in Cars,” a non-profit group, has launched a legislative and educational campaign with bumper stickers that warn: “A car is not a babysitter.”
Some of these measures may help. But there is a need to look deeper. I believe Dakota, Nehemiah, David, Amber, Brandon, Darnecia, Dominique, Zaniyah, Chloe and Alan are not merely victims of isolated day-care accidents. They are also symptoms of a culture where parents treat children as disposable as their diapers. Some of these kids probably spent more of their brief lives in their deadly car seats than they did in their own parents’ laps.
It is absolutely unfathomable to me that anyone could leave a child forgotten in a car, like an old umbrella or a fast-food wrapper. But then again, we live in an age where teens dump their newborns in toilets and junkies sell their offspring for drugs and “liberated” women pick up and drop off their kids at day care as nonchalantly as their dry cleaning.
Now, clearly, the vast majority of parents who leave their kids at day care don’t leave them to die in vans. And including putting kids in day care in the same comma series as selling babies to support one’s drug habit or abandoing them in toilets is rather idiotic.
Still, outrage over such behavior is more understandable than Nephew’s reaction:
Aha. YOU INSUFFERABLE, ARROGANT PIG . . . . At least I don’t use dead children and — who knows — maybe add to their parents’ anguish to make crappy little culture war points, I thought furthermore. FATHOM THIS, YOU SELF-RIGHTEOUS TWIT, I added silently: the hell with you and all your nasty right-wing pals wagging their fingers at me and my wife and all the other decent people who put their kids in day care. MAYBE YOU HAVE A CRACK HABIT OR SOMETHING AND JUST REALLY NEEDED THE MONEY, EVEN IF YOU HAD TO WRITE A SHAMEFUL PIECE OF TRASH LIKE THIS, I mused more charitably.
Frankly, anything that adds to the anguish of parents who leave their kids to die a miserable death in a hot van is fine by me. Or, should I say, FINE BY ME.
Malkin makes a reasonable point in an unreasonable manner. There are indeed a disturbing number of cases all over the country of abandoned babies, neglected children, children murdered by parents, crack babies, fetal alcohol syndrome babies, and all manner of other instances of children being treated as disposable. Not to mention, of course, a phenomenal number of abortions performed solely for the convenience of the erstwhile mother. And, yes, frankly, there are a large number of kids shunted off to the lowest-available-cost daycare service so that both parents can find “fulfillment” in their “careers” even though one income would be more than adequate to provide for them. It’s rather difficult to argue that having one’s kids raised by minimum wage workers is the best possible scenario. Is this the equivalent of treating kids like disposable hamburger wrappers? No. Tantamount to murder? Of course not. But it’s a reasonable discussion in which to engage.
(Hat tip: Brett Marston)
Update (17:55) — Kevin makes a point in the comments with which I generally agree: In general, kids are treated *far* more lovingly and given way more attention than they ever were in the past. The slightest attention to history would convince you of this, and a teensy bit of research into childhood death statistics would nail the case shut.
I think it’s true that, because people are more affluent, have more leisure time, have fewer children, and no longer need their children as farm laborers, most parents dote on their kids more than in the past. They also cart them around to soccer practice and various other activities.
On the other hand, kids almost certainly spend less time with their parents than they did just a couple decades ago. When I was growing up–and I’m only 37–it was “normal” for kids to have two parents–almost always the original set–living in the same household, with the mother staying at home to raise them at least until school age. Day care and latchkey kids were rather unusual for all but the poorest households.