I was taking a break at work, thumbing through a 1994 Playboy one of the guys left in the garage to see if pubes were still a thing back then, and of course thinking I would have to sue the company for sexual harassment, after I was done reading the magazine. Then I went back to eating dinner in the prep room (chicken, broccoli and yams again) and using my phone while still wearing my gloves.
I’m trying to decide whether or not I want to compete this year. I was considering the North American Championships in late August, or the Nationals for ages 35 and up in July, and I’m still preparing financially to do either of these shows, but I’ve been losing a lot of weight.
I think I want to change my entire body, perhaps drop to a much lower weight than I have ever carried, and see what I look like after that. I don’t know if I will be ready to compete again at this new look, but I’ll see.
If I don’t compete, I’m considering spending the money on a removal vehicle of my own, maybe purchasing a used hearse or some kind of suburban.
Anyway, since I deal with a lot of child and crime deaths, I read a lot of articles about these incidents occurring and I look for common themes.
A lot of people are shocked when they hear of a baby being born and then abandoned or quickly smothered, now that many are aware of Safe Havens in hospitals and fire stations where you can surrender a child up to 30 days old if it is unwanted or you are not prepared for parenting. It’s a better choice for the mother and baby – she is forever relieved of the responsibility she could not handle, and the baby can perhaps be adopted by an infertile couple who have all the necessary resources.
Of course, you don’t go from being completely normal to murder. My guess was that the women arrested for infanticide had some previous trouble with the law, and this seemed to be the case when the mother was over 30, as opposed to a teenager who may have been trying to hide the pregnancy.
It was mainly drug charges. Hospitals sometimes test newborn babies for drugs, and this can result in legal issues for the mother. Maybe a lot of these women are drug users and know that by having the baby they risk arrest, so they try to keep the pregnancy and birth a secret.
I read that in addition to the child being 30 days old or younger, the child had to be delivered unharmed. Perhaps babies are drug tested at the Safe Havens? I don’t know.
One recent case focused on a 38-year old woman who was homeless and mentally ill, who delivered a baby in a fast-food bathroom and left the baby in the toilet. Luckily the baby was found alive. The woman was arrested for attempted murder; she also had a warrant for a drug charge. She had been trading sex for food and places to stay, and it is thought she became pregnant from one of these encounters.
People were quick to point out what she SHOULD have done – not used drugs, not been homeless, not been poor, gone to a hospital, brought the baby to a fire station, arranged an adoption, used birth control…and I agree. She should have done either of these things. But she was mentally ill. We don’t know how severely her illness impacted her life and her judgment. Maybe she was also intellectually delayed. How is she going to know where to get contraception, or what a Safe Haven is? I’m guessing she avoided delivering in a hospital due to fear of being caught for the drug charge, or it could be that some homeless people aren’t aware that an ER is required to admit you if you present in active labor, regardless of ability to pay.
Her baby lived. Just provide the needed medical interventions, terminate parental rights, arrange for the baby’s adoption and offer the mother a no-cost sterilization and some sort of rehab program and community reintegration services. She is not a hardened criminal or malicious killer. She just didn’t know what to do.
I am not advocating for the right of women to use drugs at any point in their pregnancies. I consider that child abuse. It would not be legal for me to force a drug on one of my children now, so it shouldn’t be legal to do it to a child before birth when they can still be affected by the drug. I think these women should be sterilized.
But, if allowing the mother to escape punishment for forcing drugs on her child would perhaps prevent her from killing the child and hoping to hide its existence, maybe it would be worth it. Perhaps it could be conditional upon sterilization or long-term contraception. Maybe even let her go if she has other warrants, if it means her baby will live.
A lot of child homicides occur between ages 1 and 2. Many divorces happen when the child reaches these ages, and sometimes the motive in such a homicide is listed as a desire to get back at the former spouse. When you want someone to hurt so much that you don’t care if you suffer in the process, you kill what he loves best. In the case of men killing these children, they may be attempting to elude child support authorities, but have no idea that getting away with murder is actually very hard. If these fathers were reminded they have the choice of not paying child support if they agree to have their parental rights terminated, maybe the baby would still be alive. I am not suggesting that men be able to run around impregnating various women and not supporting their offspring any more than I believe women should be able to use drugs while pregnant, but cases like these might be times where it’s better to let the lesser of two evils win.
I don’t have any answers, and Safe Havens are not a perfect solution. It could be too easy for one parent to vindictively surrender a baby that the other parent still wants, in order to escape an ongoing relationship with that parent.
Parents need to be able to surrender older children. A six-month-old baby should not have to live in an abusive or unsuitable home, and should not have to wait until the conditions become bad enough to be noticed by the authorities.
Rape victims need to be able to give up custody of a child without turning the child over to the rapist. In order for the child to be adopted, those finalizing the adoption must have the consent of both parents, if they are able to locate both. This means a young mother who became pregnant as the result of rape might have to pay child support to the rapist if she loses custody and still wants to parent the child. Will she perhaps kill the child in the hopes of never having to see the rapist again?
The intentional taking of a child’s life should be considered a horror so great we will do anything to stop it. Even letting a mom with a warrant just walk off. Even letting an irresponsible “father” not make payments. Why do people not hesitate to impose huge sentences on those who kill police officers, and not do the same for those who kill children? Why is one life more important than another?
If you feel you are going to hurt your child, the best possible thing you can do is leave the room. Put distance between you and the child, even if that means you leave him at a Burger King or a Wal-Mart, or you leave him by himself at home and he gets taken away. At least he will be alive. And you can move on. You can seek help for your anger and perhaps one day be reunited with your child and maybe he will even understand the choices you made. Or maybe not. Maybe he will hate you forever or will be thrown into a life of secrecy so he never gets to know who you are. At least he will be alive.