Patterico's Pontifications

3/14/2009

Parents Who Killed Their Children But Didn’t Mean To

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:01 pm



I have praised Gene Weingartner here in the past, and he’s truly one of the world’s great writers. Now via Balko comes a link to this awful, compelling story:

The charge in the courtroom was manslaughter, brought by the Commonwealth of Virginia. No significant facts were in dispute. Miles Harrison, 49, was an amiable person, a diligent businessman and a doting, conscientious father until the day last summer — beset by problems at work, making call after call on his cellphone — he forgot to drop his son, Chase, at day care. The toddler slowly sweltered to death, strapped into a car seat for nearly nine hours in an office parking lot in Herndon in the blistering heat of July.

It was an inexplicable, inexcusable mistake, but was it a crime? That was the question for a judge to decide.

At one point, during a recess, Harrison rose unsteadily to his feet, turned to leave the courtroom and saw, as if for the first time, that there were people witnessing his disgrace. The big man’s eyes lowered. He swayed a little until someone steadied him, and then he gasped out in a keening falsetto: “My poor baby!”

It’s a tragic story with an unbelievably human payoff at the end. Read it all.

114 Responses to “Parents Who Killed Their Children But Didn’t Mean To”

  1. I don’t know. I’ve been on the inside of one of these charging decisions. You leave the child in the car while you run in to shop (or gamble) and forget (arguably) the child is in the car, that strikes me as a charge. You forget the child is even in the car and thus don’t realize you’ve left the child in the car at all when you go in to work—a horrible accident (there but for the grace of God go I type thing).

    tbaugh (8bdeb0)

  2. From a legal point of view, what is your opinion, Patterico?

    The story is staggeringly compelling, all the way through.

    Ed (8af029)

  3. These stories point out the randomness of life, and death, in our world;
    and how the difference can be a minute deviation that sometimes just happens.
    They also point out how some people have strength beyond words, and others are petty little $hits.

    AD - RtR/OS (80cdf5)

  4. The article goes on and on about what to call it. Manslaughter, murder, accident, incident.

    Don’t these states have a charge of criminally negligent homicide? That is the best label for what this is.

    Bored Lawyer (bc8f63)

  5. I can’t imagine the pain someone must live through when they realize that their child is dead because they forgot them. But to then be put through a public trial and made to look like a common criminal…that is lower than low.

    There are parents out there that have physically abused their children and still have them in their homes. How can we torture a parent that is obviously so distraught over his loss? Unforgivable. The whole thing makes me sick to my stomach.

    yourlilsis (9d1ada)

  6. Devastating. Just a devastating story of such loss and struggle find the way back to life.

    On the more practical side, I don’t understand how there can be such a wide range of subjectivity on the charges that these parents can be brought up on, if any at all. Why is that? Is this determined by states, counties?

    The payoff at the end is equally as devastating in the bittersweet act of self-redemption and remarkable generosity. May each of these tormented souls find some solace again in this life.

    Dana (137151)

  7. For what it’s worth, my state (Michigan) defines gross negligence for involuntary manslaughter as “(1) knowledge that a situation existed requiring the use of ordinary care to prevent injury; (2) having the capacity, means, and ability to avoid the harm by the use of ordinary care; and (3) failing to use ordinary care where it would have been apparent to an ordinary mind that harm would result from such failure. Put another way, a defendant who does not seek to cause harm, but is simply reckless or wantonly indifferent to the results, is grossly negligent.”

    The charging decision I was involved in was a professor who ordinarily took his children of school age to school, but did not routinely drop the baby off at child care. This day he had that task, baby was in a rear-facing child seat, and he dropped off his other children and forgot the baby was in the car. Some wanted to charge him, saying “how can you forget a baby?” My view was “are you kidding me?” about who could forget, and that at the time he acted (went in to work)he did not have the “knowledge” that the baby was in the car (assuming he was to be believed, and there was really no doubt of that) so as to be “reckless or wantonly indifferent.” I was opposed, we did not charge, and I think that was the correct result. On the other hand, a woman in another county parked her vehicle in a remote area of a mall parking lot so people wouldn’t see she had left her kids in the car, went in and had her hair done (as I recall it), and ended up being gone for hours, and the children died. She was charged with murder, and I think that was correct as well. She DID have the knowledge they were in the car when she went in, and the situation was exacerbated because she didn’t “forget” they were there (and even if she had forgotten, the situation, in my mind, is still at least manslaughter, as she went in knowing she left them in the car).

    tbaugh (8bdeb0)

  8. Bored lawyer:

    In Michigan, at least, the only crime that can be committed through ordinary negligence is vehicular homicide (negligent homicide), a 2 year offense. We have no general “criminally negligent homicide” except in the sense that “criminal negligence” is understood as not ordinary negligence, but gross negligence (so what might be called “criminally negligent homicide” is involuntary manslaughter). Not criminalizing ordinary negligence likely is fairly standard in the country (though I could be wrong on that).

    tbaugh (8bdeb0)

  9. Wow! Powerful stuff. Heartwrenching.

    J. Raymond Wright (e8d0ca)

  10. NY Penal Code Sec. 125.10:

    A person is guilty of criminally negligent homicide when, with criminal negligence, he causes the death of another person.

    NY Penal Code Sec. 15.05

    Criminal negligence.” A person acts with criminal negligence with respect to a result or to a circumstance described by a statute defining an offense when he fails to perceive a substantial and unjustifiable risk that such result will occur or that such circumstance exists. The risk must be of such nature and degree that the failure to perceive it constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in the situation.

    In the back of my mind, I vaguely recall that somewhere (the Model Penal Code) ordinary negligence could be punished criminally IF the person charged had a duty of care towards the victim, e.g. a parent.

    Bored Lawyer (bc8f63)

  11. I’m not going to read the story because of the awful subject, but I want to throw my 2 cents in to praise Weingarten also. Great, great writer. His story about Joshua Bell playing violin in the Metro was incredible – literally made be cry in my office when I read it – and fully deserved the Pulitzer Prize he won for it.

    PS, Patterico, it’s Weingarten, not Weingartner.

    A.S. (ab8bd9)

  12. I honestly don’t think I could prevent myself from committing suicide after something like that…

    Scott Jacobs (90ff96)

  13. An absolutely gut-wrenching story. The unbridled pain is something that I do not wish to ever be able to imagine …

    JD (ba27e7)

  14. I’m really sick of all the assumptions that the parents acted accidentally. I’m sure that some of them did. I’m equally sure that not all of them did.

    And I’m sick of this “but they didn’t mean to” defense. If your stupidity (assuming it’s just stupidity) kills someone who’s not your child, that’s not okay. It should be the same when it’s your own child.

    But even setting aside any issue of the mental state, I can’t even imagine why we should let someone get away with killing his/her child. Is it because we think (and we don’t really know it) that they’re really sorry and they’re suffering enough? That’s NEVER a reason not to punish someone who kills a non-relative; why is it enough when one kills one’s own child?

    These people should all be boiled in oil–the careless along with the malicious.

    Alan (551a6d)

  15. Hmmm, yeah. When my baby was that old, I was continuously entranced and hypnotized by her. Her magical googling and drooling were ALWAYS the center of attention. I frankly don’t understand how this could have happened. Sad.

    Balloon Man (2259e1)

  16. [huge sigh]

    My eight year-old is sleeping peacefully upstairs. I’m heading upstairs to bed now, and I’ll stop in her room to kiss her forehead, make sure she’s tucked in, and give a brief prayer.

    aunursa (2aca7b)

  17. It’s a compelling story, to be sure. Charging decisions on cases like this are difficult; Weingarten (note spelling) acknowledges that there are other cases without decent parents.

    Weingarten once forgot his kid in a car, though no harm was done (he says that in the chat about the article.) He’s sympathetic to the parents who space out.

    –JRM

    JRM (355c21)

  18. Intention and behavioral consistency largely frame my judgments of others. No way would I criminally charge anyone like this guy.

    If there are some civil forfeitures (life insurance, for example) I would pursue those.

    Ed (7da696)

  19. Well, I can go to bed happy in the knowledge that the karma gods now have two choice targets.

    A wonderfully written story; thank you for linking it, Patterico. Some of the cases seem (to me) to be obvious non-criminal cases, and others to be obviously such, and that means that there are going to be some in the middle, where a prosecutor is going to be looking back and forth for a long time (it’s almost as sad that some of them seem to be being distracted by what the media might say or what the election consequences might be.)

    htom (412a17)

  20. I was going to write an indignant reply to this post, even after reading the whole story. It would have been something like this: “How can you forget you’re own child? I never did anything such as this. How can you place other concerns above them. My children are the most important thing to me in the world.”

    And they are. But, I’m as guilty as any of these unfortunate people. I gave my children away to strangers on a daily basis for the expediency of doing my job. Fortunately, they turned out to be caring people, but it could have been different.

    Ag80 (d205da)

  21. If Casey Anthony had killed her daughter with this method, she wouldn’t be in jail right now and everyone would feel sorry for her.

    Parents shouldn’t get the benefit of a doubt in these kinds of situations. If they do get the benefit of a doubt, parents who don’t want their children will be throwing them out of high rise buildings and saying the kid climbed out the window, holding their kids under in the bathtub until they drown and saying they only left the kid alone for a minute and returned to find the child drowned, slamming large pieces of furniture on top of the kid and saying the kid was climbing the furniture when it tipped over. Forcing the kid to swallow prescription drugs and say the kid must have thought it was candy…etc.

    j curtis (7a0b88)

  22. Intention and behavioral consistency largely frame my judgments of others. No way would I criminally charge anyone like this guy.

    So if someone negligently killed your kid instead of his own kid, I guess by your logic you still wouldn’t criminally charge him because it wasn’t intentional and not consistent (i.e., only a one-time deal)?

    I gave my children away to strangers on a daily basis for the expediency of doing my job. Fortunately, they turned out to be caring people, but it could have been different.

    That’s hardly comparable to leaving your kid in a place where it’s absolutely certain that he’s/she’s going to roast to death.

    Alan (551a6d)

  23. I still just don’t understand how anyone could not support criminally punishing someone for killing his/her own child. We’re talking about child-killing here. We punish people for committing lots of far-less-serious crimes without showing intent. Why go easy on these degenerates?

    And suppose that someone kills his kid on purpose in this way, but, in order to avoid getting caught having done it on purpose, he puts on a show that he’s so horribly upset that he left his child to roast in the car… or claims that he “forgot” to take the kid out. How do you know he’s telling the truth? Why create a situation where we allow someone to get away with something like that? It can’t be because of that old saw that it’s better to let ten guilty men go free than that one innocent be convicted. None of these people is innocent. They all killed their kids.

    Alan (551a6d)

  24. This story is so disturbing. The line about the child who pulled his/her hair out (I can’t even go back to see if it was a boy or girl) just sickened me. This is so tragic it. I seriously don’t know how a parent can handle the guilt.

    Why can’t auto manufactures build in the warning device? I’d pay an extra $100 to stop this from happening to 15 to 25 children who will suffer cooking to death over these next few months, year after year after year…

    And what is it with these child safety advocates forcing people to stick the kids in the back seat? Are more kids truly saved from death due to collisions by being in the back seat as opposed to the front seat where a forgetful parent would see them?

    I’m angry, sad, and almost wish I hadn’t read this.

    Brett (94176e)

  25. A warning device not to leave your kid to bake in the car? A person who’s stupid enough to do something like that isn’t going to be deterred by a warning.

    Alan (551a6d)

  26. I could not help but to read the whole thing. I’m crying my eyes out over both the suffering of the poor kids, and the unbearable mental anguish and sense of loss that the parents have to live with for the rest of their lives.

    Commenter Alan is the coldest bastage I have ever had the displeasure of reading. Calling these people stupid and cruel belies that Alan could not have even read the article about these professional people (working at NASA, engineering firms, law firms, etc). These are stories of the worst kind of accident that can happen to a parent.

    Perhaps Alan’s just fishing for a fight. I think it’s a sin to be that unforgiving and callous. And I’m not really that touchy-feely. But I’m a father of three, and this is just the worst kind of pain I can imagine. Lord have mercy.

    Conner (da2bb0)

  27. A tough post. Difficult to read too, but necessary. I can’t help but wonder what the result would have been had that law, prohibiting child seats in the front, not been passed. Were airbags really that great a threat?

    I’ve been a lurker on your site for several years, but I’ve been reluctant to post because I am several time zones away and can’t really contribute in any timely way. However, I had to comment on this one, because – well – this could happen to anyone.

    I am also commenting, this time, because you have one poster on this thread who needs to have his humanity checked. Connor’s comment #26, is, in my opinion, spot-on.

    Detcord (b2519a)

  28. Alan,

    I thought I was a vindictive bastard, but you leave me stunned. How the hell would a horrible punishment discourage someone from making a mistake that will already haunt them to their grave? What will it accomplish? Boil them in oil? You, sir, lack anything approaching a soul. (That’s assuming you were being serious, and not just BSing for your internet toughguy image)

    Listen, I work in the safety industry. People who are well-trained professionals make horrible mistakes. You have to plan for the occasional mistake when designing a system. We say that any accident is preventable, which is true. However, we use written standard operating procedures and checklists to do this, along with devices that provide reminder cues.

    OmegaPaladin (3468f5)

  29. *speechless*

    I could not help but to read the whole thing. I’m crying my eyes out over both the suffering of the poor kids, and the unbearable mental anguish and sense of loss that the parents have to live with for the rest of their lives.
    Comment by Conner — 3/15/2009 @ 2:03 am

    no one you know (1ebbb1)

  30. I cried all through that article. Don’t know what the answer is. My instinct is that the adults responsible should be held responsible for manslaughter, even if involuntary. I can’t fathom not knowing where my children are at all times, but I don’t have the kind of work that is exhausting or all-consuming. I weep over the grueling deaths these children suffered. Other inadvertent killers have remorse but in this case, how could any punishment possibly be worse than what these parents have to live with? Just tragic.

    mom in VA (a0fa42)

  31. Infants are put in in a car seat, which is put an automobile’s back seat, with the infant facing backwards, to help reduce the risk of injury or death in the event of a crash.

    Having an infant in a back seat as described above greatly reduces, if not eliminates, any interaction between the driver and the infant, which increases the risk that the driver will forget that the child is even there.

    Query: Which risk is greater – (i) both a crash occurring and an infant being injured more from being in the front (even with an airbag) than being in the back, or (ii) an infant being forgotten in the back of a car?

    (By the way, the risk that an infant in the front seat seat would be forgotten has to be so minute as to be considered zero. Also, I kept my kid (now 16), up front with me when she was an infant because my car had no air bag and I enjoyed babbling and then chatting with her.)

    Ira (28a423)

  32. A warning device not to leave your kid to bake in the car? A person who’s stupid enough to do something like that isn’t going to be deterred by a warning.

    Thank you, Mr. Robeisspiere. May I introduce you to Dr. Kervorkian?

    Dmac (49b16c)

  33. Not to get all Dr. Laura on you, but it would be interesting to note how often this happens to two earner couples rather than ‘homemaker Mom (or Dad)’ couples.

    horace (547ced)

  34. Child-seats in cars…
    Just another unintended consequence that can be traced back to the fertid mind of Ralph Nader.

    AD - RtR/OS (dae131)

  35. I think these parents live in a special kind of hell for their remaining days. That’s enough for me. No charges. Their own guilt and regret and profound loss will be their cross to bear for the rest of their days. And that is a far much lighter sentence than being jailed.

    To those who think “I could and/or would never do that”, may you never be slammed in the face with your own folly and fallibility at it’s fullest. It’s not a pretty sight but the best parents are often the ones who have had to confront it. Not necessarily on this level of course but nonetheless…

    Dana (cbd391)

  36. I can’t read this article. Literally cannot – I will get physically sick. I can’t read articles about death or danger to children. It causes all my anxiety responses to go to full bore TILT.

    I simply cannot imagine the pain of losing a child to an accident. I hope I never get called to a jury in such a case, because I could not think clearly.

    steve miller (a161b2)

  37. And that is a far much lighter sentence than being jailed

    Should have been: And that is a far heavier sentence than being jailed.

    Dana (cbd391)

  38. “…may you never be slammed in the face with your own folly and fallibility…”

    It is the “righteous crusader” who falls furthest, and hardest, when confronted with their own fallibility.

    AD - RtR/OS (dae131)

  39. I agree, AD-RtR/OS, but that fall can in the end be their saving grace.

    Dana (cbd391)

  40. There’s a lot of emphasis in the article on the fact that there isn’t a common factor amongst the parents. Of course I don’t have original stats, but I did notice what appear to be common factor(s): Daycare; babysitter.

    One commenter asks a good question: Why the different treatment for killing one’s own child?

    brobin (c07c20)

  41. I think this situation is indeed a special one and I don’t think it serves any purpose to put a bereaved parent in jail. Yet, there is one somewhat contradictory element. Some of these parents claimed they felt so guilty, they actually considered suicide. Yet, in those few case where they were brought to trial, they all fought like the devil to avoid being punished. It just seems if they were really sincere about their guilt, they’d want to be punished.

    jimboster (fe0b27)

  42. To Conner and OmegaPaladin, who are far too stupid for their extreme condescension to me to be justified: I notice you carefully avoided addressing any of my arguments. Could you please explain to me why you assume these people are all innocent–why you assume they didn’t do it on purpose and aren’t just putting on an act? Could you please explain to me why you believe that if you’re really, really sorry then you shouldn’t be punished? Because not all of these people are innocent. If someone wants to kill his child and make it look like an accident, all he has to do is copy these wonderful parents we read about in that article, and idiots like you will just assume that he must be telling the truth when he says that he didn’t do it on purpose and that it’ll haunt him for the rest of his life.

    Calling these people stupid and cruel belies that Alan could not have even read the article about these professional people (working at NASA, engineering firms, law firms, etc). These are stories of the worst kind of accident that can happen to a parent.

    That assumes these people are all innocent. I disputed that assumption. By the way, since when did professional mean smart? Apparently you don’t know many people who work at law firms. Of course, even an ordinarily smart person can do something uncharacteristically and incredibly stupid, in which case I was indeed wrong to call them stupid people; they might in some cases be smart people whose brains reverted to Neanderthal-level rationality on some occasion. But that doesn’t alter the monstrous character of what they did, nor does it mean that they shouldn’t be punished. If we made it a rule that as long as you normally don’t act in a certain way then you can’t be punished for it, then nobody but a serial killer (or serial rapist or serial robber, etc.) could ever be punished for a crime. So it’s stupid to say that they shouldn’t be punished because they just did it once and will never do it again.

    How the hell would a horrible punishment discourage someone from making a mistake that will already haunt them to their grave? What will it accomplish?

    So if my criminal negligence kills my mother or my best friend, and if I’m sensitive enough that that’ll haunt me to my grave (which I know would be the case if I did such a horrible thing), on your stupid logic I shouldn’t be punished because it won’t accomplish anything. An obviously unacceptable implication of your reasoning. So your reasoning flunks out like Hayden Christensen in a drama class. So before you call someone a bastard for disagreeing with you, you should check your own logic to see if the premise on which you base your hateful condescension makes you look like a moron. Stupid bastard.

    Of course punishment would accomplish something: punishing someone who deserves to be punished. Feeling really bad about what you did (but not bad enough that you can’t go on living) isn’t enough punishment for burning your child to death.

    I love how you all pretend that being haunted for the rest of your life is so bad that it’s like living in your own personal Hell. Obviously that true only for those who are in so much emotional pain over what they did that they commit suicide. If they get on with their lives and reach their life expectancy, obviously the guilt wasn’t intolerably bad. (Before you disagree, bear in mind what intolerably means. If you go on living despite the guilt, the guilt is tolerable. That’s not a personal hell we’re talking about here.)

    I think these parents live in a special kind of hell for their remaining days. That’s enough for me. No charges. Their own guilt and regret and profound loss will be their cross to bear for the rest of their days. And that is a far much lighter sentence than being jailed.

    The same thing would happen to me if I did something criminally negligent that resulted in the death of my mother. Should I get off in that case because I’d be suffering enough already? Of course not. So why should it be any different if my criminal negligence results in my child instead of my parent being killed?

    And, again, how do you know these parents are telling the truth? Do you pretend that no parent is so evil that they’d do this on purpose, or do it negligently and then not be going through a personal hell? Are only childless people evil?

    To those who think “I could and/or would never do that”, may you never be slammed in the face with your own folly and fallibility at it’s fullest.

    That’s an ad hominem argument. It’s no different from saying, “You just don’t understand.” Irrelevant. The strength of an argument has everything to do with what is being said and nothing to do with who is saying it. “You’d change your mind if it happened to you.” Maybe I would. But that would just be because I wouldn’t want to be further punished. It’s totally irrelevant to the question of whether I deserve further punishment. For killing another human being without justification or excuse, no punishment could ever be enough.

    It’s not a pretty sight but the best parents are often the ones who have had to confront it. Not necessarily on this level of course but nonetheless…

    The best parents don’t leave their children in a car to burn to death. The best parents make mistakes that aren’t in the same league. Your argument, lumping the best parents’ mistakes with mistakes that kill, shows a complete lack of any sense of proportion. It’s like saying, “Well, yes, this parent left the kid to drown in the bathtub, but who am I to judge? I once accidentally broke my child’s nose by tossing him a basketball too hard.” That’s just plain stupid.

    It is the “righteous crusader” who falls furthest, and hardest, when confronted with their own fallibility.

    Which, of course, is completely irrelevant to the issue of whether someone who does such a horrible thing deserves criminal punishment. I haven’t seen a single counterargument explaining why I’m wrong. All I see is a bunch of stupid, nonresponsive comments to the effect of “You’re so self-righteous” or “How can you be so cruel?” or “You just don’t get it.”

    Pathetic. Absolutely pathetic. You’re operating on a Hax Vobiscum level here.

    Alan (551a6d)

  43. A need to go to the babysitter was a common facotr; yet another stop in a busy day but all of these people were also pre-occupied with work and demands outside of their immediate family. Also, some compounded these demands by being on the cellphone.

    I couldn’t find data but before the ascendancy of technology did these sorts of deaths occur in such number? When I was a child, this chronic rush throughout the day wasn’t as significant as it is in the modern family and the distractions were far less. The article stated three of these sorts of deaths occurred on the same day. Is this yet another evidence of the downside of the American drive to produce, to procure and to know “success” and a parent’s misprioritizing?

    Too many choices and too many bad choices made.

    Dana (cbd391)

  44. […] Patterico’s Pontifications » Parents Who Killed Their Children But … By Patterico And what is it with these child safety advocates forcing people to stick the kids in the back seat? Are more kids truly saved from death due to collisions by being in the back seat as opposed to the front seat where a forgetful parent … Patterico’s Pontifications – http://patterico.com/ […]

    Snippets - Sunday, 15th March 2009 | GrampaSaidSo.com (8e39b4)

  45. Allan, you should be careful what words you put into the mouths of others.
    As for me, I do not believe that these parents were “innocent” in these matters,
    just that, under the law, they were “not guilty”.
    A cynical Roman Catholic would remind you that none of us are “innocent”, except perhaps the victims here.
    And, Yes! Very smart people sometimes don’t know enough to “come in from the rain”;
    but, that also doesn’t make them (neccessarily) “criminally liable” either, does it?
    Old Saying: Your fault, my fault, nobody’s fault, but if something happens, ……!
    Sometimes events occur without anyone setting out to do something wrong, bad, evil, etc….they just happen.
    As one of the researchers cited noted: A Perfect Storm, of tragic cousequences.
    An interesting follow-up study would be to see how many parents involved in these tragedies have attempted
    – or succeeded at – suicide, giving-in to their depression and guilt-feelings?

    AD - RtR/OS (dae131)

  46. Why can’t auto manufactures build in the warning device?

    It’s interesting to me, and in fairness I will add the writer included this issue, that the simple way to stop this sort of accident is to allow parents to turn off the passenger seat airbag. Then repeal the law that bans children in the front seat. This is all a consequence of safety nazis requiring the child seat in back. There have been small stature adults and older children killed by air bags, as well.

    There have been a few attempts to change the law but they are resisted by the auto safety lobby. I remember when Jimmy Carter’s administration ruled that convertibles were too unsafe and the car companies stopped making them. I bought one of the last ones made. Then, a few years later, they forgot about the ban. This is the same thing except more dangerous.

    Yes, two earner families are a factor but this is a consequence of inflation. In the 1950s and early 60s, a husband could earn enough to support a family in an upper middle class lifestyle but inflation changed that and women were sold a concept that required them to work by the same people who debased the currency. And they are back in charge now.

    Mike K (90939b)

  47. 45: And maybe you should be careful about saying things like, “It is the ‘righteous crusader’ who falls furthest, and hardest, when confronted with their own fallibility,” especially since what you said is completely irrelevant to the issue I was discussing, as I explained (and you ignored).

    A cynical Roman Catholic would remind you that none of us are “innocent”, except perhaps the victims here.

    This is like as saying, “You don’t have any business judging someone who accidentally drowned his child because you once accidentally broke your child’s nose.” I repeat, that’s just plain stupid. Just because we’re all flawed doesn’t mean that there’s a parity of iniquity stretching across the entire human race. Some people are much, much worse than others. For instance, people who kill their kids are worse than people who don’t.

    Alan (551a6d)

  48. We agree to disagree re your “passion”.

    AD - RtR/OS (dae131)

  49. There but for the grace of God goes Alan.

    Dmac (49b16c)

  50. Hey, another ad hominem argument. Real smart, Dmac. Completely ignoring all my points and just dismissing them by making a very stupid point that I already addressed. But whatever, you can’t actually respond to my argument, so you just mock it.

    Hax must be proud. The other commenters here have picked up his debating tactics.

    Alan (551a6d)

  51. OK, then – so we all agree that you’re a ginormous asshole. Sound good?

    Dmac (49b16c)

  52. Gosh Alan, too bad I’m so pathetic, it could have been an interesting discussion.

    I’ll try harder next time.

    Dana (137151)

  53. making a very stupid point that I already addressed.

    Yet another clever debating tactic – calling someone stupid. And your brilliant analogies seem to be retreads from the latest issues of Highlights for Children.

    Time for you to shut that blowhole, methinks.

    Dmac (49b16c)

  54. Since you dodged every single point I made, I think you should change “I’ll try harder next time” to “I’ll try next time.”

    Alan (551a6d)

  55. Gosh Alan, too bad I’m so pathetic, it could have been an interesting discussion.

    But Dana, you missed his earlier contention of:

    I repeat, that’s just plain stupid.

    Again, brilliant points made by our resident Hangman. Sounds like the kind of guy who’d be beaten to a pulp shortly after he opened his mouth in my neighborhood. But lest we forget, his tough – guy act is safe from any consequences on the intra tubes.

    Dmac (49b16c)

  56. Alan, at least you are impressed with yourself.

    I don’t care what your points are, I don’t care if you think I am dodging your points. Frankly, you’re just arrogant and rude. If you want someone to actually take the time to give thoughtful responses to your points you might consider being polite.

    Dana (137151)

  57. And who are you, Dmac, to criticize my attitude after you compared me to the mass murderer Robespierre?

    Oh, but that’s okay, right? And it was okay for others here to call me a “bastard,” a “bastage,” and to say that I have nothing approaching a soul? That was fine, too, right?

    And yet when others use incredibly disingenuous arguments, I’m supposed to play by Marquis of Queensbury rules?

    Jackass.

    Alan (551a6d)

  58. Since you dodged every single point I made,

    Let’s review those so – called “points” shall we?

    Pathetic. Absolutely pathetic.

    I repeat, that’s just plain stupid


    Irrelevant.

    So your reasoning flunks out like Hayden Christensen in a drama class.

    you should check your own logic to see if the premise on which you base your hateful condescension makes you look like a moron. Stupid bastard.

    in which case I was indeed wrong to call them stupid people; they might in some cases be smart people whose brains reverted to Neanderthal-level rationality on some occasion.

    Take a seat in the short bus, Trolly.

    Dmac (49b16c)

  59. Alan, at least you are impressed with yourself.

    Alan is most impressed with his ability to clean out the cat’s litter box, especially when his Mommy calls him upstairs for his Mac and Cheese lunch.

    Dmac (49b16c)

  60. Frankly, you’re just arrogant and rude. If you want someone to actually take the time to give thoughtful responses to your points you might consider being polite.

    Obviously I tried that and it didn’t work. Your entire response to me was to say, To those who think “I could and/or would never do that”, may you never be slammed in the face with your own folly and fallibility at it’s fullest. It’s not a pretty sight but the best parents are often the ones who have had to confront it. Not necessarily on this level of course but nonetheless…

    That’s disingenuous, nonresponsive, and rude in its own right. So don’t talk to me about manners, and don’t pretend that you engaged a single point I made. All you did was dismiss what I said. Rudely, I might add.

    Alan (551a6d)

  61. More incoherencies from the litter box – cleaner:

    who are far too stupid for their extreme condescension to me to be justified

    A person who’s stupid enough to do something like that

    These people should all be boiled in oil

    I may have been too mild regarding my French Revolution reference – perhaps Himmler would be more appropriate.

    Dmac (49b16c)

  62. I may have been too mild regarding my French Revolution reference – perhaps Himmler would be more appropriate.

    Thank you for topping off your credibility regarding your criticism of my extreme rhetoric. Whatever I did, I didn’t trivialize the deaths of millions of people with feeble comparisons. That’s more than anyone can say for you.

    Alan (551a6d)

  63. Obviously I tried that and it didn’t work.

    Of course you did, sweetheart – just look at all the examples listed above. Look up the definition of the word tried and get back to us.

    Dmac (49b16c)

  64. BTW, are you still collecting tolls under the bridge these days?

    Dmac (49b16c)

  65. Dmac, all of the examples you cited were either:

    (1) not directed at other commenters here, but directed at people who killed their children, or

    (2) things I said in response to commenters who dodged my points and hurled vicious insults.

    Way to make your point.

    Alan (551a6d)

  66. Alan – Did you have any actual points you wanted to make or are you on the thread just to insult the people in the news article and the other commenters?

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  67. I assume that question must be rhetorical at this point, Daley. This guy’s been playing with his Tinker Toys way past the alloted children’s age.

    Dmac (49b16c)

  68. daleyrocks,

    His point is obviously that parents want to kill their children and just lack the means to avoid punishment for it. Why should we make it easier for parents to commit these murders? Since most normal people (like say, Alan, just for example) never make mistakes, become distracted, act under erroneous assumptions, or otherwise behave in any fallible manner when it comes to their children, these murderous parents should be tortured to death, imprisoned, sterilized, and shunned (in that order… because previous consequences have no bearing on future consequences).

    Stashiu3 (460dc1)

  69. Sorry, but did I actually need a /sarc tag there or was it clear enough as written?

    Stashiu3 (460dc1)

  70. No tag needed.
    I thought that you were, if anything, understating your criticism.

    AD - RtR/OS (dae131)

  71. 40

    One commenter asks a good question: Why the different treatment for killing one’s own child?

    Prosecutorial discretion. If while driving drunk you run into a tree leaving yourself paralyzed, you are guilty of drunk driving but it doesn’t seem like the most important case to prosecute. On the other hand if while driving drunk you run over a pedestrian leaving them paralyzed and you uninjured then prosecution seems more justified.

    James B. Shearer (e4fabe)

  72. Sorry, but did I actually need a /sarc tag there or was it clear enough as written?

    Since the commenter’s prose is overcaffeinated to the extreme, you may have to spell it out for him.

    Dmac (49b16c)

  73. Another lurker compelled to comment for the first time because I read this story in a public place (where I was bored and just trying to pass time), and had to make a fast break out of there because I was in full-blown tears by the end.

    I don’t have children, but have many smaller cousins in my extended family that I’m very close too, and I’ve had sleeping and waking nightmares about me doing something (or failing to do something) both extraordinary (i.e., not saving them from a burning building) and routine (turning around to pay for something at the mall for 10 seconds and turning back and they’re not there) that would cause them harm while in my care. Those nightmares HAUNT me, and have no doubt made me super-vigilant when I’m the adult in charge of any of them…but the reason they scare me so much is that while I can’t imagine myself being “super”-negligent, I can’t say 100% for certain that I would never be in a circumstance where I might make a tragic mistake. I hope I don’t go completely crazy about this if/when I do have kids of my own, but this is where I’m at now.

    I do understand not wanting to let people off the hook because they feel bad, or to create a way for parents (or anyone else) with malintent to kill children. But I can’t even imagine what life is like for parents for whom this was truly a mistake. I don’t envy prosecutors who have to make a decision on these cases, but I do think taking it case-by-case, and perhaps erring on the side of prosecuting (because a child did die a horrible, easily preventable death) is probably the best way to handle things. Prosecuting won’t prevent the true accidents, but may stop murderers from thinking they can use this to get away with something.

    I don’t know that I wouldn’t kill myself or just plead guilty and waste away in jail. And I do wish cars came with the technology to check on the backseat…if my car can warn me incessantly that I — God forbid! — left my lights on, or that the adult in the passenger seat next to me hasn’t put on his seat belt within 5 seconds of me pulling out of a parking space, I don’t see why we can’t have a warning of some kind for the back seat.

    I really wish I hadn’t read that story…

    mattie (19f524)

  74. The take-home lesson is more than just the need to check on one’s young children constantly; it’s the danger of feel-good, one-size-fits-all safety legislation.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  75. Mom Blogs – Blogs for Moms…

    Anonymous (5fa9a5)

  76. Alan,

    you’re extremely nonresponsive yourself, for someone who posts such long long long long posts. Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a low ratio of words to content.

    I understand the desire to have vengeance, but you fail to answer the fundamental question, even though you quote it: would it deter this kind of accident to punish it in the criminal justice system?

    Of course, the answer is ‘no it would not.’

    Juan (4cdfb7)

  77. Daley, I made my points at posts 14, 22, and 23. The reactions I got not only didn’t engage a single point I made; they ranged in their civility from the quiet condescension of Dana’s you’re-just-being-ignorant-because-you-don’t-know-what-your-folly-and-fallibility-will-bring to the overt hatefulness of OmegaPaladin’s assertion that I’m a vindictive bastard without anything even approaching a soul. So, as far as insulting the other commenters goes, I think it’s pretty clear that I didn’t start that.

    As far as insulting the people in the article, I was arguing that people who do such horrible things should be criminally prosecuted, just as they would be if their negligence killed people who were not their children. I didn’t get a single response to any of the points I made (unless you count straw men). And I didn’t use nasty language with the other commenters until after they acted like jerks to me.

    Alan (551a6d)

  78. I fail to answer the fundamental question? Whose question did I not answer? Where is this post where someone put a question to me and I didn’t answer it? It obviously can’t be the what-would-it-accomplish question, because I did answer that: I said that the punishment accomplishes the goal of punishing people who deserve to be punished. So what question was it? Whose question, at what comment number, did I ignore?

    I don’t care if the punisment deters or not. If you cause a person’s death without justification or excuse, guilt isn’t enough of a punishment for something as horrible as that. Especially if it’s guilt you can live with. That’s why I said that the punishment is merited because it is deserved.

    Alan (551a6d)

  79. Alan – Do you have children?

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  80. No. I don’t see how that affects my argument, though. I don’t see the sense in all this “You’d understand if you had a child and went through something like this.” If I had a child and went through something like this, then, to salvage some amour propre, I’m sure I’d be naturally inclined to take pity on the parents whose negligence wound up getting their children cooked. But that wouldn’t make my after-adopted position right, or my previous position wrong.

    Alan (551a6d)

  81. Alan, I believe you have greatly misconstrued my tone and my intent of my comment at 9:57 a.m. It was said with genuine sincerity and heartache. No condescension, no sneer, nothing but deep sadness. It’s a shame you took it the wrong way. And trust me, I am no one to be condescending. Not even to you.

    I am done discussing this with you.

    Dana (137151)

  82. I am no one to be condescending. Not even to you.

    Not even to me. Hm. Some people might find that… condescending.

    I misconstrued nothing. I didn’t bring up my “folly and fallibility”; you did. And you implied that it’s only my good luck that protects me from roasting a kid to death.

    But whatever. You want to deny the condescension in what you said and just have done with that; fine.

    Alan (551a6d)

  83. I don’t see the sense in all this “You’d understand if you had a child and went through something like this.” If I had a child and went through something like this, then, to salvage some amour propre, I’m sure I’d be naturally inclined to take pity on the parents whose negligence wound up getting their children cooked. But that wouldn’t make my after-adopted position right, or my previous position wrong.
    Comment by Alan — 3/15/2009 @ 5:30 pm

    I don’t have children. And I do see the sense in saying “you’d understand if you had a child and went through something like this.” As you already say, you can understand pity for these parents. I have eight nieces and nephews and am a bit of a nervous nellie when I get the privilege of babysitting them. (I once seriously injured myself catching one of them – a newborn – when I tripped with her in my arms. She never hit the ground.)

    Can’t imagine ever forgetting one of them in the back seat. But then I’ve never given up all that a parent gives up, nor loved as a parent loves. Even so, if by some (God forbid) sleep deprived moment of weakness I ever did let harm come to one of them, would probably kill myself from the guilt. How much more a parent must feel.

    If there is evidence that a parent harmed a child deliberately then toss them in jail. (Parents rarely are doting, affectionate parents then suddenly one day decide to roast their own child alive.) If not, then what is the purpose of putting them in jail?

    no one you know (1ebbb1)

  84. I disagree. My argument shouldn’t be discounted just because I don’t have children. I’m either right or wrong. The idea that I’m wrong because I don’t have children is ridiculous. The argument stands or falls on its own. Ad hominem arguments, like the one implicit in the suggestion that it matters to this discussion whether I have a child, are always bad arguments. That’s why logic courses teach that they’re fallacies.

    If there is evidence that a parent harmed a child deliberately then toss them in jail. (Parents rarely are doting, affectionate parents then suddenly one day decide to roast their own child alive.) If not, then what is the purpose of putting them in jail?

    I already went into this, and no one even bothered to respond. Suppose B kills C’s child negligently, but is really sorry about it and will never do it again. Should B escape punishment? If no, then why should C escape punishment for negligently killing his own child? Should C also get to escape punishment for negligently killing his mother or his best friend? How many people should you get away with negligently killing if you’re really sorry and won’t do it again? The reason I think they should be punished is that they negligently killed a human being. It’s a far worse thing to do than most of the things people go to jail for doing. And if your grief doesn’t drive you to suicide after you’ve negligently boiled your kid to death, then you’re doing pretty damn well for someone who’s supposedly living in your own kind of personal hell.

    Alan (551a6d)

  85. No. I don’t see how that affects my argument, though.

    Thus we have the genesis of our problem with your comments – I don’t have children, but I would never presume to understand what it’s like, nor would I adopt a holier than thou attitude towards a parent’s tragic loss, regardless of the circumstances surrounding that loss. Your arrogance and condescension drips through every comment you’ve made here, and it would be better for all concerned if you take your attitude and express it on another site that’s more attuned to your personality. God knows what site that could possibly be, but this ain’t the one.

    Dmac (49b16c)

  86. then you’re doing pretty damn well for someone who’s supposedly living in your own kind of personal hell.

    Thanks for confirming my point, yet again. Buh – byee.

    Dmac (49b16c)

  87. Oh, look, an ad hominem argument from the guy who compared me to Himmler and Robespierre. You’re a fine person to teach a lesson about why it’s wrong to be arrogant and condescending. Yes, comments like yours certainly elevate the discourse as well, don’t they? Like I’m going to look inward and think I’ve been a jerk, after what you said? After the way the other commenters reacted, by starting vicious personal attacks before I attacked any other commenter? When the only people I attacked were people whose negligence killed their children?

    Alan (551a6d)

  88. Comment by Alan — 3/15/2009 @ 5:47 pm

    I understand your point about logical fallacies. As you see with others’ responses to you, it is perhaps hard for us to get past your comments about parents and listen as carefully to your arguments as your logic would deserve, and respond appropriately with our own logic, if you first expressed some compassion with regard to parents who are going to be in their own personal hell, whether or not you or I can understand fully what they are going through.

    no one you know (1ebbb1)

  89. Alan – Why are you so defensive? I asked if you had children and then you went off on a rant as if you were writing the next eight comments. You seem to want to debate with yourself rather than anyone else the way you are acting and answering questions that have not even been asked.

    Please carry on, it’s entertaining to watch.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  90. Thank you. I also dance a mean jig.

    Alan (551a6d)

  91. “No. I don’t see how that affects my argument, though.”

    Alan – Somehow, I don’t think anyone reading this thread was surprised by your answer or your attitude. Go figure.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  92. If everyone wants to pretend that ad hominem arguments are a good thing, obviously I can’t convince anyone here otherwise.

    Frankly, though, I can’t see why having a child and making some potentially disastrous mistakes with them would improve rather cloud your judgment.

    Alan (551a6d)

  93. Thank you. I also dance a mean jig.

    Great – there’s the door, you can jig your way out now.

    Dmac (49b16c)

  94. Yeah, like I’m inclined to do anything you’d like me to do after all the things you said.

    Alan (551a6d)

  95. If everyone wants to pretend that ad hominem arguments are a good thing, obviously I can’t convince anyone here otherwise.
    Comment by Alan — 3/15/2009 @ 6:36 pm

    All due respect, that’s a straw man. No one here suggested ad hominem arguments are a good thing. What we are saying is that starting an initial comment on this subject is “these parents should be boiled in oil” demonstrates a clear lack of understanding of the severe “punishment” you mentioned which these parents are already enduring.

    Speaking of responses, I notice that you made no response to

    Comment by James B. Shearer — 3/15/2009 @ 3:31 pm

    which I thought was a pretty good parallel of the damage already done to the (certainly morally if not legally – IANAL) negligent perpetrator, and the fact that a prosecutor could legitimately decide in that case not to pursue additional punishment, if it was determined not to be intentional.

    no one you know (1ebbb1)

  96. I thought it was suggested that ad hominem arguments are a good thing–when daleyrocks quoted my answer “No. I don’t see how that affects my argument, though,” and replied with: “Alan – Somehow, I don’t think anyone reading this thread was surprised by your answer or your attitude. Go figure.”

    I didn’t respond to that comment because (1) it didn’t ask me a question, and (2) I don’t see how it could possibly be relevant. As implied by the whole thrust of my arguments, my position is that prosecutorial discretion should be exercised in favor of prosecuting people who kill their children (or anyone else) for no good reason. A huge distinction between Shearer’s hypothetical and the cases we read about is that in Shearer’s hypothetical no one (save for the tree and other public property) was harmed, whereas in these cases a completely innocent person was killed. His hypothetical was meant to address the question why there’s one standard for when you negligently kill your own child and another standard for when you negligently kill someone other than your child. I think his hypothetical was inapposite, because, to my way of thinking, negligently killing your parent is no worse than negligently killing your child. (Quite to the contrary: at least your parent might have had some chance of saving himself. Not so with an infant.) I can’t understand why you would expect me to have reached out to address his comment.

    Alan (551a6d)

  97. Actually, I misspoke. I do see how it could be relevant. Being paralyzed is analogous to having to live with the guilt of having killed your own child. But for the reasons I discussed above, I don’t think that’s a legitimate basis for failing to prosecute someone who killed. So I concede that it’s relevant, but I think it’s too easily distinguishable.

    Alan (551a6d)

  98. Heartrending stories. Outstanding writing. “Life is imperfect” is an appropriate, if understated, sum-up. I wondered for a moment if life would be measurably better if Alan was in charge. Then I decided, “I think not.” While I certainly agree that justice shouldn’t be void of suspicion, it also shouldn’t be void of thought and hand out punishment for all that goes wrong.

    cboldt (3d73dd)

  99. Void of thought. Yet another wonderful critique. And people act shocked and offended when I react rudely to rude criticisms.

    Alan (551a6d)

  100. I do see how it could be relevant. Being paralyzed is analogous to having to live with the guilt of having killed your own child. But for the reasons I discussed above, I don’t think that’s a legitimate basis for failing to prosecute someone who killed. So I concede that it’s relevant, but I think it’s too easily distinguishable.

    Comment by Alan — 3/15/2009 @ 7:01 pm

    Fair enough – and appreciate the respectful reply. (Am sure you can see BTW that the tone of your last comment is much more amenable to logical discussion of the issue than, for example, your first comment of the thread, which was my point earlier.) In any case,

    I don’t think that’s a legitimate basis for failing to prosecute someone who killed.

    You make a logical point. My first reaction would be to prosecute at the involuntary manslaughter level. But I would not argue if it were proven (at the grand jury stage, I guess it’d be) that the parent was a loving parent, intended no harm to the child, and it was clearly a mistake and not intentional, and the prosecutor decided not to prosecute. It’s a very legitimate grey area, I think. My two cents.

    no one you know (1ebbb1)

  101. My bad – (I’m really not a lawyer) – I guess the grand jury, not the prosecutor, would decide indictment – IIUC?

    no one you know (1ebbb1)

  102. Well, the prosecutor brings the case to the grand jury, and the grand jury chooses whether to indict. Prosecutors are very likely to get an indictment if they have anything at all to show the grand jury. Sol Wachtler said–and this is an exaggeration, but it has some small core of truth–that any prosecutor who wanted to, could get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich.

    Alan (551a6d)

  103. These people should all be boiled in oil–the careless along with the malicious.

    … justice shouldn’t be void of suspicion, it also shouldn’t be void of [thought / discretion / judgement] and hand out punishment for all that goes wrong.

    Pick a different word, although I’m not unhappy if you are offended. Clearly, you are a thinking person, and I in no way think you are an idiot or “thoughtless” in the sense of harboring callous disregard. If I was in a public place and overheard you expressing what you did here, even if I was sharing a table with you, I’d get up and leave the premises.

    cboldt (3d73dd)

  104. Comment by Alan — 3/15/2009 @ 7:24 pm

    OK. So quite a bit, it sounds like, depends on how the prosecutor’s leaning, if he or she decides to bring charges at all…?

    no one you know (1ebbb1)

  105. Alan,

    I agree that most here probably weren’t surprised that you didn’t have children, I certainly wasn’t. It doesn’t affect your argument, I just disagree with you. Parents are not perfect and sometimes their mistakes are tragic. There is a difference between leaving your child in the car to get your hair done, gamble, whatever… and leaving your child in the car through a momentary lapse in judgment followed by an assumption that the child is in their usual, safe environment. You would treat them the same.

    Then, when you assumed/stated that at least some of these parents are murderers who intentionally left their children to die, you made yourself easily dismissible by those of us who are parents. You are not interested in a prosecutor having discretion, you are advocating mandatory prosecution for all of them. Fine, you made your single point… again, I disagree.

    When you do eventually have children, you’ll understand better how everyone makes mistakes. Usually, the consequences are mild and good learning experiences for parent and child (child wanders away in the supermarket, child falls climbing a fence, parent is late picking child up from soccer practice, etc…), but sometimes the consequences are tragic. That doesn’t always make it criminal.

    And people act shocked and offended when I react rudely to rude criticisms.

    Haven’t seen anyone shocked or offended, more irritated and angry. Also, I’ll just point out how ignorant (not ad hominem BTW) it is to use “ad hominem” as a synonym for disagreement, then engage in actual ad hominem yourself. If you’re going to use hyperbole and snark(I’m assuming you don’t really advocate boiling human beings in oil–the careless along with the malicious.), you should really be less sensitive when others assume you will recognize it coming back at you.

    Stashiu3 (460dc1)

  106. ad Hominem attack…
    Alan is an immature, over-educated jerk, and can look forward to a long successful career in Correctional Security!

    AD - RtR/OS (dae131)

  107. If there is evidence that a parent harmed a child deliberately then toss them in jail. (Parents rarely are doting, affectionate parents then suddenly one day decide to roast their own child alive.) If not, then what is the purpose of putting them in jail?

    I think, Alan, that what we see missing is the “deliberately” that you seem to presume. We think it’s more likely to have been a tragic accident that the doting, affectionate parent makes a mistake of where the child is than you do. (Indeed, you seem to think that such a mistake is not possible.)

    htom (412a17)

  108. I don’t think Alan is having a happy childhood.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  109. He lost his computer privileges after he failed to clean the litter box.

    Dmac (49b16c)

  110. Not sure if Alan (or anyone else) is still following this thread, but I’m going to defend Alan even though I thought he was pretty rude.

    He made two points I didn’t see anyone address:

    1) Wouldn’t this be a crime if the parent killed somebody else’s child, and if so why should they be punished any differently for killing their own child?

    2) If this isn’t criminal, wouldn’t it be easy for parents who wish to kill their children to fake such an accident and get off freely?

    I’m inclined to oppose prosecution myself, but the fact I don’t have an answer to either of the above makes me divided.

    Josh (494091)

  111. Josh – 1)The law allows you two mulligans for your own children. It’s completely different if you off somebody else’s kids.

    2)It all depends on the evidence doesn’t it, which was the point Alan was missing the entire thread. If the prosecutor does not feel there was any intent, where does the event cross the threshhold from being a very unfortunate accident to being a crime? A doorknob like Alan isn’t willing to take the time to think that one through.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  112. Josh,

    Nobody has said that none of the parents should be prosecuted. Alan said that they “should all be boiled in oil–the careless along with the malicious.” and “None of these people is innocent. They all killed their kids.” in response to comments pertaining to this particular father. According to Alan (based on his comments), every single time this happens it mandates killing the parent(s).

    Does it always rise to the level of a crime, even if it’s someone else’s child? I might agree that in most cases it does, but that is where prosecutorial discretion comes in. Alan would remove that discretion and execute any adult involved (in a particularly gruesome manner… punishment fitting the crime I suppose.) Now, he may have been using hyperbole (he never responded), but the sentiment remains. Also, if there were no criminal charges brought, civil action would still be an option (IMO it’s unlikely it wouldn’t at least go to trial if this involved someone else’s child).

    As far as using this as a method to murder your own child, I find that incredibly unlikely. Could it happen? Yes, it’s possible. But consider this… for anyone sick enough to try, staging an accident like this while presenting the image of an otherwise good parent would be nearly impossible. The only reason a prosecutor might even consider not filing charges of some sort is because every other bit of evidence points to a loving, responsible parent who made a tragic mistake. How likely is it that any adult (much less a parent to their own child) would choose such a painful, uncertain, and high-profile way to stage an “accident” while behaving in the exact opposite way for every moment leading up to it?

    Stashiu3 (460dc1)

  113. The boil ’em comment just lends itself to open-minded civil debate.

    JD (40d677)

  114. Thanks for your comments…a difficult issue for sure.

    Josh (e25cc0)


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