There are a lot of things that worry me about today's society. Having to put a stuffed animal in your front seat to remember your kid is in the back tops my list.
Guilty or not of doing it on purpose, the dad who left his 22-month-old in the car all day while he was at work has caused the media to blow up with different ways to remember your most precious asset is also in the vehicle. If we're really at that point in our careers, or are so stressed out we are forgetting about our children, we definitely have a problem.
What's even scarier – it's happening so often we've had to come up with techniques for parents who obviously have so much on their minds they've lost the ability to do more than one thing at a time. Between working, texting, Facebooking, tweeting or talking on our cell phones, which definitely wouldn't be left out in a hot car all day, it's a wonder some people can even walk and chew gum at the same time. Leaving children or pets in a hot car should not be something we have to discuss, think about or figure out a way not to do.
I sound angry about it because I am. Do we really want our kids to grow up thinking they're so low on the totem pole we have to remind ourselves they're in the same vehicle? Are we so selfish about our time we're willing to risk young lives by leaving them in the car defenseless while we run into a convenience store for a pack of gum? Is unbuckling car seat belts really harder than losing your kid?
I'm not a revengeful person but if this dad really did leave his son in the car all day on purpose, prison isn't a good enough punishment. Shouldn't his consequence also be spent in a fatally hot vehicle? An eye for an eye, right? For the parents who accidentally make the gruesome mistake of forgetting their child in the car and it ends tragically, they have to endure a lifetime of regret and sorrow. There's nothing that can be worse than that.
I just can't comprehend parents who purposefully harm their children. It's just so troubling, on so many levels, when the unconditional love for your own child doesn't overpower every other emotion or feeling. That deep seated need to keep them safe, against all odds, comes naturally when you bring that life into the world. How does anyone ever lose this love, which then causes them to hurt, abuse, neglect, or purposely kill their own child?
The agony and grief parents have to deal with when their child dies before them is unbearable, and yet we have a group of people who commit filicide. Yep, the act of purposely killing your own kid even has its own name. Experts say, even though it's hard to pinpoint sometimes, it happens nearly 3,000 times a year in the United States. Maybe it's always been happening, maybe we just hear about it now because of the social media we're surrounded by. Either way, it makes me angry and sad.
Thanks for listening. I'll get down off my soapbox now.
Sandy Turner lives in Independence. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org