Sunday, July 29, 2007

It’s the heat of Summer.

Which means the tragic stories of kids left in their cars by forgetful/neglectful parents will start rolling in. Honestly, I used to really think these parents were terrible, and further proof that some people just shouldn't reproduce. But after experiencing the total sleep deprivation of the first few months of parenthood, I kind of think the only reason this didn't happen to us is because the size of our car required the passenger seat to be moved all the way up so the rear-facing car seat would fit. So I had to sit in the back next to her.

So, while I do think these people should still be punished, I feel for them a little more. (Incidentally, now that I have a child who is capable of running off, I've also come to understand those stupid child leashes. Not that I would ever get one, but my sympathies now lie more with the leasher than the leashee.)

A few parts of this story seriously pissed me off, though. First, this.

A relatively small number of cases about 7 percent involved drugs or alcohol. In a few instances, the responsible parties had a history of abusing or neglecting children. Still others were single parents unable to find or afford day care.
My emphasis. How sad is that? If I were the employers of those parents, I would consider myself directly responsible for their children's deaths.

(UPDATE: Jeebus, people. When I said that I did not mean that the employer should feel responsible. If I wanted to say that, I would have said "Those employers should feel responsible." I also did not mean those employers should be prosecuted. If I had wanted to say that, I would have said "Those employers should be prosecuted." I also did not mean, Dawn Eden, that those employers were at fault. If I I had wanted to say that, I would have said "Those employers are at fault." What I meant that if I were those employers, I would feel responsible. Maybe I'm too paralyzed with liberal guilt to run a healthy business. And maybe you wouldn't feel guilty in that same situation. Fine. But come on, get some reading comprehension, people.)

More aggravating though, is this.

Women were jailed more often and for longer periods than men. But when the AP compared mothers and fathers, the sentencing gap was even wider.

Mothers were jailed 59 percent of the time, compared to 47 percent for fathers. And the median sentence was three years for dads, but five for moms.

"I think we generally hold mothers to a higher standard in the criminal justice context than in just family life generally," says Jennifer M. Collins, a professor at the Wake Forest University School of Law who has studied negligence involving parents and such hyperthermia cases. A large segment of society, she says, thinks "fathers are baby-sitting, and mothers are doing God's work."
Grr. If only this weren't true. It's magic baby hormones to the rescue again, transforming women from dizzy, selfish girls unable to make medical decisions about their reproductive future into wise capable supermommies who not only can handle anything, but have to!

(Cross-posted from Feministe.)

No comments: