But I finally forced myself to read about that poor little child in Virginia forgotten in the van and left to die.
I know the family is devastated. I know that it was an "accident." But that accident involved terrible, astonishing neglect, and I tend to believe the father should be prosecuted. I don't care how wonderful a family it is or how well mannered the children are. The fact is, a little baby was forgotten about for seven hours, and was only discovered by a neighbor passing by who spotted her, dead in the van.
In deciding to present the case to a grand jury, Ebert said he "took into account the entire background facts and circumstances." That probably included evidence of an alleged pattern of neglect: In February, Kelly left his 3-year-old son, Martin, behind at a video store, where the child waited for a couple of hours until store clerks could track down where he belonged. And in April, a Manassas police officer found Frances running in the middle of her residential street, scooped her up and returned her to her parents with a warning to be more careful.....
I was revolted by this comment at the end of the article:
Marshall, too, said what happened to the Kellys could happen to anyone in a moment of distraction. "Mary and Joseph lost Jesus for three days," he said, recounting the New Testament story of Jesus lingering behind to talk to the elders, "and God himself picked them."
This will be an interesting discussion. Those of you who are lawyers can find your way around it better than I can. An accident, but part of an apparent pattern of neglect, that results in the death of the child. Is the grief punishment enough? Is living with the knowledge of the child's suffering for the rest of your life enough? What purpose would prosecution serve? What purpose would jail time serve? I'm not saying...I'm really asking.
As for me, this is what I can't stop thinking: if I had done this, I think I would feel that I deserved to go to jail.
Update: A reader has commented about the number of children this family had, wondering, I think, if I thought this was relevant. I don't, and I hope people with large families will stand up in this regard. I don't care how many children you have - it's inconceivable to me that one - especially one of the little ones - would be gone for seven hours and not be missed. Think about it. seven hours. From, say 10 am to 5 pm. Even if you had 12 kids, could you imagine for a second not seeing your 21-month old for say, five minutes, and not wondering where she was?????