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Good moms, bad moms, misunderstood?

First, the case that's close to home...literally: A Miami woman was charged with manslaughter today, after her 18-month-old son died yesterday in her truck. The woman left her home Thursday morning to drop the kids off at school before going to work. Kid 1 got dropped off. Kid 2 was forgotten and left in the vehicle. Mom went into work. When dad came to visit her at work around 3 p.m. Kid 2 was discovered inside the vehicle, still strapped into his car seat, with the windows rolled all the way up. He was dead.

The story pisses me off 'cause I don't get how you forget a kid and leave him in a car. It's not like a sack lunch or an ID card. We're talking a live child. On the other hand, manslaughter seems harsh. My neighbor argued that harsh would have been a murder charge, 'cause that would have suggested the mom was malicious in leaving the kid in the car. That makes legal sense. Still. I mean if cops/prosecutors didn't think the mom had intent - malicious intent, then wouldn't this just be an accident?

Second, there's the case of the farm family from Minnesota, where the mom fled town with her 13-year-old cancer-stricken son, rather than obey a court order to put the boy back on chemotherapy. The mom said her refusal to allow the treatment was for religious reasons and 'cause the family believed in natural/holistic healing alternatives.

A court-ordered X-ray showed that a tumor in the boy's chest has grown. And doctors testified he'll likely die without treatment. I might be wrong, but I don't think the courts force children of Jehovah's Witnesses to get blood transfusions. Why force this family that follows a Native American natural/spiritual healing regimen to do it?

Now the mom faces an arrest warrant. Sucks for all involved. I'm sorry. If I was worried that God or some spiritual thing would get upset by me using modern medicine, even for my kid, I'd get my kid treated by a doctor and ask God to forgive me later. But I don't have kids, so what do I know?


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I can't imagine forgetting a child in a car seat. Nor am I able to imagine the horror a parent would live with for the rest of his/her life.

As for the sick child -- I am one who believes both in God and that God works through the healing hands of Doctors and modern medicine.

Why do some of these people live seemingly normal lives, accepting pretty much everything else that is modern and mad made (which I would suggest may be God inspired), and then choose to ignore the healthcare.

I don't appreciate the state/government interfering with our lives, but a child needs an advocate if the parent is abusive or neglectful. Not providing kids with adequate medical care is one of the reasons that protective services steps in. Certainly this qualifies.

It all just boggles the mind. I hate to read about it.

tom sheepandgoats

"I might be wrong, but I don't think the courts force children of Jehovah's Witnesses to get blood transfusions."

You are wrong. They try very hard, and often succeed.

And I agree with Pamela: "Nor am I able to imagine the horror a parent would live with for the rest of his/her life." That said, one wonders at the motive for the state bringing a manslaughter charge? Do they imagine that doing so will "teach that mom a lesson?"

And "I don't appreciate the state/government interfering with our lives, but a child needs an advocate if the parent is abusive or neglectful." My wife and I used to go round and round on this, without coming to any resolution. There's no denying that state intervention has benefited countless children. But I sometimes wonder if, for countless other children, they don't screw things up and make them substantially worse. There are many horror stories people have who've grown up in foster homes. (not to imply that aren't many good ones also)

A very thought-provoking post, Bernettiquette. (and a clever name)

Jeni Hill Ertmer

As a mother and now a grandmother, I can not for the life of me understand how a parent can go someplace with two children in the vehicle, drop one off someplace and then forget that there is still a child left to be dropped off someplace! Even if the child fell asleep during the trip, surely the parent can count and realize there is one more stop to be made, don't ya think?
Does anyone else see too an increase in this type of thing happening besides me? I don't recall ever hearing of parents "forgetting" they had their children in the car when I was growing up and not even when my children were younguns either -but today, it is happening more and more -or so it seems to me.
As to the medical issues and the child, I could never belong to a religious group that dictated what medical treatments were allowed for me, my children, my grandkids. Having benefited myself from radiation, chemo, surgery, more chemo -and for six years now, been cancer free -I doubt I would still be here had those options not been available to me. Now, if I -as an adult -chose not to utilize those advances in medical science, that might be a horse of a different color but, to force a child to NOT have life-saving medications/treatments, I fail to see the logic behind such beliefs. Both of these things just totally boggle my mind.


Last summer, a man in California forgot his toddler in a car seat, locked the car and went to work. The child also died. I cannot imagine anything worse than killing your own child so it is hard not to feel sympathy for such parents, but I feel even sorrier for a forgotten child. Such neglect boggles the mind.


I don't think it's neglect. These cases usually involve a change in routine and a moment of distraction. It's unfortunate that the result is so tragic.

The cases are more common these days because more families have both parents working and car seats must now be placed in the back seat.

class factotum

The mom who prayed over her daughter dying of diabetes up in N. Wisconsin was found guilty of manslaughter and appropriately so. Your religion does not give you the right to let your kids die.

Nor does your neglect. Every summer in Memphis, some daycare van driver would leave a kid in the van to die. Here in Milwaukee, I am watching the same thing happen.

Now we have a new twist: drunken (most of them) mothers falling asleep on their infants and smothering them to death. Five to date this year, I think, with no criminal charges yet. At what point do we start to hold people responsible for killing children?

Karmyn R

I don't understand any parent who doesn't make their child's life a #1 priority....

Just this week in Portland, Or - a mother threw her 2 kids off a bridge. Only one survived. It boggles the mind.


For the record, humans are for the most part walking computers.

Their brains including memory break down in odd ways. It's been proven that stress affects memory in a huge way.

We don't hold insane people responsible for their actions because they don't know that they are doing wrong.

If you support this principle, parents that honestly forget their children in a car like this are equally free of guilt. Loss of memory due to stress is scientifically proven and the equivalent of temporary insanity.

I am personally incapable of remembering 90% of what I do in the first 20-25 minutes after I get out of bed. I remember showering and stuff, but I have apparently had some fairly hefty conversations with my wife that I have no recollection of.

The same thing happens if I fall asleep for even a moment after I have been drinking. I will remember everything to the point of when I first fall asleep, but wake me up and I won't remember any of it from that point forward.

While I I don't like that this happens to parents I can't support jailing them

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