The Gross National Debt

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Enough? When?


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A young mother in my community was recently charged with murder.

Her toddler climbed into a pool at their house and drowned.

Horrific, yeah.

This is not one of those cases where the momma sets out to kill her children. As best we can tell, this was a total and complete accident.

Arg.

The decision to charge the young mother was not an easy on, said the law enforcement investigator who took charge of the case.

"Someone has to stand up for the baby," he said.

Can't argue that.

Is being blinded a good thing?
I have a cousin who was a bit smashed and on a 4-wheeler down on the river. He had one of his children with him. They wrecked. The child was killed.

My cousin was charged. Paid his "debt" to society. Yes, this too was an accident, but it was exacerbated by his decision to get drunk.

That's a bit easier than momma above. There, if there is any fault it is the momma was not being as watchful as she could have been. Should have been?

Parents, how many times have you not been as watchful as you should have been? How many times have you just not paid close enough attention, whether or not something untoward happened?

Uh huhn.

Yes, the decision to file charges was hard, but it does not neatly tie things up in a perfect package. I'm not saying there are loose strings, but I am saying this case (and so many others so similar around the nation) make me wonder.

The momma in this case is now facing the criminal justice system. This punishment, if inflicted, will be added to the anguish she is already suffering.

At what point do we reach the threshold set by the 8th Amendment? At what point does this momma suffer enough? At what point do we as a nation say, "Aaight. That's enough"?

Lady Justice, see left, is generally depicted as being blindfolded. This is so that she can weigh everything impartially and so render a true and just verdict not influenced by external factors.

Is mercy an external factor? If Justice is truly blind, then how can she see when enough is too much?

If you sat on the jury for this momma, what would you decide? Could you send her to jail? As this is a murder charge, capital punishment is an option. Could you sentence the momma to death?

How much punishment in this case is enough to repay whoever for the loss of this child?

For that matter, who is being repaid for the death of the toddler? What is being repaid?

If I sat on the jury, I'd have to look at this case as a daddy. Knowing this momma has to spend the rest of her life with "what ifs" running through her mind, I don't think I could send her prison. If she is a real momma, she's already inflicting a punishment on herself which this world can never match.

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