9.05.2007

Baubles, Bangles and Designer Kids

I don’t have children, and that I don’t was both choice and luck. When I was experimenting with sex in my younger days, I was lucky enough not to have gotten pregnant. When I realized the ramifications of having children, I made the choice not to have them. Call me selfish, if you will. I wanted a career. I wanted to see the world, and being a black woman, I did not see how I could do that with a kid in tow, the way I wanted to do it. The same applies for marriage. I don’t believe in marriage, not for women, anyway. Besides, as I have said before in previous writings, that I am gay. I admitted that fact to myself and came to acceptance without having to deal with the consequences of children and marriage. My sexuality is not a choice. It simply is. Children and marriage are choices. Were I married and or pregnant or were raising children, I would still be a lesbian. It is my norm, just like being a woman, being black or being left handed.

I have never regretted that decision. I like kids, as long as I can send them home when I’m tired of them. The four years I spent living with my sister and her four children were the longest four years of my life. I love them all, but I was glad and relieved when they finally moved into a home of their own.

I have been watching with interest the story unfolding around the school teacher who forgot that her two year old was strapped in a car seat in her SUV as she drove to work on one of the hottest days of this year. The mother parked the car in the school parking lot, took doughnuts out of the trunk for a faculty meeting and left the baby in the car seat. She died after going unattended for 8 hours. The body was discovered by somebody else who was parked next to the mother’s SUV

Union Township police wanted the woman charged with child endangering. The Clermont County prosecutor said the whole situation was an accident. Since she didn’t intend to neglect her kid she did not commit a crime and therefore will not be punished.

The Cincinnati community is split with half wanting the woman jailed, while the other half agrees with the prosecutor.

It never occurred to me that the woman would be charged with a crime. Not because I don’t believe one was committed, but because of the surrounding circumstance.

If the woman had been poor, and lived in the inner city, married or not, working or not, she would have been jailed from day one. She would have been charged immediately convicted by the public, written off as an unfit mother and quickly forgotten. That is not a judgement, it is simply fact.

There is a woman in jail as I write this. A young girl, single, poor, who left her two kids in the closet at home while she went to work. This was a bad, bad decision. This was a dangerous decision. But was it criminal? Was there intent to harm? The children are okay, but as I said the mother is in jail, already labeled and in the court of public opinion, convicted. No one that I can see has jumped to her defense.

The offender in this case was a successful, career woman. She is married, living in the burbs, vice principal of a large suburban school. She is probably an expert multi tasker. She drove a Mercedes SUV, although it must be interjected that the car was purchased second hand after a wreck and her husband did the repairs himself. That has somehow been thrown out as a mitigating circumstance in this tragic affair.

In making his decision not to prosecute, the prosecutor said there was no intent to harm.

There was a young woman busted last week because her children were found walking down the street at daybreak while she slept in the house. She didn’t put them outside. She didn’t intend for them to get into a dangerous, life threatening situation. It just happened, an accident. She too, is jailed. The kids survived their ordeal.

Our suburbanite hasn’t spent one day in jail. She did talk with police and apparently cried during the interview, another apparent mitigating factor tossed out. She has an attorney instead of an overworked public defender.

Why is it that our compassion and justice system are apparently driven by economics and station in life? Why can’t poor people catch a break sometimes, like wealthier suburbanites?

A lot of us have too much on our minds. A lot of us spend too much time collecting stuff...cars, houses, jewelry and yes even children.

The decision to have children is a monumental one. It is not a decision that should simply be left to biology. Kids are life altering. They are the number one priority when you choose to have them, not the doughnuts, or the golf clubs, or the job or the house or the car. If they can’t be your number one priority, then you shouldn’t have them, period. Anyone who thinks otherwise, is deluding themselves.

It’s illegal in the state of California to leave a dog unattended in the car. The same should apply to kids regardless of your economic situation.
Post a Comment