Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Concrete Angel

I just read this story on cnn.com. It really disturbed me on several levels.

The detail about the boy's tiny black, lime, and grey Skechers upset me because that's a perfect description of my own son's sneakers.

But that's not the thing that upset me the most. What bothered me was wondering where this so-called community that has poured out its heart and emptied its collective pocketbook in an effort to bury the child and buy new lighting for their park was while he was being murdered and probably abused beforehand.

Maybe if they had offered that same sense of reaching out and providing support to his family before he was murdered, he would still be alive.

How many kids today would have avoided being murdered if a neighbor, cousin, friend, teacher, or colleague or government agency gave an over-stressed parent an outlet for venting his or her anger or offered a parenting class, or took the baby for an afternoon so the mother could sleep?

I am not excusing or dismissing the fact that anyone who murders a child is acting in a monstrous manner.

I just fail to see the purpose in expressing outrage and collecting donations after a baby boy has been senselessly murdered. It seems that energy and those resources would have been put to better use trying to figure out some way to ensure that something like that never happens.


Lisa said...

It's just gut-wrenching. And your question is a good one. I wonder what motivates people to contribute stuff to those roadside memorials and public displays, especially when they might not have any real connection to the dead person. Do they feel a need to be included somehow in the community? Do they have to do something to fully experience their grief? I don't get it.

But you take it a step further wondering why we don't do more before the tragedy happens. I guess we Americans are very much inculcated with that rugged individualism, the idea that we should not meddle, somehow. I know I am loathe to speak up when I see someone else's kid acting the fool because I've been burned before by an angry, defensive parent.

Still - the one time I was sure that a child was being abused, I contacted the authorities. Not doing it was NOT an option.

Dawn said...

I think that must be it, Lisa, on both sides of the issue.

As a people, we both long to be a cohesive society and to feel connected to one another because that is the true state of our souls, yet, we've been taught to act as individuals, so we keep each to our own.

I remember when I was a little kid, one of my cousin's teachers noticed marks on his back and came to my mother about it. It turned out my aunt had been beating her kids with a belt and ultimately it led to my aunt and uncle divorcing and him retaining custody of the kids. He was in the Air Force and wasn't home so he didn't know what was going on. No police were brought in, but the problem was resolved because someone noticed and spoke up.

And I'm guilty of it, too. I keep my distance, but I think I will start looking for opportunities to reach out and help others when and where I can.