Family and Other Threats to a Child's Health

Recently, McKinleyville, CA was shocked by a crime. A woman is found wandering around naked with abrasions.  She is incoherent.  Doesn't know how she got to where she was or why she was naked.  (This is actually not the first time something like this has happened in the area, by the way.  The rest of the story is new for our region, however.)  The police suspect she has a child, but there is no child with her.  They found the woman's vehicle, and they found items that appeared to have been tossed out of it over a ten mile stretch, including items belonging to a child.

Police begin searching for the woman's daughter.  The woman is of little help at first, but then memories start coming back.  Soon the two-year-old girl is found, dead in a river.  Her mother drowned her.  Obviously, this is disturbing.  Jump forward to this weekend.

I'm with my daughter as she preps to march in a parade.  I'm marching with her.  Another parent is at the meeting place with her daughter.  Eventually the mother says, "I'm going to go off to find a vantage point for the parade.  Can she just stay here with you?"

I didn't say "no," though I was stunned a mother would just leave her daughter with me, a stranger.  Oh, the mother never bothered to get my cell phone number ... or my name.  She had known me all of twenty minutes and had said all of eight sentences to me before she got the wonderful idea to leave her child in my possession.  My daughter thought it was strange, and I had to assure her that I would never leave her with a stranger like that.

Am I wrong in finding this odd?

I'm not one to abuse a child.  This woman didn't know that, however.  She didn't know my name, where I lived, anything.  Suppose I had done something to her kid?  What would she tell the police?  "I left her at the flagpole, officer, with some guy.  No, I don't know his name or his number or where he lives.  I can give you a description.  Middle-aged, white, shaved head, goatee."  That's the description of just about every white criminal out there.  That would be fun for the cops trying to figure that one out.

Strangers are obviously a threat to children.  I think we tend to ignore that family is a huge threat, too.  They are an even more insidious threat because your family is supposed to keep you safe.  When the people you trust with your life and safety turn on you it's terrifying.

The McKinleyville woman who drowned her child has mental problems.  It's not an excuse for doing the crime; it's the reason.  I feel for the child's family,  but I have no sympathy for the mother.  People can question what happened and why all they want, but it doesn't change the outcome one damn bit.  The woman at the parade was lucky (as was her daughter) that I'm not a pedophile or murderer.  She took a chance, though.  A huge chance.  She trusted the safety of what should be the love of her life with someone she had zero clue about.  All for a good seat at the parade.  If that isn't the definition of reckless, I don't know what the word means.  I just hope her kid questions her about that someday.  I'd like to know what answer the mom would give.  To me, there is no justifying it.  There's only apologizing and being thankful her little girl didn't end  in a bad way, too.  What are people thinking?

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