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Lost Souls

February 5, 2013

Columbine, the Amish School massacre, Sandy Hook these tragedies have elicited a major outcry from the public and our government for stricter laws      , tougher background checks and greater protection for our children while at school. Debates rage, bills introduced and the public mourns the loss of these young innocent lives. Okay let’s try a few more names; Donavin Cochrane, Emilliano Terry, Bianca Jones any of these names ring a bell? How about Caylee Anthony? In the United States there are more reported cases of child abuse, close to 3.3 million a year, than in any other industrialized country in the world. On average 5 children die every day as a result of this abuse and neglect.

Nicole Fitzgerald of Baltimore stabbed her two-year-old son to death. Jennifer Lynn Emerick of Huron, Michigan, suffocated her 23-month-old son. Jessica Elizabeth Rhodes of Pennsylvania beat and shook her 14-month-old son so badly it nearly killed him; he suffered brain bleeding and swelling, and eye hemorrhaging. Kristine Davis of New Hampshire poisoned her seven-month-old son. Veronica Herrera of Boise, Idaho, killed her 2-year-old daughter and burned her body in a barrel in the back yard of her home. Lashay Patterson and her live-in boyfriend, both of Philadelphia, beat and burned her five-year-old son to death. These are only a one week sample of the types of atrocities that are happening to way too many children every day in our country. Why do we not here about this? Where is the outcry for these children, where is the legislation to protect others from sharing their fate?

Every day children are beaten, abused, neglected and killed by the very people who should be doing everything to protect them. We too often in this country let the media dictate what we should care about, what should concern us and what action we should be taking. They tell us what food to eat, what clothes to wear, who to vote for and what to think. We are letting the media tell these children they are not important enough to deserve our attention. The statistics on this epidemic are staggering 3.3 million cases involving at least 6 million children who need a voice, a champion and our media simply ignores it because it is not sensational enough to boost their ratings. When did journalism become about ratings, endorsements and big money instead of exposing the truth of our world no matter the cost?

We rely on a broken system to somehow magically rescue each of these children, our child protective services are overwhelmed at the number of cases they deal with. They are overworked, understaffed and blamed for not doing anything. They are buried in tons of  red tape that more often than not places the child right back into a harmful, often times deadly situation. They are returned to homes where the physical and emotional scars are often times irreversible for them and their siblings. If they make it to adulthood a large majority end up in prison or on the street with substance abuse problems. By ignoring this we doom them to a vicious cycle of mental health, drug and behavioral problems and repeating the same violence to their children.

I was sickened to read several reports that lamented at how much this problem is costing. We spend billions on wars that are not our own, yet we turn up our noses at what saving the life of a child costs! How can you put a cost on saving a human life? Thousands of children are dying every year not because of guns or the flu, as the media would have you believe, they are dying at the hands of their parents. When is enough, enough; when are we finally going to do something about this broken system, when are we going to stop the cycle? Scared, hurt and alone they pray to be taken away, to be given a life, to be loved and shown they are not worthless. Some hope salvation will come knocking in the form of CPS or the police. Others have lost that hope; they now pray that the sweet escape and lasting peace that death will bring to them. How can we allow this to go on, how can we tell them they are not as important? That they don’t deserve the same outpouring of our hearts and the same rage we feel for the victims of other tragedies.

The solution to this is at the bottom of a very murky pool, there is no cookie cutter answer for every case. But the more light we shed on this, the more we work together and push for a solution the better it will be. Do not let the media dictate were your sympathies lie, stand up for EVERYONE who cannot do so for themselves. Challenge the system, push for change when it is not working. Let your voice be known, your opinions be heard and get up on your “soapbox” as often as necessary. You wish to see the world a better place? It starts with you.

Nicole Schmidt

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One Comment
  1. Chris permalink

    Sad but very true……

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