Saturday, July 23, 2011

Crazy about Caylee

Published in the Umatuna, 07/24/11, the newspaper of the Archdioces of Hagatna, Guam

An estimated 142 million people tuned into the recent Casey Anthony verdict on radio and television. On the internet, there were 3.3 million page views per minute to news sites carrying the story. CNN and ABC announced record traffic, and Facebook reported at least 10 posts per second.

The phrase "media frenzy" sounds too cliche to characterize the rampage. The word "zoo" came to mind, but the comparison would have been unkind to the animals. The case had become a case itself. Why the mad obsession with the "tot mom" who was alleged to have killed her child?

In the United States, parents kill their children with great frequency. In addition to the 4000 children killed every day in the womb, another 584 children under the age of 5 are reported murdered annually, mostly by their parents. According to the Bureau of Justice, 31% are killed by their fathers, 29% killed by their mothers, 23% are killed by male acquaintances, 7% killed by another relative, and 3% killed by a stranger.

These stats kind of turn the old advice to "beware of strangers" on its head. Add to the number of murdered kids another 203,900 children who are victims of family abductions, and the growing evidence that another 7,000 child murders each year are probably misreported as SIDS, and its obvious that it's not the “nice man” in the car with the candy that kids need to beware of!

Infanticide, the propensity of parents to kill their children, has pervaded every level of cultural complexity throughout human history. Where it has been socially acceptable, poverty and food scarcity are usually the reasons. However, history also records “pleasure-seeking” and promiscuity as reasons children are disposed of in more affluent societies.

One such affluent society is the United States. A 1994 CDC study , which compared child murder rates in the United States with 26 of the world’s most developed countries, reported that the homicide rate for children in the U.S. was five times higher than that for children in the other 25 countries combined. And, as reported above, 60% of these children are killed by their parents. (And we were told that easy access to legal abortion would lessen crimes against children!)

A certain type of infanticide is actually legal in states and territories that do not have a BAIPA. BAIPA stands for “Born Alive Infant Protection Act” and mandates care for infants that survive a failed abortion. In 2002, the Federal Government passed a BAIPA into law, clearing the way for states to pass their own BAIPA’s.

In January, 2010, a local version of a BAIPA was introduced on Guam as Bill 309-30. The bill's introduction was partially prompted by stories leaking from GMH about abortions gone bad elsewhere with mothers then rushing to the emergency room where badly damaged babies were sometimes born alive. (I know of at least one such child who survived and was adopted by a friend of mine.)

The majority of states have some form of a BAIPA, and even NARAL, the most vociferous pro-abortion organization in the nation, publicly supported the federal BAIPA. It is therefore a curious thing that our own Legislature was unwilling even to bring the measure to a vote. Thus, Guam remains one of the few places in the nation where it is still legal to kill or let die a newborn child, so long as the child was unwanted and sentenced to death by abortion in the first place.

According to the prosecution in the Anthony case, Casey’s daughter Caylee was an unwanted child whom Casey killed or had killed because Caylee was an encumbrance to Casey’s “pleasure seeking” or hard partying ways. Casey was cleared of murder, but if she did kill her daughter, it seems her only crime was that she waited a couple years too long.

Perhaps she, or whoever killed Caylee, took the Planned Parenthood slogan “Every child a wanted child”, a little too literally.
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