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Killing Children

I'm sorry, I couldn't resist the cheap attention-grabbing title. But I shall establish relevance, I promise.

A few weeks ago, Dan Flynn made an entry in his blog entitled Hot Sauce, Cold Showers, and Hard Time. He compared Jessica Beagley, who was convicted of  child abuse for hot saucing her child, to Casey Anthony and Nga Thi Truong,  both of whom allegedly killed their children but face no prison time at all.

He summarizes by pointing out that "Mush heads have problems with parents disciplining children" but that the same mush heads also have a problem disciplining mothers who kill their children.

It's tempting to draw the conclusion that women who discipline their children too harshly are treated more severely than women who kill their children. He doesn't make a perfect argument. Casey Anthony was not released because the jury thought it was OK for her kill her child. She was released because they believed, rightly or wrongly, there was not sufficient evidence to convict her. And Ms.Truong was released on a technicality.

Holes aside, I don't think the conclusion is wrong. Fresh evidence has recently surfaced in Canada. Katrina Efert was given a suspended sentence for killing her newborn child. Judge Joanne Veit said in her decision  "Naturally, Canadians are grieved by an infant's death, especially at the hands of the infant's mother, but Canadians also grieve for the mother."

I don't grieve for the mother. She is the perpetrator, not the victim. The judges  statement reminds me too much of the old joke about the young man who killed his parents and wanted leniency because he was an orphan.

It might very well be that mothers who discipline their children too harshly are not judged as severely as mothers who kill their children. I hope that's not the case. Especially for the sake of all the difficult children out there whose mothers could face lighter  consequences for killing them than they would for spanking them too hard.