Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Savage adults and their tiny victims

Express Staff Writer

Statisticians have data on literally thousands of topics—learning, marriage and divorce rates, worker output, earning power, human longevity, debt, etc.

Overlooked and desperately needed is this: Adult cruelty toward children.

Adult savagery toward tiny victims has become so nauseating in magnitude and style that news stories about brutality are almost impossible to finish.

Without going into ghastly details, here are samples that easily turn the stomachs of mentally healthy adults:

- An Ohio woman goes to prison for life for killing her 28-day-old daughter by baking her in a microwave.

- A Texas woman kills her child and leaves her under a blanket on the side of a Massachusetts road.

- Dozens of cases of women killing pregnant women, slashing open their bodies and stealing the fetuses.

- An Arizona child dies after being gagged and her hands tied behind her to prevent her from scratching burned legs—burns inflicted as punishment by a grandmother.

- Children die after being left in hot cars while mothers shop or frolic in a bar.

- Children raped by adult men.

- Children used in pornographic films.

- Children murdered by parents during marital spats.

- Children caged and shackled as punishment.

- Tykes sold to pay for drugs.

Can anyone explain this inhumanity?

Adults with impulses to kill or brutally abuse children are criminal products of their own abusive childhoods. Or, mentally ill. Or, pathetic ignoramuses. Or, captives of the influence of vivid TV crime programs. Or, drugs and alcohol. Or, people with no purposeful lives or contributions to their society.

Is our country's rush into war also causing the depersonalization of life?

A shocking number of young GIs are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with mental illnesses. More GIs have murdered civilians during their overseas service. And the incidence of GIs abusing their spouses and children upon returning home is alarming.

Human behavior is shaped in a slow, methodical, anthropological process. An upward trend in incidence of human cruelty, rage, brutality and murder is obviously well underway. We've also seen a worsening trend in public dishonesty, cheating and lying among society's supposed Simon Pure exemplars.

I'll take a crack at a fundamental cause: Poor parenting.

Children who grow up in an atmosphere where parental authority is firm and respected, where ethics of truth, honesty and regard for others are emphasized, where spiritual or religious values are important, where learning and education are essential and a work ethic is obvious generally mature into adults who're social assets.

Children lacking that nurturing are empty of basic qualities required of a civilized human.

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