Originally Posted by GalateaDunkel
I don't think 'there but for the grace of God go I' and legal accountability are incompatible. I feel sorry for the parent but a LOT more sorry for the child who dies this way. It's the job of prosecutors to defend the rights of every member of society and I think that depending on the details of the situation, legal action can be society's way of saying 'even though he was a child, this person was a full member of society whose loss was a loss to us all, not just you personally as a parent, and you are accountable to us.' I think letting the loss of small children be treated as a purely private matter sets a dangerous precedent. Namely that it is up to the parents' discretion how hard they will work at keeping their kids alive, in a culture where there's not public accountability for the results. And from there how far is it to a situation where parents have discretion to voluntarily kill their children? There are proposals out there to the effect that parents of sick or SN children have a four week grace period after birth when they can opt to have the child euthanized. They already have a similar situation in the Netherlands, and there are credible reports of passive euthanasia (e.g. not fixing bowel obstructions in Down syndrome newborns) in the US.
Holding parents publicly accountable for their children is a major advance in civilization, over older civilizations where the father had the power of life and death and I don't want to see it reversed, even a little.
That doesn't mean I can't say 'there but for the grace of God', just as I do when I hear about other serious mistakes people make.
GalateaD~ I really respect your opinions, but I think there are exceptions to every rule.
For instance, I don't think every death should have a criminal investigation, or a trial, or a punnishment. I'm speaking from experience here. My mother was killed by an innattentive driver three years ago. At first, I wanted her (the driver) jailed, punished, and criminalized as much as possible. BUT, after time, I realized the importance of forgiveness, and I worked *very hard* at putting myself in her shoes. I am sure, completely sure, that the guilt she lives with is punishment enough. No one is perfect. There are accidents. Just because my dear mother's life was lost, and she was taken from the children and grandchildren that loved her dearly, doesn't mean that this other grandmother should lose what she loves as well. An eye for and eye makes everyone blind, you know? The specifics of each case, or each tragedy, are very important, in my opinion.
(ETA): In the case of my mom, there was a criminal investigation. But because we as a family decided to treat it as an accident, the prosecutor took that tone as well. It was because of our feelings that she wasn't given a more severe punishment. In the end, I believe she was given community service and her license was suspended for a period of time. I recognize that deaths need to be investigated, and that there needs to be some consequence (usually) for a death, but I really think the type of death (accidental, neglectful, puposeful, etc.) and the circumstances of the accident need to be weighed.
And also, I do believe that parents of some
newly-born SN kids should have the choice to euthanize. Again, I'm speaking from experience. I have two severely special needs children. Would I have euthanized them? No. But I know other parents, watching their newborns in the NICU, who saw that nothing could be done to save them. Nothing. And instead of having an painless, short way to stop their suffering, these parents had to end their child's suffering the only way legally available to them: starvation and liquid deprivation. I know of two parents who watched their newborn suffer without food or nourishment for 10 days
before she died. Now tell me--how is that the outcome of a higher civilization? If we can choose to end the suffering of a pet who has nothing left but pain and death in its future, why can't we extend the same loving mercy to a baby?
I understand it's a slippery slope, and that nobody wants to touch this mess of ethics etc.. But I also wish we could understand the agony of the parents that watch their babies starve to death, and give them a merciful option. To me, our collective distain and hesitation to address the subject (as a society) is inhumane. Because we can't agree what's right, and what's fair, and get it down to specifics, parents and babies suffer horribly in these rare, horrible, tragic situations.
A little OT, but the talking in absolutes on this thread is getting to me.
I've lost someone I loved very much
in an accident. I've also experienced the pain of having severely handicapped children, and watched friends suffer the inevitable loss of a baby in a very gruesome way (starvation).
There is tremendous truth in the "walk a mile in someone else's shoes" proverb. You can't know until you've been there.