Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Question Unasked

Susan had an interesting blog today about what constitutes a criminally negligent parent. It made me think about something that has been bothering since I first heard about the little British girl who was kidnapped in Portugal.

When I saw it, the question that immediately sprang to mind was, "What the HELL were they thinking?"

As I heard, and later read, the parents left their three year old daughter alone in a room in a foreign country, while they went out to eat and she subsequently disappeared.

Now they have the whole world offering rewards for her return and they've even met with the pope for consolation. Yet nowhere have I seen that question raised - why in the world would they have left a small child alone like that? She was asleep and they were hungry? For crying out loud, one of you go get something and bring it back while the other watches the kids!

I, too, hope she is returned safe and sound. But while everyone is pouring their hearts out to these parents, shouldn't they also ask them what the hell were they thinking? It's illegal in this country to leave a child alone before they reach 14 years of age. Parent who do so, and are found out, are generally charged with child endangerment and neglect, sometimes they even lose custody if it's bad enough.

Maybe I'm being harsh and judgemental, but I think those parents are partially responsible for what happened and should also be held accountable.

I'm not a perfect parent either, but this (and the case Susan blogged about) are just two more reminders that "common sense" is not common at all.

Ok, I'm done ranting now. Just had to get that off my chest before I pack up my computer.

Have a great June, people.


Susan Miller said...

Oh good gosh, Kate. You will be missed. Send smoke signals if you need us.

I was amazed at the feedback on the bad parenting story, and I agree with you in there seems to be very little common sense used.

Of course, I can look back and say in so many ways I parented on a "wing and a prayer" and we lucked out more times than not.

Anonymous said...

What you wrote, I wrote in so many blogs already. I read so many criticism on the Portuguese Police but the bottom line is that it wasn't the Police who left Madeleine alone!
I know of a Portuguese couple that for much much less almost lost their children's custody in London. Sometimes I think that the Portuguese are too scared of damaging tourism by not acting against the McCanns for child neglect.
I am Portuguese and I live outside Portugal, but this I also know, when I go there on a holiday I never leave my kids alone. And they speak Portuguese! But Portugal for them is a foreign country.
Now, for the McCanns, what about if there was a fire or something else???? Would you there to leave your kids alone in the UK?
I just don't get it.

Kate S said...

Thanks, Susan. If you see smoke signals, or a flashing mirror somewhere, that will probably be me. :) (I just couldn't bring myself to pack it last night - but I know I'm on borrowed time here. Tomorrow is the last day.)

O Ebaixador, thanks for stopping by. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who has noticed this, but from the media silence on the subject, you'd think we were the only two.

I'm already trying to figure out how to keep from leaving my daughter alone in a hotel over the next two weeks while I have to work--and she's 15, not 4.

SQT said...

I agree with you Kate. I go to great pains to never leave my kids alone and it bugs me to no end when other parents somehow think the basic rules of childcare don't apply to them. I feel terribly for these parents, I'm sure they're flogging themselves every day. But they shouldn't have left the kid alone.

I saw a story today and it made me think of you. This guy was arrested today. He's been using other people's names to send out spam. I don't know how it's done exactly, but he steals domain names and uses them when he does his mass spamming. Since someone stole your name, I thought this might be what happened to you.

I'll miss you too btw.

Charles Gramlich said...

Do please let us know what is going on with you as soon as you can. I agree with everyone else. We'll miss you.

The parents should certainly never have left their child alone. It's ridiculous.

avery said...

It's truly unfortunate that some people are allowed to reproduce. People can be allowed a lapse of common sense when they're dealing only with themselves, but when a kid's involved, there's no room for that. Poor kid. What she probably has (or had) to suffer for her parents' rampant stupidity.

Be well, Kate. I'm sincerely hoping everything works out for you and that the next couple of months are as easy for you as possible.

Sidney said...

Take care, hope to see you soon again in the blogosphere.

Steve Malley said...

See you soon, I hope. The blogosphere won't be the same without ye!

Stewart Sternberg said...

Go to a library, stop at a friends...but I expect one visit a week from you on the blog. I don't accept this absence. I know you have to do what you need to do...but for goodness sakes. I'll miss you.

Kate S said...

Thanks Charles, SQT, Avery, Sidney, Steve and Stewart.

I've been operating strictly under Murphy's Law for the last several days and haven't been able to respond as fully as I would like.

As soon as I get a chance, I'll try to get caught up. You wouldn't believe all that has happened.

Take care, everyone.

Oh, and Sqt - I contacted Yahoo about someone abusing my domain name and email, and all they did was say no one could use my domain or email but me, and proceeded to tell me how to block spam from my inbox. Sheesh. Since then, I've received more spam from "myself."

Susan Miller said...

I do miss you, Kate, and always have a watch out for smoke signals or flashing mirrors.

Kate S said...

Thanks, Susan. :)

I miss catching up with everybody too. It's been torture.

Sphinx Ink said...

I agree, Kate. The first thing I thought was, who would leave such very young children by themselves, even for a half-hour, much less for a leisurely dinner? What is wrong with those people?

By the way, I'm tagging you to take part in a "meme." If you'd like to participate, go to my blog entry for June 19 at to learn more. It was fun. I realize you are on blog hiatus right now, but I hope you'll be returning after you settle into new digs. Good luck.

SQT said...

Okay, you need to come back now. I miss you.

Kate S said...

Thanks, SQT. I miss you all too.

I'm hoping this week should see things settling down - more or less. According to the phone company, my DSL should be connected tomorrow when I move into the new place, so we'll see. Keep your fingers crossed!

Lots is going on - lots of news - looking forward to getting caught up.