I was watching the news intently, looking for any updates on little Ayla Reynolds of Waterville Maine who went missing from the care of her father the week before Christmas. The offer of a $30,000 reward for information leading to her return was pushed aside by the news of the discovery of the remains of little Aliahna Lemmon in Indiana. Missing since December 22nd, Aliahna was bludgeoned to death with a brick and dismembered by her baby sitter. It’s getting hard to be the optimist, hoping 20-month old Ayla will escape a horrific fate of her own. In all of the conversations and articles on either case, you’ll find someone asking “why.” I’m beyond asking why. I’m interested in “what now?”

Daddy knows....

Think of all the “whys” for a moment; Why would a 20 month old toddler get up from her bed in the middle of a dark Maine night, walk downstairs through a home she was unfamiliar with, quietly open and close the door and walk away into the frigid night wearing only her footie pajamas emblazoned with “Daddy’s Princess” across the front, as Ayla’s father would have us believe. Why would Aliahna’s mother put her and her two younger siblings in the care of a “family friend” for a week while she was sick, instead of family? Why would this family friend not inform her that there were at least 15 sex offenders living in the trailer park she was dropping her children off at? Why indeed? Why would someone kill a child?

Placed with a caring friend...

There are varied reasons for asking why. We are all so numbed by the murder of our most vulnerable that sometimes why is the only thing we can process. Some people are just morbidly curious, still others are convinced that if we just understood their motives or pathologies that we might be able to rehabilitate or possibly prevent other such troubled souls from feeding on our young in the future. This is what concerns me about “why.” Why often leads to “it wasn’t their fault; they couldn’t help themselves, they had a tough life as a child,” all the rest. I personally don’t need to know why. The asking almost begs for an excuse of the act.

I would rather know “what now?” As in, there were several adults in the home the night Ayla disappeared as her father Justin DiPietro had described. What now? Simple, lock them all up until she is found. Too draconian, I know. But someone knows something, and waiting until concerned citizens cough up enough money to convince others to do the right thing just irritates the hell out of me. And what do we do with Michael Plumadore, who confessed to killing Aliahna and dismembering her with a hacksaw? Let him plead insanity, give him 3 hots, a cot, some cable TV, and a taxpayer funded library maybe? This bastard will never leave a psych ward, let alone get into “general population” where he at least belongs. He really needs to see the business end of a legal needle.

So what now? Do we start enforcing the death penalty for child rape or murder? Do we chain our children to the couch because we cannot protect them beyond our own doors?  What does that do for those who are killed by the actions or neglect of their own self-absorbed sorry excuse for parents?

We need courage; “Why” does not even require an answer.  “What now” requires us to act.  It is time.