Had a pretty unique conversation this week with a friend about the recent headlines surrounding children who go “missing” or meet some unforgivable end at the hands of their loving parents.  While we both agreed that there is nothing more tragic than a child suffering the ultimate betrayal by those they love and trust to care for them, we debated whether or not we are seeing an increase in these types of cases, or whether we are just seeing more reporting of them.  Who cares, it gets us to the same place; People are killing their children.  To me it seems to be with increasing frequency, to him, we just see more reporting of what has been happening forever.

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I don’t know.  It seems to me that cases like Susan Smith caught our attention because it wasn’t so commonplace.  Heck, when I was young, it always seemed as though the event was rare enough that we could talk about it without another coming right along on its heels competing for our sympathies and attention. Now it’s multiple cases of abandonment, abuse and murder, week after week after week.  Were we really this depraved as a society years ago and I was just in the dark?  And the press didn’t care?  Really?

Ayla Reyonolds is still missing. Taken from her bed in her Waterville Maine home, her father tells us.  Miranda Rifenburgh abandons her three children in Portsmouth New Hampshire; thank god she didn’t harm them first. Dalisha Adams walked way from her children, 2 and 3 years old, on the streets of Brooklyn without looking back. Aliahna Lemmon was dropped in the care of a close family friend who ended up killing her with a brick before dismembering her. Camden Hughes was smothered by his mother who left his unidentified body by the side of a dirt road in Maine. Celina Cass mysteriously disappeared from the basement of her mother’s home only to be found at the base of a dam on the Connecticut River, her body wrapped in a blanket. And of course, Caylee Anthony, found in a swamp months after she wasn’t reported missing by her mother, kept us glued to the television as her mother walked away from any responsibility for her death.

And these are just the cases fresh in my mind.  There are countless more. If it has always been this way, shame on me for not noticing.  Shame on all of us for not making it more urgent to notice. Personally, I still feel that there are more of these cases than ever before. No, I don’t want to do any research to back that up.  If true, it certainly says that we have degenerated as a society, where we now have a disdain for our children and the “burdens” they inflict upon us. At least that seems to be the excuse or rationale for it, if rationale is even an appropriate word here.  Heaven forbid something gets in the way of my dreams, my desire to have unfettered sexual relationships, my ability to have a better car, a nice handbag or the time to go clubbing. We can’t have someone intruding on our self fulfillment.

Is this the way it’s always been? Did we never love our children?  In each of the cases above, it’s startling to hear the parents talk about how they loved their children, and their supporters talk about how good a parent they were. If this is the way it always was, what have we as a society ever had to be proud of? Certainly not loving our children. As bad as it is to commit this type of crime against humanity, it is equally as bad to be apathetic about it.

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