A news story has been running in the paper the last several days about a three year-old girl who is missing. They have found her boots at different places in the river that runs behind her house, so the working theory is that she drowned. It's sad, a tragedy, yada yada yada. I feel bad, really I do. Details took a few days to emerge, but the mother says she went to the bathroom and shen she got out, the back door was open and the girl was gone.
Yeah, it's sad... but so what?
I know that I sound callous, but that isn't what I'm trying to say. I read the arcitles each day, and as the days went on, I started seeing things that didn't add up. For example, DHHS (Dept. of Health and Human Services) took the other child in the home, a one year-old baby away. Why? Then they (news reporters) were looking into the mother's background and mentioned repeatedly that the children had different fathers, and they had just moved to the areas (making them sound like transients). I started thinking - when did people stop believing in the basic goodness of others? I read the story the first day and thought, "Oh, the poor kid. It says she loved the river. Poor thing probably got swept away. It's not the mother's fault, though." But as each day passed, I heard more and more accusatory remarks. In the teacher's room the theories were running rampant: "I heard the mother'd been busted for drugs." "Some sicko probably snatched her and threw the boots in the river to throw off the scent." "The mom has a new baby, she probably was sick of the older one." I'm not kidding - these are actual comments made by (seemingly) educated people.
Why can't the story just be exactly what it is - a tragic accident? Should mothers not even be able to urinate without feeling guilty? What is the matter with people?! Dr. Spok said once that the simplest explaination is the most likely one. Although he was talking about transpoter malfunctions, I think that statement applies here. Calm down, people! Innocent until proven guilty, right? Don't blame the victim, right? RIGHT?! I hope the woman is cleared of any wrongdoing and that she writes a scathing novel about how judgemental people can be.
In lighter news, my cousin Jesse, an adult with autism participated in the annual Walk With Autism in Bangor this week. He was interviewed for the news. You can see the video of it here (you may have to click on the "video" link on that page - it's on the top right).