Fifty Years Later, Still Losing Ground

James P. writes:

The Daily Mail reports that two 18-year-old sisters in Alabama left their three toddlers alone, and the children died in a fire because their mothers had left the oven on to keep them warm.

The mothers both had children when they were 15; there is no sign of the children’s fathers.

The mothers are named Akeevia Lajoseia Abner and Tekeevia Lajoseialan Abner. (Words fail me.)

The children were named Aniyia, Takia, and Michael (how did he escape having a bizarre made-up name?).

A neighbor claims the mothers should not be punished because, “‘The mothers, they are already in a prison in their minds because they have to live with the fact they are responsible for their children dying.” (An inversion of the usual definition of chutzpah, which is to kill your parents and demand mercy as an orphan.)

Takeevia.jpg Akeevia.jpg
Akeevia Lajoseia Abner and Tekeevia Lajoseialan Abner

LA writes:

Based on the photographs of the three dead children, they were not grossly abused when they were alive. They are neatly dressed and cute.

- end of initial entry -

LA to James P.:

How do you find these horror stories? Just check out the Daily Mail each day?

James P. replies:

Yes. Despite its lower-middle-class-tabloid nature, the Daily Mail has more real news in it than most U.S. newspapers.

Steve W. writes:

Anyone who reads big city newspapers comes across stories like this one on a regular basis. They follow a familiar pattern, with minor variations: Young underclass black kids are left home alone with a running space heater, oven, stove, etc. A fire breaks out and some or all of the children perish. The adults, single mothers or grandmothers or aunts, usually escape injury. It seems obvious that these fires and deaths are not always accidents. They happen too frequently, follow a similar script, and result in the children’s deaths only. You rarely read of similar events happening in poor white and Hispanic neighborhoods. I am amazed that no one in the government, the media, the child services industry, etc., appears to notice, let alone comment upon, this disturbing phenomenon.

LA replies:

That’s the first time I’ve heard it suggested that such fires happen “accidentally on purpose.”

Sage McLaughlin writes:

Subject: Call me a bleeding heart

James P. says that the Abner women’s neighbor is engaged in “An inversion of the usual definition of chutzpah, which is to kill your parents and demand mercy as an orphan.” I don’t think this is quite right. These women were stupid and negligent, there’s no question about that. But the neighbor does not deny that they are responsible for their children’s deaths, and it was not, after all, a murder. There really is something to the fact that these women benefit not one bit from what happened—it’s not like they’re getting away with something, no matter what the state decides to do.

Can you nail them on criminal negligence? Maybe, though I will say this—I’ve lived in some fairly humble circumstances before, and had to use the oven to keep the place warm. I can understand the temptation to leave an electric appliance running. Now, I’m willing to bet they knew there was some risk there, and the real issue is their leaving a bunch of toddlers home alone in the first place. The reason they did so is probably not exculpatory, and given the social circumstances it was probably frivolous. So it’s not as though they’re blameless.

Still, I don’t know that it’s fair to compare them to a man who murders his parents.

Patrick H. writes:

Whether or not the two black mothers murdered their children or simply neglected them to death, do you not find disturbing, as I do, the expressions on their faces in their mug shots? They look calm, even serene. Not only do they not seem in the least upset that they’re being mug-shot, they seem singularly unperturbed that their children have just died, and horribly too. They look like nothing so much as a pair of princesses, secure in their sense of entitlement, granting the onlooker a momentary audience with their royal highnesses. If I could see beyond the edge of the photos, I would expect to see their hands raised, languidly waving, the only sign that they are aware of the existence of anyone but themselves. I certainly see no evidence of any such awareness in their blank, indifferent faces. All they look like is…bored.

Am I the only one seeing this?

Beth M. writes:

I strongly disagree that fires of this sort are deliberately set with the intention of killing the children. The children involved are rarely insured, and if they are, it is for a de minimus amount ($10,000, etc.) The common link here is that the parents are minorities AND single AND young. A frequent fact pattern that I have seen is that the power has been disconnected for non-payment of the electric bill, and young children are left at home alone, or in the care of an older child or very young teenager, with CANDLES for light while the babymomma goes out to a nightclub. Tragedy follows.

The age group of mothers most likely to have a young child die of accidental causes is the teenage group, which is also the poorest group. But the second-poorest group of mothers are the OLDEST mothers, and they are the least likely to have a young child die of accidental causes.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 09, 2011 09:52 AM | Send

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