Time Magazine Cover Sucks

Okay, like most people, I’m a little uneasy at seeing a 3-year-old boy pose for a photo by sucking at his mother’s breast for the cover of Time Magazine (there is a discussion on parental attachment in the issue).  Is it a sick version of kiddie porn or a cheap shot at showing a breast on the cover?

I’m not sure how Time can get away with this photo at a time when seeing women breastfeed babies in public is receiving controversy. I think Time could have used more tact. Why is it we have to show our body parts in order to get attention on important issues? Would they show a covert penis by a clock if they talked about viagara’s side effects? Would they use the image of a man’s bare back while jacking off to porn? Well, you get it. Men simply don’t have to show their penises in public to stir public discourse.

Time Magazine cover

“Are you Mom enough?’ Are they serious? Nothing says “Happy Mother’s Day” like a cover that continues with today’s parody of moms – wasn’t the Toast of the Town available?

No excuse but one for Josh Powell – He was dangerous

According to the Associated Press (printed in the Washington Post), Josh Powell’s note was…”a farewell to the world after two years of being scrutinized in the media, hammered by police and questioned by judges, prosecutors and social workers, living his life under a microscope since the day his wife vanished.” Really? Life was so hard for him he blew up his two young children? Poor guy.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/explosion-at-wash-home-kills-josh-powell-husband-of-missing-utah-woman-2-young-sons/2012/02/05/gIQAk3dmsQ_story.html

According to another Associate Press article, writers Brian Skoloff, Gene Johnson, and Mike Baker called the case a “salacious saga of finger-pointing and accusations of sex and lies.” So did the tawdry circumstances lead him to kill his children?

http://news.yahoo.com/fire-kills-husband-missing-utah-woman-2-boys-041211345.html

Worse yet, q13fox.com quotes a prosecutor that believes it was the psycho-sexual evaluation that led Powell to murder the kids:

Just last week, the court ordered the boys’ dad, Josh, to undergo a psycho-sexual evaluation.

Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist thinks that may have been what triggered Sunday’s fire.

“Those tests are highly intrusive, highly thorough,” Lindquist said. “They cover a person’s entire life history, sexual history and there’s a polygraph involved.  That was a good choice to get at information.  Clearly it was something Mr. Powell feared and wasn’t about to go through.”

http://www.q13fox.com/news/kcpq-could-more-have-been-done-to-protect-powell-boys-20120206,0,4410383.story

Are you kidding me?

Apparently, the only adults who recognized that Josh Powell, the only suspect in his wife’s disappearance, was dangerous were Susan Powell’s parents. They feared something like this would happen – if only we allowed fear-based suspicions to be used, we’d avert a lot of murders. At a conference on femicide at John Jay College in New York a few years ago, an expert indicated fear was the best indicator for a woman’s murder. Couldn’t there be a fear test just as there is a psycho-sexual test? Couldn’t we put trust into people’s knowledge of the suspect and their instinct? These murders are not unpredictable.

Nor are they an “extreme anomaly” as Carol Gage was quoted saying in an article (“Powell case raises questions about custody laws”) by John Hollenhorst.

http://www.ksl.com/index.php?nid=148&sid=19139856

Actually, the Leadership Council on Child Abuse and Interpersonal Violence estimates 58,000 children a year go into unsupervised visitation or sole or joint custody with a physically or sexually abusive parent. Although Powell, the primary suspect in his wife’s disappearance, had supervised visitation, it was at his father’s home — in Washington state (although the children had previously lived in Utah). I’m sure his pro bono lawyer helped him achieve that – quite a feat since many battered women don’t even have legal counsel when they go into court. This is one reason women who allege abuse can lose custody; another is the current climate that stresses contact with both parents. Parental rights shouldn’t – but often enough they do – trump children’s safety, as this case clearly illustrates. For more examples of custody-related homicides like these, the blog Dastardly Dads is one of the few sources keeping track of these tragedies: http://dastardlydads.blogspot.com/  They occur far more often than the media will admit .

Aside from context, headlines should also correctly place the blame and read something like this – Josh Powell, suspect in wife’s disappearance, sets fire to home, kills self, two sons. It should include his name and perhaps his status in the case. It should identify him as the person who set the fire, in an active voice (not “Fire kills husband of missing Utah woman , 2 boys” ). And, he should be identified as the father of the children. I’ve noted several cases of “father absent” headlines on my blog in the past.

The media can help raise awareness of custody-related cases of murder by providing accurate headlines and basic context — and most importantly, by correctly identifying the cause of murder – in this case, a dangerous father with malicious intent.

 

 

Female murder-suicide case

Okay, I don’t see a ‘nice woman kills family’ template like is typical with the “nice guy kills ex/wife/family.” But, like with male perps, they have not identified this woman’s relationship to the baby – nor have they mentioned the other victims in the headline:

Neighbor saw woman shoot at baby

 

Authorities have said five people, including two children and a baby, were killed in a murder-suicide, but they haven’t identified the shooter. The bodies were found Friday in Emington, a small farming community about 80 miles southwest of Chicago.

Criminalizing moms

This article makes an excellent point about black mothers – but, it also applies to any mother.  On other posts, I’ve written about mothers being held to higher standards than fathers, mothers being jailed for refusing to hand over custody to abusers, and mothers being treated unjustly by the family court system.

Jezebels, welfare queens–and now, criminally bad black moms

Nelson was chasing after him with her 2-year-old daughter in her arms when the family was hit by a driver with two prior drunk driving and hit-and-run convictions on his record. He was again drunk that night, and later served six months in jail for his crime.

For her loss, the Cobb County solicitor general charged Nelson, who didn’t even own a car, with vehicular manslaughter. When an all-white jury found her guilty in July, news of Nelson’s conviction and the possible three-year prison sentence she faced led to a national outcry and an online campaign for leniency. At her sentencing a judge gave her community service instead of jail time, and in a rare move, offered Nelson a new trial. Last week, Nelson accepted.

And –

“It’s a hard time to be a poor black mother,” Jones said. “Structurally, the support systems for them have been severely eroded and there are just more ways to punish people for being bad parents than there were in the past, because the criminal justice system is more punitive.”

In the last 20 years, women of color have become the fastest growing segment of the prison population, driven in large part by new classes of crimes that have been created or relabeled, said University of Hawaii criminologist Meda Chesney-Lind. Where 20 years ago crimes like the sale and possession of tiny amounts of drugs, or drug use during pregnancy, were not even considered crimes, today they are fueling a massive uptick in incarceration rates. The addition of mandatory minimum prison sentencing over the years eliminated judges’ discretion and contributed to these racially disparate increases.

And-

In January, Ohio mom Kelley Williams-Bolar was charged with falsifying records when she used her father’s home address to get her daughters into a better school in a wealthier neighboring school district. She served 10 days in jail, and even though the theft charges were dismissed after a similar national outcry, the felony on her record has threatened her career in special education.

In April, Norwalk, Connecticut officials prosecuted Tanya McDowell for doing something similar; she’s pleaded not guilty. “I just want to know: When does it become a crime to seek a better education for your child?” McDowell said at the time, the Norwalk Patch reported.

In 2009, South Carolina officials took Jerri Gray’s obese son Alexander Draper away from her and put him in foster care because, they argued, the teen’s health was in danger and he was no longer safe with his mother. Gray lost custody of her son, and then was charged with criminal neglect. Two years later, her charges are still pending, her attorney says, and Draper lives with his aunt. Last week, the latest in a series of studies showed how difficult it would be for a low-income family to buy groceries that meet the USDA’s standard for nutritious eating.

McDowell, Williams-Bolar, Nelson and Gray are all single parents, all black mothers struggling in tough circumstances to raise their families. Where poor black mothers are concerned, compassion’s in short supply, but there’s plenty of blame to hand over.

Want further proof? Here’s 2 cases just from today:

Shamika Koyce Dunn arrested for felony child neglect   (How many times do they put the father’s entire name in the headline?)

Authorities arrested Shamika Koyce Dunn, of Woodbridge. Her 3-year-old daughter was discovered walking in the street unattended.

Police returned the child to her home and, while investigating, Dunn returned home carrying half a bottle of wine and was in possession of marijuana, police said.

The child was in good condition. Police say young girl is now in the custody of another family member.

I’m sorry, but this behavior would be excused if it were a father (particularly if he was white). It would be considered a minor blip in his parenting skills. The child was, afterall, unharmed.

Here’s a case of a day-care provider – a very young woman (23) who’s trying to make a living taking care of children – not earning very much – and now charged with a felony – that will likely ruin her short-lived career. Again, the kids were unharmed.

Prince William day-care provider charged with neglect 

A Prince William County day-care provider was accused of child neglect after a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old in her care wandered out of her house and into the neighborhood, police said.

For a comparison to how dads are treated, look at this recent case where the boy was beat and shoved inside a stove – yes, a stove.

Son begs for leniency for dad who stuffed him in oven

A Staten Island man who brutally beat his then-9 year old son, stripping him naked, burning his hands and then throwing him into a kitchen oven, will serve just four months in jail on weekends for the attack.

And-

Police said Moss punched his son in the face and then pushed him into the oven,  threatening “I’m going to burn you alive!” The boy begged to be let out of the  oven, which wasn’t turned on, and then the father forced him, still naked, out  the front door.

When Moss’ wife got home from work, she took her son to the hospital, where he was treated for second and third degree burns.

And-

Judge Collini responded, “This court feels compelled to temper justice with understanding and compassion, for the victim.” He sentenced James Moss to four months of weekends in county jail, with five years of supervised probation. James Moss can’t be reunited with his family at this time but will continue supervised visits with his son.

Outside court, Moss’ 11 year old son was led away by his mother and a caseworker, wearing a dark baseball cap and
sunglasses.

When PIX 11 asked Moss’ defense attorney if the sentence was a slap on the wrist, he replied, “It’s absolutely not a slap on the wrist! The judge took into consideration the wishes of the victim.” As the judge pointed out, he–with his sentence–did not want to add to the trauma of a child who’s already been severely traumatized.

Raleigh dad charged after child wanders roadway 

Raleigh police say a 3-year-old girl is OK after she wandered out of her house and walked across four lanes of traffic while her father was home asleep.

Authorities say the girl was found several blocks from her home around 11 a.m. Wednesday.

Police charged the girl’s father, 27-year-old Aaron Harris Rush, with misdemeanor child abuse.

 

Sexually abusive dad walks free

This father confessed to sexually abusing his teen daughter and – because he wasn’t read his Miranda Rights –  gets to walk free. And you know how rape articles usually have stomach-turning comments on them? This one has sympathetic comments about doing what was “right” – for the man, that is.

Notice there’s no mention of “dad” or his sexual abuse in the headline.

Montgomery County judge challenges police over interrogation

In the wake of the ruling, the suspect was released from jail Thursday on the condition that he stay away from his teenage daughter, whom he’d admitted to fondling and having sex with over a three-year period when she was 11 to 14 years old, according to court records.

Prosecutors — who said the detectives acted appropriately — have moved to try to get Johnson’s ruling reversed by an appeals court, which could save the rape case and blunt Johnson’s ruling from spreading to other criminal cases. Police said the ruling should be reversed, and they worry that if more judges adopt Johnson’s thinking, it would limit what they see as a reasonable and valuable tool.

“I have no problem with what the detectives did,” said Montgomery Police Chief J. Thomas Manger. “I have confidence in my detectives as they work these cases.”

Local defense attorneys have mixed reactions to the ruling. Some played it down; others called it courageous and overdue.

“Detectives come as close to the line as they can,” said defense attorney David Felsen, “and in this case Judge Johnson said they crossed it.”

Update: Grieving mother gets probation and community service

The grieving mother who was going to face 3 years in jail received probation and the possibility of a new trial:

Mother of boy killed by hit-run driver gets probation and community service

Nelson faced up to three years in jail on the charges, but Judge Kathryn
Tanksley instead gave her 12 months probation on each of two charges, vehicular
homicide and failure to use the crosswalk, but combined the two counts into a
year’s probation.

In addition, she was ordered to perform 40 hours of community service.

In an unusual move, Tanksley also offered Nelson a new trial, telling her
that if she is found innocent of the charges her record would be cleared.
Nelson’s lawyer David Savoy they would accept the judge’s offer.

As she left court, Nelson was clearly relieved that her sentence did not
involve jail time.

“I am walking out of here. I don’t think you could be more satisfied,” she
said.

The judge said she had received letters of support for Nelson from across the
country, and the online group Change.org claims to have delivered 125,000
signatures on a petition in support of Nelson and to demand a crosswalk at the
site of the accident.

And – by the way – a Google search turned up articles with mother/mom in the title in the majority of cases.  

Father absent headlines, or my father the gunman

If this were a mother, the term “mother” or “mom” would be in every headline (and would have made national news).

In this case, a husband/father killed 6 people – his wife and her family – and injured 4 – at their son’s birthday party. Some of the articles blame the woman for not divorcing him or filing a restraining order – but, really, folks, a divorce would not have saved her – this is what angered him (and, indeed research indicates separation and divorce are the height of danger for a woman). And, a restraining order? Maybe – if it was enforced by the police.

Another activist brought this page to our attention. Notice out of the 21 articles, only  ONE  refer to him as a husband. Six refer to him simply as a “gunman.” Really? The “gunman” was the father of the little boy celebrating his birthday – and then – witnessing his father kill his mother, her family, and then the “gunman” killed himself.

Gunman =6

Man =1

Husband =1

Father/dad =0

No mention of his relationship to the victims at all =13

Google search

Here are the first three:

Grand Prairie shooting victims leave behind families, dreams

Dallas
Morning News (subscription) – ‎19 hours
ago‎
By From staff reports Trini Do worked two jobs and taught
Sunday school, as well as caring for her two children, friends said. She worked
full time doing accounting and grant management at the University of Texas at
Arlington, where she earned a

Police Believe Gunman Planned Roller Rink
Shootings

NBC
Dallas-Fort Worth – Amanda
Guerra
– ‎40 minutes ago‎
Grand Prairie police said the 35-year-old man who shot and
killed five people at Roller World in Grand Prairie planned his attack. Police
say investigators believe the deadly weekend attack at a Grand Prairie
roller-skating rink was

Family in Shock after Birthday Party
Shooting Rampage

FOX 4
News – Tracy
DeLatte
– ‎2 hours ago‎
GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas – The wounded who survived the shooting
rampage at a Grand Prairie skating rink are sharing their eyewitness accounts of
what happened. Hoi Ta and his family moved to North Texas from Vietnam nearly
two decades ago in search of a