Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Abusing Childhood Innocence

To take advantage of the innocence of a child is beyond any minimum of decency held by any culture in the world. These ever present scandals involving Catholic clergymen and young boys, the employment of young girls for forced prostitution, the kidnapping of young African children for armed guerrilla warfare -- all of these are unforgiveable signs of humans' capacity for inhumanity. Even the supermarket abuse we witness from time to time by angry mothers debasing and sometimes physically harming their children in the cookie aisle is a troubling sign that we as a society and as a world have not yet sustained civility as a way of life and thought.

In California this week, a 9-year-old boy was left to fend for himself and his younger, autistic brother as their father and his new wife took off to Vegas to enjoy the holidays. "They shouldn't leave us alone, " little Joshua Calero told the police officers who came to rescue him and 5-year-old Jason. The boys' real mother, who died of cancer in 2003, would turn over in her grave if she knew that this was the person she entrusted her sons' lives to -- a man who managed to find a pet sitter for his puppies but not a babysitter for his boys. The justice system will no doubt proffer some punishment against Mr Calero, but nothing will ever erase his cruelty from the minds of his two children. "I thought they loved the dogs more than us," Joshua said, not knowing that such people simply do not love at all.