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The Consequences of Unseriousness, Part II

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The problem is not that those campaigning for counseling over prison never learn. The problem is instead that the consequences of their persistent obliviousness get visited on other people, often including the defenseless. The most recent story involves the beating death of the toddler son of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (emphasis added): 

The suspect [Joseph Patterson] in the alleged beating death of NFL star Adrian Peterson's two-year-old son reportedly has a history of domestic violence against women and children....

Court records show Patterson was previously indicted in 2012 on counts of simple assault of a woman and her 3-year-old son, The Argus Leader reported....

The report says Patterson was sentenced to a year in jail for the charges and for violating a no contact order, but the sentence was suspended on terms that he undergo counseling.

I'm usually pretty good with words, but I can find no words to capture the mind-bending arrogance and callousness of those whose deliberate ignorance results in outrages like this  --  and who then insist that it's law-and-order types who lack compassion.

8 Comments

Bill again placed a bright light on the criminal justice component of this tragedy whereby weak and ineffectual sanctions are imposed de riguer by judges who fashion themselves as part of the "smart on crime" set.

I submit there is a cultural component to this story as well. Single motherhood has been accepted and dare I say "celebrated" by progressives for some time now. Cases like this highlight the reason why stable and committed relationships are the preferred method of raising children.

Single mothers today may well have the financial wherewithal to independently support a child. However, the need for periodic bed partners causes otherwise responsible women to enter into short-term relationships with men like Joseph Patterson who have no business being alone with children. When the mother goes shopping for groceries.......

mjs, although this case apparently involves a "single mother" (albeit one where the absent father certainly has the resources to support her and their child), your point is not well taken.

Many victims of domestic violence are married to their abusers -- domestic violence is not a "single mothers" problem. Domestic violence is a crime that cuts across all racial, ethnic, and socioeconimic lines. And if you are suggesting that men do not kill their biological children, you would be sadly mistaken.

Also, I am completely and utterly mystified by the notion of blaming domestic violence and child homicides on single mothers' "need for periodic bed partners," which "causes otherwise responsible women to enter into short-term relationships" with domestic abusers and child killers. The way this reads, it translates into "single mothers, even if they are otherwise 'responsible,' are mindless harlots who will shack up with anything with a pulse when they need sex, even if it means endangering their kids." I find this patently offensive.

I am not a "liberal" on crime-and-punishment issues, and I strongly believe that domestic violence offenders deserve much longer sentences than they usually get, because they pose the greatest danger to their victims and almost never stop reoffending. However, victim-blaming is one of the reasons that domestic violence cases aren't treated as seriously as they should be (i.e., if she keeps going back to him, why should we care?). As Bill points out, the way to prevent outrages like this case is to put the Joseph Pattersons of the world behind bars for a significant period of time the FIRST time they beat up a woman and/or a child, and not to wait until the woman and/or child is dead.

notablogger: Does the mother of a 2 year old son bear no responsibility for becoming romantically involved with a man who was convicted of a 2012 crime which involved assaulting a 3 year old boy and then grabbing his mother by the throat and threatening to kill her?

Under what scenario does a responsible mother invite such a threat to her son into their home and leave him alone with him?

Exactly where in my retort did I state that the mother of the child "bears no responsibility for becoming romantically involved" with her child's eventual killer?

What I object to, very strongly, is the gross over-generalization that kids get killed because single mothers are shacking up with anyone who is willing to have sex with them. As I stated, domestic violence (which includes kids, not just intimate partners) cuts across all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic lines, and involves married couples with children, not just single mothers.

I think mjs' point is more that generally speaking, single-mother headed households have more risks for children than those with two stable parents. Obviously, mjs did not have to put it in terms of sexual desire, but the reality is that the desire for a romantic partner (which is completely natural) can lead to any number of strange men in the children's lives and therefore increased risks.

You are correct, of course, that biological dads can kill their kids, but there's a lot of evolution behind the proposition that biological parents are more protective of their child than someone who does not share blood relations.

notablogger: To suggest that the incidence of domestic violence is the same across all socioeconomic lines is either naive or disingenuous.

While the anecdotal evidence to support this position is available on a daily basis, I found this statistic from the Bureau of Justice Statistics: women with annual income below $25K are at 3 times higher risk of intimate partner violence than women with income over $50K.

And again, MJS, where did I suggest that it is "THE SAME" for every socioeconomic group? Of course more poor women are victimized by their intimate partners. More poor people are the victims of violent crime than people of means, period, full stop. My point is that domestic violence happens in every racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic group. The fact that more violent crime happens to poor people does not negate my point.

Once again, and with feeling, the notion that I strongly object to is your gross over-generalization that single mothers are responsible for the deaths of their children at the hands of them men they are shacking up with because their sexual desires are apparently so insatiable that they are failing to protect their children.

And I am neither naive nor disingenous. I have been a prosecutor in a large metropolitan jurisdiction for many years, and I have a lot of experience prosecuting violent crimes.

Federalist, your post is a lot more rational, as usual.

Once more with finality,you introduced loaded terms like harlot and insatiable sexual desires into the debate.
If you have no problem with federalist's more artful characterization of this behavior- the natural desire for a romantic partner- so be it. My point has been made.

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