Sometimes people are just so stupid it boggles the mind. The past couple of weeks here in central Oklahoma have seen me screaming at my car radio too many times as one act of stupidity after another is reeled off.
I’m thinking of four news stories in particular, all with something in common. What could they be? Something about Dan Rather and his phony-baloney documents? More John Kerry flip-flops? Gay-rights groups fighting to keep the marriage initiate off the state ballot this November?
No. It’s worse. I’m talking about babies, drugs and death.
It started a couple of weeks ago with the repot that an Oklahoma City woman had been arrested soon after her baby was born dead. Why was the baby dead? Because the mother was addicted to methamphetamine and had continued to use it while pregnant.
A few days later and there was the report of a major methamphetamine bust. The Oklahoma City police said the chemical stink of cooking meth was so strong they could smell it on the front porch of the house. The police finally got inside and arrested five adults, two of whom were the parents of the 2-year-old and 18-month-old girls also found in the house.
Not even a week later and another woman gave birth to a baby with cocaine in its blood.
And today, maybe the worst one of all. In the other cases, at least you can say the parents were acting selfishly and couldn’t resist the need they’d developed for their dope but that the harm to the children was unintentional. But today two people were arrested for lacing their 1-month-old baby’s bottle of milk with methamphetamine.
How can this be? How can people be so sick, so weak and so selfish? So stupid?
But wait. There’s more. In some of these cases the parents won’t be charged with serious crimes. The baby born with coke in its system was taken from its mother, but Mom wasn’t charged with anything. She didn’t actually blow the coke into the baby’s nostrils; she used it herself, which is a crime, but since she wasn’t caught doing it and wasn’t under the influence herself, she couldn’t be charged with anything.
The district attorney is looking for a way to charge the mother of the still-born meth baby because there isn’t any law on the book to deal with that situation. It’s sort of like an abortion, really, which we all know isn’t illegal.
The parents cooking meth with the daughters in the house are being charged with child endangerment as well as operating a drug lab.
Charges have not yet been brought against the idiots who put meth in their baby’s milk, but they’ll likely be charged with child endangerment and maybe distributing drugs to a minor.
It’s not enough. It’s an outrage. I’m outraged, and I hope you are, too. Have you seen photos of babies born to meth mothers? It’s horrible. Fortunately, the baby with meth-milk has recovered. I haven’t heard any updates on the other cases.
What can be done about all this? Well, I think as a community we should rise up and bring some old-fashioned justice to these people. But, ahem, that isn’t legal. So I’m doing the only thing I can do. I’m sending a letter to Gov. Brad Henry asking him to ask the State Congress to introduce legislation to increase the punishment for child endangerment charges where drugs are involved. A similar letter will go to my representatives in the State Congress after the November election.
Writing a letter won’t have the same satisfaction as stripping off the flesh of a parent who is so stupid and irresponsible they’d jeopardize the life of their baby to feed their addiction, but it’s the best the law will allow.
If you live in Oklahoma, I urge you to send a letter, too. Think you can’t write a convincing letter? Print this column, write “I agree” at the bottom, sign your name and send it to your legislators. If you live in another state or another country, I hope you’ll learn what your legal system is able to do in these circumstances and urge your lawmakers to increase the penalties for people who put their love of getting wasted above their responsibility as parents.