Daylight turned to darkness and Jesus wept.

&#8220I think the greatest punishment is to spare her life and ensure she is unable to take it in the quiet time after all have forgiven her except herself.&#8221

Sigh.

I don’t even really know how to write this post. I didn’t get this way before Evelyn was born, but this had just about brought both Christy and me to tears several times. Our initial gut reaction was “fry her” and now not. What do you do.

A lady went to work at Coliseum Medical Center here in Macon last week and left her baby, her 6 month old, in the car. She was suppose to have taken her child to daycare — a center on the same grounds as her office. The baby was quiet. Asleep and silent and out of sight in the back seat and in the morning rush and yawns and recollections of collections of things to do, simply forgotten. The baby was found that afternoon dead in her car seat. What do you do. Not a question really, just a reaction to helplessness. What do you do.

The initial reaction is to blame the mother and string her up right then and there.

The problem is that this was a careless act, but it was not intentional. The mother only realized something was wrong when a friend who was suppose to pick her baby up from daycare called to say the baby wasn’t there. The mother got upset quick that something had happened to her child. Only when the police took her to her car did she collapse into convulsions, throwing up, laying in her vomit. Realizing what she had done to her own child.

It’s hard to write this. To imagine this. To think that this could be me or my wife. Don’t say it would not be you. Don’t say it would never happen to you. I can see myself, tired, overwhelmed, distracted, thinking about the day, doing something careless. I live petrified by the notion of unintentionally harming anyone, especially my child. It is a burden I could not bear.

So now what to do? The real question here. Justice and the law cry out for punishment – for deterrence. There is a victim, dead at that. There is a careless, negligent act. They’ve charged her with cruelty to children and felony murder.

The charges are, I think, necessary. Guilt is necessary. Guilt is obvious. But what of punishment?

That’s where my law and order sense of justice fails me in this revolting moment. She murdered her child. She clearly, I don’t think it will be disputed, she clearly did not mean to. Part of me thinks the greatest punishment is to spare her life and ensure she is unable to take it in the quiet time after all have forgiven her except herself.

I cannot imagine even the bare hint of a desire to live had I done such a thing. I pray I never have to. I pray for this lady, her family, and her child.

Surely Jesus wept when day turned to night.

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Erick Erickson

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2 Comments

  • “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”
    Gospel of Luke 23:34

    Jesus forgave those that crucified him, and he will forgive this lady without the intervention of man’s laws. This lady has already paid for her sin because there is no greater pain than to cause harm to your own child.

  • My prayers go out to her and her family, but to the prosecutors and law enforcement officials that will be assigned to this case as well. Give them the strength to due their job and find the balance and justice the law and society requires.