Why a 19 year old’s 27 year sentence for killing his 1-month old son should serve as a warning . . . but what kind of warning?

Assistant District Attorney Mike Randles said Johnston gave a written statement saying he became irritated when the infant was crying in his bassinet, interfering with Johnston’s playing of video games, The Shelbyville Times-Gazette reports.

from October 21st, 2011 Huff Post article “Andrew Keith Johnston Gets 27 Years For Killing Infant During Video Game

For those of you who have children, my partner and I have 4 including a 2 and 15 month old, the Nyquil commercial in which the husband responding to the cold suffering wife’s question “will it work,” tells her that her sleep will be as restful as it was before they had children requires little explanation.

As parents we have to often times deal with sleepless nights, the nomad bed shuffle and of course the cascading noise associated with arguments over a toy, messy diaper and the generally joyful distracting din of I want, I need and I have nothing to do exhortations.

Now to suggest that parents never get a little grumpy, or soulfully reflect on days past when dinner banter centred on what movie to see or what party to attend on the weekend, versus the sit-up straight, use your fork and for gosh sakes don’t shove those peas up your nose admonishments that keep you from eating a meal that is quickly turning cold, would be less than accurate.

In short interruptions come with the territory, so if you are of a children should be seen and not heard mindset, then parenting may not be for you.

So when I read the disturbing news of a 19 year old father killing his 1 month old son because the baby’s crying distracted him from his video game, I was both shocked and angered.

Like cell phones, iPods and iPads which purport to connect people but in reality keep them from interacting in the real world, I wondered if the video games that have the same escapist lure of gambling, drugs and alcohol were potentially the real villain of the story.

Then I thought but wait . . . we all have free choice, so the devil made me do it responsibility dodge in which something other than the individual’s own actions are often blamed in place of taking personal ownership is tiring and quite frankly lame.

I then wondered that perhaps the breakdown of the family unit in American society, in which young unprepared parents or worse yet teen-aged single parents, are thrust into an adult role for which they have little if any preparation could be at the heart of the problem?

The American Family . . . a quaint idea from the past?

Think about this for a moment . . . according to studies, the United States has the highest teenage birthrate in the world, and one of the highest abortion rates as well.  And even though the teenage pregnancy rate has steadily declined since hitting its highest point in the 1950s, out of wedlock birthrates have increased during the same period.

Now before someone gets their dander up and accuses me of advocating an extreme Christian fundamentalist platform – although I am a devout Christian, these are the numbers plain and simple.  As such, the data would seem to indicate that there are a great many single parents out there, some of whom may themselves be sitting close to the precipice of an uncontrollable, deadly rage.  After all, tune into Nancy Grace on any given week night and there is no shortage of missing babies.

Of course teenage parents are not always the culprits but the point is pretty clear . . . the seeming decline of the American family unit as reflected in a Florida State University study on The Children of Teen Parents, is exacerbated when immature teens assume the parenting role.

Thank you Jamie Lynn Spears . . .

This leads to an interesting question or perhaps questions in terms of defining said familial decline.

An article from The Hoover Institute on The Changing American Family, which indicated that at the height of the baby boom in the 1960s more than 75 percent of all households had two married parents is telling, in that by 2000 this number dropped to 53 percent.

Does this mean that single parents regardless of age are ill-equipped to raise a family, and that when they do the children from within this setting often times conceive out of wedlock at a young age, thereby increasing the likelihood of a tragedy such as what occurred in Tennessee?  Talk about a loaded question?

Like contemplating the infinity of time and space, the number of converging and contentious variables one must consider are mind boggling to say the least.

Perhaps this is why it is easier to simply blame the individual involved, sentence him to 27 years in prison and shake our collective heads viewing the tragedy in the context of being an isolated incident.

Problem solved!? (By the way, what’s the old saying about those who fail to learn from history . . .)

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About piblogger

Author and Host of the PI Window on The World Show on Blog Talk Radio. View all posts by piblogger

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