A Plea for Stronger Communities

FALLS CHURCH, Va. - A mother was under arrest Wednesday on child endangerment and other charges after authorities said she abandoned her 4-year-old son on the Capital Beltway, then struck him with her car when he tried to get back in.


Amongst my many trollings, I found this article. Horrendous. My initial reaction would be something along the lines of "what a horrible mother". Then I started reading the yahoo discussion boards (warning, you'll need a strong stomach and some Lava soap if you visit them). The only thing people wanted to hear was the next horrible way the mother should be punished or killed. In an attempt to bring some sanity to the boards (what the hell was I thinking?) I just asked if a good community couldn't have stopped this and many other tragedies by being more proactive. Damn, you would have thought I stepped between a mother bear and her cub. The women all went on attack mode and attempted to lay bare my hide.

So why should concerned social progressives continue to try? I guess compassion isn't something you just have, its something you are and it can't be bought, it can't be measured, it can only come from within. I believe the mother should be punished, but she should also be evaluated, I'd say she has some incredible mental issues that need to be taken care of before she can be a decent member of society again.

What I believe this episode in my forays into the Yahoo Forums shows is that I believe communities are almost non-existant today. They were left by the wayside, allowing people to be more selfish and self-absorbed. As Churches became the gossip corners and people became more and more afraid of each other, the idea of a community being held together just by location became less and less feasable until its now the stinking corpse we drag out now and then in fond rememberence.

Now some may wonder how I can blame the community for what happened on that highway. I say that communities should be watching each other, helping each other, there as a first line of defense against abuse, neglect and worse. But in my mind communities isn't a reference to City XYZ, its groups of people that are aware of their neighbors, their friends and their family. Its people that arn't looking for that next wreck on the highway to see the blood, but those that deliver a home cooked meal for the elderly couple down the road.

But I suppose I'm just a lone voice, hoping against trend that our society can still move forward from the state of fear and paranoia we're living in and start accepting our neighbors for who they are, not what they can offer. I don't know how to make such radical social re-programming happen, but I do know that its not going to happen under Republican-corporate leadership. I think its only going to happen when real community leaders step forward, organize and set examples for everyone else.