Monday, February 6, 2012

Nation's Abused Children Urge Suicidal Parents: "Please Don't Take Us With You"

SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Over the last few years, it seems the news has been filled with alarming reports of distraught, homicidal and suicidal parents planning their exits from this world as a sort of family vacation from hell by including their children in the itinerary. The most recent story involves the Powell family of Utah. Two years ago, Susan Powell went missing. Her husband, Josh, was considered a person of interest at that time, but no evidence could be found to link him to the disappearance. Even a drawing made by one of the children -- depicting Susan Powell's body in the trunk of the car during an impromptu camping trip in the middle of a snowy night -- failed to arouse suspicion. On Sunday, Josh Powell trapped his children in the home and set it ablaze. There were no survivors. The incident has provoked abused children across the nation to form a coalition with the simple message: "You can make your point -- you can even kill yourself if it seems easier than therapy-- but please, please, please don't take us with you."

Timmy Smith, 12, of Lancaster, Calif., is one of the principal co-founders of the group. In the summer of 2009, Timmy was tossed off a harbor cruise ship in Santa Barbara by his drunken father, who told the police he wanted to give his son "something to really cry about." Timmy admitted that he had been whimpering earlier because his father's drug-addled girlfriend had thrown up on his lap. The other co-founder is Sally Yates, 10, of Minneapolis. Her mother locked the kids in the car and attempted to commit mass suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning. Fortunately for Sally, the vehicle was electric. Her mother gave up a few hours later and turned herself over to authorities.

On Monday, at a rally in Washington, D.C., Timmy Smith addressed America's homicidal parents with his group's plea.

We understand that life is no walk in the park. And for many of us, the last time we took a walk in the park, you slapped our faces rotten for stepping in dog poop. But we, your victimized children, also understand that we are not the sole source of the frailties and shortcomings in your lives. At our worst, we're minor inconveniences -- not insurmountable obstacles to the realization of your dreams, deserving of an outcome one might find in a Thomas Hardy novel. Sure, the foster care system in this country may not be ideal, but it's a lot better than burning to death in our bedrooms or drowning in the bath or having our throats slit with a bread knife. We'll find a way to cope with our adopted parents. We'll eventually accept our situations and move forward, coming to terms with our pasts and embracing the truth that we were never the reasons your lives went so horribly wrong. Chances are, you had a closet full of skeletons long before we came into being. Why add our tiny skeletons to that pile? Keep it metaphorical.

The road to recovery will be long and hard, but we're young and resilient. We can get over your demise. It's not like we were raped by a football coach in a locker room; we should be fine by the time we reach high school. Give us the chance to find out by letting us live long enough to reach high school. If you really love us, as you say you do when placing the barrel of a gun in our confused little mouths, leave the burden of raising us to others who may feel less encumbered by our messy rooms or failures to use inside voices. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

(c) 2012. See disclaimers.