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  #61  
Old 06-24-2014, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by ACooper View Post
I can't speak for everyone here, but I'm willing to bet many of us would feel horrible for YOU, not blame you, and I'd be appalled if there were criminal charges against you.

Why? Because you have a pattern of good, loving, responsible dog ownership......at least what we know of you. I know you would be punishing yourself enough to not need outside help with it.

I could not say that about every chazzer I've known........there have been some I would have automatically assumed it was more irresponsible behavior to the list.

Same with parents I know, or the picture that is painted of them.
This.

Even if I did feel there were things you could have done differently or possible irresponsible choices that helped lead to it...there would still have to be more for me to support any criminal charges.

A person putting their dog in their car to drop off at daycare and somehow forgetting....getting to work all the while thinking the dog is at daycare...arriving at daycare to pick the dog up and then realizing what happened....no I dont support charges at all!

That is way different from a person running a bunch of errands and choosing to leave the dog in a car and not making sure they were safe.

Even if people are upset or think there is blame (which yes, of course technically there is blame...it is technically their fault!) the issue I have is then adding criminal charges. What is the point? What is the punishment for? Its not a deterrent as the situation is not something anyone goes into thinking is going to happen. In a negligence situation where there is a pattern or stacking of issues, yes, charges may make people stop and think before they start that ball rolling (drinking to the passing out stage while in charge of children, etc)
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  #62  
Old 06-24-2014, 06:21 PM
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DH's parents forgot his youngest sister in their van once when she was 2 or 3 years old. They had 8 kids and one of those huge vans. They had come back from church and DH's sister fell asleep in the back if the van and nobody noticed. DH ended up taking the van to meet his friends somewhere (still didn't notice), and didn't realize Anna was still in the van until he came back out to go home and she was standing there crying. Thank God it was mild weather. My inlaws aren't neglectful, bad parents--they just forgot to do a head count on that particular day.

Oh, just wanted to add that I have passed out after 2 glasses of wine before....
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  #63  
Old 06-24-2014, 06:48 PM
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Every single step that is taken on the way to the outcome to me is part of the story and yes, part of how I feel about the situation. If its part of a pattern of neglectful and irresponsible choices that is very different from one accident. It just is....

Life is not black and white, its all varying shades of grey.
I absolutely agree. I read the article from the first post at work today and it took nearly the entirety of my lunch break to do so. That said, it was an excellent read and brings light to the emotional reality of the situation. I am very glad that I read it.

I just finished a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and if there is one huge takeaway message to relay, I suppose one might say that humans are biological organisms, not computers. Humans make mistakes. Do certain mistakes need to bear consequences? Absolutely. But as it has been reiterated time and time again, the whole story matters. Not just bits and pieces. Not just the conclusion.

This is an aside from the point, but I think that it will illustrate my overall opinion quite nicely. In a class that I took on cognitive psychology, we learned about differing errors in attention. One particular error, dubbed an “error of omission,” occurs when a person is engaged in a task, gets distracted, and then inadvertently jumps ahead several steps in the task when they return to it instead of returning to the appropriate step. I was reminded of this error in a trivial situation that happened to me just the other day. I was at work and had gone to take a bathroom break. I don’t know about the rest of you, but my bathroom routine is typically pretty consistent and I’ve been practicing it for a few decades now. Pee, wipe, pull up pants, flush, wash hands, leave bathroom. I’m a pretty good bathroom goer, mind you. Expert, you might say.

But the other day my phone rang in my purse after re-pantsing myself! Call me gross, but I grabbed my phone to see who the caller was. Turns out it was no one interesting and the next thing I knew, I was at the door to the bathroom, ready to exit. As I was leaving, it dawned on me that I had neither washed my hands, nor flushed the toilet so I had to return to do so.
One might argue that forgetting to flush and forgetting a child in a car on a hot day are two entirely different situations. That person would be correct. The underlying psychology of the brain and the error in attention that occurs however is not so very different. Factor in a lack of sleep, stressors, and a busy schedule, and errors in attention will occur. Rather than pointing fingers with the assumption that someone needs to be blamed, care is needed to look at how to remedy the situation.

As was mentioned briefly in the article, punishing the “guilty” party might make some feel as though justice has been served, but will do little to prevent the cases of true forgetfulness. If a parent never intended to leave their child in the car, then the knowledge that they might be severely punished for doing so (not to mention losing a child, which I can only imagine must be the worst punishment of all) will do nothing to prevent the situation. So why do we insist on placing blame? Is there an inherent need for blame to be placed? In my mind, the primary motive of the justice system should be to create a safer society, not just to get revenge on the bad guy. Rather, couldn’t we be much more productive by creating legislation that requires cars to sound alarms if it detects motion and a hot temperature? Or maybe if the weight of a child is still on the seat when the car is turned off? Or could we not push for car seats that have built in weight sensors and do the same thing? I truly believe that in this case, being proactive is the only effective way to save lives.

One might argue that parents just need to be “more careful.” One might say that this could never happen to them or that they are a good parent. The fact of the matter is that this has nothing to do with being a good or a bad parent. It has to do with the fact that the human mind is not infallible. I urge you to read a book by Daniel Kahneman titled “Thinking Fast and Slow.” Personally, I think it gives great insight into the systems of human thought processes and how we, as living organisms, are hardwired to be “lazy” in our thought. That is, when we are able to go on autopilot, we (inadvertently) do so. When we are able to use heuristics to solve problems, we do so. This is no fault of anyone. This is a fault of human nature.

Personally, I do believe that some accidents should be punishable by virtue of the level of safety of the events that led up to the accident. A drunk driver may not intend to kill anyone. But by virtue of making a bad decision, he or she has created a situation for failure. A parent who gets drunk or high (even accidentally) in a time when he or she should be managing a child has created an unnecessary recipe for disaster. A parent who becomes sleep deprived or extremely stressed may or may not be in the same position. In certain instances, I would argue that our society allows for nothing different. That is, in some instances, it may be that in order to do right by one’s child, one must put himself into a position that may cause sleep deprivation or stress. If there was a real choice in the matter and the dangerous situation was created at the free will of the parent, then the situation may be different.

Life is not simple. I Again, as the quoted poster said, it’s all a gray area.

I keep coming in my mind to a situation in which someone accidentally leaves the stove on which results in a house fire. Sure, that person was technically the guilty party, but do they deserve to be guilty of manslaughter if they happen to survive and the rest of the family does not? I tend to think no. There is an infinite list of possible scenarios. I don’t think that a single blanket statement could cover them all. But in the case of a true accident, I do not think that any parent deserves to serve jail time for forgetting about a child.
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  #64  
Old 06-24-2014, 07:11 PM
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I don't see one at all.

Both are accidents. Neither intended to let their child be harmed. Both are legal.

So what IS the difference, is what I'm asking you. I'm not arguing, I'm looking for an explanation.
Drinking is a recreational activity that is inherently risky. It WILL impair you, regardless of how much or how little you drink. The degree it impairs you at any given time is going to vary according to the type of alcoholic drink, how much you drink, whether you ate food, what medications you may have taken that day, etc. It impairs good decision making, ability to drive, etc. And it carries the risk of involuntary loss of consciousness.

Those are all known risks with alcohol. So if a parent chooses to drink it recreationally while caring for children and they are unable to provide for that child's safety because of that choice, then yes they are 100% at fault. They are putting their own enjoyment over the health and safety of the child.

Someone working a double shift isn't even comparable. For one, it's not a recreational activity. For two, people don't always have the choice. For three, a double shift is 16 hours in most places. People generally wake up in the morning, stay awake for 16+ hours, then go to sleep. I think people should use good judgement if they are overly tired, like not drive the kids an hour away to go to a museum and then go on a picnic or whatever.

Being tired doesn't cause people to randomly lose consciousness like drunkenness does. People pass out from medical problems like low blood sugar, or stroke, heart problems, epilepsy, etc. If someone is overworked and it exacerbates a medical condition and they pass out, that is a situation that can't be foreseen. It would be out of the ordinary, and it could happen whether or not they are sleep deprived. They might not even be aware of the condition. It's apples and oranges compared to recreational drug use.

ETA: Maybe a more accurate comparison would be if the parent chose become sleep deprived through another recreational activity vs. working. Like, they got off work and instead of getting rest spent the next 10 hours at a casino (not drinking the free beer) before going home to watch the kids. I'd be more inclined to be pissed at those parents for anything bad that happened due to sleep deprivation than the one who was at work.

Sometimes being a grownup just means being a grownup.
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  #65  
Old 06-24-2014, 07:46 PM
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Laurelin Laurelin is offline
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You know... I've done something kind of like this before. Not to nearly the same extent but I've forgotten my dogs before. I left them outside in the yard (with no fence btw and coyotes in that area) in the rain. They would have been out there all day but luckily I was living with my dad and my stepmom heard them about an hour after I left for work and brought them inside. For some reason I thought I had put them inside. But I hadn't.

And recently I left my front door wide open when I left for an agility trial. All day. Left at 6 am and back at 6 pm. It was fine but that was luck.

So... I can get it. I'd like to think I'm responsible and would not ever forget a kid. But I can see how momentary lapses in memory can be very tragic if everything aligns right. I am the kind of person that has to go and double check everything now and say things verbally to myself to make sure I do everything I'm supposed to in my morning routine. I just... don't wake up functioning at 100% early in the morning.

I'm not sure about punishment. What good would it really do in that situation? I am pretty sure any good parent would be punishing themselves more than we ever could. I am not sure I could live with having done something like that. I mean that very seriously. I don't think I could keep living after something like that.

I still think it's all just very sad for the kids and the parents too. Just... sad.
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