Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Casting blame

A young mother, in a moment of frustration, kills her child because she won't stop crying. It's a sad story that's repeated too often to really seem strange [see UPDATE below], but what makes this situation different is how much blame is being heaped on "the system."

WOAI reports:

Police arrested Tomika Cantu on the East Side Tuesday after they found her 4-year-old daughter Mikala dead inside an apartment.

Family members told News 4 Cantu was at a breaking point.

"I'm not blaming her for anything. I'm not blaming anybody. I'm blaming the system," said Cantu's sister Anntwanette Hamilton.


"I'm blaming the system," Hamilton said. "Yeah it's her fault she had two kids at a young age. But who didn't? Times is hard. Money is tight. You're thinking about how can you pay for things? How can you put gas in your car, how can you get across town. It's hard."

But News 4 found out the system relatives blame for failing Cantu is the same agency which offered the mom counseling sessions and parenting classes for at least 7 months.

Child Protective Service records show the first investigation into Tomika Cantu was in 2005. Workers received complaints about abuse and neglect. An
investigation found no signs of either.

A second call to CPS came in March of 2007. Someone warned that Cantu might harm her son. Cantu voluntarily placed her children with relatives and took parenting classes. She got her children back in August. Workers made follow-up visits in September and October.

So, the system failed her because the system tried to help her? And, it's her fault she had two kids, but it's not her fault for killing one? Why? Because times are hard and money is tight?


I don't think I can say much else right now.

UPDATE: See, here's another one (from KSAT-12):

SAN ANTONIO -- A 30-year-old woman was charged with injury to a child late Thursday after police said she smothered her 8-year-old daughter with pillows and tried to choke the girl.

When police arrived at an apartment complex in the 8000 block of Midcrown on the city's Northeast Side at 10:20 p.m., they found the injured child along with some pillows on the floor, police said.


Trevino said that the girl called a relative about the attack. The relative then called police. The girl is now staying with relatives and Child Protective Services was notified about the incident.

At least this child survived.

Calm down, people.


Dave said...

When I first heard that a mother had killed a child for crying, I just assumed we were talking about a 14 year-old who was unable to deal with a 1 month old baby.

The facts change everything. A four year old? Four years old and the mother kills over crying?

Yeesh. I'm at a loss.

Nothing funny but certainly strange.

Albatross said...

Yeah. I concur.

Shorty said...

When we hear about yet another incident like this my sister and I always say, even the best of parents might think about killing their kids every once in a while, but what separates the us from the them is that we don't do it.

Albatross said...

And, we don't blame "the system" for our failings as a parent. At least I don't. I'm pretty critical of myself when it comes to parenting.

I have a lot more respect for my dad and mom now that I have children of my own.

Anonymous said...

@ Shorty: NO good parent ANYWHERE even THINKS about killing their children. Get your head checked. And your sister's while you're at it.

Albatross said...

@ Anonymous 6:50 p.m.: I do believe Shorty is engaging in hyperbole, which is exaggeration for the sake of argument. Her use of "killing" is in its figurative sense, as when you might say you want to kill your brother for borrowing your car last night, but you never actually mean to kill him.

I think her whole point is that most parents get entirely frustrated with their children, but they don't seriously consider killing the kids, which separates them from people who get frustrated and then actually kill the children.