White Coat Underground

Mercy for father who murdered his child?

If you haven’t heard by now, the parents who murdered their diabetic daughter are getting a taste of justice. This week Dale Neumann, the father of the diabetic girl whom he and his wife watch die in their home while giving only “prayer”, was found guilty of reckless homicide. Death by diabetic ketoacidosis is not pretty. The symptoms start with extreme thirst and frequent urination. Then the person develops headaches, abdominal pain, and vomiting. Eventually, they become confused and lethargic, then lapse into a coma before dying. The discovery of insulin has made this event rare, at least for most diabetics.

But not for Madeline Kara Neumann, whose parents watched and prayed as she died painfully in their home. How should justice be done? The Wisconsin Rapids Tribune reports:

But how will Marathon County Circuit Court Judge Vincent Howard view the couple when he sentences them Oct. 6? Are they the negligent and uncaring parents that prosecutors portrayed during Dale Neumann’s weeklong trial on reckless homicide charges? Or are they devout Christians who were faithful to their convictions and already have been punished by the loss of their child, 11-year-old Madeline Kara Neumann, as defense attorneys contended?

How about both: they are devout Christians who negligently murdered their daughter in the name of their faith.

There should be no prevarication here—this is morally and legally homicide. There is no “other side” in which his act can be viewed as “devoutly faithful”, except perhaps and an auto da fe.

Some may think it would be better to give Neumann a brief sentence, then release him to raise his remaining children. Any sane person should see this as a terrible idea. He already murdered one child; what evidence do we have that his strong faith won’t be used to murder another? He sat through his trial, Bible in hand, with no reported renunciation of his homicidal beliefs. Why should society trust him?

We shouldn’t. His right to act however his faith instructs ends at the tip of his nose. His imposition of faith, his implementation of what he perceives as God’s will, is abhorrent, and he cannot be trusted caring for children.

So, for the sake of the children, lock the murderer up until they’re age of majority. And while you’re at it, consider mandating that he stay away from children, similar to how we treat sex offenders. Lock him up, throw away the key, and surround him with pictures of his suffering child.

That would be justice.

Comments

  1. #1 dean
    August 2, 2009

    I agree with the notion of locking this piece of human scum up and doing whatever is needed to keep him from any future contact with his children. I hope the judge will look at how this person watched, without concern or apparent remorse, as his daughter sickened and died, and realizes that there is no way he will ever become a normal person.

    I hope the harshest punishment possible is given: I fear that it won’t because, as some of my in-laws argued, people will take the view that “he’s suffered enough”.

  2. #2 Cuttlefish
    August 2, 2009

    My son has type 1 diabetes–I remember the guilt we felt when he was first diagnosed, that we did not see it sooner and save him so much suffering. To watch a child die? That must take some heavy-duty faith…

    http://digitalcuttlefish.blogspot.com/2009/08/modern-abraham-isaac-story.html

  3. #3 Noadi
    August 2, 2009

    I don’t know how long he could or should be in prison. I do know that he shouldn’t have any further contact with his remaining children until they are 18 (if they wish to have contact with the killers of their sister then it’s their call) or ever allowed to work with or care for children ever again.

    Hopefully his kids are placed in a good foster home or with relatives who believe in medicine. I feel most for them, because of their parents’ actions they lost their sister, their parents, and their home as they knew it.

    As for letting him out to care for his other children, the youngest is 14. Even a light sentence he’ll be out when his youngest is 18 or close to it.

  4. #4 Julie Stahlhut
    August 2, 2009

    As for Dale Neumann “suffering enough” … I feel sorry for his ignorance, but not a bit sorry for his conviction. There are cases where people make a bad decision that ends in disaster, and I generally don’t support punishing those people harshly, but the Neumanns had plenty of time to reflect on just how disastrous their decision was. It wasn’t a simple, brief lapse of judgment that just happened to end badly — it was a prolonged pigheadedness that allowed them to watch their child die painfully while they did nothing.

    A commenter on PZ’s blog made the analogy between this case and allowing your family to starve because, instead of buying or growing food, you sit at home praying for it to appear. I think that’s an excellent analogy, and one that points out just how stupid and callous these parents were — and all because of a religious belief that they would claim makes them wise and loving. Incredible.

  5. #5 D. C. Sessions
    August 2, 2009

    So here’s the question: aside from religious adherence to “an eye for an eye” retributive justice, what purpose is served by locking him away at taxpayer expense for several years?

    Not that I’m not disagreeing with the idea of enjoining him from being responsible for children ever again, but I will point out that that kind of injunction is easier to manage as a condition for avoiding imprisonment instead of if he has already “paid his debt to society.”

  6. #6 Nattering Nabob of Negativism
    August 2, 2009

    Reckless homicide? No, torture-murder. The kid knew she was going to die and she knew who was killing her.

  7. #7 Dianne
    August 2, 2009

    So here’s the question: aside from religious adherence to “an eye for an eye” retributive justice, what purpose is served by locking him away at taxpayer expense for several years?

    Precedent. If other parents know that they’ll go to prison if they neglect their children to their deaths, even if they claim religion as a reason for their neglect, maybe they will hesitate before ignoring their children’s slow, painful, and entirely preventable deaths. I can’t believe that a person who would watch his child die of DKA suffers as much from the loss of his or her child as a normal person would. Therefore the threat of punishment is necessary to stop others from following the Neumanns’ example.

  8. #8 D. C. Sessions
    August 2, 2009

    Precedent. If other parents know that they’ll go to prison if they neglect their children to their deaths, even if they claim religion as a reason for their neglect, maybe they will hesitate before ignoring their children’s slow, painful, and entirely preventable deaths.

    I’ll chalk that up as one vote for the exemplary theory of justice. Sort of like locking up someone caught with a few stems and seeds for life, or landing on a college kid for three-quarter million for thirty songs: terrify anyone else who might even comes close to thinking of it.

  9. #9 Gareth Owen
    August 2, 2009

    On his web page, he says that he would do the same thing again if faced with the same circumstances. That pretty much defines stupidity. So no remorse, no understanding of what he’s done – he should be facing the upper end governed by whatever laws govern those convicted of child abuse when he is released.

  10. #10 Charlotte
    August 2, 2009

    D.C.S. are you really comparing the social harm caused by smoking wacky baccy or by illegally sharing music with the harm caused by inflicting a painful lingering death on your child? Seriously? IMO anyone who thinks it’s acceptable to deny a child medical care in the name of faith ought to be terrified into following the law, if that’s the only way to get them to behave like a normal human being.

    And Gareth, this guy has a website? Yuck. An unrepentant self-publicist has not suffered enough, and could be socially dangerous, encouraging others to follow their delusions. Perhaps prison could break through his denial/self-righteousness and make him realise what he’s done.

  11. #11 Donna B.
    August 2, 2009

    Charlotte — what DCS is saying is that punishment is for the individual crime committed, not to teach a lesson to others. And I agree with that.

    Precedent (legal-wise) is based on the course of reasoning behind a previous decision. It’s basically inhumane to use the punishment of one person to “teach” a lesson to others. Call it “pre-scapegoating” perhaps — punishing someone for crimes others might commit.

    And there’s no legal reason to punish him by making it a provision of his sentence that he never be in contact with another child. His “faith” would demand that he watch an adult die in the same circumstances.

    All that said, I wouldn’t consider death too harsh a penalty based simply on his actions the day of (and weeks? months? preceding) his daughter’s death.

  12. #12 PalMD
    August 2, 2009

    Donna, I agree with nearly all of that, except:

    And there’s no legal reason to punish him by making it a provision of his sentence that he never be in contact with another child. His “faith” would demand that he watch an adult die in the same circumstances.

    Adults can generally take care of themselves, kids, not so much.

    Prison in the US is strictly punitive, not instructive, not rehabilitative. And he deserves fierce punishment.

  13. #13 D. C. Sessions
    August 2, 2009

    Prison in the US is strictly punitive, not instructive, not rehabilitative. And he deserves fierce punishment.

    Looks like a vote for the retributive theory of justice. One exemplary, one retributive.

    I suppose that a really poetic solution would be to wipe out his Islands of Langerhans and tell him to deal with it appropriately — but that wouldn’t be ethical.

  14. #14 PalMD
    August 2, 2009

    I don’t argue for our current system…it sucks. But that doesn’t mean I think this guy should be let loose.

  15. #15 Charlotte
    August 2, 2009

    I’m not arguing for a long sentence to discourage others, exactly, I just think it was a bad comparison. Giving him a short or non-custodial sentence because of his religious convictions would also set an example, after all. But I’m not convinced that setting an example isn’t one of the functions of the justice system. Most people have a moral framework about things like homicide, but there are plenty of laws that people obey mostly just to avoid getting caught. If the penalties aren’t applied, then what motivation is left?

    Anyway, if not retributive, how about avoiding further social harm as a reason for incarceration? He may be unlikely to re-offend, but he’s unrepentant about what he did and apparently using the publicity as a platform for his views. Isn’t that a reason to remove him from society for a time? I’m not sure whether rehabilitation is possible for someone so blinkered, especially given the limitations of the US prison system, but perhaps he’ll find his justifications a little harder to believe if he can’t surround himself with people who think he did the right thing. The first step towards rehabilitation is remorse, surely, and I can’t see that happening in his current situation.

  16. #16 Cath the Canberra Cook
    August 2, 2009

    Why would you say he’s “unlikely to re-offend”, Charlotte? He has other children, and as you say “he’s unrepentant about what he did”. Meaning that any other sick kid in his care will get the same treatment.

  17. #17 Donna B.
    August 2, 2009

    Pal — there are plenty of legal reasons that his punishment should include him never being allowed the responsibility to care for a child. Contact does not necessarily include making care decisions.

    As for adults being able to care for themselves, that’s generally true, except when an adult gets entangled in an abusive relationship. I can see this same scenario playing out with this man’s wife just as easily as with his child.

    BTW, weren’t there adults present other than the mother and father? Are they being charged?

    DCS – that thought crossed mind too! It would be argued that that is cruel and unusual. And it is… as a method of carrying out a death sentence.

    Charlotte — avoiding further social harm is most definitely a valid consideration during sentencing phase of a trial.

    While comparing the crime of smoking pot with the crime of homicide is not usually valid, the idea that the purpose of a harsh sentence is to prevent others from committing the same crime is less valid regardless the crime in question. It’s an entirely separate principle.

    As for a harsh sentence POSSIBLY having the side effect of preventing others from preventing the same or similar crimes, see above… that’s a form of social control that lies outside our current legal system. Or should, at least, IMHO.

    One example is the speed limit. There’s no intrinsic immorality in exceeding it. People obey it because they don’t want to pay fines. It’s more a tax on speeders, not a punishment. Reckless driving is a separate offense.

    What could be very interesting is to see if someone uses this case as a precedent for criminal charges against other “faith healers” such as homeopaths or woo-wielding chiropractors.

  18. #18 Charlotte
    August 2, 2009

    Cath, I was just estimating that in four years it’s not very likely one of his remaining children will have a life-threatening illness.

    Donna, I think we’re more or less in agreement – except that I was never advocating harsh punishment, only the application of the law as is stands. Certainly the best examples I can think of where a deterrent might be necessary aren’t exactly questions of morality – some speed limits are there for safety reasons, but some are pretty useless. Perhaps drunk driving, where everyone agrees it’s dangerous, but too many people think they can handle it if they’ve only had a few? But a deterrent to my mind involves consistent application of proportionate punishments, not scapegoating those unlucky enough to be caught.

  19. #19 Donna B.
    August 2, 2009

    Charlotte, we most likely do agree in principle. And I really didn’t perceive you advocating for harsh punishment. I do think that others have done so on the grounds that it would be a deterrent and “example” to others. I think this has happened mainly with drug possession offenses and 3 strike laws.

    On rehabilitation… am I the only one old enough commenting here to have immediately thought of the Group W bench?

  20. #20 D. C. Sessions
    August 2, 2009

    On rehabilitation… am I the only one old enough commenting here to have immediately thought of the Group W bench?

    Old enough? By no means. However, this isn’t a case of blind justice.

  21. #21 PalMD
    August 2, 2009

    I ref’d the group w bench in a piece recently…no one noticed…

  22. #22 D. C. Sessions
    August 2, 2009

    I ref’d the group w bench in a piece recently…no one noticed…

    Rejection hurts. I wish I could give you a hug.

  23. #23 daedalus2u
    August 2, 2009

    They should be blocked from having any contact with anyone under the age of 21, including their children. Their faith has so clouded their judgment that they are incapable of behaving rationally or of conveying the ability to think or behave rationally. They will try and proselytize and damage the ability of others to think rationally.

    They should be treated as pedophiles, as sexual predators and not allowed any contact with any children under the age of 21. Pedophiles are not allowed contact with children because pedophiles are unable to not injure children by having sex with them.

    There are guidelines for reckless homicide. If I were the judge I would sentence them on the high end and bar them from all contact with children for the rest of their lives. That is they are not to talk with anyone under the age of 21 either in person or by phone. They are not to communicate in writing either. This is not punishment; it is to protect those they would injure with their delusional world view.

  24. #24 Michael Ogden Erickson
    August 2, 2009

    Lock the evil freak up!!!!!!!

  25. #25 Nomen Nescio
    August 2, 2009

    certainly we ought to be merciful to this sad, deluded, unrepentant murderer. we ought to not hang him by a piano-wire noose. refraining from that, i would say, is quite merciful enough.

    as far as DCS’ argument goes, by any useful theory of justice i can think of, this man deserves to be locked up and kept out of contact with minor children for the rest of his life. that being so, i see little point in defending our doing so by any specific such theory. his words and actions both mark him as a danger to society and to any children under his care; therefore we ought to see to it he gets as little contact with either as possible.

  26. #26 Donna B.
    August 2, 2009

    Pal… I’m sorry I missed the Group W reference… which piece was that? (If it was an audio piece I missed it because my USB ports are all screwed up and I can’t have an operating mouse at the same time I have sound. AND I’m too lazy to pull the box out of its dusty cobwebby cubbyhole.)

  27. #27 Ramel
    August 3, 2009

    This guy should clearly not be allowed to have any position of responsiblity over children, as for locking him up, my mind recoils from the idea of letting him go unpunished but I’m not convinced there is any practical value in locking him up. Using prisons to seperate violent psychos and habitual theives from society severs a purpose in protecting people, the ones who need protecting here are his other kids and that would best be done by them being taken into care. The setting an example argument is pretty weak, up until the start of the 19th century they used to hang people for stealing, never solved the crime problem.

    @Donna B. “One example is the speed limit. There’s no intrinsic immorality in exceeding it.” You mean apart from the selfish and reckless endangerment of pedestrians and other road users?

  28. #28 Azkyroth
    August 3, 2009

    Is there any reason at all to believe he can ever be reformed?

  29. #29 GW
    August 3, 2009

    Justice? I dunno. I really don’t see how he could be convicted of 2nd degree homicide .

    I am a fairly strong atheist (a 6 on the Dawkins scales) but no matter how much a waste of oxygen this guy is, I would not agree to calling him a murderer.

    Negligent? Yes. Reckless? Yes. Murder? I’m not so sure.

    Despite his faith, he had his daughter best interest at heart. He obviously is sorely lacking in the critical thinking department, but all his magical mumblings and pleadings are in no way trying to harm her directly, even though his actions did indirectly caused her harm. But that does not constitute murder, does it?

    I dunno the case intimately, and I think he is deserving of a lengthy rehabilitation process, but throwing him in the same hole as murderers and thieves seems excessive.

  30. #30 Dianne
    August 3, 2009

    Using prisons to seperate violent psychos and habitual theives from society severs a purpose in protecting people, the ones who need protecting here are his other kids and that would best be done by them being taken into care.

    I have several problems with that. First, it’s harder to keep people away from kids, particularly their own kids than you might think. He can sue for visitation or even custody any number of times and will probably eventually get a sympathetic judge. And his kids will be in danger again.

    Second, there’s nothing to stop him from having more children and putting this new family in danger. More danger because they’ll be infants and he’ll have had experience with the legal system and this time maybe not even call the paramedics when they die, just bury any bodies in the back yard.

    Third, he is an example to others. Other parents in his church and similar churches will be looking at what happens to him and basing their own decisions on it. If he gets away with killing his daughter (I agree that it probably wasn’t murder but still he did kill her as much as if he had locked her in a box and refused to give her food: in DKA more sugar is leaving the body than going in and so the person is effectively starving to death even if they are able to eat) then they will say, “Too bad about Kara but prayer is the way to go.” and keep neglecting their children’s medical care. If he goes to prison then they’ll take their children to the doctor. They’ll whine and complain about how they’re being forced to do it and oppressed, but the kids will live.

    Finally, he needs to know that he did something bad. Something that society frowns upon. Seriously, not just with a mild tsk and slap on the wrist. He can’t control himself, only the threat of eternal punishment keeps him from committing crimes. He has to know that his behavior is unacceptable and I suspect only a prison sentence will tell him that. Otherwise, he WILL endanger his own or other children.

  31. #31 Tassie Devil
    August 3, 2009

    i would argue that his daughter’s best interests were the last thing on his mind. The one thing religious nutters have in common is the belief that they are somehow special, and that one day god will make everyone see it.

    I’m willing to bet that all he was thinking of was how many worshippers he could attract to his insane cult if it was known that he prayed his daughter back from death.

    Arrogant narcissism, pure and simple. He’s a psychopath – lock him up.

  32. #32 Whitecoat Tales
    August 3, 2009

    Negligent? Yes. Reckless? Yes. Murder? I’m not so sure.

    Despite his faith, he had his daughter best interest at heart. He obviously is sorely lacking in the critical thinking department, but all his magical mumblings and pleadings are in no way trying to harm her directly, even though his actions did indirectly caused her harm. But that does not constitute murder, does it?

    In this country, we give alot of leeway to religion and religous people. It’s one of the freedoms we are lucky to have. But to have that freedom, we need to police the border – all the things where that freedom can cross a line – so that it isn’t abused. For that reason I’m generally in favor of prosecuting cases like this, or the Daniel Hauser case. Your freedom of religion doesn’t extent to child abuse, and it absolutely doesn’t extend to killing your child.

    I’m not sure if this death meets legal definitions of murder rather than manslaughter or negligent homicide or whatever other options are on the table from that perspective. My problem is that your quote almost sounds like an insanity defense. Yet the parent’s weren’t insane, they were religious.

    As far as I can tell he was judged competant to stand trial, so he should have been competant to understand a doctor telling him “If she doesn’t get insulin, she will die.”

    Choosing to ignore that is directly causing her harm, just as much as if he’d put a bullet in her head.

  33. #33 Richard Eis
    August 3, 2009

    So, he tortured and murdered a child and feels no remorse and will do it again. One wonders what else he will do in the name of god.

    But religion is sacred. And athiests are evil and immoral and he’s just being persecuted for his beliefs.

  34. #34 Ramel
    August 3, 2009

    @Dianne: My first sentance was “This guy should clearly not be allowed to have any position of responsiblity over children” I ment that to include all children born or yet to be conceved, much like in some juristictions being placed on the sex offenders regester for child molestation means any kids you have get taken away at birth.

    “Other parents in his church and similar churches will be looking at what happens to him and basing their own decisions on it.” won’t they end up with more “experience with the legal system and this time maybe not even call the paramedics when they die, just bury any bodies in the back yard.” If you really want to scare them, why not put the kids in a catholic orphanage. I don’t actually advocate this, I’m not cruel, just unusual. I’ve already said that I really don’t think the example thing works.

    “Finally, he needs to know that he did something bad.” This works for kids, but for an adult with support from his church and family? He’ll just bookmark the book of Job and call himself a martyr.

  35. #35 Perry
    August 3, 2009

    B. Franklin wrote, “There is no freedom without responsibility”. I explained this to my children, by pointing out to them that they are free to do anything they want, but they must be prepared to accept the consequences of their actions. Crudely put, “Don’t do the crime, if you can’t do the time”.

    As a result, they do think rather more deeply about what they are going to do next, in complete contrast to many of their peers. They are nicer people as a result.

    OTOH, Neumann probably did not think of the consequences of his actions, so his daughter died and society should now punish the crime of reckless homicide. This girl died because of the ignorance and crass stupidity of her parents. T’was ever so. It’s called Cognitive Dissonance.

  36. #36 Kemist
    August 3, 2009

    I’m thinking this guy’s place might not be jail.

    I mean, he and his whole cult are clearly insane.

    He should be locked up yes, but in an insane asylum, where he’ll receive some sort of therapy. Not only him, but the whole group. They pretty much, all of them, share responsiblity in this homicidal neglect. I don’t think that a non-schizophrenic person can maintain a delusion of this magnitude without help, and he had plenty from his pastor and fellow church members.

    Think about it : all of these people’s children can end up the same as this girl. If he goes to jail, it can be used to fuel their persecution complex, and make it even more likely, that in the event another child gets sick, they’ll do the exact same thing. And barring complete isolation, he’ll receive powerful support from them even in jail.

  37. #37 Mu
    August 3, 2009

    I wonder if the DA in this case has the guts to go after the remaining members of the church who helped pray for conspiracy now that he has his two prime movers convicted. But that would probably be styled as religious prosecution.

  38. #38 Ranson
    August 3, 2009

    Perhaps we can induce a case of gangrene in his pinky toe, then see if he can pray it away.

    Maybe it’ll give him some time to think. Not much, perhaps, but I’m sure that little hamster wheel in his head will be racing as things progress.

  39. #39 Dianne
    August 3, 2009

    Not much, perhaps, but I’m sure that little hamster wheel in his head will be racing as things progress.

    Or…not. I remember a case I heard about* when I was in medical school (in Texas where life is cheap and fundies are strange.) In any case, this guy and his wife belonged to one of these churches that liked to handle snakes. Rattlesnakes, those being the poisonous snakes most readily available in Texas. The man’s wife got bit and he is said to have physically stopped her from getting medical attention, preferring to pray the damage away instead. She died. He got charged. He said, “God will decide” and stuck his hand in a bag of rattlesnakes. God, apparently, decided against him. I don’t know if he sought medical attention for himself, but if so he did so too late or it just didn’t work. I know I’ve been accusing Neumann of being unfeeling, but if he is just a nut, he might well allow himself to die of a treatable illness too. And the death penalty seems a little extreme for negligent homicide, even in as disgusting a case as this.

    *Note that I did not see any of this and therefore can not confirm that it is not an urban legend.

  40. #40 Dianne
    August 3, 2009

    I ment that to include all children born or yet to be conceved, much like in some juristictions being placed on the sex offenders regester for child molestation means any kids you have get taken away at birth.

    I am unfamiliar with the way the sex offenders laws work, but that sounds difficult to enforce. (Does that also mean that 18 year olds who had sex with their 15 year old boy/girlfriends can never raise children if they are prosecuted? I know that some states have laws that try to acknowledge that adolescents have sex with each other and eliminate this problem, but…well, that’s a derailment anyway.) Besides which, Neumann is not a sex offender, no one has accused him of being so and thus he can not justly be put on the sex offender registry. Similar laws preventing parents who grossly abuse or neglect their children from coming into further contact with children could be written, but they wouldn’t apply to this case because you can’t prosecute someone for an act that wasn’t illegal at the time it was performed (or, I presume, impose a punishment not yet legalized for an illegal act.) So unless you can come up with a law that would allow that punishment to be imposed, I don’t think you can say that it is possible to keep him away from children legally. And that doesn’t include the difficulties in enforcing this sort of law…I was on a jury once in a child abuse case. The abuser (he was convicted so I can identify him as such) was separated from the children and had a restraining order placed against him for years but continued to see and abuse the children nonetheless. (There was some serious nastiness involving the other parent enabling his behavior.) Until we have a reasonable mechanism to stop that kind of behavior, it’s safer for the other children for Neumann to be in prison.

  41. #41 Ranson
    August 3, 2009

    I’m tangentially related to members of one of the original snake-handling churches (Jolo, WV). I haven’t heard that anecdote, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen (I’ve heard crazier). Snake handlers tend to hedge their bets more than people on the outside know, though.

  42. #42 James Sweet
    August 3, 2009

    I think D.C.Sessions asks an interesting question (what is the benefit to society of locking this guy up as opposed to just keeping him away from his children?) but I also think that the question is much broader than this individual case. Putting this guy in prison for a reasonable length of time is consistent with our present system of justice, so to deviate in this one particular case would be an implicit endorsement of his Faith Crime.

    Furthermore, I don’t think this is a particularly good test case for the broader question of whether a retributive justice system is particularly effective.

    For one thing, as others have pointed out, he is unrepentant (heh) about the harm his faith has caused. Normally, when a person murders because of faith and then doesn’t apologize, we call them a terrorist, and it’s pretty non-controversial that you don’t let avowed terrorists run around free. It’s conceivable the guy could pose future faith-related dangers to public safety.

    For another thing, the harm here is severe. As others pointed out, trying to equivocate harsh prison sentences for non-violent drug offenders to harsh prison sentences for negligent homicide is a bit of a stretch.

    Note that I am not saying the harm done automatically justifies a retributive response — I share some of D.C. Sessions’ skepticism about the practical benefit of this. I’m just saying that it’s a poor test case, because there are plenty of other things where the justice system comes down hard on people where there is absolutely no practical purpose for isolating the perpetrator from society and the resulting harm from the crime is relatively small. Let’s start with those crimes!

  43. #43 Ramel
    August 3, 2009

    I’m not a legal expert, especially in american law (I’m british), here in the UK social services can remove a child from their parents if they can provide evidence that the child is at risk from physical, psycological or sexual abuse. Being on the register is usually enough evidence. In previous conversations regarding other cases I was given the strong impression that similar rules applied in the USA. As for short circuiting the system, I consider the wife to be equally culpable so she should also be denied access to the kids.

    This discussion seems to have entered a grey area between what suold be done and what can be done, what should be done is remove the other children permanently. What can be done is, as ever, a differnet matter. Locking the parents away would only protect the kids if:
    1) The kids are placed in foster care rather than with friends or relitives that may pose an equal threat, so go into care anyway.
    2) The prison sentance is not less than 18 years minus the age of the youngest child.
    3) Something is done to prevent them having more kids. Which is more ethical, forcing a vasectomy or taking kids away at birth?

  44. #44 D. C. Sessions
    August 3, 2009

    For those who are wondering how you could keep him away from kids, that was part of my point about not locking him up.

    ANANAl, but:

    Assuming sufficient judicial lattitude (mandatory sentencing laws get in the way of stuff like this) the Court could accept his agreement to a lifelong injunction against ever being responsible for a minor again in lieu of prison. Thanks to jurisdictional issues, it wouldn’t be subject to a later judge with more sympathy — criminal court and all that. Violate the order and he’s straight to prison for maximum time.

    The key to this is that it’s voluntarily accepted in lieu of sentencing.

    Remember, though, IANAL.

  45. #45 Ramel
    August 3, 2009

    @James Sweet: You make a good point about consistancy, but I have to disagree with you terrorist analogy. We lock terrorists up because if they are free to walk the streets the can, and probably, will hurt more innocent people. the only way to stop them re-offending would be to have men with guns follow them around all the time, not a reallistic possibility. In this case the most effective way to prevent further harm by the parents is to prevent access to the kids. This is much more achievable.

  46. #46 Kemist
    August 3, 2009

    Maybe it’ll give him some time to think. Not much, perhaps, but I’m sure that little hamster wheel in his head will be racing as things progress.

    mmm… not so sure.

    Punishment tends to work only when the punished and witnesses know (and in some way sort of agree with) the reason he is being punished. Otherwise it becomes persecution, a reason to hate the punishers and harden their position.

    Someone so far gone in delusion as to let his own daughter die in his arms cannot be that afraid of secular justice and even death. After all, he’s quite convinced he’s got god on his side.

  47. #47 Calli Arcale
    August 3, 2009

    Julie Stahlhut:

    There are cases where people make a bad decision that ends in disaster, and I generally don’t support punishing those people harshly, but the Neumanns had plenty of time to reflect on just how disastrous their decision was.

    Agreed. There is a certain element of depraved indifference here. They chose to see this as a test of their faith. Their faith was more important to them than the comfort of their child. While this does prove they are faithful to God (or to what they believe God is), it is devastatingly revealing as to their priorities in life.

    Their faith comes before their children. They should lose all parental rights to their remaining children. That’s not punitive; that’s for the welfare of the remaining children.

    As far as punishment goes, I do think he should get a stiff jail sentence. This was murder, plain and simple, and our society cannot tolerate that. I might lean towards a mild sentence if he had shown some remorse, but he didn’t. He still feels that he did the right thing. And the courts mustn’t give him the impression that they agree on that count.

  48. #48 Karl Withakay
    August 3, 2009

    “I ref’d the group w bench in a piece recently…no one noticed…”

    Officer Opie, I cannot tell a lie, I put that envelope under that half a ton of garbage.

  49. #49 Bridget McKinney
    August 3, 2009

    Locking this guy up doesn’t bring back his poor daughter. And contrary to the thoughts of at least one other commenter, I suspect that it wouldn’t act as a deterrent to other similar crimes, either. Rather, I would guess that it will make the religiously nutty more determined to cover up and hide their actions in these situations. You know, to avoid “persecution” for their “faith”.

    I’ve discussed this quite a bit with several friends recently, because my first instinct as well was that “something should be done” about this. One friend took issue with my statement that a parent should NEVER have the right to “take risks” with their child in a life or death situation. I had to explain:
    Giving a child vitamin C and chicken soup when they show cold-flu-strep type symptoms rather than immediately going to the doctor and maybe getting antibiotics is a RISK (scarlet fever, meningitis, and pneumonia are possible consequences, although probably not likely for a healthy child). Kid will probably be okay.
    Sentencing your child to death from meningitis, undiagnosed and untreated diabetes, lymphoma, etc. because you are too ignorant/stubborn/cheap/”faithful” to take them to a doctor is NOT a risk–it’s homicide.

    Unfortunately, as I’ve been thinking about this, I’m not sure that there is any good solution to the problem. Punishing the parents in this case won’t bring back the little girl the killed through inaction. It would doom their older children to all the trauma and pain of losing their parents and home and being forced into a foster care system where there is no guarantee they will even be fostered together (or at all). Not to mention the risks of the foster care system, where the children could be exposed to other more immediately harmful types of abuse or neglect.

    Said punishment would probably not act as a deterrent to other similarly crazy people, who may just be more determined to hide their actions.

    These sorts of cases are, fortunately, extremely rare. Rare enough that I suspect that any law to specifically criminalize this behavior would be largely unenforceable.

    What these parents did is deplorable, but I have some concern that their children will be the ones most impacted by any punishment in this case.

    It seems to me that there is this idea in America that we CAN and SHOULD be able to protect every single individual from every conceivable sort of harm that might befall them. I don’t think that is really the case, no matter how much we might wish it so. Sometimes, in order to preserve the freedom of all of us, we have to accept that bad stuff will sometimes happen. All we can do is deal with some things on a case by case basis.

    What these parents did was certainly careless, ignorant, stubborn, and morally repugnant, but I think that it’s pretty much legally unfeasible to do much about it.

  50. #50 Gareth L Owen
    August 3, 2009

    @10

    Charlotte – yep, search google for “help the Neumanns” and you’ll find it. It’s grade A denialism. Apparently they are being persecuted by the government for their faith. They talk about all the cases where faith healing has helped people, without a single verifiable reference. They talk about all the cases where medical science has accidentally hurt people, without acknowledging that they’re a tiny minority. They remain, as far as I can tell, totally unrepentant. they honestly think they are presecuted. You can even donate to their cause and sign a petition.

    Having thought about it, I actually think the Neumanns should be detained in a psychiatric hospital, not prison. Were they to have acted as they did in the belief that fairies or space aliens would heal their daughter, they wuold be sectioned, not imprisoned. However, because they wrap up their delusion in christian symbolism, they’re assumed to be sane.

  51. #51 Whitecoat Tales
    August 3, 2009

    @Bridget

    These sorts of cases are, fortunately, extremely rare. Rare enough that I suspect that any law to specifically criminalize this behavior would be largely unenforceable.

    Not that rare! The Daniel Hauser case was towards the end of May.

    Anyway, we don’t need a NEW law to criminalize this behavior, it’s already covered under existing child abuse laws. Your religous freedom ends at your childs medical wellbeing when it comes to certain proven treatments. It may not apply to vaccines, but it applies to antibiotics for pneumonia, and it certainly applies to type 1 diabetes.

    Sometimes, in order to preserve the freedom of all of us, we have to accept that bad stuff will sometimes happen.

    I’m not sure I’m reading you correctly, it sounds like you’re saying nothing should be done about this.

    That would seem to set a precedent that basically says you can kill someone (at least someone in your care) so long as you really really had faith that it was OK to do that.

    That’s not a freedom I’m ok with people having.

  52. #52 Kathy
    August 3, 2009

    I was Madeline once, a very sick little girl who developed DKA over the course of two weeks. If my mother and father didn’t recognize the early symptoms–the insatiable thirst, fatigue, and sleep always tempting like a siren–I forgive them. But it was awfully hard to ignore the 25-pound weight loss and how pale I became, or the fruity acetone smell on my breath. Thankfully they took me to the doctor, convinced something was horribly wrong. Within a week I was pretty much back to normal after gettting life-giving insulin and fluids. My own parents still kick themselves for not taking me to the hospital sooner, even though I turned out fine in the end; I am still around 26 years later with no complications. I cannot imagine how hers live with themselves knowing they could have saved her so easily. And I echo PalMD–it would have been a horrible, slow, agonizing, painful death.

    Pray to God, but row away from the rocks.

  53. #53 Donna B.
    August 3, 2009

    I think the mother has also been convicted. I understand their sentencing hearing will be joint.

    In medieval times, whether someone lived or died after an illness was considered God’s will because, frankly, medicine didn’t offer a lot to get in the way of that sort of thinking.

    That’s the attitude that this kind of prayer healing stems from and it’s not valid now, since one could say that God willed we humans learn to better heal ourselves.

    This man possibly feels no remorse because he believes God willed his daughter’s death. He wasn’t tried for murder because there was no evidence that he intended to cause his daughter’s death.

    From what I’ve heard, I doubt that any of his other children are in danger from him unless they need medical care. (Of course that doesn’t take into consideration of the damage to their minds that such religious teachings could cause.)

    Because of the first amendment, I think the justice system has to view this case without considering religion or faith at all. This is where the “reasonable person” idea comes in. A reasonable person would have sought medical care.

    Also because of the first amendment, a reasonable person has to be defined in secular terms — one religion cannot be favored over another.

    The parents are guilty of reckless homicide — they failed to take the actions a reasonable person would have taken and caused a death. I think society is served by removing such people from its midst.

  54. #54 Lupis Noctum
    August 3, 2009

    I have followed this situation since it began, albeit by remote since I don’t live in the area, and I’ve drawn a conclusion or two that most seem to have missed. I am writing this partially in response to those who think for some reason that these people should receive light sentences and/or be allowed to care for their remaining children.

    One of the earliest connections I made was between the time frame a medical professional said that Kara’s symptoms would have been evident and when Kara was removed from public school to be “home schooled.” They were both about six months before her death. Turns out that the school made several attempts (around 6-7) to interest the state in doing something about this child who was obviously being medically neglected and the state pretty much ignored the situation. Apparently the Neumanns finally realized that the school system might eventually pose a threat and removed the girl from the system, thus negating a major source of potential help she could have received.

    Contrary to all the howling the Neumanns and their defense attorney did about Kara’s supposed excellent health up to 48 hours before her death, we can see that they did know she was sick enough to draw the attention of her school and took steps to block that avenue of rescue. Their religion was the reason that they gave incessantly for their total lack of regard for their child’s health. Could their real motivation for avoiding medical attention be a bit more secular than holy?

    The Neumanns were fairly new to the area that they lived in, and their small “bible study” group was pretty much their only social circle. (Not that, I’m sure, any other social group would have them.) Anyone familiar with church people and their ilk, especially those as far gone as these people are, know how much jockeying for “I’m holier than you” social status goes on within the group. If your little splinter cult holds that illness is caused by sin and you’re sinning further by seeking medical attention, you lose a good number of Jesus Points if you go to a doctor.

    One point only intermittently mentioned in news reports and barely commented on is the topic of the Neumann’s sole source of income, their business. It wasn’t just another damned coffee shop, it was, according to them, a “coffee shop ministry.” Yes, at Monkey Mo’s, you could get an order of McJesus along with your Grande Cafe Mocha. Like many bible fetishists, they sought to link their wallets to their religion to give themselves an advantage by appealing to the soft-minded who might think it spiritually advantageous to patronize the “holy” coffee shop.

    Trying to upsell Jesus instead of biscotti with the coffee would have alienated most potential patrons, so the Neumann’s would have found themselves increasingly dependant on the jesuscentric customers to keep their doors open and food on their table. The Neumann’s financial well being was intimately linked to their outward piety. Although hypocrisy is as fundamental to Christianism as apples are to apple pie, it’s a bit tricky to maintain the Holy Joe show when you’re obviously violating one of the major tenants of the religion you’re selling.

    In summary, the case I’m presenting is this: The Neumann’s social status and financial status were both intimately linked to the practice of their religion. To allow their daughter’s diabetes to be treated by a doctor would have been a major boo-boo both socially and financially. Their decision to not only ignore her condition but to do what they could to actively prevent others from helping her was a coldly pragmatic one. Barking mad they surely are, but even they could see they’d trapped themselves in a web of their own making and their 11 year old daughter died six miles from a hospital because of it.

    If the Neumanns didn’t need doctors, why did they have medical insurance?

  55. #55 Ramel
    August 3, 2009

    Just noticed that there is a similar discussion going on over at Phil Plait’s bad astronomy blog about a different case, the british guy that hacked into NASA looking for evidence of UFO’s. Disturbing to think he could get decades in prison, one article gave a maximum of 70 years. I’m curious to know what the maximum for for killing you child by medical neglect is.

  56. #56 Azkyroth
    August 3, 2009

    Negligent? Yes. Reckless? Yes. Murder? I’m not so sure.

    Despite his faith, he had his daughter best interest at heart. He obviously is sorely lacking in the critical thinking department, but all his magical mumblings and pleadings are in no way trying to harm her directly, even though his actions did indirectly caused her harm. But that does not constitute murder, does it?

    I dunno the case intimately, and I think he is deserving of a lengthy rehabilitation process, but throwing him in the same hole as murderers and thieves seems excessive.

    Either this man is actually insane and therefore cannot be allowed to roam free, or he knew exactly what he was doing.

    What you fail to realize is that negligent of this sort is a willful act. Ignorance of this sort is a conscious choice. Willfully allowing a child to die of an easily treated medical condition due to a personal emotional attachment to magical thinking and myths is a perfect example of the sort of situation the phrase “any sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from malice” was coined to describe.

    Speaking as a parent myself, it simply IS NOT POSSIBLE, barring clinical psychosis, to “honestly” be THAT wrong.

  57. #57 Azkyroth
    August 3, 2009

    Being on the register is usually enough evidence. In previous conversations regarding other cases I was given the strong impression that similar rules applied in the USA.

    Given that, in the US, child sexual abuse is considered a crime so heinous that absolutely no mitigating circumstances, including factual innocence, are considered when trying those accused, this is more than likely. Unfortunately, I think the link here is tenuous.

  58. #58 GW
    August 3, 2009

    Posted by: Whitecoat Tales | August 3, 2009 7:19 AM

    My problem is that your quote almost sounds like an insanity defense. Yet the parent’s weren’t insane, they were religious.

    As far as I can tell he was judged competant to stand trial, so he should have been competant to understand a doctor telling him “If she doesn’t get insulin, she will die.”

    I think I would agree with everyone here that the guy is guilty of a grevious crime resulting in the death of a minor, and deserves to locked up in prison for a long time. And I am not arguing that he was insane (although the line blurs well into religiosity).

    What I am questioning is the definition for murder, and as far as I understand it, if he had no intention to kill, it cannot be murder, and he isn’t a murderer.

    I could be wrong here, the charge of “reckless homicide” may not require murderous intent to be convicted of the crime. Would some legal eagle here help me clear up my understanding?

    At the end of the day it makes no difference whether he is a murderer or not, the poor girl is killed indirectly by her parents and that is terribly tragic. What I would like to see is for this man given every chance to rehabilitate, so he may one day see that his faith lead to his daughter’s death, and maybe that would prompt him give up his faith.

    That would be some measure of justice.

  59. #59 Donna B.
    August 3, 2009

    IANAL, but I have watched “Law and Order”.

    As I understand it, to be convicted of murder does require proof of intent OR proof of knowledge that a death would be the result of one’s actions. I remember reading somewhere that murder required proof not only of the guilty act but also a guilty mind.

    Homicide is not even always illegal, while murder always is. Judicial homicide, for example is the justified use of force by a law officer. A civilian can commit justified homicide in defense of himself or another.

    IMHO, this man is guilty of murder, though he was not convicted of it. He was convicted of reckless homicide. Sort of like, not taking the actions a reasonable person would have taken to prevent the death.

    To have charged him with murder would have been akin to putting his religion on trial to an even greater degree and I’d bet the prosecutors did NOT want to do that.

  60. #60 Lupis Noctum
    August 3, 2009

    Murder or manslaughter? Submitted for your consideration:

    Let’s say that I’m a professional caregiver with basic medical training who’s been hired to keep an eye on a wheelchair-bound fellow with a heart condition. One night the fellow has a heart attack that could have been arrested by giving him a nitroglycerin pill, but I choose not to give it to him and watch him die with the pill bottle in my hand.

    When questioned later by the police, I relate the situation exactly as it happened, but offer no explanation for my actions, or lack thereof.

    Am I a murderer, or am I simply guilty of some degree of manslaughter or reckless homicide? What explanation do you think I could give that would make a difference? Should I be allowed to continue to practice the trade of caregiver during any resulting trial or after a conviction?

  61. #61 Donna B.
    August 3, 2009

    Lupis — that’s criminal negligence which translates to a charge of murder.

  62. #62 Azkyroth
    August 4, 2009

    He wasn’t tried for murder because there was no evidence that he intended to cause his daughter’s death.

    He willfully, voluntarily, and needlessly engaged in a course of action that any sane, reasonable person would have known would cause his daughter’s death. Unless he is institutionalizably insane, how is this different from intending to cause it?

  63. #63 Azkyroth
    August 4, 2009

    What I am questioning is the definition for murder, and as far as I understand it, if he had no intention to kill, it cannot be murder, and he isn’t a murderer.

    I could be wrong here, the charge of “reckless homicide” may not require murderous intent to be convicted of the crime. Would some legal eagle here help me clear up my understanding?

    Homicide is not even always illegal, while murder always is. Judicial homicide, for example is the justified use of force by a law officer. A civilian can commit justified homicide in defense of himself or another.

    Homicide means “killed a guy,” as I understand it. Murder, manslaughter, and a few other charges are subcategories.

    Though, yeah, I would argue that these actions comprise murder.

  64. #64 Donna B.
    August 4, 2009

    Azkyroth – I should have written that he wasn’t charged with murder because the prosecutors couldn’t prove it — without putting his “faith” on trial.

  65. #65 Dianne
    August 4, 2009

    DCS: BTW, under most circumstances I would agree with you about using alternatives to imprisonment. I’d favor rehab for drug users, treatment for people with mental illnesses, job training and counseling for the hopelessly unemployed, opening alternatives of any sort to gang members, etc. But I’d like to start with people who are non-violent, not an unrepentent killer of children. If we, as a society, develop better means of rehabilitating people, then we can take on people like this and Timothy McVeigh. But until then, it’s just not the best risk.

  66. #66 D. C. Sessions
    August 4, 2009

    Dianne@#65:

    The problem is that I don’t think that the statutory maximum sentence is long enough to keep him and his wife from harming children. Again, IANAL — but IMHO if the Court can keep him away from kids more effectively with an alternative sentence, that’s the way to go.

    Of course, “effectively” is always an issue. Having had second-hand experience with fatal failures of restraining orders, that’s always a question.

  67. #67 Mu
    August 4, 2009

    LN@60, that would be murder by depraved indifference, since you clearly had the means to safely help without endangering yourself; or maybe felony murder for neglect leading to death. Not jumping into a raging river after a drowning person is understandable, not throwing the life line while safely standing on the dock is going to get you in trouble. Classification of homicides is mainly judgement on the mental state at the time of the act, not something subject to objective analysis.

  68. #68 JustaTech
    August 4, 2009

    I think that it is very clear that this man willfully let his child die, as I recall that a few (non crazy) family members who lived far away tried to convince him and his wife to take the girl to the hospital well before she died. It was not like he did not know that there were other options. He knew, and chose to refuse them.

    How long should he be in jail? They should both be in jail long enough that they understand that children are not disposable items to be sacrificed upon the alter of your own sanctimony.

  69. #69 Charlotte
    August 4, 2009

    Dianne@65, I agree with you completely. One of my problems with D.C.’s view is that you don’t just need to remove this couple from positions of responsibility for minors, you need to ensure they’re not in a position where they’re responsible for a medical decision for anyone vulnerable – children, older people or at the scene of an accident, for example. I’m not sure how that’s achievable within society. I also have a huge problem with them publicising their faith online and inciting others to follow their lead. I’m taking the word of Gareth@50 on the website – I’ve got a pretty strong stomach but I really don’t need to see that. As I said before, I don’t think remorse and rehabilitation is likely if they go to prison, but I think it’s downright impossible if they’re left free to continue with this sick self-promotion.

    Most crimes have a range of possible sentences to allow for the particular circumstances. Whatever the sentence given to this couple, it will make a statement about the gravity of the crime in the eyes of the judge, acting as a proxy for your society. It would be better perhaps if sentences reflected the utility/necessity of locking up the convicted person, but I think that ought to be established as a principle before applying it to cases.

  70. #70 Azkyroth
    August 5, 2009

    Can we sentence them to being denied any kind of medical treatment ever? If their “faith” is as strong as they say, they should be all right with that…

  71. #71 Ranson
    August 5, 2009

    @Azkyroth

    Wasn’t this the case where the mother fell ill in court and was treated by a doctor? Or was that one of the other evil fuckers that did this recently?

  72. #72 DLC
    August 5, 2009

    Bluntly: Mr & Mrs Neuman acted on their faith.
    But acting on your faith does not mean you get a free pass on paying for it. They acted with indifference to their daughter’s life, their daughter died, ergo they go to prison for negligent homicide. And they can bloody well rot there.

  73. #73 Calli Arcale
    August 5, 2009

    Ranson — I think you’re thinking of the homeopaths in Australia whose infant daughter died of complications from eczema. Eczema! That’s an easily manageable condition. It takes real chutzpa to neglect that enough for a lethal infection to set in. (If it gets bad enough, untreated eczema can theoretically become fatal on its own; kill enough skin, and it’s just like what happens to burn victims.) The parents professed that homeopathy is perfectly reasonable and accepted where they come from — yet strangely the mother went and got antibiotics when she developed pneumonia.

    The testimony of Mr Neumann in court disgusted me. He read from Job, obviously drawing an allusion to the fact that when God tested Job, ten of Job’s children died. In other words, he has resolved the cognitive dissonance between “disease is a result of evil” and “my daughter isn’t evil, but is very sick” by concluding that his daughter was dying in horribly agony in order to test *his* faith.

    That’s a terribly egocentric way to view the world, but the only other way to resolve the cognitive dissonance would have been to either conclude that there was a terrible hidden sin in his daughter, or to conclude that his faith was wrong. He was unwilling to do either.

    What pisses me off (besides the needless suffering and death of a child, which is bad enough) is that these people who profess to be Christians are clearly ignoring Jesus Christ. There’s a passage in the gospels where Jesus rhetorically asks his audience if a bunch of people killed in a recent building collapse in Jerusalem were bad people. The context of this is that under the common thinking of the day, they *must* have been bad people or else that wouldn’t have happened to them. Jesus point was that they were no worse than anyone in the audience.

    How many times does the Bible exhort people not to test God? And yet they do. The stupid snake-handlers do it all the time, “proving” God by handling rattlesnakes without dying. (Until, of course, they get bitten and die.) And they say this is because they are faithful to God. But God doesn’t want people making asses of themselves, and praising their own righteousness while others suffer and die for want of things that they have. The Bible clearly says that if you’re really following Christ, and you see someone who needs something that you have, you should give it to him immediately, no questions asked, no strings attached. Of course, few (if any) Christians ever manage to be that generous, but it seems obvious to me that this would extend to medical care. If you see your own daughter in severe pain and distress, and you have the financial means to get her seen by a doctor, you have the responsibility to do so — not just as an American citizen, beholden to American law, but as a Christian as well.

    I would say that these people practice idolatry. They do not worship God. They worship their faith in God, which thereby becomes hollow and meaningless.

    There can be no religious defense of what they did. It’s reprehensible on all levels.

    Note: child abuse occurs without a religious factor as well. In the religious cases, there is at least the hint that maybe the person was so deluded they thought they were doing the right thing. It’s still wrong, of course. But it seems much worse when the person knew from the start that what they were doing was wrong.

    Sandstone woman accused of starving daughter, 10, to death
    http://www.startribune.com/local/52380197.html

    The girl was developmentally disabled. Starving her to death was the side-effect of the mother’s plot with her state-funded personal care assistant to split all the state money for the girl’s care and spend it on whatever. Knowing she’d starve to death, it seems the mother and the personal care asssistant simply didn’t care what became of her.

  74. #74 Jeff
    August 5, 2009

    recall early news reports on the family:

    These parents had medical insurance coverage for themselves…but not for their children.

    Using the religious excuses to cover their butts for the murder of the child while having medical care for themselves…hopefully will be factored in during the sentencing.

  75. #75 Calli Arcale
    August 5, 2009

    Grrrr. (On the medical insurance for themselves and not their kids.)

    Y’know, I think there’s a common thread among a lot of these deaths where ineffective “treatments” were used (whether prayer, homeopathy, or something else), and it’s not just the blind-faith aspect. It’s that they are essentially experimenting on their children, and oblivious to the fact. They are embarking on a grand experiment of making their children “better” than themselves. Or at least, I suspect a lot of them see it that way.

    “Sure, I had antibiotics for that pneumonia, but for my daughter, I’m going to make sure we’re not so weak. She deserves a purer life.”

    This may go along with the folks who think their kids are “indigo children”, or otherwise more evolved. In any case, there’s clearly a lack of perspective where their children are involved, and they are not making decisions based on their children’s actual condition.

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