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I have said this before, but I have to REALLY emphasize it this time… this post deals with the aftermath of the death of a child, so some of what I may say could be very aggravating.  I hope you read it with an open mind.  You have been warned.

I am going to say right now that this rant is really going to be inflammatory.  It deals with a pretty ugly occurrence, as well as some opinions that may not be well received.  As such, know that you were warned.

I was directed to a news article on MSNBC.com regarding the choking death of a child.  I am not ranting about the poor child’s accidental death.  For that, my heart goes out to the family of the child.  What this is about is the child’s mother “crusading” to have more warning labels put on food, regarding choking hazards.

Now let us get the details straight here… her son, God rest his tiny soul, was 4 years old, and choked to death on a piece of hotdog.  It really is a tragic story.  But what his mother has done is spent the past nine years trying to force food manufacturers to put warning labels on foods that may pose a choking risk to children.

That just about covers every goddamn food under the sun, people.  I have seen babies choke on their mother’s breast milk.  I have seen grown men choke on applesauce.  What she is trying to do here is play a blame game, even nine years after the tragedy.  She is trying to lay blame on the food manufacturer for not “educating her as to the risks of the food.”

Now let’s examine another fact: Joan Stavros Adler is an attorney in Warren, NJ.  This means the woman is educated.  She holds a law degree and passed the BAR.  She is licensed to practice law in the state of New Jersey.  My friends, this is supposed to be an educated and intelligent woman.  And she is seeking to absolve herself of guilt by placing them blame for these horrible choking deaths on the heads of the food manufacturers.

I was about to say about how unintelligent this seems, until I realized she is doing just what it is that attorneys and lawyers do best: throw the blame on someone or something else.  No culpability, no responsibility, no personal ownership.  Just plain old, “It’s not my fault!  Someone else is responsible, it can’t be my fault!” bullshit.

While I will admit that it is indeed a horrible tragedy that her son died nine years ago by choking on a hot dog; and while I will admit that I too worry about my niece and nephews choking as well, I sure as hell am not going to say it was the fault of the food manufacturer for not putting a big old label on their pack of tubesteaks.  In the article, written by Associated Press medical writer Lindsey Tanner, there is talk of the Pediatrics Academy pushing the federal government to mandate more warnings on the food packages.  I want to ask what this will accomplish.

You do realize most people read a package of food about as intently as they read the patterns of their fingerprints.  Has it done a single bit of good for smoking?  Is there any goddamn conclusive proof that placing the warnings on cigarette packs has helped keep people from smoking?  Really?  You’re right, it really hasn’t done a damned thing at all.

So what makes you think warnings on food packages will do any amount of good?

When I was younger, parents took the responsibility to: watch their children while they ate; be sure that the child could handle the size and shape and consistency of the food they were given to eat; and finally to realize that some foods are not suitable for a child to eat, no matter how small or perfectly shaped they are.  That is your job as a parent, to look out for your children by being involved.  Not by screwing the pooch, and then seeking to shift the blame to assuage your own guilt.  That isn’t being a goddamn adult, a paragon of the virtues that a child should be taught.  It’s being a damned child.

After all, that is what a child does.  Child is playing in the living room, you are in the kitchen.  There is a loud crash from the living room, and you go in to find a lamp on floor, broken as all get-out, and the child looks at you without missing a beat and points to the dog, who is serenely laying in its bed, the whole way across the room.  “Doggy brokeded lamp.”  They shift the blame in order to prevent punishment and guilt.  As an adult, it is your job to teach the child that that is a lie, and that in order to be a grown-up, they have to take responsibility for their actions.

What Joan Stavros Adler SHOULD have done is start an organization in her son’s name to start educating new parents about the dangers of food and children, and showing them how to properly judge your child’s capabilities to chew food properly.  She also could have pushed it to help teach parents proper first aid techniques for use on children under age 5.  After all, you can’t do the Heimlich maneuver on a 3 year old the way you do an adult; you’ll kill the child.  Instead, Joan Stavros Adler takes the path of the child, seeking to blame the “doggy” for what comes down to her lapse in judgment as a parent.

In my search for material for this editorial rant, I came across a rebuttal article written by Barbara Stanley, a writer for the Atlanta Natural Health Examiner, who has an extensive background in education, special education, and homeopathic medicine.  The article basically says what I have said above, about the responsibilities and proper education of the parent being the issue, not a printed warning on a package.  Barbara Stanley goes on to state, “It is difficult to believe that a parent could not recognize the possibility of a wiener, by its natural shape, to choke a small child.”  The article continues about the responsibilities of a parent regarding education on pediatric CPR and first aid, constant attention and presence while the child is eating, and food foreknowledge.

As I said before, it is a horrible tragedy that this woman lost her son at such a young age.  But that is not what I am speaking out against here.  What I am speaking out against is the culture we are perpetuating wherein a parent gets more and more lackadaisical about involvement in their childrens’ lives.  In her last paragraph, Barbara Stanley writes a passage I could not have written better, “Instead of more labels and added food costs to the foods we eat, let us use a bit of common sense and protect our children instead of depending on our government to do what we should already be doing.”

It’s not a blame game.  It’s culpability.  If you are not willing to do the work of being a parent, don’t have a child.  Plain and simple.

What do you think?

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One Comment

  1. lawyers. “a bunch of mindless jerks who’ll be the first against the wall when the revolution comes.”


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