October 25, 2009

"Why do the children keep dying?"

It's those terrible pit bulls! And those terrible pit bull mixes that are actually 100% real pit bull, whatever the hell that is! Oh, wait — my bad — these children actually died of abuse and neglect at the hands of their human "caretakers":
All told, the records show, 32 children in Los Angeles County died in 2008 from abuse and neglect, including physical assault, drowning and malnourishment. Eighteen of the children were in families that had never been in contact with the family services agency.

But the other 14 families should have been well-known to child welfare officials, based on previous referrals and investigations.
There have been numerous calls for reform -- but little action. In the passing years, an unknown number of children have been harmed or killed.

At least a dozen reports have landed on county leaders' desks since the early 1990s saying agencies that work with troubled families must improve their ability to talk to each other. County supervisors have freely admitted that the system is broken, and even have voted several times to establish computer systems to open communication channels.

Solutions have been doomed by bureaucratic infighting, turf wars, privacy concerns and limited political attention spans. When horrific deaths or abuse drop out of the news, the board and department heads often focus elsewhere, leading to long stretches of inaction -- until another case gives them a terrible jolt.
If you ask me, politicians who waste a nanosecond on BSL or MSN or other junk legislation should have their posteriors handed to them on a platter. "Yes, kids are dying on our watch — but we hammered out a rockin' spay/neuter ordinance in 2008!" Kudos to you, L.A.County Supes. You must be so proud.

In other dreadful news, an unsupervised 17 month old Merced child was killed yesterday by a mixed-breed dog. No, sorry: it was an Akita. I mean an Akita mix. Akita/pit bull mix. Dammit, no: a pit bull/Akita mix. I mean a pit bull. That's it, a pit bull. Yes, sir, I'll be sure to put that in the headline.

260 news stories and counting, and most articles have failed to report that the dog was, in fact, a mixed breed. Even birthers don't bring of the stupid quite like journalists with their canine one-drop rule.

This dog killed a child in Merced. This dog looks just like my dog. Therefore, I should arrange for my dog to be castrated at once, and I should keep him muzzled at all times, and I should move out of the city and confine him in a high-security enclosure and pay big insurance premiums, all because my dog looks a lot like "the dog that killed that little baby." Except that my good boy is fine with children. He's even friendly with cats, not that any of that matters.

It will be interesting, by which I mean "as disappointing as ever," to see how long our local politicians can keep their gnat-like attention spans on the lives and deaths of children under county supervision. Me, I'm betting on a new round of "Kill all the Akitas pit bulls!"

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