Monday, March 07, 2005

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

I just stumbled across a February 27 AP article in the Lufkin Daily News. (For you coastal elites, Lufkin is in Texas.) Maybe I'm the last one to see it, but I couldn't let it go unremarked.

Just to get this disclosure out of the way, I'm pro-choice, albeit reluctantly, as I explained in an earlier post. Not that it matters very much. The situation described in this article ought to have people on both sides of the abortion question scratching their heads and wondering how things got so crazy.

I'll give you a summary of the article. A girl of 16 became pregnant, courtesy of her boyfriend of 18. Both were still in high school. At first she kind of wanted the baby. But then "it" turned out to be "them," twin boys. Then she began noticing how big her belly was getting when she contemplated herself in the mirror. She decided she didn't want the babies, after all.

Apparently she was beyond the 16-week point at which elective abortions in Texas are all but impossible. So about two weeks before she finally aborted the twin boys she began hitting herself in the stomach, hard, in hopes she could cause them to abort. But it didn't work. Then she convinced her boyfriend to help her by stomping on her stomach. That worked.

The article has a few words on the gruesome "spontaneous" abortion that followed during that night. While others took his beloved girlfriend to the emergency room, the considerate and caring boyfriend cleaned up the considerable mess and went back to bed.

The girl ended up in the hospital, her stomach black and blue from the beatings. Oh yeah, and she had bruises on her face, arm, and wrist. On the night of the abortion they had a fight and he beat up on her a little more than necessary, in his words "accidentally, probably." Seems like that's OK, though, because she said he didn't abuse her regularly.

Nothing is going to happen to the girl because she has a constitutional right to terminate her pregnancy, so she's protected from prosecution. But Texas (like some other states) has a law making it murder to intentionally kill an unborn fetus, unless you're the prospective mother or a cooperating health care worker. The boyfriend, however, was charged with capital murder. That's the death penalty, folks. The prosecutor says they aren't going to seek the death penalty, but presumably they could change their minds.

A Texas state legislator who helped create the law under which the boyfriend is charged said, according to the article,

...he never envisioned such a case when he crafted legislation intended to protect women and unborn babies from domestic violence, drunken drivers and other assaults.

"We didn't consider a case as ridiculous as this. ... I feel sad for these immature, stupid people. But the law is what the law is.'' ...

"You can't legally ask your boyfriend to do a triple bypass on you, even if he's stupid enough to try it. ... You can't give another person permission to commit an illegal act.''

So here we are. Two people conspire to commit an illegal act--not just any act, mind you, but murder (that's what the law says it is). One goes free, even though she led the conspiracy and made a much more significant effort to carry it out. The other, lesser conspirator is charged with two murders and could still be at risk of the death penalty. And by the way, this all happened in May 2004, and the boyfriend has been in jail for nine months now.

The boyfriend must be a front-runner in the jailhouse "Mr. Sensitivity" contest:

He says he regrets what he did and sometimes thinks of the twins, two tiny matching outfits hanging in his closet, two blurs in an ultrasound photo. He'd like to have that photo, he says, to remind him he could have been a dad.

How did we get to this level of civic idiocy? Is it stupid law or stupid people or both? As Forrest Gump said his mama used to say, "Stupid is as stupid does." Indeed.


Blogger howard said...

In answer to your question, Tom, I'd have to say it's "both."

I never thought I'd read a story like that -- it's infuriatingly sad on so many levels.

11:38 PM, March 07, 2005  
Blogger American On Line said...

We shall see more of these tragedies as the message goes out that abortion is illegal, not availabale, or deemed to be murder by the next door neighbor.

Once they make abortion illegal, we shall be back to the simple days of coat hanger abortions.

1:50 PM, March 08, 2005  
Blogger Esther said...

Marty, don't forget the lovely knitting needle. My mom saw a lot of those (and yes, the hanger too) when she was a nurse. Broke her heart.

h2, my thoughts exactly.

I'm surprised they didn't get the guy (18, right?) for statutory rape? These two kids seem almost too stupid to live. But until that's actually a crime, I guess we're stuck with them. She couldn't make up her mind before four months?! Oy.

6:06 PM, March 08, 2005  
Blogger MaxedOutMama said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:01 PM, March 08, 2005  
Blogger MaxedOutMama said...

This is so perturbing that I can't force myself to really think about it. If abortions are illegal I don't see how the girl could possibly not be liable. I just don't. Maybe the DA made the decision not to prosecute because he thought she would be a sympathetic figure. Can the DA keep the girl from testifying to explain that she asked the boy to do it?

Too stupid to live does seem like a good diagnosis to me. Has anyone else noted that there are some very odd laws in Texas? "Lawrence" came out of Texas, also as a result of a really bad prosecutorial decision.

I'm appalled that the boy would actually step on the girl's stomach even if she asked him to do it. I think an assault charge would be a better way to handle this.

7:03 PM, March 08, 2005  
Blogger B said...

About sixteen years ago, Newsweek published the following news item (paraphrased from memory):

"Drink it like a man" -- what a neighbor/friend/relative told a four-year-old boy before handing him a glass of vodka to drink; after which the boy lapsed into a coma and died.

That story was published when my son was about the same age. I immediately pulled something alcoholic out, poured it into a glass, made him smell it, and lectured to him about various things.

You might wonder why I bring this up here. That image is so burned into my brain and the anger and despair still so fresh that I would cheerfully kill that individual even now given the chance (I have no idea what happened to him). You've just given me another one that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I don't care what the law says - she committed murder. I, too (as you know) am pro-choice (about the same as you). But this is not about elective abortion - this is about losing our grip on the last vestiges of our sanity.

12:53 PM, March 09, 2005  
Blogger Sarah Beth said...

The issue is individual rights. She did not commit murdedr and neither did he. Unless she wants to press charges for the abuse he should be let go, though both of them should have their head's examined, it is not against the law to be stupid, and it is not for the law to protect us against ourselves.

10:36 AM, March 12, 2005  
Blogger Bill O. Writes said...

Forrest may have got Jenny pregnant, but he would not in his worst nightmares have treated her, or his unborn children in that horrible manner.

What would have happened if she had waited nine months when her children had become inconvienent? Would she have asked their father to stomp on babies? Considering that he would kill them because she asked him, his abuse when he lost his temper with them would be unmentionable.

I'm old enough to realize there is an exception to every rule. There is no half ground for me on this matter.

8:10 AM, March 24, 2005  

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