Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Please Pray For...

...the soul of Raijon Daniels. You might also pray for his mother, Teresa Moses, who was arrested for his murder.

Raijon was 8-y.o. When his mother called 911, saying there was a medical emergency, the police found signs that Raijon had been badly abused physically. He was also locked in a room which mom monitored by using a baby monitor with a camera.

Child & Family Services had been contacted previously, on at least three occasions, and in each case dismissed the charges without inspecting the home.

Ms. Moses was 15 when Raijon was born. She also has a 2-y.o. daughter, who is now in protective custody. The daughter does not appear to be abused.

A couple of things stand out for me. One is how young Ms. Moses was when Raijon was born. What kind of family support did she have to help raise the boy? Did she get any parenting classes? The other is she claimed to homeschool Raijon because of conflicts she had with his school. I'm waiting for someone to claim that Raijon would still be alive if he had still been going to school. After all, no rational parent would want to deprive their child of the important social skills learned in a public school classroom. What are these parents hiding? Why don't they want their children interacting with the general public, with the children's peers?

Actually, the school was one of the agencies that reported suspected abuse to Child & Family Services. They were worried that Raijon was not being fed properly. When CFS investigated, Ms. Moses wrote, "I changed my slothful attitude and non-responsive spirit to proper discipline, to constructive discipline, time-outs, reading books, stay in your room and study, things of that nature when necessary to complete a balance in his life." I wonder if she also joined a church or a Bible group that has a literal view of "spare the rod." If she had, I'm sure that will come out and much will be made of "fundamentalist Christians abuse their children in the name of religion."

And where were the men of the family? Ms. Moses accused her ex-husband of abusing the boy, but CFS found no evidence of molestation and Ms. Moses did not return follow-up calls. The article does not indicate if the ex-husband was the father of Raijon.

Perhaps Raijon looked like his father and that caused Ms. Moses to retaliate against her son. Perhaps Ms. Moses didn't know how to handle--or couldn't handle--a high-spirited, active boy. Perhaps being a single mother of two, working full-time, and trying to homeschool was too much for her.

The community is shocked. The attitude is that, once again, the government let them down. But this community does not talk to government authorities. They'll maybe call 911 to report a gunshot victim, but they haven't seen or heard anything. Did this willful blindness--born out of a necessity to survive, by the way--cause some to overlook Raijon's neglect? To stay out of what they perceive as "family business"?

Perhaps we can name this New Orleans Syndrome; the idea that it's the Government's job to take care of all our ills, all our problems. If the people in authority don't see a problem, then there isn't one. We don't have to get involved. We don't have to take care of our family, our neighborhood. Someone else will clean up the mess.

There will be an investigation. Heads will roll. Procedures will be changed, will be tightened. Some social workers, already stretched emotionally and physically to the max, will quit. The remaining workers will do more with less. And the community will forget Raijon until the next child who dies at the hands of his mother.