She is climbing up and down her mommy, pulling her hair, mouthing her cheeks, and restlessly creating a playground to keep herself amused while contrained between the armrests of the uncomfortable seats of the courtroom.
She is a crack baby. Or maybe a Meth baby. But really is there a difference? I know ‘cause I represented mom when she was pregnant and using. Dad is now in custody. And what should have been a day at the park, or at “Mommy & Me" class, or at the Baby-Gym, is now a routine “let’s watch daddy in court” day…
What chances does this child have of succeeding in life? Everything is stacked against her. Her learning ability compromised in Utero, and further stunted by environmental conditions, such as horrible parenting; what realistic opportunities will she have to become a successful member of the community?
Will she be that hyperactive restless child who will have to have special education classes? Will she become the disruptive kid in school who will be constantly marching in and out of the principal’s office? Is she going to be seeking comfort from the madness of her life by dumbing herself down with drugs and alcohol? And will she replace dad’s missing presence by searching love from one opportunistic asshole to the next?
Are we going to recognize that troubled teenager as one who started life with everything stacked against her? Or are we going to look at her with judgmental eyes, shooing her away from our kids, and shaking our kids with scorn at her unacceptable ways?
I don’t have the answers… I am trying to concentrate on the officer’s testimony so that I can cross-examine. Maybe my job is not to save the Dad because the dad is innocent or not… but maybe my job is to find a way to send Dad home, so that the kid can at least have some semblance of a normal life….
Yet another day, and another tragedy unfolding in the Courtrooms…
Uncollected Writings. 2015
Lecturer, Radio Host, Citizen Journalist, Blogger
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