Dumpy and Stick ... two degenerates who have been paraded across the television news nightly in their black and white jail-issued scrubs. Two men (and I use that term loosely) who are accused of rape and murder of a 9-year-old child in southern Missouri. Two individuals who no longer deserve the name chosen for them when they entered this world.
As the grieving step-father interview (Dumpy) was played over and over, I watched and wondered how it was humanly possible for him to look someone in the eyes and talk about his precious baby step-daughter; how much he loved her; how much he wanted her safely at home -- all the while knowing her tiny body was lying at the bottom of a sink hole. Dumpy is a living definition of the term scumbag.
I watched as Dumpy and Stick appeared in court and pleaded not guilty, after they admitted to raping and strangling this young child. From the mug shots and the television footage, Dumpy appears to be only 5-foot-something tall but probably weighs well-over 300 pounds. Stick is over 6-feet tall. When I look at them, I see the image of a small, scared child, weighing 60 pounds or less; unable to defend herself against their repulsive acts. Hopefully death occurred early and this tiny child did not mentally and physically suffer very long.
From the little I know, garnered from news reports, this young child probably didn't have the easiest of lifes. As always occurs in a tragedy, people who may not have given this young child a second glance in life, were stricken that "one of their own" suffered such a violent death. At one time, a concerned teacher called the abuse hotline, but an investigation by overworked social services officials found no evidence of abuse. I hope this young girl had as many people love her before her death as she did after.
This past week in Izard County, Juvenile Court Judge Stephen Choate and other members of the community, announced a new program whose goal is to strengthen and save families who are in the court system. It makes a lot of sense and brings to light problems, as a society, we have allowed to happen. The unraveling of the family unit may be the single, most important reason abuse of all kinds is increasing at an alarming rate across our nation. As the book title proclaims, it really does take a village to raise a child -- and to protect one.
Talking after the press conference, Judge Choate said that a generation is coming along who will be raised without the wisdom and guidance of a grandparent. Future grandparents are today, parents who are meth users, who will not live to fulfill this very important role in a child's life. These same parents are also the role model for today's children who are learning their future parenting skills -- pretty scary isn't it?
Abuse occurs in many ways -- drugs, alcohol, sexual, physical or mental or it can be any number of circumstances forced on an individual by someone else. Having a safety net, someone to turn to for help, is the only cure for abuse. As more and more community organizations and churches open their doors to help the abused and the abuser, a new generation is once again learning the importance of a strong family unit. And, by relearning strong family values we, as a community, are reaching out to help; to put others' needs on the same level of importance as our own.
Abuse will always be a part of the things that are bad in this world. We can't change that, but by working together we, as a community, can provide a safety net, a watchful eye and a helping hand. By doing these things, maybe we will reach out to those in need before someone like Dumpy or Stick have the chance to hurt another innocent child.
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