Of Mothers and Murders
Maternal homicide, it seems, is when mothers get killed. Donna St. George leads off her compelling lead article, on that subject, as follows:"
This alone should give you the clue. Note that hundreds of pregnant or postpartum women were killed. Hundreds! Do you understand what this means? It means that the story is insignificant. And I don't mean morally insignificant; I mean numerically trivial. I mean that if you are a pregnant or recently pregnant woman, your overall chance of getting murdered rates right alongside the probability of a lightning strike. Do you reckon you can sleep nights, knowing this?"Their killings produced only a few headlines, but across the country in the last decade, hundreds of pregnant women and new mothers have been slain."
But anything for the cause of sleazeball journalism to titillate readers and sell newspapers -- especially if there is a feminist tilt to it! Right, Donna?
Donna must have thought she could get away with this, but sadly for her, she had neglected to keep her finger on the changing pulse of the zeitgeist. You see, the age of the Big Feminist Scandal was by then drawing to a close. I mean goodies like the Anorexia Pandemic, the Shortchanged Schoolgirls, the Superbowl Knuckle Derby, and all the rest of that jive. Feminism was pulling its credibility taffy-thin with such monstrosities, and at long last Donna St. George's work strained matters a mite too far. For while it is true that a breathless surge of moral panic started up around the nation, this fell flatter than a lead soufflé in the aftermath of cold, callous debunkings. For example, the following:
So Donna St. George's little blunder crept into a corner and died quietly. It was the last gasp of the age of the Big Feminist Scandal. Since then, the feminists have modified their tactics, and nowadays stick to a discreet chunking-and-distributing technique for putting out their message.
Let us now fast-forward to a recent internet article, from 25 January, 2012. Why, that's only a week ago:
Here we learn about "maternal homicide" of a rather different sort. Earlier, the case was that of mothers who get killed. But this time, the case is that of mothers who kill.
Or more precisely, mothers who kill their children. And so this new style of murder is called, fittingly, filicide.
This affords further confirmation that mothers, all-in-all, commit more child murder than fathers do. It is, at any rate, a social tragedy not to be taken lightly -- and statistically speaking, a more serious matter than the issue raised by Donna St. George. I would add that filicide is, in a way, sui generis by comparison with that earlier-discussed crime. Indeed, the latter seems continuous with the murder spectrum at large, whereas the murder of children specifically, by their mothers specifically, has a self-disaggregating quality. It stands out with unique poignancy.
Needless to say therefore, the cited article is written compassionately and makes reference to the underlying social difficulties that might fuel the social tragedy we are considering. For the mothers in question are, when all is said and done, women. And empathy, in view of their plight, is duly shown. They are, after all, female. Granted that no comparable social tragedy among fathers (who are male) appears to be happening. But if such were the case, we could easily lock the bastards up and throw the key away. Right?
I leave you with the following news item which a correspondent in Poland has recently shared. The bearing of it will not be lost upon you: