Placing the blame for a child's murder


Originally published in The Indianapolis Star

The recent tragic death of 6-year-old Elisa Izquierdo in Brooklyn allegedly by the hand of her mother has drawn attention to the obvious failures of the welfare bureaucracy, but on a much deeper but less recognized level, to the utterly amoral culture the welfare system has helped father In the first place.

While fingers can be pointed at particular Individuals or agencies that may not have responded quickly or appropriately, of far greater significance Is the emergence over the last three decades of a cultural milieu within which such horrible forms of abuse occur all too routinely; of a welfare system gone haywire because of Its system of perverse incentives that leave individuals with no sense of right or wrong.

The sordid details of the story are many, but the essential particulars are these: A crack addict on welfare had five children, one of whom, Elisa, was violated with a tooth brush, beaten savagely, forced to eat her own feces and finally killed, reportedly by her mother, who smashed her skull against the wall.

Deserved criticism

The Child Welfare Administration, Legal Aid Society and other players in the New York City welfare bureaucracy have been the targets of deserved criticism, but virtually none of the vitriol has been directed at the person who committed the crime.

The caption over the photo-graph of the child's casket in a recent Time magazine cover story read: She was not killed by an Individual. but by the silence of many," which properly points to the negligence and poor judgment of those who failed to Intervene on the child's behalf. But this provides moral cover for the criminal herself.

The fact, however, Is that Elisa was killed by an. Individual. And no matter how much the liberal media want to cover over that fact with righteous indignation directed at everyone else, the mother Is guilty. And that is precisely the point.

The questions that arose as I reviewed this article were simple enough: I wondered why the mother was a crack addict, why she had five children she was unfit to care for, and why she killed her daughter. These questions seem almost too obvious, yet In all the articles written, no one even so much as suggested them.

It Is a sign of just how far we have degenerated culturally when a mother can violate, torture and murder her own child and some-how be seen as an Innocent, even a victim In her own right.

A vindication?

The left will see In this terrible story vindication. and justification for Increased government spending. But In reality It is an argument for just the opposite. There Is In this crime a powerful condemnation of the welfare state mentality, both the massive, costly and Inept bureaucracy and the morally bankrupt culture It has spawned. It provides a convincing argument for recipients of taxpayer largess to more stringently or-der their lives along traditional values such as personal responsibility,. discipline and Industry, and to desist subsidizing, thereby encouraging the same Immoral, dysfunctional behavior that has al-ready shredded our nation's moral fabric.

There also Is a need to restore in the mainstream culture such concepts as guilt and shame. Not-withstanding the pronouncements of apostles of moral relativism, there are absolute standards of right and wrong, and Immoral behavior needs once more to be freighted with stigma, guilt and shame if we are ever to rebuild a decent society.

Moss is a Jasper physician.


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