Thursday, January 05, 2012

Controversial . . .

I have not been very controversial here for some time. I have given up on the political talk here because it is just not worth the hassle. This is probably not the one thing to jump back on the controversial bandwagon, and honestly it may not be very well written, but I feel like I need to get some of this stuff out of my head, so here goes . . .

I live in the town that dear little Aliahna Lemmon was murdered in. I heard about her being missing just before leaving for church on Christmas Eve. I was disheartened and worried like any normal person would be. It tugged at my heart that this child was missing during the holidays and it wore on me the entire Holiday weekend. When it was finally found that she was murdered by a family friend I was sickened. Even before we heard all the gruesome details, I was sickened that this child's life was taken from her. I of course hugged my kids a bit tighter and gave them many more kisses that weekend.

Within a very short time people were not just horrified that this man monster had done this, but they began saying that the family was to blame. Almost immediately people began to point fingers at the mother for allowing her children to be watched by this man, for living in this trailer park that housed 15 sex offenders, for not taking care of her kids during her flu, on and on and on. When did we as a society become so very judgmental? When did we stop feeling empathy for the victims families and start immediately digging for dirt on them?

I will not argue here about the family and the choices they made. I will not argue if they are guilty of putting her in harms way. I will not purpose to know anything about that situation as I do not live in that woman's shoes. She does, and I would hate to be in those shoes tonight as she sits through her daughter's memorial service. Is she blameless, probably not. But I am not the justice system. I could have very well been the one to make those terrible mistakes. I would hate for someone to be searching the internet for all my known associates, their associates and all my family members looking for the very bad seeds. I am certain there may be a few spoiled ones in my bunch as well.

I am also not going to judge the ones looking for these things. This is the day and age of media. You can do whatever you want. If indeed there was some issue and someone needs to be brought into the situation, more power to you. You have that right. I have a child who's life was saved because someone chose to butt into the issues happening in his birth family's home. I am pleased that someone brought that situation to light. I am by no means saying mind your own business.

I guess the issue I am having is that people were so very quick to villainize the mother. There was a very obvious villain in this scenario, it was Michael Plumadore. He confessed. He led police and FBI investigators to the several places where he had disposed of her remains. A local journalist who had spoken to MP several times during the search was astounded that he had been fooled by his sincerity. The family continues to say they are distressed that he could've done this, that they had been duped by his kindness and his gentleness. Is it really so hard to believe that this monster had fooled them? Do you really want to believe that this mother knowingly and willingly put her kids in his care knowing he was looney? Does that makes more sense to you? It doesn't me.

Then we have the whole sexual predator angle. It is spoken about in every conversation there is about the murder. There has yet to be anything that has told us that Aliahna was sexually molested. We may never know. Dear Lord, how I hope that was not the case. But the sexual predator part of the equation came into the picture because there were so many living in this small trailer park. Does that need some attention? Sure. Did the mom know? Yes she did. From reports, she had no other choices. She seemed to be in a cycle of poverty. I will not argue if that ws something she could've fixed or something she chose. What I am saying is that some people have no choices. When you are caught in that world, there seems to be no escape. Some people know much else and everything they deal with seems to be the norm and there is nothing else. Once again I am not defending, I am just thinking out loud.

I guess what I struggle most with is the fact that we have no idea what living that life is like unless we have been there. Pointing fingers and shaming will not fix the situation. I think the people that are hollering the loudest about the situation saying that the mother should've made better choices are likely the same ones who would use words like welfare whore, white trash and lazy but will talk about how Aliahna should've had a better life? How do you think that would happen without public assistance? The ones having such a problem with her life and choices are the same ones who would likely be against public assistance programs. This child was born in a bad situation.

If you want to point fingers . . . where were you? What do you do when you see a mom struggling in the grocery? What do you do when a child at your kid's school needs a warm winter coat? Do you donate to the Food Bank? Do you give to that Salvation Army bucket? The people who villainize the parents who cannot take care of their children tend to forget that by you not supporting public programs you are not only punishing the adults but the kids by default.

Lets be pissed. Lets be angry. Lets make sure that laws are changed. But lets get angry at the one who committed this horrible crime, not the ones who have to live with it forever. I am sure they hate themselves enough for all of us.


Anonymous said...

After reading your blog about Aliahna, I feel there is much information you are not aware of. Regarding those of us out here angered by the one(s) that were supposed to protect her, an innocent 9 year old along with two lucky 6 yr olds... a choice was made to knowingly surround them with dangerous people (multiple times). Sometimes the picture is bigger than the frame...take it out and the hidden parts unfold changing the perception and focus.

flacius1551 said...

Good for you. Compassion (even for the potentially guilty) never hurt anyone, and has often helped.

Kari O said...

I disagree with what you said about the people who are criticizing the choices this mother made, and the accusation that the those same people, essentially, turn a blind eye to people in need.

I have been on public benefits at different times in my life, and I came from a family with an absent father and a mother who waited tables to support us.

I grew up surrounded by families who were struggling, and sometimes sinking, in the swirling pool pf poverty.

No one, not a single adult, that I knew growing up would have made choices that even come close to the ones made by this family.

My single, working mother was ill at times with the flu and worse. Somehow she managed to get by without sending us off to stay with other people.

This child had already been molested at least once (by someone else)! Do you really think that this psychopath did not help himself to this girl? To fill whatever sick needs he has?

My heart breaks for this little girl who was murdered! My heart worries to no end for her siblings, who will likely lead a life of chaos.

I am sorry for this mother who lost her child, but to blame it on being poor is ridiculous.

Sheri said...

I know there is much info out there and I have read until I was sick. It does make me ill. I am not saying things were done right. I am not saying the children were in a good situation. I agree with you on that point. I just found it disturbing that it was so very harsh and quick.

I have been involved inthe foster care system both as a foster parent and through the adoption of my son. Trust me, I have seen some truly messed up families. I understand that those do exist. It is sick and sad.

I didn't mean to make it seem that I was blaming it on her being poor. I have seen that cycle of poverty and I know how it can be overcome. It is not an excuse for poor choices. I was simply making an observation.

I suppose I just want to see good in people. I suppose I want to give people a small bit of credit.

It is a difficult situation all around. It has brought out anger, fear and frustration in people. I just think that a small bit of the anger is misdirected.

Thanks for your comments.

Carol said...

I'm with you, Sheri.

Anyone that wants to can judge and criticize all they want, if it makes them feel better. But I wonder... what good does it do? Does it change anything? Does it truly make anyone, including the judging person a better person? If it helped anything at all, I would be all for it. But it seems to me that these awful situations only call for compassion and support. The mom will not learn better ways with judgment, but she just may with a kind, understanding, helping hand.

I am sure that I could be judged and criticized for things in my life and family. I'm doing the best I can with what I know and what I have. Just maybe the thought could be entertained that others are doing the same.

You rock, Sheri!

Anonymous said...

The fact is, there are several sex offenders in both families, and one of them molested Aliahna last year in Iowa. You can look it up online, the Iowa courts have the record.

Both of Aliahna's grandfather's are convicted child molesters, (the maternal GF died last month).

As someone who spent a great deal of time exposing Tarah Souder's complete disregard for her children, I take exception with most of what you said.

She'll likely, at the very least be charged with neglect under Indiana Code and do a couple of years in prison.