www.mozilla.com Weather Central
Voices
Headlines

Eyeing the children -7/30/2014, 9:01 AM

Speak from the heart -7/30/2014, 9:01 AM

Changing attitudes -7/30/2014, 9:01 AM

Time to replace Huelskamp -7/30/2014, 9:00 AM

Water vision -7/29/2014, 9:48 AM

No longer a supporter -7/29/2014, 9:47 AM

The power of punctuation -7/29/2014, 9:47 AM

Running for the wrong bus -7/28/2014, 9:04 AM

Old Old Mexico -- Culture and content -7/28/2014, 9:03 AM

The defining issue of economic recovery -7/27/2014, 4:53 PM

In a world of sectarian violence, what can be done? -7/27/2014, 4:53 PM

Funding DHDC -7/27/2014, 1:18 PM

Endorsement for Shultz -7/25/2014, 3:28 PM

Against the wind -7/25/2014, 4:23 PM

Do blacks need favors? -7/25/2014, 4:23 PM

Vote Huelskamp out -7/25/2014, 4:23 PM

Open meetings -7/24/2014, 8:07 AM

Leadership change needed -7/24/2014, 8:07 AM

Vote for Huelskamp -7/24/2014, 8:06 AM

Protecting unborn children -7/24/2014, 8:06 AM

Learning experience valuable -7/24/2014, 8:06 AM

False equivalence -7/23/2014, 8:07 AM

Measles' scary comeback -7/23/2014, 1:27 PM

The 'big data' deal -7/23/2014, 10:07 AM

GOP can't get out of its own way -7/23/2014, 10:07 AM

War only will add to Middle East problems -7/22/2014, 8:10 AM

Avoiding taxes -7/22/2014, 8:10 AM

Take the win in Iran -7/21/2014, 8:57 AM

The high court's high-handedness -7/21/2014, 8:57 AM

Up in arms in the Capitol -7/20/2014, 4:52 PM

Firefighters weigh in on pay raise -7/20/2014, 4:52 PM

Backpacks for Kids -7/20/2014, 4:52 PM

Our unwillingness to defend ourselves -7/18/2014, 10:51 AM

Remembering a man who championed freedom -7/18/2014, 10:51 AM

GOP split -7/17/2014, 8:38 AM

New Kansas senator -7/17/2014, 8:37 AM

Who'll build the roads? -7/17/2014, 8:37 AM

Time to retire -7/16/2014, 2:20 PM

Reagan: In or out? -7/16/2014, 2:45 PM

'Unbroken' WWII vet more than a hero -7/16/2014, 2:44 PM

Savor the fruits of your labor -7/16/2014, 2:44 PM

Erasing candidate's standards -7/15/2014, 11:36 AM

Returning to Trail Wood -7/15/2014, 10:13 AM

Leaving some in 'suspense' -7/15/2014, 10:13 AM

Strangers in a remarkable land -7/14/2014, 9:11 AM

Courageous or spineless? Our actions decide -7/14/2014, 9:11 AM

Ambition: An unlikely gift to Kansas voters -7/13/2014, 11:16 AM

Beyond the outrage -7/13/2014, 11:16 AM

Water watch -7/13/2014, 11:16 AM

Scenic outlooks -7/11/2014, 9:18 AM

China's research trumps teaching -7/11/2014, 9:17 AM

Important slow news -7/10/2014, 9:42 AM

We've got a promise to keep -7/10/2014, 9:33 AM

The white combine calls -7/9/2014, 10:02 AM

Vote for family values -7/9/2014, 10:02 AM

Politicians making a mockery of my faith -7/9/2014, 10:02 AM

Missing tribute -7/9/2014, 10:02 AM

Rural students deserve 21st Century education -7/8/2014, 9:10 AM

The education table dance -7/8/2014, 9:10 AM

A new virus -7/8/2014, 9:10 AM

Government as God -7/7/2014, 9:38 AM

EPA affecting others -7/7/2014, 9:38 AM

'Narrow' decision from the narrow-minded -7/7/2014, 9:38 AM

The tax trap -7/6/2014, 4:35 PM

Rulings produce 'First Amendment fireworks' -7/6/2014, 4:35 PM

Firefighter salaries -7/6/2014, 4:35 PM

Economic freedom -7/4/2014, 11:54 AM

Protecting our independence -7/4/2014, 11:54 AM

Dan Johnson, 1936-2014 -7/3/2014, 7:12 AM

New Iraq offensive backfires -7/3/2014, 7:11 AM

Setting things straight -7/3/2014, 7:11 AM

'Crapitalism' -7/3/2014, 7:11 AM

Feeding peace throughout the world -7/2/2014, 9:01 AM

Half way is still only half way -7/2/2014, 9:01 AM

Sherow a better choice -7/2/2014, 9:01 AM

Fireworks, part II -7/2/2014, 9:01 AM

Reality show made in Topeka -7/1/2014, 8:53 AM

The justices and their cellphones -7/1/2014, 8:53 AM

LOB defeated -7/1/2014, 8:53 AM

Tragedy explored in 'Broken Heart Land' -6/30/2014, 9:14 AM

Mexico City: The adventure continues -6/30/2014, 9:14 AM

Even our youngest Americans are citizens -6/29/2014, 12:58 PM

Ban on fireworks -6/29/2014, 12:58 PM

It's time to teach active citizenship -6/29/2014, 12:57 PM

The education establishment's success -6/27/2014, 10:39 AM

Piecework professors -6/27/2014, 10:39 AM

Marriage for all -6/27/2014, 10:39 AM

Prairie chicken madness -6/26/2014, 4:17 PM

Omission control -6/26/2014, 10:12 AM

Equal in the eyes of the law -6/26/2014, 10:12 AM

Help wanted -6/26/2014, 10:12 AM

The old red barn -6/25/2014, 9:19 AM

Beware the unimaginable -6/25/2014, 9:19 AM

Early critic of school testing was right -6/24/2014, 8:53 AM

Finding something 'different' in Topeka -6/24/2014, 8:53 AM

Shopping small -6/24/2014, 8:53 AM

Into the classroom -6/23/2014, 8:55 AM

Wow! And thanks to you -6/23/2014, 8:55 AM

Fireworks double-standard -6/23/2014, 8:55 AM

Glass half full -6/22/2014, 5:57 PM

myTown Calendar

SPOTLIGHT
[var top_story_head]

Who speaks for the voiceless?

Published on -3/24/2014, 10:14 AM

Printer-friendly version
E-Mail This Story

Who speaks for Ghanson Debrosse?

Before he was born, many people did. Anti-abortion groups did. Churches did. Protesters did. And lawmakers did. Florida, for instance, requires that a woman undergo an ultrasound before getting an abortion, and the provider must offer her the option of viewing the image.

Ghanson was not aborted. He was born, Oct. 26, 2010, to a teenage mother, Fafane Caze. During his short stay on this Earth, he endured enough pain for a lifetime. Police say that when he wet the floor, his mother burned his genitals with a lighter, and when he soiled his diaper, she beat him with a broom handle. They say she once hurled him across a room where he crashed into a table. And that in a fight with the boy's father, she used him as a weapon, trying to throw him at the man.

Ghanson died on Jan. 21. He had burns on his face and fingers. He had scars in the shape of belt buckles.

The Florida Department of Children & Families knew Ghanson was in trouble. It received three reports on its hotline. But the agency concluded there was no reason to remove him from that house.

So the answer is obvious. Who speaks for Ghanson? No one did.

He is one of 477 Florida children no one spoke for or spoke forcefully enough for, 477 who have died in the last six years from drowning, crushing, starvation, neglect and the inattention of a system that should have protected them, but did not. In "Innocents Lost," a report by Audra D.S. Burch and Carol Marbin Miller published recently by the Miami Herald, we learn the number of children dying has spiked since DCF made a deliberate decision almost a decade ago to sharply reduce the number of children taken into state care and to slash "services, monitoring and protections for the increased number of children left with their violent, neglectful, mentally-ill or drug-addicted parents."

Money was saved. Children were not.

And there is an irony here too acute to ignore.

We have these great debates over children who are not yet born. We have marches and shouting matches and legislative protections for children who are not yet born.

But what about the children who are already here? How is it they can groan in hunger, how is it they can be shaken to pieces, slammed into walls, mashed under car tires while those who should protect them do not, yet there are no marches, no demonstrations, no placards lifted or lawmakers making speeches?

"Abortion stops a beating heart," goes an old anti-abortion slogan. But so does a skull fracture.

Not that it is only abortion foes who are indicted here. Rather, the indictment extends to all of us who watch with complacent silence as budgets are balanced on the backs of the voiceless and vulnerable.

Somehow, there is always enough money to give another billionaire another tax break. Somehow, we always find a way to build the new stadium to keep the team in town.

But who speaks for Shaiunna Hare, 2, crushed by a python kept, barely secured, by her drug-addled mother and the mother's boyfriend?

Who speaks for Kaleb Cronk, 1, run over by a pickup truck in his mother's driveway after she went inside and left him unattended?

Who speaks for Logan Hancock, 2 months, who died of a skull fracture? His second.

Who speaks for Emanuel Murray, 3 months, allegedly thrown from a moving car by his mother's boyfriend?

Who decries the fact that we had the chance to intervene and did not?

The implication is as clear as it is appalling. We will argue, protest and legislate over a child's right to be here before she arrives.

Once she gets here, though, she's on her own.

Leonard Pitts is a columnist

for the Miami Herald.

lpitts@miamiherald.com

digg delicious facebook stumbleupon google Newsvine
More News and Photos

Associated Press Videos

AP Breaking News
AP Nation-World News

View this site in another language.

Kansas News