www.mozilla.com Weather Central
Voices
Headlines

Budget needs dynamic leadership, not scoring -12/21/2014, 1:06 PM

Sure, you can say that -- but please don't -12/21/2014, 1:06 PM

Holiday travel -12/19/2014, 10:16 AM

ALEC's starring role in the 'Wrecking Crew' -12/19/2014, 10:17 AM

Should profiling be banned? -12/19/2014, 10:06 AM

No right to misbehave -12/18/2014, 10:09 AM

Pompeo deserves thanks -12/18/2014, 10:00 AM

Executive orders -12/18/2014, 10:00 AM

Attack on Pearl Harbor -12/18/2014, 10:00 AM

Christ's role -12/18/2014, 9:59 AM

Governing vs. giving -12/18/2014, 9:58 AM

Adapting to change -12/17/2014, 10:30 AM

Brownback's 'vision' -12/17/2014, 10:30 AM

Young at heart -12/17/2014, 10:29 AM

Newman provides western Kansas education -12/17/2014, 10:29 AM

Big banks win again -12/16/2014, 9:37 AM

Securing the future of aerospace in Kansas -12/16/2014, 9:36 AM

The future with Brownback -12/16/2014, 9:36 AM

White Christmas, red Christmas -12/15/2014, 9:20 AM

A reason to celebrate -12/15/2014, 9:20 AM

Building a competitive opposition party -12/14/2014, 4:33 PM

Without religious freedom, there won't be peace -12/14/2014, 4:33 PM

Flying Hays later -12/14/2014, 4:33 PM

Allowing torture -12/12/2014, 10:11 AM

Racing to Lake Wobegone -12/12/2014, 10:10 AM

What's rule of law? -12/12/2014, 10:10 AM

Media bias -12/11/2014, 10:13 AM

It's not about race -12/11/2014, 10:12 AM

A new civil war -12/11/2014, 10:12 AM

Climate catastrophe -12/11/2014, 10:12 AM

The case of Scott Panetti -12/10/2014, 10:14 AM

Word origins -12/10/2014, 10:14 AM

Kansas will bleed -12/10/2014, 10:13 AM

Minions' mess -12/10/2014, 10:13 AM

Prescription farmers -12/10/2014, 10:12 AM

Vaccines make sense -12/9/2014, 11:02 AM

Net neutrality -12/9/2014, 8:45 AM

Tell me it isn't so? -12/9/2014, 2:53 PM

Willing to do without -12/9/2014, 8:45 AM

KDOT funding -12/9/2014, 8:45 AM

The man elected -12/8/2014, 10:00 AM

Understanding white privilege -12/8/2014, 10:00 AM

Making sure crime doesn't pay -12/8/2014, 10:00 AM

Do Kansans really care? -12/7/2014, 3:17 PM

Core freedoms under fire -12/7/2014, 3:17 PM

Nation needs new approach -12/6/2014, 3:17 PM

Tons of fun on tap -12/5/2014, 9:48 AM

A Christmas plea -12/5/2014, 9:48 AM

School privatization via convenient debt -12/5/2014, 9:48 AM

Race in America -12/4/2014, 10:20 AM

The gift of petroleum -12/4/2014, 10:20 AM

A Charlie Brown Christmas miracle -12/4/2014, 10:19 AM

Care and feeding of farm animals -12/3/2014, 10:19 AM

Let's talk about 'black on black' crime -12/3/2014, 10:19 AM

Sports complex -12/3/2014, 4:14 PM

-12/3/2014, 10:00 AM

Kudos to school for bilingual efforts -12/2/2014, 11:42 AM

Wages prompting county workers to seek better jobs -12/2/2014, 11:42 AM

County employees urge public's support -12/2/2014, 11:42 AM

'Horrible Bosses 2' disappoints;  new 'Star Wars' trailer thrills -12/2/2014, 10:19 AM

Power rests with House speaker -12/2/2014, 10:01 AM

Climate change -12/2/2014, 10:38 AM

Ferguson's pain -12/1/2014, 10:21 AM

Out of sight, or out of luck? -12/1/2014, 10:20 AM

Blacks, whites need to wake up to injustice -12/1/2014, 10:20 AM

Kansas turns South -11/30/2014, 5:33 PM

When should holy days become holidays? -11/30/2014, 5:33 PM

Future of health care -11/30/2014, 5:33 PM

Giving thanks -11/27/2014, 3:08 PM

Give a child hope and a home -11/26/2014, 9:12 AM

Holiday shopping -11/26/2014, 9:12 AM

Today's faults -11/26/2014, 7:45 AM

Meatless Mondays -- forget about it -11/26/2014, 7:45 AM

Cosby, serial rapist? That's a lot to forgive -11/26/2014, 7:45 AM

Letting it fly -11/26/2014, 7:45 AM

KanCare oversight -11/26/2014, 7:45 AM

Giving thanks for blessings as Kansans -11/25/2014, 10:11 AM

Local fixes to local problems? -11/25/2014, 10:11 AM

Energy security -11/25/2014, 10:11 AM

Elite contempt for ordinary Americans -11/24/2014, 9:12 AM

Pipeline politics -11/24/2014, 10:04 AM

They killed Peter Kassig -11/24/2014, 10:04 AM

Going from bad to good on election night -11/23/2014, 6:38 PM

Free Speech can be shield or a sword -11/23/2014, 6:38 PM

Dodge City merger -11/22/2014, 6:38 PM

House mis-speaker -11/21/2014, 9:50 AM

Obama vs. Us -11/21/2014, 9:50 AM

Really smart conservatives love public debt -11/21/2014, 9:50 AM

Official welcome -11/20/2014, 9:52 AM

Control freaks in the U.S. -11/20/2014, 1:24 PM

How did we get here? -11/20/2014, 9:52 AM

An open letter to the GOP -11/19/2014, 10:03 AM

Successful farming -11/19/2014, 10:03 AM

Getting personal -11/18/2014, 9:15 AM

Teachers, not facilities -11/18/2014, 9:15 AM

Schoolteachers and the Legislature -11/18/2014, 9:06 AM

Water vision -11/18/2014, 9:06 AM

I see wonderful things -11/17/2014, 9:26 AM

Politics prevail over truth in Kansas elections -11/17/2014, 9:26 AM

Progress at mall -11/16/2014, 5:22 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