There was a horrid story recently out of Galveston Texas about a little girl who was reportedly brutally murdered by her biological mother and step father. Assumedly, after she was dead, she was crammed in a suitcase and dumped in the Gulf of Mexico. Her badly decomposed body was discovered several weeks later after washing ashore.
I vow to not drift into the dark side that often but this story chaps my butt. My interest is two-fold.
First, as a search & rescue professional, I have searched for many children that ended up being the victim of a homicide and disposed of like trash. The experience changes you. The dedicated officers and investigators that have worked this case in Galveston will be changed too and my heart goes out to them; and also to their families that will try to give them a safe place to land, but will be on the outside looking in, in order to be spared the burden of internalizing the horrific details.
Second as a Step Dad, I am saddened that a man made the choice to join another family, but only accepted the wife and not her child into his family. And equally saddened that the mother allowed that. There is something very animalistic, literally, that drives a male to cull a child from his own family. Other species do it, like lions and gorillas, but a human in a civilized society that kills a lover's child says that some key tool of humanity was missing in that monster's life long before he met that little girl's mother. And right or wrong, step dads do not have the market cornered on inhumanity. But like Pit Bulls being the catch all dog breed the media picks whenever someone gets bit, crimes by step parents are often the first to be publicized and dramatized, as if the crime were somehow worse than if a biological parent committed the same offense.
Step-parenting can be difficult, no question about it. But so can 'typical' parenting. And so can anything else we undertake without the proper tools.
As Abraham Maslow said...."When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem begins to resemble a nail."
That thug killed a child in his care because he lacked the tools to properly and respectfully raise another man's child. And like any child that never fully develops, he resorted to using a proverbial hammer to solve his problems. And lest we forget, the woman who brought that child into the world stood by and enabled this man to kill her baby. Capital punishment is on the books because of miscreants like these.
So, in defense of the millions of good and decent step-parents everywhere ... the crimes we read about in the news can not be summed up by just labelling them as step-parents. The crimes are committed by underdeveloped losers that just happen to be step-parents.
Let's return to a happier place tomorrow, shall we?