Sunday, September 30, 2012

How Do You Cook A Frog?

Friday, I attended the Congress For Children here in San Antonio. This is an event that talks about issues impacting kids in Bexar County. We heard about the Pre-K for SA bill coming up in November that would add about $7.86 to the taxes for each family to provide free Pre K for the kids here. We heard about the impact of poverty on kids. We heard from some of our legislators on what was their main focus this session.  We heard a very small amount about the mental health of our kids. We heard a lot about nutrition, obesity, foster care and healthcare. Nothing was more impactful than a presentation done by Clarissa Zamora from Childsafe.
Clarissa followed suit with statistics. Everyone seems to think numbers are the key to getting people to make changes. But she also offered a personalization of the kids who are abused and tortured in Bexar County each year. The chair person for Voices for Children was emotionally destroyed by the video she showed. The numbers we all hear, 26 kids died in Bexar County from abuse and neglect, were suddenly real kids. They all had names and horrifying stories. They screamed for help. They screamed for their abuser to stop, promising anything. For those too tiny to be able to promise, they simply screamed until they no longer could.
26 kids died in Bexar County this year. 26 kids were murdered. If there had been a single gunman that had murdered 26 people in one day, the city would be relentless in bringing that person down. Things would be done to prevent that from ever happening again. We have seen it repeatedly all across the country and right here in river city.
But because we hear the stories one at a time, over and expanse of a year, we seldom hear an outcry of outrage.It is kind of like the old saying about boiling frogs. If you put a frog in boiling water, it will jump out. But if you put it in water and slowly raise the heat, it will sit there and cook to death.
We are the frogs. Child abuse is the water in the pot. The cases of adults hurting kids is the heat. The heat is being turned up and we are still sitting. We hear the stories and think "how sad and tragic".

We can create free pre-k, free health care and great schools for our kids. Unless we can protect them from those who are supposed to protect them and teach them, all is lost.

We can judge any society by the way it treats it's kids and it's animals. We fail on both counts.
However society treats it's kids is how they will treat society when they are in charge.

From this perspective it looks like our priorities are in the wrong place. Stop asking for funds to build new sports arenas and convention centers and school programs. Lets start asking for money to protect our kids.

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