Some news stories are bizarre, some are horrifying, some are mind boggling, and yet others, are all of those things. Why would a family torture one of their own? Why would they torment a small child, especially when that child is their own flesh and blood? When parents harm their own children, it can sometime be explained as the consequence of mental illness. After all, if the last 150 years of the study of evolution has taught us anything, it is that people protect their genetic legacy, and any deviation from that is abnormal.
But how does one explain when four adults renounce that simple maxim, and according to news stories, torture and kill their 10 year old relative? As reported William Hermann of the Arizona Republic:
Ame, according to police, had been stuffed by an adult into a 31- by 14- by 12-inch footlocker inside a trash-strewn home she shared with adult relatives and at least 12 children. She died in the footlocker.
According to Phoenix Police, relatives of the 10 year old girl are responsible for first degree murder.
Phoenix police Wednesday night arrested John Allen and his wife, Sammantha, both 23, and both are expected to be charged with first-degree murder. Also arrested were Cynthia Stoltzmann, 44, and Judith Deal, 72, who face kidnapping and child-abuse charges.
Even more disturbing, if true, is the failure of child protective services, both here in Arizona and Utah, to do its job. That some people do things, that may with good cause be considered evil, is predictable, certain, and preventable. That, of course, is why we have civil servants whose sole responsibility is make some members of our society more civilized than they would care to be. But it now appears that our government failed young Ame, and that is a tragedy.