Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Throwing the baby out with the toilet water.

Lest there be some misunderstanding, I am not conflating this case, which sounds unambiguously criminal and is horrific regardless, with the broader right-to-life/right-to-choose debate. But these are the kinds of untoward events that take place when you have women's-rights advocates arguing for unfettered domain over one's body, no matter the circumstances (aided and abetted by human-potential types selling the notion that life is "all about you" and "your needs"). This circle-the-wagons mentality explains why feminist icons still found something to like in Dr. Kermit Gosnell, who was ultimately convicted of killing babies that had already made their way to the birth canal. It also explains why the Gosnell case provoked so little outrage in the feminist-inflected, ever politically correct mainstream media. Indeed, several MSM outlets seemingly had to be shamed into giving the case any coverage at all.

But getting back to the crime at hand: What this woman, Amanda Hein, summarily executed in that restaurant toilet tank (before going out to grab a smoke and then returning to her table to take in the rest of a pay-per-view wrestling match), was not an inert clump of cells; it was a viable human being, a living, breathing, "full-term" baby boy of 33-36 weeks gestation, to quote DA John Morganelli. Morganelli had seen photos of the boy and was visibly shaken.

I feel especially for Dave Rank, the owner of the popular sports bar in which Ms. Hein chose to discard her infant. Dave is a veteran supporter of our men's baseball league, known to be an all-around great guy. He took reporters' questions with tears in his eyes on the night the dead child was discovered.

Now we shall sit back and wait for the impassioned, even aggrieved outcry from the likes of Gloria Allred. I expect to hear something about how this case "shows what young mothers-to-be are up against...the extraordinary pressures placed on women in our culture...the lack of support systems and services in place for them. "

Apropos of which, here's a section from the article linked above, quoting Hein's brokenhearted stepmother:
Louiseann Hein did recall a conversation they had about what might happen if the younger woman had a baby. The discussion was sparked by the arrival of a piece of mail from Planned Parenthood addressed to Amanda Hein.
"I told her she always had a home here," Louiseann Hein said, choking back tears. "We would make room. Would find a way."
What's more, Hein is no panicky teenager. She's a woman of 26 who, when she went into labor that night, was out smoking and presumably drinking with three male buddies. (Shades of Casey Anthony?) Because, you know, as Cyndi Lauper memorably put it, girls just wanna have fun...


RevRon's Rants said...

Steve, I don't know what's going on with you, but I suspect it's more than a few bran muffins is likely to fix. In this piece, you seem to have constructed a profoundly ugly strawman out of your own ideology, and projected that strawman more broadly than I've ever seen you do. Why, in your second statement alone, you effectively counter the disclaimer you offer in the opening sentence. Your description of "the feminist-inflected, ever politically correct mainstream media" only serves to further distance you from your usual claim of objectivity, IMO.

What Hein did was not the outgrowth of a feminist imperative. It was a crime, committed not by a feminist, but by a calloused killer. And to claim that her actions, as well as those of Dr. Gosnell, failed to provoke sufficient outrage just doesn't resonate at all with the reportage I've seen, much less the reaction to it.

I can fully understand your bar owner friend's feelings of devastation, and can assure you that it was shared - if in somewhat lesser degree - by the general public. Given the constant regimen of horror stories served up in news reports, it should come as no surprise that the media - and the public in general - are somewhat desensitized, and don't feel the horror with the same depth that your friend who witnessed the scene did. That doesn't make the public unfeeling, or the media "infected" by some "circle your wagons" mentality. We hear about deaths every day, but do not feel the same degree of loss that we feel when it happens to someone close at hand. That doesn't make us narcissistic or unfeeling. It makes us human.

I'd suggest that you consider that your own proximity to this event, your second degree of separation, if you will, has left you so sensitized that you feel the need to rail at the horror of it, and to demand that retribution be swift and severe to anyone involved. But the truth is that this was, as I said, not a feminist-sanctioned behavior. The coverage did not constitute an abdication of responsibility by the media. And it was not the natural outgrowth of some broad-based narcissist agenda. It was a horrific crime, committed by someone who does fit the description of a narcissist, but who is a member of a rarefied breed of cold-blooded killers, and not representative of some broad demographic as you imply.

I fully understand and share your outrage. But I think you're allowing that outrage, perhaps fueled by your own ideology, to fester and swell beyond reasonable measure, and to create and strike out at a class of perpetrators of your own creation., rather than focusing that outrage upon the actual criminals themselves.

Peace, my friend.

Steve Salerno said...

Point well taken, Ron, who shall be referred to hereinafter as "my philosophical conscience." I do think there's something to what I wrote here--at least a kernel or two of sociopolitical truth; a comment on latter-day mores--but I will revisit my own motivations for writing such a post, as well as the logical integrity of the piece itself. Although on reflection this woman may not be the best object lesson in the phenomenon I describe, I do think the phenomenon exists.

Thanks for keeping me on my toes (and it gets harder and harder to stay so positioned, with age).

For a Better Society said...

I figured you out Steve! You were unable to succeed at getting people to buy your book or come to your blog with your normal reasoning or writing so you turn to SHOCK VALUE! Just like your column about the N and C words, now you have disgusting, tacky photos like the one you use here.

Cheap thrills will never keep a truly intelligent audience coming back for more. That explains alot about you. At least be honest with yourself.

roger o'keefe said...

For the first time in a long time I agree with you about something. So which one of us is crazy?

Steve Salerno said...

Roger: If the shoe fits...

"Better Society": I could be wrong, but I have a feeling that you and Roger would find a lot of common ground in these debates. And he comes back for more...

Anonymous said...

Steve, you don't know all the circumstances of this case, you know only what has been reported. You don't know what drove this woman to do what she did, even as admittedly horrible as her actions sound. I wouldn't put too much faith in the statement from her mother either, what people tell a reporter for public consumption may be very different from the discussions she and her daughter actually had in private.

These can be very complicated issues and as someone who had written in the past about the rush to judgment and our flawed justice system I'd think you'd take that into account. Can't we wait at least a few days before we nail this girl to the cross?

Steve Salerno said...

Anonymous, clearly you are right in some respects: No, we don't know all of the circumstances. But...putting a newborn in a plastic bag and then in a toilet tank? This isn't like a hit-and-run accident, or a stabbing that takes place in a moment of rage/rancor... And in fact, there are any number of resources available to young women who find themselves in Ms. Hein's position. In most states, as in this one (PA), so-called "safe haven" laws allow mothers in distress to simply drop off an unwanted newborn at a hospital, no questions asked.

Look, I guess you're right, there are certainly other facts to be divulged, some of which may be exculpatory, and I have no doubt that Ms. Hein's eventual defense team will make us aware of them.