I was distressed to read of the arrest of Jamela Vanessa Brown in connection with an apartment fire in which she nearly lost her three young children. She is being criticized for leaving the children alone, inside a locked apartment, while she walked to a store a half-mile away.
But consider the situation from her perspective: If she wanted to feed her family and lacked the funds for child care (as she apparently lacked the funds for a car), she had limited options. Walking a mile round-trip with three kids, the oldest 5 years old, is no easy feat. Chief Dyer seems to criticize her for locking the security door, preventing the children from leaving — but if she’d left it open, she would be criticized for placing them in danger from intruders.
Poor folks have it tough enough in our society without being arrested just at the moment they’re grieving for injuries suffered by their kids. Kicking her while she’s down amounts to bullying.
Douglas L. Gordon
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