Wednesday, November 19, 2008

ZenTiger Kiro on parents

The Children's Commissioner, Dr Cindy Kiro, spoke out today on violence against children. The prompting was on the guilty verdict of those that murdered 3 year old Nia Glassie, with tales of cruelty and mistreatment that shocked New Zealand to its core. So this is what she said:
“New Zealand has a high tolerance to violence and much of the violence towards children is perpetrated in the name of discipline. There are no acceptable ways of hitting children.
I have several problems with her statement.

Firstly, this case wasn't about hitting. It was about kicking and beating. Dropping and throwing. Spinning and Tossing. It was about a lack of empathy and love. It was about stupidity and ignorance. It was about immorality.

This didn't start with a smack meant in discipline, and it didn't end in a smack for the sake of discipline. A 34 year old mother had shacked up with a 17 year old boy (age 15 when the relationship started), and the Children's Commissioner didn't see that as an issue worth tackling either.

Secondly, the repeal of Section 59 was supposedly about preventing a loophole that allowed a parent to advance the defense that hitting a child for the purposes of correction is OK, if the force used was reasonable. The thing is, if she and people like Bradford ever managed to produce a court case where some thug was let off, it would simply mean we need to scrap the judge, not the law. I doubt anyone could argue what happened to Nia was reasonable.

And thus, I come to my point about Dr Kiro's poison. She continues to conflate a smack with child abuse. Her position is clear - smacking is illegal and needs to be stamped out, and with this one ideological statement, she puts all parents on notice that she see's little difference between either of these situations. There is a world of difference, and this only makes Dr Kiro busy chasing shadows.

And since Kiro is using this tragedy to push her agenda, allow me some latitude to do the same.

As I reflect on Nia's short life I wonder about all the people that would say abortion would have been a better option for Nia?

Obviously, her quality of life and happiness would have been minimal in her final days. Some pro-abortion people argue that children under a year old are not self aware, and could be killed humanely, and this may have suited the mother and Nia if we measure life according to quality. Maybe this case proves it for such people?

But here is the interesting thing. Nia's life and her death has touched many people. She was loved by her wider family, they just didn't know they had to be there for her. And if Nia had been one of 18,000 other abortions last year, no-one would be the wiser. And we are wiser. We can see there are serious problems when stories like this surface. And this isn't the only story like this, is it? If Nia had been an abortion statistic she wouldn't have a name, and her murderers wouldn't be in jail.

If Nia had been an abortion statistic, would these be better people? Did Nia turn them into amoral killers, or were they already there, looking for a victim? Is it her fault? Denied an abortion, were these people put into a situation they couldn't cope with? Are you going to let them off that easily?

Nia deserved a chance at life, and she at least got one. Liberal society may have been happier that once Nia was created, she had then been destroyed. It would have been more efficient and more "humane", but that didn't happen.

Now we all can see that Nia's short life has exposed the dark underbelly of New Zealand society that would have remained hidden. We had buried the Kahui Twins and were ready to move on. But the topic is back again. We cannot escape this conversation. We admit that things are broken, but now we must fix it.

Cindy Kiro blames smacking. All those that blame smacking, care to stand in the corner with your Commissioner? How far will you go to end smacking? How many kids are you prepared to pull out of loving families to end this crime? Will it save others like Nia?

I don't think so. I'm prepared to blame something else. I blame an ongoing breakdown of the family structure. I blame easy marriage and easier divorce. I blame a lack of sexual prudence. I blame the lack of the father in her life.

Nia was born into a dysfunctional family, with no father present, with a 17 year old "step father" who was incapable of being one, and a Mother who couldn't see that this environment wasn't destructive. There are many clues here to narrow our search and target our efforts. Instead, Dr Kiro wants to broaden the discussion to include the relatively trivial and potentially encompass up to 80% of NZ families. That will keep her busy, but be of no help to the next Nia.

“Parenting is a tough job" states Kiro, but is ready with the solution: "But there are a number of organisations that offer advice". How condescending and trite can you get, when the murder of Nia is put down to not getting advice? Does Plunket publish a booklet for 17 year old "step fathers" to "not put the baby in the dryer or use her as a football?"

I hope New Zealand discusses this case for a long time, and maybe we will come to realise that Nia's life was made to mean something. But please, let it not be a parenting course for any good parent who may have smacked their child in the course of doing their best with what they had.

Related Link: Justice comes for Nia Glassie

Related Link: Big News - Dr Kiro has to go

Related Link: Half Done - s59 controversy continues

5 comment(s):

Dave said...

Nia was born into a dysfunctional family, with no father present, with a 17 year old "step father" who was incapable of being one, and a Mother who couldn't see that this environment wasn't destructive.

Agree 100 percent. But what led to that is more frightening.


Sounds like she needs the boot, along with the Police commissioner.

KG said...

A very large, very permanent boot at that, FFM.
But at most, she'll just be shuffled sideways into another parasite's cosy niche.

Inventory2 said...

Excellent post ZT, and expressed with far more eloquence than my oiwn effort. Dr Kiro is quire wrong to suggest that New Zealanders tolerate child abuse, and I hope there is a meeting arranged very soon between her and the new SD Minister bring the ghood Dr into line.

Anonymous said...

Well said. The other thing about promoting abortion as a solution is that you don't know which children will be abused. There are maybe 10 children killed each year like this. But most children born into bad situations are not killed. You might abort thousands of children and still miss the 10 that are going to be abused - oh wait, that's what we already do.

Horrible as this case is, I am much happier with a girl having the chance to live even if it was cut short, than killing thousands like her earlier in an even more grotesque fashion, just in case.

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