Monday, July 18, 2011

Paving the Road to Hell

by Kate Collins

A young boy in my community died recently from abuses he received at the hands of his father and mother. He was kept in an animal cage, beaten, starved, and only God knows what else, for a long, long time. During that time, he was allegedly home schooled by his mother, so there were no teachers to help him. (Teachers here are mandated to report any suspected abuse and are penalized if they don’t.) However, the boy was seen by a couple of doctors who saw evidence of the abuse but never did anything about it. As a result, no one intervened, and the boy died praying for someone to help.

I wonder how those doctors live with themselves now. Did they have an intention of alerting authorities but never got around to it? Or did they simply look the other way? Truly, I don’t know which is worse.

In researching a quote for my next book – one of my characters is a constant font of quotations – I Googled “The road to heaven is paved with good intentions.” My mom used to use that on my siblings and me when we “intended” to do something but never got around to it. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the quote is actually, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” That's kind of scary.

I wonder how many other acts of charity go undone because the good intention never happened. I know I’ve been guilty of it a time or two. But if I saw a child who I sensed was being abused, you’d better believe I’d be on the phone the very next minute having someone check it out. Same goes for an animal.I will not tolerate it.

That's why I’m in favor of making the law read that any doctor who suspects abuse, whether child, wife, or husband, must report it or be penalized. How do you feel about that?