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Father forgot boy for two hours in mid-80s heat, San Jose police say.
July 24, 2001 11:00 PM   Subscribe

Father forgot boy for two hours in mid-80s heat, San Jose police say.
posted by christina (43 comments total)

 
Involuntary manslaughter for this utter moron. Seems black and white to me.
posted by owillis at 11:06 PM on July 24, 2001


He was visiting relatives and forgot? Wouldn't one of the relatives want to see the baby? How could he possibly forget?
posted by mathowie at 12:00 AM on July 25, 2001


No doubt the very same questions he is now tormenting himself with.

......and will be, until the end of his life.

Metafilter, your daily headlines, at a glance. Some input Christina? Yea, nay, or grey?
posted by lucien at 12:21 AM on July 25, 2001


No doubt the very same questions he is now tormenting himself with...and will be, until the end of his life.

You assume that this wasn't planned. It's B&W all the way here...
posted by fooljay at 12:36 AM on July 25, 2001


Didn't I just read somewhere in the newspaper that a woman did the exact same thing and ended up getting 15 years in prison? I'm positive I did.
Either way, if they can prove that he did it deliberately, then nail him with manslaughter and let him rot.
If he didn't have intent, and was truly forgetful, I think he'll be punished enough with the memory of what he did.
posted by Grum at 4:10 AM on July 25, 2001


Come on Metafilter
He only had it five months
He coulda forgot
posted by dogmatic at 5:03 AM on July 25, 2001


damn. screwed that one up.
posted by dogmatic at 6:25 AM on July 25, 2001


Yeah, it's happened a few times before. As a father of two, I find it incomprehensible.
posted by goto11 at 6:37 AM on July 25, 2001


The same thing happened here in Boston last year. Guy goes to pick up his infant at day care one afternoon. "You never dropped her off," they say. He finds her still in the rear-facing car seat, dead. He thought he had dropped her off.
posted by jpoulos at 6:48 AM on July 25, 2001


Same thing just happened in the Twin Cities. Some guy drove to work, forgot to drop his baby off at daycare, and it died in the minivan over the course of the day.

It's amazing what people will forget sometimes.
posted by mrbula at 7:14 AM on July 25, 2001


i'm in no way condoning the fathers behaviour in any way, but have you ever met the sleep deprived parents of a new baby? these people can be running on fumes with even the happiest of babies.
posted by heather at 7:37 AM on July 25, 2001


my comment? I was going to say, yet another warning to me not to breed... I'm one of the most forgetful people on earth. My sister insists I would never do such a thing, no "real parent' would, but I wonder. Then again, I've never killed a pet (just the occasional houseplant).

I was perplexed by this story. stupidity? forgetfulness? maliciousness? I thought I'd throw it to mefi to see if y'all could shed some light on it.

neglect is complicated. As I grew up my parents took my sister and me to the dentist once when we were 5 and 9 respectively-- and my mouth shows it today -- but they were really terrific parents. Kind, even handed, fun, fed us and never left us in a car... They just kinda never really went to the dentist themselves, and forgot to take us too.

Parenthood is hard. it scares me.
posted by christina at 7:39 AM on July 25, 2001


It defies imagination. There is no grey here, you can't forget a baby in a car unless there is something very, very wrong. A baby in a car should be frequently checked on, even if it's just a cursory glance in the rearview mirror, even if the child is sleeping. Throwing the kid in the bucket in the backseat, driving off and forgetting that its there isn't just neglect, it's extreme negligence, especially on a hot day. It's just beyond the pale, no matter how preoccupied or sleep deprived you are. (And sleep problems have usually tapered off by five months, anyway.)

Parenthood, overall, is hard. Handling a simple task like successfully transporting a child from one place to another -- especially when that trip is very likely voluntary (like going to visit relatives) is not. This isn't benign neglect, this isn't a failure to do something that doesn't seem pressing and then just gets away from you (like dental checkups) this is an exceptional breech of the entire parenting role. This is a screw up of the highest order, and I have a hard time even quantifying how it could have been an "accident."
posted by Dreama at 7:51 AM on July 25, 2001


I was with you, dreama - up to that last phrase. While I concur that this was negligence of the grossest kind, to say it wasn't an accident implies the reverse: that he guy did it willfully and with malice aforethought (or... something...). You're saying he drove up to the house, stopped the car, thought to himself, "Hmm, two, maybe three hours, kid oughta be done to a goldeny brown crunchiness by then," got out and went to hoist a few... The fact that the San Jose Police are hesitating on whether to even charge him should at least be a clue to us that, in their opinion so far, the guy didn't kill the child on purpose.
posted by m.polo at 7:58 AM on July 25, 2001


Something that happens via negligence, to my mind, is not an accident. Accident implies something that could not be avoided, try as you might. Knocking over a glass of water because you misjudged the distance is an accident. Skidding on ice and hitting a parked car is an accident. Not having the presence of mind to get your helpless child out of the car on a hot day is certainly something that could be avoided if normal care is applied.
posted by Dreama at 8:15 AM on July 25, 2001


if they can prove that he did it deliberately, then nail him with manslaughter and let him rot.

if he did it deliberately, wouldn't that be murder?
posted by tolkhan at 9:36 AM on July 25, 2001


i know someone who did that a few years ago. Stopped by his office--network guy--someone asked him a tech question. Trouble shooting took about an hour, but its a lot hotter here than 80something. Local police around here will still give out tickets for people with car-seats for kids and windows that are too dark to see into. Very sad.
posted by th3ph17 at 9:41 AM on July 25, 2001


Note to christina - same thing. I'm wearing braces right now. I'm 28. Awful, huh?
posted by hazyjane at 9:42 AM on July 25, 2001


I hear your passon on this dreama, but even those examples don't sound like they are different things... I maintain that difference between an Accident and Everything Else is that an Accident is something You Don't Plan To Do But Happens Anyway. If only... he hadn't left the kid in the car? OK, if only you'd been more careful when you reached across the table... if only you'd been driving a safer speed on that ice-covered road... I'm not saying he's blameless, but to immediately assume he meant to harm the child and therefore left it to bake in the backseat seems too much of a stretch.
posted by m.polo at 9:49 AM on July 25, 2001


Yes, lack of early dental care is horrible, painful and expensive-- in my case it's root canal after root canal. Even good parents neglect their kids-- if a parent forgot to get a kid immunization and she/he died of small pox-- perhaps even spreading it to other children, could that parent be accused of manslaughter? When is it more than criminal negligence?
posted by christina at 9:57 AM on July 25, 2001


I'm not saying he's blameless, but to immediately assume he meant to harm the child and therefore left it to bake in the backseat seems too much of a stretch.

That's not what I said. I'm saying that he didn't exercise regular care. He didn't give even the minimum amount of notice to the child. He obviously didn't even manage a cursory glance back into the car as he walked away!

There's a difference between "Something You Don't Plan to Do But Happens Anyway Because Circumstances Aligned That Way" and "Something You Don't Plan to Do But Happens Anyway Because You Didn't Make a Reasonable Effort To Stop It."
posted by Dreama at 10:29 AM on July 25, 2001


I remember my aunt telling me that when their first child was a couple of months old, she went downstairs to meet my uncle coming home from grad school, leaving the baby sleeping in her crib upstairs. He came back with a mutual friend, they talked on the stoop and then decided that they'd drive the friend home. It wasn't until they were on their way BACK from dropping the friend off that they realized that they had left their baby by herself in the apartment for about 45 minutes, all told. Luckily, nothing had happened; she was still sleeping peacefully when they came back. My aunt and uncle are intelligent, caring people, they just slipped back into the habit of "before they were parents" (which had been their whole lives before that time) for a few moments--something I can see myself doing (giving me yet another reason to not be a parent). I'm sure if something had happened, people would have said "How could they forget they had a baby?!" and made a snap judgement about them.

Personally, I think no one can be as harsh on this guy as he's going to be on himself for the rest of his life.
posted by witchstone at 10:32 AM on July 25, 2001


The article said the police didn't release the parent's names, I bet they are Mr and Mrs Gilbert...
posted by tomplus2 at 12:22 PM on July 25, 2001


Personally, I think no one can be as harsh on this guy as he's going to be on himself for the rest of his life.

Ahh there we go again. Everyone is the victim nowadays. Jesus christ, does ANY have to be held responsible for ANYTHING anymore?

All I know is this: Half the time I wake up in the middle of the night and run into my 2 year old's room to make sure he isn't choking on something or suffocating under his pillow. Parenthood is all about absurd levels of awareness and worry, this is a HUMAN BEING in your care! I can see having your mind elsewhere, forgetting your kid is in the car and taking, say, 10 steps towards your destination after shutting the door. Someone who is REALLY occupied with something could maybe make it into a building.

And after too little sleep, a long drive, and some cold medication I could possibly even imagine someone letting, say, 30 seconds pass before remembering that their child is locked outside in a hot ass car.

But it is someone else altogether who doesn't remember a child is in the car until TWO HOURS LATER, AFTER THE CHILD HAS FUCKING DIED!

I think we can be as harsh on him as he'll be to himself - it would appear as though he wouldn't have too hard of a time forgetting the incident altogether.
posted by glenwood at 1:17 PM on July 25, 2001


grey is nolonger my favorite color
posted by clavdivs at 1:51 PM on July 25, 2001


golden brown is no longer mine...
posted by fusinski at 2:01 PM on July 25, 2001


a correction of my previous post, he left her in the car for 8 hours. Felony child endangerment is what the charge was. And i have to agree that the just-as-hard-on-himself bit doesn't even come close to being enough at all. I think i would go catatonic if i did something like that.
the charges were dropped later, btw.
anyways...next time you see someone leave their kid in a hot [or cold] car, let them know how you feel.
posted by th3ph17 at 3:36 PM on July 25, 2001


interesting link, th3ph17 (dang yr name is hard to spell.) this quote caught my eye

"It's definitely a case that's different than most we encounter and one person should not be making the decision (about whether to prosecute). The community should have a voice with respect to criminal charges."

Why? We planning on bringing back lynch mobs? Wouldn't one cool-headed law-educated judge make a better decision than 12 outraged community members?
posted by christina at 3:50 PM on July 25, 2001


Wouldn't one cool-headed law-educated judge make a better decision than 12 outraged community members?

You'd be surprised sometimes. License to drive, but no license to bring a life into the world. Sometimes I wonder...
posted by owillis at 5:05 PM on July 25, 2001


. License to drive, but no license to bring a life into the world. Sometimes I wonder...


People always say this. DUH. Reproducting is a natural right, and shouldn't be overseen by the government. You'd have to be on crack to think otherwise.
posted by glenwood at 5:58 PM on July 25, 2001


I'm uncertain about that "reproduction is a natural right" thing. I'm not necessarily disagreeing, but I just wanted to bring it into question... Something just seems wrong with that.
posted by fooljay at 7:19 PM on July 25, 2001


Something just seems wrong with that.

Wtf are you talking about? Strip away everything else and we're just mammals wandering around on earth making babies. Is there no end to the amount of Government intervention people will tolerate? What the hell do you want them to do - muzzle your dick until you pass a written exam?

I swear you people are going to turn me libertarian one of these days. :)
posted by glenwood at 7:58 AM on July 26, 2001


There are a lot of things we do naturally that the government curtails. Strip away everything else and we are mammals wandering the earth killing over food and territory and raping to spread sperm. I'm hoping that governments continue to hold these tenancies down. I'm not sure reproducing should be one of those regulated urges, but when I look at some situations, such as drug addicts (who have deformed impaired babies) and child abusers (who deform and impair their babies after they come into the world) I have to wonder.

Should the woman who left a baby in a cardboard box on ocean beach be allowed to have another baby? What about the woman who allowed her daughter to eat until she couldn't move from in front of the TV, eventually killing herself from obscenity (she couldn't get up to get herself food, but her mother kept bringing more to her). Should some people be stopped from reproducing? I'm pretty sure the earth has enough humans at the moment...
posted by christina at 8:32 AM on July 26, 2001


But how would we choose who gets to reproduce and who doesn't?
Eugenics take 2? No thanks.
How about some more support systems built into the community instead. You don't drop your kid off at daycare? The daycare folks call you up and check that everything's okay. You go to your relatives house and leave the baby in the car? The relatives actually ask you where the kid is.
The cheesy slogan, and I hate to bring it up: it takes a village. But it's true. I think we have to create one.
posted by hazyjane at 8:52 AM on July 26, 2001


I need to say that I don't have any answers -- I'm not championing any solution in particular. I can't say if licensing reproduction would work any better than licensing driving stops traffic accidents. I know the "village' isn't showing up any time soon either. I have lots more questions than answers, and see way too many solutions that don't work.
posted by christina at 9:01 AM on July 26, 2001


eventually killing herself from obscenity

my god, i'm an avid user of profanity! am i in danger?
posted by tolkhan at 11:38 AM on July 26, 2001


obesity. sorry, i let the spellchecker get the best of me. <grin>
posted by christina at 11:47 AM on July 26, 2001


btw, while looking for that story, I found A 14-month-old Antioch boy died yesterday, eight days after his father allegedly hit his head repeatedly with a shoe

and

Leaving children in cars OK to many - 20% of young parents surveyed approve

I had to stop the search; way too many stories of parents criminally neglecting their kids.
posted by christina at 12:11 PM on July 26, 2001


Something to keep in mind is that while these types of events are horrifying, they are statistically extremely low. Will we ever be entirely free of them? Not whilst we are human, I'm afraid.

"The fact that the San Jose Police are hesitating on whether to even charge him should at least be a clue to us that, in their opinion so far, the guy didn't kill the child on purpose."

Just the fact that people don't kill people they know in this kind of way is a good sign-post of that fact. People who kill people they know, well 99.9% of the time it's a rage thing, a momentary thing. Not a pre-planned event. Talk to any cop, and they will tell you that.

And there are always events leading up to the crime.

As for those who seem to doubt that the hell this guy is now in isn't sufficient punishment for what he has done, I disagree. In fact I think it is infititely worse than anything another human could do to him.
posted by lucien at 2:41 PM on July 26, 2001


Does he know Pregnant mother [who had] her 6-year-old arrested?
posted by ParisParamus at 3:00 PM on July 26, 2001


Generally, if the person in question is distraught, in extreme distress, and showing remorse, no charges will be pressed.

Also... reproducing is sooo not an unalienable right. Already, you cannot reproduce with your cousin, or with a 12-year-old, or with your parents, etc. etc.
posted by Ptrin at 3:14 PM on July 26, 2001


Should the woman who left a baby in a cardboard box on ocean beach be allowed to have another baby?

No, she should be in prison.

What about the woman who allowed her daughter to eat until she couldn't move from in front of the TV, eventually killing herself from obscenity (she couldn't get up to get herself food, but her mother kept bringing more to her).

What if? What about? Shit happens. If you're so concerned about the population of earth then you should be PLEASED when paren't screw up and their kids die.

Should some people be stopped from reproducing? I'm pretty sure the earth has enough humans at the moment...

Would the government not grant me a license to reproduce because I'm agnostic? Or I was late on my taxes last year? Or because there are already too many white people?

I can't BELIEVE how willing some people are to just hand over their rights to the government. Ever heard of China?
posted by glenwood at 9:48 AM on August 2, 2001


Ok so my comment about you being pleased with kids die was over the top and uncalled for. Apologizing in advance....
posted by glenwood at 9:50 AM on August 2, 2001


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