Monday, March 27, 2006

Someone thinks I'm a bitch

Anonymous takes issue with my "Tea with a really bad mother" post:

"Well, since Nancie's daughter was murdered, I guess your wonderful and touching advice arrives just a bit late, doesn't it? This is not the time for this kind of self-satisfied-I'm-the-best-parent ... The girl was killed, you self righteous cunt. Walk a mile in someone elses shoes, eh? "

Well, Anonymous. On the face of it, I suppose I do sound self-righteous, and I'd feel bad - even terrible - if I wasn't so right about this.

When I wrote the "Tea with a really bad mother post" below, the victims' names hadn't yet been released. After you called me on it, I went in search of the article.

It seems like the dangers of raves are well known, both to ravers and their relatives. Here's mention of another victim:

_Christopher Williamson, 21, shot in the chest and head. His mother and friends said he was trying to get out of the rave scene because he had been doing too many drugs.

I guess that explains why Nancie didn't want Suzanne going to raves. It also explains why she should have stopped her. But like a lot of parents today, she couldn't tell her daugher no. So instead she had to tell her goodbye. Forever.

So call me a self-righteous cunt if you want to, Anonymous. I just happen to be a self-righteous cunt sick of seeing kids let down by the very people who are supposed to be protecting them.

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hippie granola's, all, and I was one of 'em four long decades ago. I don't believe the Rave was the problem. The problem was ... what the hell was a 15-year old girl doing out all night? Christ almighty! I wasn't allowed outta my house at night until I was 16 years old and dating; and then, of course, I had a generous midnight curfew which I obeyed for my own goddamn good. Get a grip, folks. Keep your baby girls at home where they belong, 'cause they're still children after all.

Mia said...

Morgan,

I'm so sorry to hear about this tragedy. It's heartbreaking to read these stories but I agree, "what on earth was that mother thinking"? A child's brain isn't completely developed until they reach age 21. Her mother shouldn't have allowed her out of the house - she was too young to date and obviously, really immature, considering where she went.

I'm glad that you posted about all of this and gave the link. Honestly, I didn't know what a "rave" was - had to google it. Parents and kids need to read about this tragedy in hopes that it won't happen again.

You were trying to offer good advice, M - ignore the crude commenters.

Morgan said...

Anon, Mia..thanks for the kind words, but the guy who wrote unwittingly made my point.

While I do feel for the mothers, you both make an excellent point. The girl was 15!!! That's a baby by my estimation, and I'd no sooner let her go to a rave than throw her to a pack of rabid pitbulls.

Apparently her mother disapproved, likely because she knew of the rave drug culture. Even if Nancie Thorn never expected a gunman to kill her daughter, there was always the strong possibility of rape or death by a drug overdose in such a setting.

Kids - male or female - don't have any business in such a setting. Parents who don't step up risk ending up like Nancie, who is probably doing a lot of second-guessing about now.

tc said...

Let me first of all come to your defense on this one, Morgan, in light of the person giving you a hard time about the daughter being dead...

The fact that the child died does not make the parent any less a dumbass than yesterday when we didn't know this.

Now, to perhaps add a bit of moderation here too, I must point out that there *are* some situations where the parents are a bit less at fault.

There are children that, for one reason or another, are just bad kids when they're young. Out of our five kids, the middle one was our prodigal. All of the others were fine--they did well in school, they were polite, stayed away from sex and drugs, married well and lived good, upright lives.

Lee, on the other hand was trouble almost from birth. At the age of five, he set his mattress on fire when he was forbidden to go on a picnic with some friends and damaged our house. By the time he hit high school, he was running away during the school day. By the time he was 15, I was at the school so often I nearly had my own parking space.

We tried absolutely everything with him, counseling, ministry, psychiatrists, "boot camp". No luck whatsoever.

The cops, social workers and shrinks all told me the same thing, "there are some kids you just can't save--if they live to be 30 outside of prison, odds are, they'll straighten out and live decent lives, until then, watch out."

At 17, he sold my entire CD collection to buy drugs. Two days before Christmas, we threw him out of the house.

We didn't see him again for 8 years, until my father died. By that time, he had done six months in the Terre Haute county jail for forging his brother's name to checks while his brother was in Bosnia, had drifted from job to job and had finally seen the light and quit drinking and begun to live a moral life.

He's 29 this year and is working as a fork truck driver in Little Rock. He's going to be getting married sometime this year to a very nice girl.

What I'm trying to point out here is that you've got insufficient information to call the mother necessarily a bad parent, although that would be the way to bet. Without seeing how my other four children were, someone could have made the same deductions from my son, and they would have been totally wrong.

Best always,

Tom

Morgan said...

Hey Tom,

I've known a few kids like your son, wild kids who thwarted every effort their parents made to rein them in.

Obviously, reports can be misleading, but what jumped out at me was that the mother disapproved of the rave scene, so she was familiar with its dangers.

So here I'm going to go and be completely judgemental again, if no more reason than because a young girl is needlessly dead.

Even on the night Suzanne died her mother was not without remedies. She still could have saved her.
So her daughter goes to the rave anyway. Here's what I would have done. I would have followed her, found out the address of the house and notified the police there was underage drinking and drug use going on. Would my daughter be pissed at me? Yeah, but she'd still be alive.

You're right. I don't know exactly what happened here, but with so many parents feeling powerless to parent I'd be willing to be the farm that Nanice Thorn was no Tom.

Mia said...

Tom,
You make some very good points in your comments. I agree there are some children that will always be oppositional and defiant regardless of their parents and mentors. Still, this particular loss seems to be one that could have been avoided - at the same time, my heart does go out to this poor woman and her family because there can't be any greater pain than losing a child. It's one of those situations where you want to cry and bang your head on the keyboard simultaneously. What a world we live in.....

Morgan said...

Everytime my phone rings at an odd hour, I jump out of my skin, petrified that something has happened to one of my two oldest kids, who are now in college.

You're right Mia, we do live in quite a world right now and even if you raise your kids right they are at risk of being endangered by someone's kids who weren't.

Anonymous (one of the anonymous who posted in the other thread) is right. Your kids can be in grave danger just by going to the mall, but it's always best to know where they are and who they're with. When they become adults, you have to trust that you've instilled enough values in them for them to police themselves. But still, you worry.

My phone rang at 12:30 a.m. a few nights back. In a panic, I answered. It was my insomniac son Wesley, reminding me to watch the next episode of South Park. He had no idea what a fright he gave me. ;-)

tc said...

The thing is, I really, really expected that my Lee would never see 30, even though I did.

The major difference between him and me was that I waited until I left home to go completely crazy, drink myself nearly to death and put myself in exceedingly dangerous situations. He really started about five years earlier than I did. He also did something that I never did, which was rip off his parents and his friends--when we kicked him out, he actually had to leave town, no one would provide him with succor.

He also quit drinking five years younger than I did--25 years old to my 30. It's strange how things work out. I thought that quitting that young was a strange thing until I met a friend of mine who quit prior to 21--he had been an alcoholic for 7 years, but never had a legal drink in his life.

Friday night is 24 years for me since the night I realized that another drink would probably kill me. Man am I THIRSTY! *chuckle*

Tom

Morgan said...

Congratulations, Tom, on your Anniversary of Sobriety. I have an uncle who is a recovering alcoholic. In his case, he was in a terribly co-dependent relationship with my aunt (neither are bad people, just bad for each other) and realized the best chance he had to get sober was to live apart from her. My father allowed him to set up a small house on his acreage if he would kick drinking, which he has. It's so nice to have him back, and whole. :-)

You're exactly right about kids going crazy when they're adults. Wes lost his his marbles for about two weeks and engaged in every type of destructive behavior you can imagine (drinking, racing his car, the company of completely unsuitable and scantily dressed girls gone wild). But he was an adult, so what could we do. Those are the times that are the test, and sometimes the results are long coming in. In your case, it took some time for your parenting lessons to catch up with your son, but they did. We were lucky - and I say lucky because a portion of how kids turn out depends on their personality - because Wesley's wild streak, while intense, was short-lived. It didn't take him long to realize that being an adult was going to be a short, unhappy ride without parents there to provide comfort and support, which we were bound to withhold if he insisted on thumbing his nose at our values. Like you, I'll move heaven and earth to help my children as long as they need it, but not if they aren't helping themselves.

When he came around, shame-faced and much the wiser, it was with the understanding that being out in the world isn't always what it's cracked up to be and that true friends don't try to kill you with too much fun. ;-)
He's in school now, with a good job and a girlfriend I love like a daughter. But oh, I count myself forunate that it could have gone much differently. I try not to think on it much, but I do blame Wesley for the extra gray strands popping up in my hair these days.

Morgan said...

That reminds me, Tom. I still owe you an exhaustive, informative email. Don't think I've forgotten. :-)

JohnR said...

SRC, are you? I had no idea!!!

I had a friend who was really into the drug-life. Still is from the last I heard, in and out of jail. Has a kid. He's is my age 47 now, still looking for the big score. I'm surprised he is not dead yet.

I had another friend who got into meth about 6 months after I moved away to St. Louis at the end of 1992. Started selling it, changed all his friends to scummy dopers. Teeth started rotting, skin turned gray. He will have been dead two years, July 7. Stroked out at 44.

Glad I walked away from that life, I could have ended up that way if I didn't have more sense.

The funny thing is they were both bright, intelligent guys. What a waste. I guess you can't save everyone, just try not to be living next door to them when they go off.

JohnR

Morgan said...

I admit to being embarrassingly naive, but one thing that has always puzzled me is why people - especially adults - do that first line of coke or first hit of meth knowing just how addictive and descructive it is.

I mean, kids are stupid with peer pressure. But adults with families and so much to lose. I've never understood rolling the dice like that. That's not to say I lack pity for people who find themselves addicted; it must be hell beyond measure. It just puzzles me.

EN said...

Life in America is so easy that parents just can't imagine danger. The squishy end of the spectrum is not fit to parent. Kids need someone who cares enough to make harsh decisions. I see no sign that this girl was out of control. She was just stupid and her mom was an example, first to her daughter and now to other parents who think there's an easy road. My boys have done very stupid things but never anything that I knew about, and therefore could stop. THIS WOMAN KNEW!

Morgan said...

"THIS WOMAN KNEW!"

Thank you, EN. That's been my point all along.

An 18-year-old? An 18-year old can blow you off and go to the party anyway. As an adult, they're free to make adult choices, even choices that kill them.
But a 15-year-old? That mother had not only the power but the responsibility to keep away from such a dangerous environment.

"The squishy end of the spectrum is not fit to parent."

That's an excellent way to put it, and that squishy end grows with each passing year. I see friends who are afraid to tell their 4-year-old kids "no." What are these kids going to be like when they reach the teen years? If I, as a laid-back hippie mom is worried, you know things have gone too far.

Taylor said...

I've never understood rolling the dice like that

It's not even a gamble. Drugs are a sure loss. I'll try anything, but I've never tried drugs or felt the pressure to do so even when everyone around me was.

You know, what probably was the most important factor in my not being pressured into stupid behavior was that I had a great deal of self-confidence. I didn't need to prove anything to anyone because, frankly, I felt I was better than those types. That came from my dear mother. She was responsible for my self-confidence, always behind me 100%.

Parents who instill that in their children would help them tremendously get through those rough years - and on.

Taylor said...

Don't get the idea that I was a goody-goody. I was suspended a few times during my all-girl Catholic high school years. I'll never tell why... I gave those nuns coniptions.

I was so bad my Freshman year that they didn't even want to let my sister in, who was one year behind me. My poor mother had to plead with them, saying "Oh, no, this one is nothing like Taylor." LOL!

Taylor said...

Anyway, she did get in. Only because she was an excellent basketball player and the basketball coach wanted her on the team.

Morgan said...

Taylor, you were a naughty Catholic school girl? You keep talking like that and you'll get email offers from the men in here asking for a re-enactment. ;-)

"You know, what probably was the most important factor in my not being pressured into stupid behavior was that I had a great deal of self-confidence."

Oh, no doubt self-esteem and self-confident are key. Kids and adults who fall prey to the drug culture are often either using drugs or booze to loosen up and feel more comfortable in social situations or gain peer acceptance.

Larry has one brother who's always been obsessed with status and image; that's the one who ended up with a drug problem.

Taylor said...

Yes, self-esteem, that's what I was trying to say. And as you said, key to keeping a person on track throughout life.

were a naughty Catholic school girl

Yes, I was, Morgan - little uniform, oxford shoes and all.

We had mostly nuns and female teachers. Once in a while, we'd get a male instructor. Oh my gosh, they never lasted. I remember one who taught chemistry. My friend would sit in the second row, prop up her feet on the desk in front - and not be wearing underwear! LOL! Good times...

JohnR said...

My first girlfriend was a Catholic schoolgirl. WOW!!!!!!!!!!!

Morgan is right, if I wasn't married I would ask for a reenactment, and I live in Texas too!!

So, Taylor, any pictures of you in a plaid skirt!!!

Taylor said...

Now, now, JohnR. I'm sure I have some pix around somewhere, but they'll never make it to the Internet. What is it about us that gets men's imaginations going? Don't answer that...

Morgan said...

I found an updated story on Suzanne Thorne and I'm more depressed than ever.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2002893745_webthorne27.html

Apparently, she was homeschooled and her mom let her socialize to make friends in the community. What a shame she didn't choose a better crowd, because this girl sounded like a real gem. What a loss, to both her family and to her community.

Her mother likely didn't want to intrude on her limited social life. I know some homeschooling parents like that. The kids are pretty cloistered and - being nonconformists themselves - are attracted to the misfits. I'm interested in hearing what you folks think about this.

Morgan said...

I gave an incomplete link. Here's the correct one:

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2002893745_webthorne27.html

Morgan said...

OK..it looks like it's not going to take the link. Basically, the girl's hero was Ghandi, she was a budding peace acivist and loved animals, etc. Very sweet, very idealistic. Her mom had homeschooled her the last three years so she'd have more time to pursue her interests. I suppose the ravers were substitutes for the friends she would have made at school. Poor little thing.

tc said...

One thing I do worry about in the kids that aren't exposed to public schools is the relative safety of their lives.

The world is a very, very dangerous place. My parents' generation were well aware of this, having lived through both the depression as kids and WW2 as young adults.

The problem I see with my 18/19-year old students in my Chemistry class is that they don't believe on a gut level that the stuff in those bottles really can burn them/blind them/kill them. They were in carseats 'til they were eight years old, while I was standing on a 2X10 twenty feet above the hayloft floor shifting bales at 12.

One of the reason that I like Video/Computer games so much is that they work on the fight/flight centers of the brain and overcome the heavy nerfing of day-to-day life in the kids. If things go to hell in this country, as could always happen, they have to have the good sense to run away if they can, or pick up the nearest item that's usable as a weapon if they cannot.

For all the hell that is currently public education, if she had been in a public school, she would have at least been able to have recognized that the situation was dangerous. She may have *liked* it that way, but she would have gone into it as a cat, rather than as a lamb to the slaughter.

Tom

Mia said...

Morgan,

I looked up the articles in the Seattle News Source....the mental image of the one father frantically searching for his daughter and calling her on her cell phone (which was in the coat pocket of her coat that she had loaned to a friend)....sheesh, heartbreaking story - these folks need our prayers.

Morgan said...

Tom, your assessment of homeschooling is a valid one, although many homeschoolers would deny it. Publicly schooled children, by virtue of association, are certainly more people-savvy and develop better bullshit detectors than their homeschooled counterparts.

We've always sought to expose our homeschooled children to kids who aren't homeschooled for that very reason.

Now, that's not to say that there are no naive kids in public schools, and I'm sure you weren't suggesting that, Tom. But as a rule kids who are tucked away in their protective homeschooling cocoon not only lack a necessary saviness, but are often so hungry to belong to a group that they will join the first one that pays them attention.

As I pointed out, being non-conformists themselves, they often are attracted to other bands of misfits with may contain less than desirable elements.

JOHNR said...

Morgan: I will be happy to deny the assessment. My boys interact with PSers everyday. It is not homeschooling that is the problem but parenting. The girl was probably never taught how to suss people out. I spent 12 years in PS and I saw plenty of naive kids led around by the nose and others desperate to join a group even though the group treated them like dirt. They liked the attention, negative though it was.

Morgan said...

I dunno, JohnR. Quite a few homeschoolers in our group are woefully naive and socially backwards, largely owing to overprotective parents. I think parents - whether they homeschool or not - have to strike a balance between being protective and giving their kids a chance to experience the good and bad in people while under the watchful eye of authority.
We've had a few friends whose homeschooled kids went stark raving mad after getting just a little freedom. The over-protective parents were left scratching their heads, although it should have been no mystery. Being too strict is the flip side of being to lax, and carries its own set of dangers.
As you say, though, it ultimately comes down to the parents.

Anonymous said...

I came across your blog online and have to agree with your views on this situation 100%... May I add that while I was reading stories and articles about this, I read that Suzanne Thorne had been a student in an alternative school??? Who usually goes to those?? In my experience, the only people I ever knew who had to go to alternative school were the ones who were not welcome in regular school... The "troubled kids" were who went to those schools, usually after getting expelled from regular school... And to think that she was "back and forth" (as I read) between this alternative school and home schooling makes me wonder exactly what was really going on here... I also read that these raves usually weren't over until 4:00am... Why is your kid allowed to be out until 4:00am when she is only 15??? And don't think her mother didn't know she was going to one of these raves...

Anonymous said...

One more thing to add to my comment before... When I was 15, I had a CURFEW of like 10:00... My mother even gave me a curfew when I was 18 because I was still living in her home and she did not want me waking her up if I decided to meander into the house at 3:00am... The point is, as many of you have already made, WHY WAS THIS CHILD (because that's exactly what she was) ALLOWED TO BE OUT WITH HER BOYFRIEND UNTIL AT LEAST 7:00am???? How can anyone not place blame on her mother? Had she enforced RULES, her child would more than likely still be alive!

Anonymous said...

This is getting better by the minute... Here is a short article about Suzanne Thorne's father... It says he lost contact with Suzanne and her older sister when they were toddlers... He questions how this could have happened... Well, Pops, maybe having a mother who didn't seem to mind her daughter staying out with a bunch of freaks til all hours of the night and a father who didn't even exist, I guess it would be a little hard to understand! And I have seen a picture of this kid when she was 12 (it says the pic was taken in 2003) and she had her face pierced and purple hair! Come on!
Click here for the article

Morgan said...

Good points, anonymous, but when you think about it, that father has little cause to act shocked. He "lost contact" with his kids? No one "loses contact" with their children unless they stop trying to keep it. Perhaps I should do a post, "Tea with a Lousy Father."
It sounds like this poor girl was dealt a bad hand in life, a father who didn't give a damn and a mother who tried to overcompensate by pacifying her - to death.

I always wonder why the press even inteviews an absent parent when a child they've been estranged from for years dies. I mean, what do they expect? Do they expect the parent to care when they haven't cared for years.

This whole thing is heart-breaking. Thanks for the link and for your comments. :-)