Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mental Illness: Does it Deserve a Pass?

By Lyn Twyman

On February 4th, 24 year old Jessica Blackham of Greenville, SC gave birth to a baby boy.  She immediately abandoned the infant in the toilet of the arena where she had just finished watching a circus show.  It was approximately 90 minutes before the baby was found by maintenance workers.  Now Jessica is charged with unlawful neglect of a child and felony child abuse.  News about the case now is unnervingly quiet.

For this mother to dispose of her child, who is now fighting for his life from being abandoned in a toilet, is a sickening act of inhumanity and cruelty.  Stories like this are extremely disturbing and add another dynamic to family violence that we often don't think about, when people make arguments that because of a mental disorder they abuse others and therefore should be given some type of leniency. 

Blackham and her parents claim they didn't know she was pregnant, although she is currently the biological mother of a 4 year old.  Well, thanks to Discovery Health Channel's "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant" I guess we're going to see more and more women use this very same alibi when they don't want to keep their children.  To add further insult to injury, Blackham is still out of jail under the judge’s ruling that while out on bond, she must hold down a job, cooperate with Department of Social Services and not leave her county.  This monster, Jessica Blackham, is still roaming the streets even though she disposed of her child like human waste, a crime punishable by a 30 year jail sentence!  Blackham also claims she doesn’t remember the incident after going to the public restroom that evening on February 4th.  So since she abandoned her child in a toilet and supposedly can’t remember, does she really need to be out in society among the rest of us? 

This society is too quick to use mental illness, the insanity plea or claim amnesia when crime is committed.  We are too quick to blame mental disorders for the violence that people commit, as if the disorder made the person raise their fist, or shoot the gun or in this case leave a baby in a toilet.  Additionally, Blackham had enough sense to check herself into a hospital after she delivered her innocent, helpless baby but wouldn’t do the same for her son. 

Or this

So where do we draw the line and say enough is enough?  Despite alleged medical claims for a scape goat, people still must pay for their crimes.  The fact that monster Blackham is still roaming the streets and not confined to a mental institution at the least until her next trial is a disgrace and a huge failure on the part of the judicial system.  If this had been a man who abandoned their child in a toilet and claimed the same argument as Blackham, do you think he would get the same treatment as she?  Or if Blackham were of another race, would she still be allowed to run the streets?  Why does she go free while a woman who hangs a dog for chewing her Bible in practically the same community is confined to a detention center?  Just click here for the story.  These are valid arguments that we have to explore when it comes to justice. 

I don’t believe justice is being served for the rest of society and especially for that poor innocent baby, now fighting for his life, when a judge lets a woman back out on the street that leaves her baby in a toilet.    What kind of hell is this?  We have been at a sad loss for a long time in our judicial system when people who commit heinous acts can plead insanity or memory loss and still maintain their freedom while people who commit petty crimes have their whole lives practically destroyed. 

Jessica Blackham, if you didn’t want your child, why not leave him somewhere like a hospital or adoption facility?  You almost killed your baby and he may be damaged now for life because of you.  Mentally ill or not, you don’t need to be running the streets to endanger the rest of our children.  Justice needs to be served for the poor baby and for all of the other children that suffered at the hands of dangerous, murderous parents.  Jessica Blackham needs to be confined, to serve her time and the judicial system needs a drastic overhaul.

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