Friday, November 5, 2010

A prayer for Johnny

It riles me up enough when I hear about parents who kick out a child when they learn that the child is gay. As a friend once said, how can a parent love a child one day and then not love the child the next day? I don’t get it.

I also don’t get parents who are so into drugs that they neglect their children. I have seen this up close and personal more than I care to admit, unfortunately with people I have hired as attendants in the past, and it is disturbing and ugly to see. While I understand about addiction and its power, I still, perhaps naively, don’t understand how anything can be more important than one’s children.

Then I read the article in the Los Angeles Times last week about Johnny. Johnny is a 6-year-old boy rescued last year from his drug-addicted mother and her gang-leader boyfriend, "Bullet," and their "associates" who continued to abuse and torture him after the L.A County Department of Children and Family Services declared that he was "not at risk."

From the article: "According to Bessinger and the Los Angeles County documents, Johnny was forced to eat food scraps and lap water from a bowl like a dog; he was denied access to the bathroom; he was made to eat his own feces, urine and vomit and drink soda mixed with soap. Johnny’s tormenters made him sit in a corner, unable to lie down or move for extended stretches, sometimes taunting him with a plate of food they forbade him to eat... His tongue was torn, and one of [the] associates forced him to perform oral sex, leaving extensive sores in his mouth." The article also states that the boy was beaten repeatedly and burned with a glue gun and hot spoons.

How can a child be treated this way? Yes, it is a scandal that the L.A County DCFS is riddled with lax oversight - this was only the latest revelation - and I am horrified that the mother and boyfriend could be such monsters. But my heart is with Johnny, who is, after all, a child, a child of God.

Reading the article makes me want to scream and cry into the night which now is all the darker and colder. I can only hope that Johnny, who is reportedly doing well in intensive therapy and a class for gifted students, will be like one of those kids who thrive despite tremendous odds and grow up to shine into the night, making it just a bit less dark and cold.

1 comment:

  1. One day, I just might go on a shooting spree.

    I'm glad he got out, and I hope those people are put away for a long, long time. And I'm glad he's getting some therapy. My experience tells me that, the earlier the abuse starts, the harder it is to ever recover. But, since he's getting immediate intervention, maybe there's hope. It helps A LOT to be smart!