Monday, March 19, 2007

Under The Radar: The Show & Tell Cocaine

It barely got mentioned locally, but a story from Shreveport has made national headlines. A six year old boy took crack cocaine to school for show and tell. Yes, crack cocaine is such a part of this child's life that he thought nothing of telling his classmates all about it. His mother, 20-year-old Lachristie Thomas, was arrested on a charge of improper supervision of a minor.
He's six. She's twenty. Do the math on the age at which Ms. Thomas gave birth. At the risk of behaving like the publisher of The Inquisitor, let me ask this: Shouldn't this have been played more prominently in the paper? It was in Friday's police briefs.
KTBS had a quote from the Shreveport Chief of Police, "Going on 30 years in law enforcement, sometimes you think you've seen it all. But this one, I just can't believe," Police Chief Mike VanSant told KTBS after the mother was brought to jail.
"He (the child) said that he had seen other family members smoking it," VanSant told the station. "He had found it in his mother's car."
The police apparently were disturbed by the child's obvious familiarity with the drug. Shouldn't we all be disturbed? Maybe Ms. Thomas is a victim of her environment or the people around her. She's out of jail, and according to several media accounts the little boy is in foster care. He is probably bewildered, confused and scared. It's likely he feels as if he is being punished and he does not know what he did wrong.
We hear about outrage when a twenty-something female teacher has sex with a high school boy, but when a 20-year-old mother routinely uses crack cocaine with her pals in front of her six-year-old son, we seem to collectively shrug our shoulders. Why don't I understand that?
I do not intend to become a media critic, but I called into question KTBS's editorial judgment over the "dog bites mailman" story; so I want to offer balance here. They got this one right.

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