Odd Thoughts: Ownership has its privileges

We live in a strange world in which parents are allowed to abuse their children in some ways, but other forms of abuse will not be tolerated within the social and legal order.

It comes from a foggy understanding of the concept of ownership.

Do parents own their children, or not?

The first laws against child abuse grew out of a social intolerance for the treatment of animals. There were laws against animal abuse before there was legal recognition of child abuse. Indeed, in some jurisdictions, laws against cruelty to animals were invoked to protect children, including from their own parents.

(Similarly, those same laws were invoked to protect women from exceptional abuse from their husbands. A little abuse was okay, but guys who went overboard were frowned upon – the vestiges of which attitude continue to haunt us, and result in a continued alarming number of domestic assaults and deaths to this day.)

Some people are currently struggling with the conviction of two parents who provided inadequate care for their sick child. The child died of meningitis while the parents, who are now awaiting sentencing that could see them jailed for up to five years, insisted on sticking to the voodoo of naturopathy, a practice of alternative “medicine.”

Meanwhile, the provincial government is crowing about its plan to vaccinate all Grade 9 students with a four-strain meningitis vaccine, a significant improvement over the current single-strain preventative.

All of B.C.s Grade 9 students will be vaccinated against those four strains of meningitis, that is, except for those whose anti-vaxxer parents exempt them from the program – something that they can do with the law’s blessing.

Does anyone else see the irony in this?

Parents can be thrown in jail for denying their child appropriate protection against the ravages of a potentially fatal disease, while other parents have the full legal right to deny their property – er, I mean, children – appropriate protection against the ravages of the same potentially fatal disease.

Is it only illegal when a child dies?

What happens if – or when – a child denied the protection of the province’s new four-strain vaccination course dies of one of those four strains? Will the anti-vaxxer parents then be prosecuted for neglect of their duty to protect their children?

Do we really have to wait until a child dies to find out?

How about the anti-vaxxers whose children may die of measles? Or whooping cough? Or diphtheria? Or any of the other “minor” childhood diseases that have become minor only because of extensive and effective vaccination programs in this country and others?

In light of the recent conviction, should anti-vaxxer parents be prosecuted for pain and suffering of an infected child – before another one dies?


Just Posted

VIDEO: Giants fall to Royals 4-2 in Victoria Saturday night

Second loss in as many days for G-Men, who are back home in Langley today to take on the Cougars.

Driver fined for hitting scooter in Langley City

Woman on scooter suffered minor injuries, police said

Walnut Grove Gators win Tsumura basketball championship

‘We love to run and we like to score,’ said Gators coach Darren Rowell

Langley animal welfare group reminds people about holiday pet hazards

Many staples are of the Christmas season are harmful to pets.

Spreading Christmas cheer around Aldergrove

Easing the pains and difficulties of hard times is ‘reason for the season’

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Microscopic parasite found in Prince Rupert water affecting thousands

More than 12,000 residents affected by the boil water advisory issued Dec. 14

Trudeau lashes out at Conservatives over migration “misinformation”

Warning against the “dangers of populism,” Trudeau says using immigration as a wedge political issue puts Canada’s future at risk.

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

Todd Hickling gathered donations and used gear to remove the cost barrier for kids to play hockey.

Canada’s ambassador meets with second detainee in China

Global Affairs says John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Spavor Sunday

‘They’re coming:’ Flying cars may appear in urban skies by 2023

Air taxis will number 15,000 and become a global market worth $32 billion by 2035

B.C. VIEWS: Andrew Wilkinson on taxes, ICBC and union changes

Opposition leader sees unpredictable year ahead in 2019

5 tips for self-care, mental wellness this holiday season

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions urging British Columbians to prioritize self care through festive season

Rescued B.C. cat with misshapen legs in need of forever home – with carpet

Mirielle was born with misshapen back legs and after a tough life on the streets, is looking for a forever home.

Most Read