We have enough laws; too many, in fact. This ridiculous incident reminded me of a question that has been bothering me for a long time, however.
In York County, Pennsylvania, mother and wildlife-lover Justina Laniewski was taking care of her toddler. She was also drunk as a skunk, and decided, in her wisdom, that a flock of wild ducks were endangered by the swift currents of Codorus Creek, swollen by Hurricane Sandy. Ducks are water birds, swim well, have webbed feet and also can fly away in the presence of danger. They seldom, if ever, drown. Never mind all that: Justina—who has no wings or webbed feet, or a brain either, apparently–-jumped in to rescue them. Her toddler, left unattended on the shore, was about to toddle in after her mother, but was grabbed at the last second by a neighbor. Firefighters had to rescue Laniewski from the neck-high water, as the ducks, I presume, laughed their tail-feathers off.
This drunken fool was arrested, but the ridiculous incident raises the question of why society doesn’t make discouraging drinking while parenting as much of a priority as stopping drinking while operating a motor vehicle. Every now and then I read about a falling down drunk mother pushing a baby carriage into walls being arrested for child endangerment, but I would think enforcement would be tougher than that. The public service messages should be “If you’re parenting, don’t drink. If you drink, don’t have kids. Get a goldfish.” Presumably the reason we don’t see a concerted effort to enforce drunk parent laws is because it would be politically impossible. I also assume, however, that the number of infants, toddlers and older children killed by the negligence or reckless acts of drunken parents is disturbingly large.
Combine that with the fact that the number of ducks rescued from drowning by tipsy mothers is zero, and the balance clearly seems to favor a policy of far less tolerance of parents like Justina Laniewski.
Facts: WGAL News
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