Is There A Point When It Would Be Ethical For Society To Hold That Someone Is Too Stupid To Be Trusted With Children?

Kudos to Jonathan Turley for finding this head-exploding story.

In Dixon, Illinois, police stopped a woman who was driving her Audi SUV with an inflatable pool on the roof—and her two children riding inside the pool. Jennifer A. Janus Yeager explained that she had  driven into town to inflate the pool at a friend’s house, and then  had her two daughters ride inside of the pool to hold it down on the drive home.

Oh! That explains everything, ma’am! Sorry for the inconvenience, but I’m sure you understand that we have to investigate these things. Have a nice day, and be careful up there, kids! Hold on tight!

The police arrested this idiot on two counts of endangering the life or health of a child, two counts of reckless conduct and failure to secure a passenger between 8 and 16.

So far, I haven’t been able to find out how old the kids were, not that it matters much, but since no teenage girl I’ve ever known would be caught dead in a kiddie pool like that one even if it wasn’t perched on a speeding car, I’m guessing they both were pre-teens.

Turley is getting at the question I ask in the headline with his question, “What should be the punishment if she is a first offender in your view?”

In my view, the fact that she is a first offender should carry no weight at all, because this is signature significance. No competent, trustworthy parent places a child in danger in such an obvious, stupid way—not once, never. This cannot be excused as “a mistake.” You can’t fix stupid, as the saying goes, and a woman this stupid has signaled that her children need to be protected from her. (Ironically, it would be more encouraging if she were drunk. Then at least the reason for her stupidity could be addressed. I have found no indication that she was, however.)

This is another moral luck situation, in fact, such a great example of moral luck that I’m going to start employing it in seminars as my moral luck example. If the two girls had fallen off the car and died, the woman would be facing negligent homicide charges, and only through the intervention of a guardian angel, a good fairy, a leprechaun or some other benign intervention were the children spared.

If the system allows this woman to continue to have unsupervised custody of her children, it will be complicit in guaranteed tragedy. This woman is too stupid, foolish and irresponsible to be a parent.

If there is no process in which conduct this egregious results in removing children from a parent, it is only because such conduct is so rare. Abusive parents, addict parents, neglectful parents can often be reformed through intervention and treatment. I don’t see how this conduct can be fixed.  Yeager can be taught not to put her children in an inflated pool while it’s driving down the street, perhaps  but then she’ll put one of them in the washing machine to keep a delicate garment from getting tangled, or rent them to an aspiring racer as crash test dummies to make some extra cash. The possibilities are endless. In this case,  the usually invalid and emotional  “Think of the children!”and “Do something!” are ethical, indeed mandatory responses.

28 thoughts on “Is There A Point When It Would Be Ethical For Society To Hold That Someone Is Too Stupid To Be Trusted With Children?

  1. First thought on reading about this was to wonder if the woman has any friends who are mothers of children of similar ages to hers. Would friends let friends do such a thing, or would they speak even just one breath of encouragement or approval for doing it?

    I think the woman needs some close monitoring and authoritative supervision whenever she is with her kids. That, immediately, at a minimum. But then, to follow up with a gradualistic increase in access to her own children, based on observed actions of demonstrated trustworthiness. Over a period of a few years, at least.

    But, who’s gonna pay for it all??

    I think those poor kids are even more Lucky than I, to have survived that ride.

    • This is reckless endangerment which carries jail time.

      Ask a progressive if separating these children from their mother is any different from separating a child from,a parent that forces their kid to hike over a thousand miles in high heat with few provisions and little water.

        • Yep, and that better life included a swimming pool.

          I may be in the minority but I think this story is ridiculous and funny at the same time. The woman should have a lobotomy but there are so many things wrong here.

          First, the bozo inflated a blow-up pool at her friend’s house and tried to tie it to her car.

          Second, she didn’t even have bungie chords to attach it to the top of her Audi.

          Third, she is driving an Audi SUV that surely has luggage racks on top. A piece of twine would have worked swimmingly (pun intended).

          Fourth, her friend helped her put it on the roof of her SUV.

          Fifth, she had her kids hold the pool while she drove it home, apparently at a pretty good clip (it’s a good thing she has those luggage racks on top so that her kids had something to hold on to as she made the mad dash home).

          Sixth, her kids agreed to hold the pool to the top of the SUV.

          Seventh, her kids ACTUALLY held on to the pool for a long time – that should earn them some kind of reward, no?

          Eighth, the police officer didn’t shoot her in the street for being an absolute idiot – probably thought Darwin’s Rule would take over and thin out the gene pool (hee hee) when her kids got launched into the air.

          Ninth, and finally, that pool defied any and all laws of physics – how did it not fall off that SUV? That in itself is worthy of study.

          jvb

  2. Jack, there is one more moron here, her friend. What kind of friend helps you put a inflatable pool on your car, maybe helps put your kids in that pool, and then waves good bye as leave with a mess on the roof of your car. Arrest that friend as an accessory to the crime, is what I want to say, if it were possible for people to be arrested for being stupid. I almost wish we could.

  3. Is that pool even secured to the car by any means? I can’t find any evidence of it being tied to the car. Was she just holding onto it through the open driver’s side window? The mind boggles.

  4. I was prepared to defend her in the situation where she was going 300 feet at 2 miles an hour…but having read the article and the locations and examining a map….those are some serious distances and serious roads with traffic. This wasn’t going 3 residential blocks at a crawl…this appears to be exactly what everyone is outraged about….negligent and endangerment.

    • I checked out the location also and from the far side of the Peoria Avenue Bridge to the Northside Baptist Church (partly visible in the photo) is 2 miles. That is moral luck; how that pool stayed on the roof of the car defies explanation.

  5. I just tried to share this story on FB and received a notice that it was “blocked” because it was against FB’s community standards. Nice to know “ethics” are not part of their algorithm for public display. GRRRRRR.

  6. Sadly there are like instances all the time. Last evening, in my fair(?) city of Toronto, we had an Amber Alert at 3AM. And again at 345AM as two children went missing with their grandfather. Who is apparently known to have dementia. Who was given the children by the parents, apparently with knowledge he would be driving them. Who was found about 430AM by police driving aimlessly on one of the local highways, kids in the back and he not understanding why he was pulled over.

    Maybe all the facts are not in yet, but one has to question why the kids were so given and why the family has not intervened to remove his driving privileges. For our safety at least.

    Sadly, but not equally sadly of course, our Amber Alerts operate at one alarm level. When the system was mandated, only one level of alarm was instituted and it is the highest level available. So an Amber Alert for a grandparent taking extra time to return a child is the same level of alert as the nuclear power plant next door going full Chernobyl. The noise is defining and purposefully so. Who will wear that decision when the cries of wolf go unheeded?

  7. Sadly there are like instances all the time. Last evening, in my fair(?) city of Toronto, we had an Amber Alert at 3AM. And again at 345AM as two children went missing with their grandfather. Who is apparently known to have dementia. Who was given the children by the parents, apparently with knowledge he would be driving them. Who was found about 430AM by police driving aimlessly on one of the local highways, kids in the back and he not understanding why he was pulled over.

    Maybe all the facts are not in yet, but one has to question why the kids were so given and why the family has not intervened to remove his driving privileges. For our safety at least.

    Sadly, but not equally sadly of course, our Amber Alerts operate at one alarm level. When the system was mandated, only one level of alarm was instituted and it is the highest level available. So an Amber Alert for a grandparent taking extra time to return a child is the same level of alert as the nuclear power plant next door going full Chernobyl. The noise is defining and purposefully so. Who will wear that decision when the cries of wolf go unheeded?
    (apologies if double posted)

  8. I was reading an article with some comments from the local residents and these even seem to lack any sense of good judgement.

    “Maybe a little bit much to get arrested, but it’s kinda dumb,” Dylan Schmitz says. “Yeah, she just should’ve strapped it down with some twine.”

    “If I was the kid that was on top of the van in the swimming pool, it would be a blast because we’re moving and we’re in a pool,” Wesley Betty Says. “But if you look at it from a parent’s perspective, like I am, then that’s just not safe and you can get into a severe accident.”

    Who knows,” Arisha Hubbard says. “We don’t really know what she was thinking. Maybe she thought that’s what was best or (least) time-consuming at the time.”

    It’s still beyond me how that pool even stayed on the roof of the car for more than a few yards, let alone over 2 miles (from the far side of the Peoria Avenue Bridge to the Northside Baptist Church (partly visible in the photo) is 2 miles). Jack said it, “This is another moral luck situation, in fact, such a great example of moral luck that I’m going to start employing it in seminars as my moral luck example.”

  9. Those kids are probably the moral luckiest children today. High school teacher of mine had a friend. He had been retired from the Navy less than a week. Decided to help a friend move some plywood. They didn’t have any way to tie down the wood, so the freshly minted civilian decided to sit on top of it. Going down the highway, the wind gets under the plywood, acts like a wing, and lifts the man right out of the truck bed into the car behind them. He did not survive.

    This woman definitely does not deserve the responsibility of a pet goldfish, much less two children. Foster care may not be the best, but at least they don’t put you on top of cars in inflatable pools.

  10. I think we’re all overlooking something here: What are the odds that this moron could have even semi-intelligent progeny?
    This was probably natural selection attempting to clean up the gene pool, and these cops interfered. God only knows what the long-term consequences of this are going to be!

  11. She should flee with the kids to Florida, where she will instantly be welcomed and accepted as an honorary Florida Woman.

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