Showing posts with label child. Show all posts
Showing posts with label child. Show all posts

Thursday, January 10, 2008

It's always the children who pay

Some things are just too awful to contemplate, which makes blogging them, uh . . . difficult. This story from right here in Omaha is one of those things.

There are no fitting words for this. No profound words of understanding, no reassuring words of a rational, divine plan in why a mother apparently dies in her sleep and her baby boy dies horribly of starvation and dehydration. Alone. In an apartment building presumably full of tenants.

The Omaha World-Herald has the story. All I have are questions. Read on, if you dare:
Mike Browning has been thinking about his 21-month-old nephew's last days on earth — thirsty, hungry and forced to fend for himself as his mother lay dead on the couch with the TV on in their Omaha apartment.

"My mind, like anyone else's, goes to the child," he said. "His portion of the story is the tragedy, a humongous tragedy."

The bodies of his sister, Janelle Browning, and her son, Ezekiel Berry, were found Monday at Drake Court Apartments, near 21st and Leavenworth Streets. The pair were discovered after friends alerted apartment managers that they hadn't been seen in several weeks.

Mike Browning said he was told that his sisters' closest neighbor wasn't around very much, which he said may explain why no one noticed anything. Plus, the neighbors there just aren't that close of a group, he said.

Browning said he's taking comfort in believing his sister may have passed away in her sleep and the memories he has of their happier times together.

His sister had lived through some troubled years but was extremely proud of the work she'd done in getting her life back in order, he said.

Janelle Browning had been off methamphetamine for two years, Browning said, and police told him "her place was clean," meaning no drugs were found.


Police have said they do not suspect foul play.

Firefighter paramedic Darren Garrean was one of the emergency officials who entered the apartment after the bodies were found.

The mother was lying on the couch and the TV was on, he said. The child was lying on the floor. Some of the lower cupboards were open and things were strewn all over, he said.

Authorities have said there were signs that Zeke had rummaged around the apartment for food.

"Seeing a child on the floor, dead like that, takes your breath away," Garrean said. "It's not something you expect to see."

Dr. Laura Jana, an Omaha author and pediatrician, said typically the longest someone can survive is three days without water and three weeks without food. But the younger a person is, the shorter the survival time, she said.


Browning said he was told that when children die of dehydration, they just cry themselves to sleep and never wake up.
A LITTLE BOY, not yet two, cries and cries and cries. Cries until he falls into an eternal sleep. And no one heard that? No one wondered what was wrong?

No, "the neighbors there just aren't that close of a group."

That seems to be the problem with every facet of our modern, industrialized, Western society. We don't know. We don't care.

I'm guilty as hell of that. So are you. Alienation's a bitch.

And a child has died a horrific death because of it.