Learning From the Abuse and Death of Jaxon “Jax” Burnette

Jax Burnette

“If the sound of happy children is grating on your ears, I don’t think it’s the children who need to be adjusted.”
― Stefan Molyneux

They say a picture shows a thousand words and the picture below certainly does when it comes to the horrifying tragedy that is child abuse.

Jaxon “Jax” James Burnette

The death of Jaxon”Jax” Burnette was one of those horrid incidents that transcends much of the current political and cultural climate.  People really – and rightfully so – think child abuse is horrible.  People were worked up.  Groups were created dedicated to getting justice for Jax.  So to that that end Facebook groups, comment sections, and all the rest shrieked in anger.

After that it died out – with a few shrieks here and there.  So in this aftermath we need to do some serious adult talk time among ourselves and ask, “What have we learned?”

Probably not much.  In fact, we will probably see this same story again, people will express their noble outrage, and then it is back to the grind. (I understand, I have a life as well.)

If there’s anything I’ve realized over the last few years, it’s that the desire to burn someone at the stake or throw tomatoes at the criminal in stocks has never gone away – regardless of how educated, enlightened, or progressive we have gotten.

We have this ravenous unquenchable desire – almost on the level that fuels our sex, survival, and hunger drives – to be able to point at “villains” and in the process allow us to feel better about ourselves.

“At least I’m not like that guy!”

We need to shame, pass judgement, and feel above them.  Now in the case of Jaxon, those of us who aren’t abusing children are better than those who are not – at least on a moral level. However if we aren’t careful, we could easily be brought down low to their level.  Most people don’t like the idea of that, so they remain perched in their high moral ivory towers.

They writhe with righteous anger and indignation, call for the abusive parents to be taken out an shot, and spout about how shocked they are that something this terrible could happen.  Almost reminds you of how people change their Facebook profile to flag stripes of whatever country suffered yet another terrorist attack. Then they forget all about it.

It should make you question how much they actually care vs how much they wish to be perceived as people who do in their contrived sermons of indignation.  A dirty little secret is that most people don’t truly care.

 

The Mob Isn’t Really Interested in Preventing Child Abuse

The mob – righteous this time in their outrage – entirely missed the underlying factors which created the situations that led to the horrible tragedy that happened to Jax.  No one wants to attempt to understand what was happening to his parents because they fear it will be misconstrued as excusing their vile behavior.

Most of the tips, hotlines, and advice out there are for AFTER-THE-FACT instead of focusing on early stages. It’s similar on how always focus on “healing” the patient, but never on the preventative care to help avoid the injuries, diseases, or conditions in the first place.

Raising awareness about child abuse is useless if we aren’t doing “real talk” with people close to us who have young kids as well.  Because of the danger of social media shame mobs that could cost you your job and future prospects, no one who is about to snap from the pressure and lack of sleep will reach out for advice.

They don’t want to be shamed, nor admit that it’s much harder then they EVER thought it would be or that they had those horrid thoughts in moments of sleep deprived anguish.  If we can’t talk about it without the worry of someone reporting them to CPS, then many of these stories will repeat.

Something I’m now just finding out is that no matter what you do, kids still cry – especially infants and toddlers. If you’ve done everything possible, just let them be.  You aren’t a bad parent.   Instead of trying to be super hero parents, we need to encourage those around us to take a step back when stressed. If you have to put your screaming infant in a car seat in the bathroom for 15 minutes and turn the fan on, so be it.

That stepping back is key to stopping yourself from starting down the dark path to child abuse. Preventing yourself from getting to that path can’t be understated. Just like in Fargo, you can avoid that final woodchipper death by never getting in bed with devious criminals in the first place.

 

The Tragedies

When our second son Nehemiah was born, the hospital made us watch 3 videos about proper care for your infant before my wife could be released. One thing that came up was the case of Jaxon “Jax” Burnette

In conversation about it, a nurse told us that Missouri – where our second son was born when we lived there – had the most incidents of child abuse.  Sure enough in 2013 alone, there were over 61,000 reported cases in Missouri of which 31 died.  Most of the children were all under 4 years old – which is the stage where the most work, patience, and energy is required by parents.

(Note this is not a dig at “Fly-over country” or anyone from the South in particular.  The child abuse epidemic is widespread.) 

Dig back and harrowing stories pop up. Tons of other cases of shocking child abuse.  I’m not talking about spanking a tantrum raging 5 year old or a mother slapping a disrespectful teen, I’m referring to REAL child abuse. Story after story. Some of the ones listed below were the ones that stood out most to me.

  • A 10 year old girl down to 32 pounds, locked into a closet wallowing in her own excrement in a modern day vicious twist on Cinderella. In contrast,  her two sisters were well fed and cared for.
  • A mom beats her 17 month old girl to death and tries to pass it off as death from a spider bite. The terrible bruises around the neck, face, and the rest of the body would undermine her story to the point the police chief said it looked the girl had been in a car accident.
  • In Springfield MO – where me and my wife currently live – a 7 year old boy and 2 year old girl were starved, beaten, tied to chairs, and thrown down stairs. “The toddler was so malnourished, hair was falling out. She had scratches and cuts all over her body. Her feet swollen causing her toes to turn blue.”    How did it get that far?
  • A 37 year old woman sodomizes and rapes a two old boy, while having her boyfriend video tape it.  Obviously this goes way beyond physical child abuse.  The boy will be scarred deeply for life.
  • A 17 year old babysitter burned a 8 month old baby girl with a curling iron. Blisters were on her head, bottom of her feet, and all over her legs. To top it off, the babysitter then said the mom burned the baby girl further with the iron to shut her up.

What do all these cases have in common when you read through them?  How did they ever get to this point? 

“SCREW CHILDREN! That’s the mantra of the world. Instead of burying them with a national debt, shoving them in shitty schools, drugging them if they don’t comply, hitting them, yelling at them, indoctrinating them with religion and statism and patriotism and military worship, what if we just did what was right for them? The whole world is built on “screw children”, and if we changed that, this would be an alien planet to us.” – Stefan Molyneux

A lack of patience, self control, and selfishness.  

Unfortunately, the millennial generation in particular – of which I am a member – is often too busy or consider our futures to unpredictable and unstable to have kids. Some still end up remaining a burden, even after they grow out of their infant stage – an indictment of our selfish culture that excuses it’s loathing for children by contrived hysterics about not throwing more money into education.  (The home environment, not their school is where stability must be established.)

Still, despite various precautions babies happen planned or not.  Thing is they either are born to parents often just one parent these days who don’t really want them, don’t want to adapt their lifestyle for them, or can’t be bothered to have the patience that those first few years of a child’s life demand in high volumes.

So what do we do about it besides shrieking and going back to our normal lives later?

Step Out Of The Shadows

We need to encourage those who are struggling as first-time parents without support to come out of the shadows and to open up.  People will always judge, but plenty of us have or are still in the shoes of those who are new parents that are susceptible to “snapping”. Maybe part of it is pride holding them back from wanting to admit it to themselves.

New parents need to know that they can take a break for a moment.  Leave the room for 20 minutes. Hug each other.  Call a friend on the phone for support.  Maybe even leave the car seat, bassinet, or port-a-crib in the bathroom with the fan on for a bit.

Frustration and Anger are powerful emotions.

Even those of us with the best self-control need to realize we are human and we have to step back at those key moments where you honestly just want to punch the wall, throw the bassinet across the room, or curse the day your child was born.

Step back.  Realize what’s happening. Take a break. Yes, in case people try to misconstrue what I’m saying, child abuse is terrible and wrong. Let’s get to the root to help stop it before it bubbles to the surface.

I’ll give you a personal example from months back when my son was an infant.  I had this logical desire to “fix” the situation and rational methodology to do it.  Of course I forgot as I often do that babies sometimes will cry regardless of what we do.

It’s part of being a baby.  (Start letting them self-sooth from a young age or they might not be able to sleep with you rocking them to sleep!)

I can recall being in a frustrated and utterly exhausted state.  I shouted “Shut up!” at one of my boys. I’m pretty sure I threw an expletive in there.

Moments later after the frustration had been released, I’ll felt quite bad for yelling.  What was it going to do? What were the implications in the future if I was setting an example for them from their earliest years that yelling was how you dealt with frustration?

“They are only babies”, I’ll realize again for the umpteenth time moments later.   Just a few days before that,  I was so agonized by my three month old son Nehemiah loudly and incessantly crying that I simply picked him up, put him in our bed, propped him on some blankets, turned on the fan to drown out noise, closed the door, and went into the other room to get away from it.

Eventually he fell asleep.

Plenty of people will think admissions such as this make you a monster. They don’t.  If said people were honest themselves for once instead of trying to virtue signal some kind of moral high-ground to scold the rest of us from, they’d finally look in the mirror and see the truth for what it is.

None of this stuff comes from out of nowhere. It bubbles. It nags at you. It builds to the point where you are ready to explode.  Well, we need to slowly twist the cap off. Recognizing you have a problem – as they say – is the first step to leaving that stage of denial.

We’ve become a society who doesn’t want to admit weakness because there are plenty of people who only seek your demise or exposing your pain for the rest of the world to judge.

Seeking Support In The Right Places

I’m trying to avoid being political with this post, but I’ll mention one detail.  A close friend of mine mentions how Trump never apologizes for wrongdoing. I suppose he has a point.  However, considering the current cultural and political climate, would you apologize?

“Just apologize,” they say.  Why then does it seem an apology is never enough?  In today’s polarized social media climate, unlucky targets either have to resign from their job, close their business, or much worse.


Side notes:  Whatever you do – DONT post on social media the inner real thoughts you are having at the moment.  People will go after you, despite having similar thoughts themselves in the past. Also DO NOT go to social services.  I hate to say it but government employees and even hospital staff can’t be trusted.

You just never know if someone with a grudge will falsely accuse you or try to make your life hell.  If some bored pranksters on the internet can figure out where you live and send prostitutes and pizza to your house, people with access to your private record can wreck havoc.  Play it safe. 


People don’t seem to want an apology. They want mob justice and vengeance in order to signal their participation in the fervor.  Few things are deemed as bad as todays popular “ists” and isms”, but child abuse is one of them – as is the potential to become the one doing it.

Go seek the help, advice, aid, and support of people who really know you. Go talk to your close friends and family and tell them what’s going through your mind and how you feel like snapping sometimes. They’ve been through it and they can help guide you past it.

They actually care about you and you want you to become the best parent you can be.  Of course they care about your kids and want the best for them, just as you do.

So much of the terrible stories of child abuse we see today all over the news can be pre-empted early.   Let’s encourage people to realize and get the support they need earlier rather than later.

The tough early years of no sleep will pass.  Right now its already being replaced with a new challenge for me and my wife; the constant requirement to watch them as our oldest Julius runs fast and grabs anything he can, and our youngest Nehemiah crawls.

Now we have to be more aware. Just the other day my youngest was trying to eat the rather large crumbs and food – a choking hazard for an 8 month old – left behind moments before my oldest son.

In fact my oldest now knows what “No” means and he either throws himself, gets angry, hits you, or all of the above. Yes, there is a difference between discipline and punishment.We now undertake this new adventure.

Godspeed for all you parents out there.  Support and help is there.

 

 

Jaxon “Jax” James Burnette and The Parents That Snapped

Jax was only six weeks old when his bones were broken. His brain started to bleed internally from being thrown very hard onto a bed.  His throat was permanently damaged when his father tried to stop him from crying by shoving his fingers down his throat attempting to find his voice box.  Jaxon would never be the same.

Child abuse is a term lightly thrown around in our time which is rife with potshots at spanking, mothers threatened for letting their kids play at the park, and parents who take away their teens Iphones and ground them from Tumblr, but the story you are about to hear is a case of real abuse.  Deathly abuse.

THIS IS A CAUTIONARY TALE.   Abuse like this is always horrible and vile, but we are fooling ourselves if we believe we are all above and beyond it.  Know yourself,  know the signs, and know when to take a break.  Never convince yourself that the stress won’t get to you: that you’re special.   You might think you’d never be capable of this, but how many people do you know who you thought would never be capable of abuse ended up being abusive?

IMPORTANT:  A lesson here is to be LEARNED.   This post is NOT interested in any kind of justification for the abuse of Jaxon by his parents, rather it’s devoted to ensuring it doesn’t happen to another innocent child.

UPDATE  1: Jax has passed away.  Murder charges will now be in the making. This is now a dire and lethal lesson to learn. May he rest with the angels.

UPDATE 2: More information has come out that hints that Jaxon may have been abused since birth.  Drugs may have been part of it, but this was just the culmination that ended up taking Jax’s life.

UPDATE  3: (ALSO: A commentor has hinted that Jax’s father Robert had a history of this kind of violence and had tried to kill his brother. ) Further reading via the DailyMail:  “His parents told police that he’d tried to kill his own brother in various ways over the years – including beating and stabbing him as well as trying to drown and smother him.”

In this case, Robert did one snap too far. “According to court records, he has also spent time in mental health institutions for severe anger issues. ”   The signs weren’t taken seriously.

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Many of the pictures below have been making their rounds on Facebook.  My wife showed me the below. Blood is on his bib. His parents look almost clueless as to what’s happened.

Jax probably won’t make it.  If he does, he will have severe mental and physical disabilities. EDIT: We can now confirm he has passed from the brutality of this world and into one that is far better.

Jaxon “Jax” James Burnette

His mother didn’t do anything to stop it. She would later claim that she was scared of Jax’s father as well of her father killing Jax’s dad as to why she remained silent and didn’t alert anyone to what was happening.  Whether this is completely true, we don’t know.

What happened here is a tragedy, but a human story that needs to be told.    Truth be told, we could become like Jax’s parents in a moment that is just too much to bear.  Honestly, I don’t think they ever thought they were capable of this, and now the heartbreak is to set in.   They can’t take it back.

Now, everyone is a critic these day’s when it comes to parenting.  I recall a recent story where people recoiled in disdain as one man explained how he knew a father who used to put his screaming son in a carseat and leave him in the bathroom with the fan on until he stopped crying.  IF only Jaxon’s parent’s could have done this instead. Know your limits.

So terrible huh?

As parents, we do feel bad when our children cry, especially when they are infants. But sometimes, there isn’t much you can do.  If you have had a child who is just starting to go through teething, you know what I mean.

You give your kid some infant tylenol, comfort them as much as possible, and the put them in their crib. Often, they cry themselves to sleep because of how tired they get.  Yep, that sounds kind of bad, “Crying themselves to sleep”, but its how babies fall asleep.    If that doesn’t work, perhaps the whirring white noise of a fan in the bathroom might do the trick. At some point, you need to sleep.

If we are dead honest, all parents have wanted to do this at some point.  It makes them normal, human, and capable of getting stressed out instead of the superparents we read about on blogs that seem like a sitcom fairytale.

When your child has been screaming all night, you are dead tired, stressed, and exhausted, this seems more and more like a better option.   In fact, sometimes you just need to walk away from the room for a few minutes, regain your composure, and let your headache ease just a bit.

Some deem it cruel, but let’s look at what happens when parents who don’t do the above finally snap.  Below is a picture of Jaxon “Jax” James Burnette, a 6 week old baby who will probably won’t live much longer.

Take a look at this picture and ask, “What happened?”

A mother lost her maternal instinct to protect her young and never bothered to stop the father, who lost his paternal instinct in a fit of rage at some point. For instance, from another source:

“She admitted she lied at the hospital, telling doctors she didn’t know how the baby was injured. Police say she never showed emotion during their interrogation. She referred to her son not by his name but by “the kid” or “the baby.”

Jaxon “Jax” James Burnette


Look at the picture above one more time.  It’s as if she doesn’t realize his suffering or what’s happened. I’m kind of shocked everytime, I look at it.

Perhaps these are terrible people who were not meant to be parents.   It’s one thing to look like junkies, but its another to let those drugs destroy the bond a parent has for their child.

It’s easy to hate them. But, again what if we became them?  Are they really this cold? Could we ever become this cold if we just snapped?  It’s a scary thought.

These parents; I don’t believe they are as evil as we want them to be. I’m not justifying their actions; I just see how easily it could be for parents to snap at some point and to this.

I’ll let STLToday give you the morbid details:

WENTZVILLE • A man from Wentzville shoved his fingers down the throat of his 6-week-old son. He wanted to find the baby’s voice box and stop him from crying.

More abuse followed. The baby was thrown onto a bed. Shaken violently. Picked up by the back of his neck.

All the while the baby’s mother watched and made no effort to get help.

That’s the harrowing account spelled out in St. Charles County court records documenting the abuse against the infant boy, identified only as J.B.

The boy was still alive on Friday morning but “extremely critical,” the prosecutor’s office said. He was in protective custody and being treated at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital for, among other things, bleeding on the brain and broken bones. Doctors have told police it’s “a likely possibility” the boy will die.

J.B.  is Jaxon James Burnette It’s likely that he may never see his father again.   Another dysfunctional nightmare story if the kid survives.    I’ve only been a parent for 7 months, but I can safely say – don’t try to be a superhero mom or dad.

Jax Burnette with blood on his bib. 6 week old baby.
Lessons must be learned.

Be a parent who realizes that sometimes you need a break, that the carseat and bathroom might not be a bad idea, and that sometimes, you just have to let them cry.  

This doesn’t make you bad parents. It makes you smart, compassionate, and aware ones. Composure and patience will become welcome friends. You aren’t a bad parent. Just one that needs to walk out of the room for a bit, so you don’t snap.  Raising a kid is hard enough for two parents.  Most of us don’t have that village we need, family close by, etc.

This isn’t to say you are like Jax’s parents, it’s just that the edge is a bit closer you might realize when the crying has gotten your head pounding, your wife crabby, and your sleep has been shortened.

What happened to Jax scared me. I think we all have just enough of an inner demon in us to do something like this. Most parents will insist that they could never do anything like this…   I think they are just scared to consider they could be capable of something this heartbreaking – especially when you see Jax’s face.   I thought about my son being in his place and it almost brought me to tears.

Julius Michael Temple, my firstborn.
Julius Temple in the bath

We just need the courage to admit that we need a break to prevent us from ever getting close to this possibility. Don’t let yourself go down the path. Don’t let yourself believe you are a superparent above this kind of stress.  It’s not an admission of guilt – its a recognition of the daily demands that we as parents have.

Now Robert may have been a creature of severe anger, hate, and now murder.  If you know you have anger problems, don’t let yourself get to the place where they can manifest!!! Take a break! Walk away for a moment.  The come right back.

Deus Vult brothers.