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.