Thursday, March 24, 2011

It's all your fault

Two New York social workers are preparing to be molested by the righteous fist of justice for their apparent lack of oversight in an abuse case.  To quickly summarize for those who don’t want to read the article, a four year old girl was tied down to a bed, beaten, and poisoned with prescription drugs for an unspecified number of months by her mother. 

Reality pwning an idealist.
What bothered me about this whole ordeal is how vague the details seem to be.  That could be because the trial hasn’t begun, or whatever, but I’m still a bit bothered by it.  I don’t have any experience as a social worker, but when I think of social workers I think of idealists who’ve been forced to see the world for what it is, rather than for what they want it to be. 

For the sake of imagery, picture a dude that’s really hopeful—bright eyed, eager to change the world because he truly believes that humans are good at heart—and then he is suddenly awakened to the shittiness of humanity by a swift kick in the nuts.  We hear about the horrors of social work all the time:  that it’s a soul sucking endeavor that smashes the hopes of even the most hopeful.

Why does social work do that to people?  Well, because the situation really is hopeless.  These poor bastards are given gigantic caseloads of abused children, and we expect them to devote 100% of their energy to each child.  Sure looks like the guy was negligent and was trying to cover his tracks, but let’s ask an honest question:  would anyone have been able to save the child?

Yeah that sounds like a fairly pessimistic attitude, but it’s a real question we have to ask.  This child’s mother and grandmother were obviously completely fucked in the head, so I’d wager that it was only a matter of time before they murdered the poor kid.  Had the guy been visiting more often, they probably would have just killed her in a quicker fashion, or they would have done their best to hide the abuse.

"It's all your fault, asshole."
I get this feeling that there’s a growing trend in America to blame as many people as possible when bad shit happens.  We’re turning into a culture of maximum accountability, and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing.  Do I think we should let morons run rampant everywhere, free to fuck shit up with reckless abandon?  No.  But I am afraid of a society in which there is zero tolerance for failure.

“But Jack, you insensitive asshole, a child is dead because of this guy’s negligence!”  Maybe, but there’s also a child dead somewhere despite the vigilant supervision of a bleeding heart social worker.  Over the next few months, it might be revealed that Damon Adams only had a caseload of like five kids, and that he really was a negligent douche.  But my guess is that he’s like every other social worker out there: one human tasked with overseeing the wellbeing of over thirty suffering children, who knows that despite his best efforts most of them are hopelessly stuck with the shitty hand they’ve dealt.

Someone in the article mentioned that this law-suit could have the adverse effect of turning people off to social work.  I don’t blame them.  Why work in a hopeless situation with the added fear that you may be prosecuted for your failures?

I’ve got children of my own, so when I read about these stories I get just as incensed as the next compassionate guy, but when a sick fuck commits a crime lets stop laying blame on as many people as possible just to make ourselves feel better.  Let’s give this guy a fair shake before we start demanding that he get sent to federal-pound-me-in-the-ass prison (Office Space) for seven years.

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