The joy of welcoming a new baby into the world is indescribable. As their eyes open, their mind appears flooded with questions eager to rely on someone for answers. That eagerness to learn makes it exciting to teach how to talk, walk, eat, and possibly sign language. But as they get older and inevitably test the waters, raising a responsible and well-behaved child becomes more like a series of trial and error mixed with hope and prayer. Some parents have found spanking to be an effective disciplinary tool to discourage inappropriate behavior. In Virginia, however, a state court said no.
The Virginia mother, a divorced dentist, spanked her six-year-old daughter with a leather belt because her daughter misbehaved in school. A couple of days later, the father discovered bruises on the girl’s thigh and notified the police. The mother was charged with felony child abuse. Under the state statute, the prosecutor must show the mother seriously injured the minor child. While her attorney was eager to defend her actions, she ultimately entered an agreement with the prosecutor to plea guilty to misdemeanor assault and battery on a family member. The judge agreed to dismiss all charges if the mother refrained from spanking or causing any other harm to the child for two years.
Had the father contested the mother’s parenting or presented a history of abuse, court intervention may have been warranted. But the father conceded she was a good mother and the mother claimed this incident was the first time she spanked her daughter. And she had good reason, punishment for bad behavior. Earlier this week a separate couple was removed from a restaurant for permitting their kids to run around the venue disturbing customers. A separate restaurant in Houston banned children under age eight from its facilities after 7pm due to complaints from patrons about loud children. Since parents are blamed for their child’s misconduct, should they be reprimanded for taking corrective action with a belt? Obviously the law does draw a line and there are experts claiming spankings have several adverse affects on children, but should we not balance the love and care given to a child along with spanking as punishment before passing any judgment?
John Weldon’s life changed when his girlfriend announced she was pregnant. He did not want the responsibilities of fathering a child, so he requested she abort the baby since it is the mother’s body that would undergo the procedure. His parental obligations were in her hands.
Unfortunately for him, the mother was excited about carrying and raising a baby. Instead of respecting her wishes, he tricked her into taking an abortion kill by claiming it was prescribed to fight infections. A couple of days later, the baby was gone and he was charged with violating the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, a federal law carrying a life sentence.
The Unborn Victims of Violence Act protects unborn children from acts of violence by punishing those who harm them while engaging in federally prohibited acts of violence against the pregnant mother. The underlying principle is that the violent act has two victims, thereby creating a presumption of rights to unborn children.
To prosecute under the Act, the defendant must also be charged with a crime against the mother under any federal law pertaining to crimes of violence. The prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt intent to harm one of the victims resulting in the death or injury to the unborn child. The violent act must be the cause of the death or injury to the unborn child.
Mr. Weldon pled guilty to tampering with a consumer product and conspiracy to commit mail fraud in lieu of a life sentence under the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. Some commentators view this case as an example of the lack of fairness to men because only women maintain a choice to parent after conception. Furthermore, men cannot relinquish their financial obligations unless both parents agree to relinquish his parental rights. Although on the flip side, at least as seen on Teen Mom, women often bear more parental responsibilities than men. What do you think?
It is commendable that President Obama sought congressional approval to strike Syria instead of exercising discretionary power to declare war. Especially given that Congress often fights his initiatives. But if his action is merely a formality, and no matter the outcome he will strike Syria, then his attempt to deceive the nation into believing the strike was a united decision obliterates the initial accolades. Manipulating the government, even if well intended, is wrong because it is deceptive. The problem with Iraq is not being wrong about weapons of mass destruction, but that Americans believed they were deceived.
The Constitution grants Congress the power to execute all powers vested by the Constitution, which includes the President’s power to declare war. The War Powers Act requires the President to consult Congress before submitting armed forces into hostile situations. History, however, presents instances where Congress did not approve a presidential declaration of war or was not consulted prior to the President’s submission of armed forces. For example the Vietnam War, invading Grenada in 1983, and military action in Panama in 1989. Therefore in theory, the democratic government requires the President, Congress, and the people to agree and have a stake in declarations of war. In practice, however, the President can exercise his or her own best judgment.
The draft resolution to strike Syria outlines Syrian’s alleged violation of international law, using chemical weapons against its own people. It insufficiently explains the evidence that either supports Syrian’s direct use of chemical weapons, or why Assad’s assertion that rebels were the culprits is false. Additionally, it does not explain why waiting for the United Nations to review the evidence of chemical weapons before deciding whether to join U.S. efforts is inadequate. It does, however, make clear that President Obama’s goal is to ensure the U.S. acts as judge and executioner as it relates to international law violations.
President Obama’s reasoning for striking Syria may be irrelevant so long as he believes it to be America’s best interest. If democracy is voting on representatives to legislate and enforce our best interests as they see it, then whether Congress or Americans understand the reasoning for many government decisions, including war, is irrelevant. But if a democracy is voting on representatives to voice interests articulated by the American people, then understanding why his opinion is best and obtaining congressional approval ensures collective responsibility in accordance with the Constitution.