Saturday, April 16, 2011

Greeley, CO: Baby drowns while Mother plays on Facebook

By The Associated Press, on NPR website, April 15, 2011
A northern Colorado woman who was playing a game on Facebook while her 13-month-old baby drowned in a full bathtub was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison.

Shannon Johnson, 34, of Fort Lupton, cried as District Judge Thomas Quammen told her he didn't think she was a bad person or that she killed her son on purpose, the Greeley Tribune reported. But, he added, that doesn't mean her action wasn't criminal.
"You left this little boy in a bathtub so you could entertain yourself on the computer by playing games," Quammen said. "And you left that 13-month-old human being, little Joseph, incredibly, for those reasons."
Johnson pleaded guilty in March to negligently causing the death of her child. The charge carried a sentencing range of four to 12 years, but it also left open the possibility she could receive community corrections or probation. Authorities rejected both of those options, saying they didn't want to play down the seriousness of her crime.
According to court documents, Johnson put her son in the tub for his bath a little after 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 20. She then left him unsupervised in a bathtub full of water as she went to another room to share videos, check status updates and play Cafe World on Facebook. Johnson told deputies that Joseph had grown independent and wanted to be left alone in the tub.
When she returned to the bathroom, said she found Joseph sideways and face-down in the tub.
Never mind the length of the sentence or the probation the follows. It is the life of the baby boy that has been lost, and to what? An innocent, naive and careless mother whose self-interest trumped her responsibility to her son!
Of course we are all indignant! That is so easy and so predictable
Why do we include the story here, when crime stories are not the normal fare of this blog?
It is, in our view, a sign of the level of obsession with the technology that has/is/will continue to ride in waves over the North American society...and the implications don't stop with this incident.
  • Drivers continue to text and talk on cell phones while driving, although the practice has been prohibited in many jurisdictions.
  • Attention to tech devices often trumps face-to-face conversations, to the delight of the perpetrators and the disgust of the displaced
  • More and more time is being dedicated to the "interractions" facilitated by the devices and less and less time to the conversations that bring one into full emotional, intellectual and spiritual contact with "the other"
  • Teachers are now referring their students to model lessons on line, complete with tech graphs and talking heads, illustrating math theorems, to supplement their teaching
  • Ninth grade students are missing the kind of mentoring on the "reliability" of sources, for their history projects, while being encouraged to research the internet
  • The statistics on the frequency of contacts, as a guess, easily trumps the degree of relationship between the tech-actors
What kind of conclusions will we draw from some of these preliminary looks into the phenomena?
One will likely by that we are not really interested in really conversing and really encountering 'the other' but rather are supremely attracted to the opportunity to show off our tech-savvy and our accumulation of lists of contacts almost as another form of "acquisition" similar to the BMW's that adorn the driveways of the rich!

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