In the last two weeks Mississippi has had two small children die due to being left in hot cars. Shania Cardine, 8 months old succumbed to heat exhaustion last week in Grenada, MS when her father, Joshua Blunt, left her in a car while at his place of employment. Joshua says he forgot Shania was in the car. Two weeks ago Caroline Bryant, 2 years of age, died from the results of being left in a hot car by her mother, Amy Bryant. Amy thought she had dropped her daughter off at daycare before she went to work. Here is a news report of Joshua Blunt and Shania. Here is a news report on Amy Bryant and Caroline. I want to share a few of my thoughts on these tragedies.
ANYONE CAN LEAVE A CHILD IN A CAR.
In the days following the first tragedy I read many people on social media lampoon parents who would leave a child in a hot car by accident. I understand such a mistake will leave one scratching their head. However, there are on average 37 deaths a year due to leaving a child in a hot car. That is about one every 9.5 days. This is a common occurrence.
When I was a pastor at Corinth Baptist in Magee, MS, I went to play golf in my hometown about 60 or so miles away. I made that trip to my hometown golf course several times each month. On this particular day I carried my son, Micah, who was less than a year old to drop off at my mother’s house so she could visit with her grandson. I strapped Micah into the car seat and began my hour-long trip. He dozed off immediately. When I reached highway 589 I began to turn left to go to the golf course when Micah moaned. He had been asleep for an hour and I hadn’t checked on him in several minutes. Terror gripped my soul as I thought about what could have happened if Micah hadn’t moaned. Would I have forgotten him while I played golf? Would I have seen him when I got out of the truck? I shudder to think about what might have happened. It was the middle of the Summer in South Mississippi; he would have perished quickly. People, it happens, it can happen to anyone.
I read a great tip last year, one mother takes her shoe off and puts beside her baby’s car seat every morning when they load up. This way she will always have a reminder her most precious cargo is riding in the back.
BOTH OF THESE FAMILIES NEED PRAYER.
Let’s be real for a moment, every one of us who are honest live with some level of guilt. We have all said an unkind word, done something that does not honor Christ or failed to do things we should have. Did you show enough love to your parents before they died? In spite of all I just said, I doubt any of us feel the guilt these parents must be feeling. Their grief is filled with responsibility. Can you imagine the strain on marriages and relationships?
Psalm 103:13-14 says, “As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.” Our Heavenly Father can provide what these wounded souls need if they will call on Him. Pray for them. Pray for them. Pray for them.
IF ONE IS PROSECUTED THEN BOTH SHOULD BE PROSECUTED.
As I write this Joshua Blunt is being charged with a crime while Amy Bryant is not being charged. To complicate this matter more I live in Mississippi and Blunt is black and Bryant in white. I live between the two communities of Grenada and Madison. Grenada has a larger black racial composition than Madison. I despise how the race card is always pulled out in any situation, especially concerning the South. The South of today is not the one of yesteryear and deserves to be applauded for gains that have been made in race relations. However, I have a hard time seeing a difference in these two cases, unless there is more to the cases than we are hearing. Blunt’s attorney, Carlos Moore, said the only reason Joshua Blunt is being prosecuted is because he is black. I am trying to work through my thoughts on prosecuting such cases. Is Amy Bryant being treated differently because she is white? Is Amy Bryant getting special consideration because she is a woman? I cannot convince myself that both should be prosecuted. I am certain that if a white woman and a black man do the same thing it makes no sense for one to be prosecuted and the other not be charged. Mississippi is a great place to live and raise children. I challenge everyone to mourn with Joshua Blunt and Amy Bryant who are both created in the image of God and both are brokenhearted. We should come together to honor Shania and Caroline, not divide into sides.