Rant, by PittGirl

PittGirl usually avoids controversial subject matter for two reasons:

1. I don’t need the hassle of the arguments.

2. I cry when people are mean to me.

However, sometimes I get angry.

Case in point, you of course remember the horror story of the seven kids that were left alone one night while their mothers went out and then five of them died in a fire sparked when two of the kids played with matches.

At the funeral for the kids this weekend, this was said:

Community activist Jibril Abdul-Hafeez … said, “It’s a shame on the whole of Pittsburgh.”

“Who’s responsible? This city has been responsible for [people living in poverty] for years and years. How can you arrest and prosecute these women for neglect, and you won’t prosecute the past leaders of this city for neglect?”

The Rev. Curtis addressed that point in the closing of his eulogy.

“What does it matter? Five angels have died! Who cares what happened and how it happened and when it happened? It’s our children who have died.”

Oh, my God. Are you kidding me?

1. Why is this becoming an issue of poor versus rich? Saying these women are not at fault because they were the neglected poor is an enormous insult to every other poor person in the world who makes the responsible personal choice to NEVER leave their children home alone in the wee hours of the morning. These women weren’t off to their jobs. They were at the neighborhood bar. This is an issue of stupid versus not stupid.

2. Who’s responsible? I am not responsible. You are not responsible. The rich are not responsible. The City of Pittsburgh is not responsible. Responsibility rests squarely with the two young mothers who kissed their kids goodnight for the last time and walked out of the house, closing the door behind them.

3. This is NOT a shame on the whole of Pittsburgh. This story has been plastered all over the country and there is not a soul in America that read the story and said anything other than, “Shame on those moms.”

4. I feel for these women and if they come before a judge and that judge says to them, “I know you have been suffering which is punishment in and of itself, therefore you are sentenced to three years probation and 300 hours of community service,” I will be completely cool with that. If they are not prosecuted at all, that is an injustice not only to the children that died, but to the two surviving eight-year-olds who now have the weight of the world on their shoulders because they acted like eight-year- olds and there was no adult around to tell them to stop playing with the matches.

5. I care what happened. I care how it happened. And I don’t care for it ever to happen again.

Rant. Over.


  1. YinzerChick
    June 19, 2007 9:48 am

    I don’t think this is much different from the missing little girl from England who was abducted out of her hotel room while her parents (both doctors) wined and dined in the resort. Those poor babies.

  2. Zsa
    June 19, 2007 10:10 am

    I completely agree w/ YinzerChick, and it sickens me that those parents got ANY sympathy. They were just as guilty as the “moms” in this situation. The difference is they were rich and white, so the situation was completely whitewashed (pun intended) that they left their kid alone, WHEN FREE BABYSITTING WAS AVAILABLE.

    At any rate – c, I don’t know why you think it’s 99% men responding. Yes, the fathers should be doing something. There are a lot of things that “should be” done, but you don’t shirk your responsibility to your child because someone else “should” do it. We have no idea of the relationships between the women and the kids’ fathers, or the grandparents.

  3. Kelli
    June 19, 2007 10:19 am

    I agree that one should not shirk responsibility because someone else should be responsible too.

    In fact, that is my exact arguement. It just applies both ways. When both parties have a responsibility, then both parties should act responsibly.

    And it really doesn’t matter what the relationship was like between the mothers and the fathers. The only relationship that counts here is the one between the parent and the children. A parent’s responsibility to their child does not hinge on their relationship with the child’s other parent. Both parents must be responsible, even if they are acting independent of each other.

  4. c
    June 19, 2007 11:10 am

    coolmommy123 – I can say without a doubt there isn’t much girl power in most of these 52 responses – soooo….
    There is little defense for what has happened and that goes for both the 2 mothers and x fathers – let’s hope they’re all disgraced and feeling rightly responsible. A dad that is only available to take you to weekend family gatherings(per dad’s media interview) isn’t really absorbing enough responsibility for child rearing – that needs to be addressed. I consider it abuse of the mother.
    Certainly all associated (not just the mothers) need to be held accountable but on the bigger front -we need a cultural change for our African Americans. Obviously this was a regular habit, one they had become comfortable with and no man anywhere in sight.

  5. danopsu
    June 19, 2007 11:23 am

    And then this just comes across the TAE web page:

    Boy, 2, Found Near Penn Ave.; Mom Faces Charges

  6. coolmommy123
    June 19, 2007 11:33 am


    “we need a cultural change for our African Americans.”

    I agree…however, the change has to be wanted from WITHIN the problematic scenario, or it won’t matter WHAT people try to do to improve from the outside. Many people on this thread have said that it is self-perpetuating, so how do you break the cycle? I’m not being facitious, I’m just saying that this is not a unique proposition.

  7. Carpaccio
    June 19, 2007 11:42 am

    to “c”: I’m not entirely sure that the fathers in this story are more than a footnote. One barely factors into the “shoulda woulda coulda” arena, since he’s in jail, and the other apparently had some of the kids in his care that afternoon before returning them to their mother (IIRC), in which case he must have visitation. I don’t know anything about their custody agreement, so actually, I shouldn’t be saying this.

    I’m not sure why you seem to feel that most of the responders here are men– is it because they disagree with you? Because they are less forgiving of the mothers than you would like? I’m no fan of the foster system, but those remaining kids shouldn’t live with their mther until jail is served and they’ve attended parenting classes.

    Look, I have a daughter and I have female bits. I’m a widowed mother, so it’s not like my husband is shirking his duty or something. (That seems to be a “thing” with you.) There is no way you should leave your kids alone, no matter how crazy they make you, and if you can’t get a babysitter, you suck it up and stay home. That the mother is even wearing a shirt with her children’s faces on it that says anything other than “I killed these children.” is troubling.

  8. toni
    June 19, 2007 12:55 pm

    Pittgirl…ask yourself this…would those kids be better with a mother who leaves them alone to go out clubbing or with a responsabile father, aunt, grandmother who will see their needs are met? Will these same mothers see that these 8 yr olds get the couseling they will surely need when they feel the guilt and respoansability for their siblings deaths? A guilt that would be mislaid for they are surely children while their mothers are surely not.

    to Kelly….you keep mentioning people are assuming things…I’m more disturbed by your attacking the fathers. That’s assuming. You assume that Andre was saying the mother was unfit simply because he wanted his children longer…it could have simply been the case of he wanted them over his visitation time or that she wanted them home for a specific reason. Before you think I’m a male, etc I’ll let you know I’m the mother of 3 kids ( now grown) and hve been divoriced twice. My first husband was great and in the Air Force ( so he couldn’t help with the parenting) my second was a turd that wouldn’t help when I asked. Believe me, I’ll grill a man if I think he’s wrong…in this case sole responsability is with the negligent mothers.

    In general…no this is NOT a race/cuture issue. does anyone remember a few years ago when the white couple left their two daughters OVER XMAS and flew to cancun for a weeks vacation???? Only reason they were caught was the littel girl smelled something, was afraid of a fire, and went to a neighbors. Those parents ( both father AND mother) should have been boiled in oil for that crap. BTW after the arrest and the brouhaha were over with these slimebags put both girls up for adoption. So much for loving your kids…lets hope they went to a loving responsable home.

  9. Kelli
    June 19, 2007 1:01 pm

    The problem is that people accept that these fathers are nothing more than a footnotes. That is the problem, fathers shouldn’t be footnotes.

    I do not understand how the father that is in jail does not factor into the “coulda, shoulda, woulda” arguement. He is the epitome of it.

    He is in jail. His choices and actions landed him there. While there, he could not protect or provide for his child/children. Therefore, it was his actions and choice that was all that stood between him and caring for his offspring.

    Yeah, he “coulda, shoulda, woulda”. He “coulda” stayed out of trouble, he “shoulda” stayed out of jail, and then he “woulda” been there to take care of his child/children.

  10. Zsa
    June 19, 2007 2:18 pm

    I feel like what I said got completely twisted. No, I don’t think it’s OK or “normal” or anything that the fathers barely are part of these children’s lives. I also don’t think it’s OK that PAT has screwed up the bus system to the point it has. However, I have a responsibility to get to work, and I don’t want to pay tons of $$ to park, so I support it with my money and use it. Do you get what I’m saying at all?

    Maybe if the father would have been out of jail, he would have stayed home and taken care of the kids. Maybe he would have been at the bar with the mom. Maybe he would have beat the crap out of the kids every day he lived with them, if he lived with them. It’s a moot point. Whoever had these children in their care at that time is the one who needs to take the blame. All I can say is, produce the 17 year old babysitter.

  11. toni
    June 19, 2007 5:00 pm

    Kelli….one father is a turd in prison, thats a given. So, what are you saying? If a mans not in your life actively helping you, it’s Ok to fold up like a flower …or…leave your kids to party?

    The OTHER father is HARDLY a man who was out of his childrens lives. He had just had his children for several days…had them overnight and at a graduation party. You want me to blame a guy for letting a mother take her children home when she wanted to after he had just had a long visitation????!!!!!

    As I said, I’ll blame a guy hands down for alot of stuff but I sure won’t blame them when they are in the childs life ( Andre) or not in their lives at all at any point ( the turd in prison). Neither father walked out of a house and locked the door behind them with children inside.

    Hell, using your reasoning why not blame the grandparents, aunts and cousins. Anybody but the mothers.

  12. Kelli
    June 19, 2007 5:08 pm

    I am not attacking the fathers. My arguement is that if there is any blame on society it would be that society lets fathers off the hook of being fathers. I do believe it is a cultural issue, the culture of America, where fathers are caught in a huge struggle concerning their rights and responsibilities.

    And I am a huge supporter of father’s rights. But I believe that men need to step up and take the responsibilities. As long as we as a society continue to diminish the responsibility of men as fathers, we as society can continue to deny them their right as fathers. It is a problem in society.

    toni, please do not read things into my statements that are not there. I didn’t assume that the father didn’t want his visitation to end because the mother was unfit. I said:

    “And the father that didn’t want the children to go back to their mom? I have to wonder why he didn’t want them to go back. So many possibilities have come to mind, most of which are just really sad.”

    I never mentioned any specific thing. Maybe he missed them. Maybe he worried about them. Maybe he like the attention they brought him. Maybe he just like his life better when they were there. Whatever. Maybe it was one of a million other things. In light of what happened, any of them seem sad to me. There was no assumption in that comment.

  13. Caryn
    June 19, 2007 6:33 pm

    Wow – the conversation has gone way off track with this whole father bit. I’ll just say I agree with Toni & Kelli seems to have her own agenda when it comes to fathers & responsibility. As for YinzerChick and Zsa, I do feel there is a difference in the cases between this instance and the couple in Portugal. In the Portugal case, the parents were in an enclosed compound, only 50 feet from the bedroom, going back to check regularly. Fifty feet from a dining spot to a child’s bedroom is not far, and many parents at home are farther from their sleeping children while eating, watching tv, or even sleeping. It was not neglect, abusive or criminal (although in retrospect I am sure they regret it and will struggle with that decision forever). The child, Madeline, was clearly targeted for kidnapping, as her sister and brother were next to her and were left behind. A targeted child is hard to protect, such as Elizabeth Smart, who was taken from her own home. Here, the mothers left for an extended period of time, went a significant distance away, and made NO effort to check on the kids (or have anyone else watch over them). There is a difference between making a bad decision and making a clearly wrong decision.

  14. Sofa King
    June 20, 2007 9:07 am

    Good point, Caryn.

    I think we’ve definitely reached a point in society where the role of the father has bee minimalized to such a point that the mother essentially dictates the father’s role on a case-by-case basis. Fathers have little or no rights with respect to their offspring, not even having a say in whether the offspring lives or is aborted, yet they still have a legal obligation. To me, it’s a little funny that you can have a legal obligation in an issue where you have little or no legal rights. However, this is obviously the result of many fathers eschewing their responsibilities for years. Now, if a good, well-meaning man wants to have a positive role in his children’s lives, it is all the more difficult for him because of the mistakes of the negligent, absentee “fathers” that came before him.

  15. Sofa King
    June 20, 2007 9:08 am

    beeN minimalized…damn typos!