Monday, July 07, 2014

'Childfree' forum closed after hot car death hearing |

Last month, a man named Justin Harris left his son in the car on a hot day, and the two year old perished from the heat.  This has gotten a lot of media attention since prosecutors are charging that he did it on purpose. One of the pieces of 'evidence' of intent? The fact that he visited child-free Reddit boards.  Which means they either 1- didn't bother to do one bit of research into what childfreedom is about, or, 2-they are dishonestly pretending there is a relationship between being childfree and killing a child.

Jerry Steinberg has made it clear since he founded No Kidding! in 1984: child-free people are those who have never been a parent.  Even those who lose children to illness or accident will never be childfree, since being a parent is a major life decision that changes you forever.  Noncustodial parents and empty nesters have likewise been specifically excluded from our ranks.

I suspect that Justin Harris was just browsing through various Reddit forums.  If he had lingered about the child-free boards, he would have quickly learned that he was forever barred from becoming one of us.  He likely would have also encountered disgust with parents who harm their kids, with perhaps a little smug pointing out that parenting does not make you a better person.

He would not have read, as prosecutors claim, instructions on "how to live a childfree lifestyle." The very notion is laughable. One doesn't need instructions, you just go on living a normal life without the tasks of parenting, as nearly all parents did before they had children. If Reddit is like other childfree discussion boards, in addition to stories about terrible parents, were opinion pieces on how to stop stereotyping the childfree, cathartic rants about irritating children, and complaints about how people denigrate our choices.

Obviously, the death of Harris's son is the huge tragedy here, and my heart goes out to any suffering he may face.  I feel for his grandparents and anyone suffering his loss.  But blaming a group of people who knew enough to never have children, or even mangling the possible motives of the father, does nothing to bring him back or serve his memory.  So I do wish the media and prosecutor would get their facts straight about who we are.
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