commentary by Patrick H. Moore
We hear a lot of complaints these days about bad parenting. Some folks insist that today’s parents are lax and self-absorbed and fail to instill proper standards into their children. New Age parents often eschew the lash and insist that children are better disciplined through “time outs” and other non-violent methods. Old school parents say, “Get the f___ out of my way! I’ll spank my kids if I want to spank them.” Meanwhile, pundits write books about how to raise your kids lovingly and effectively. And then, of course, there is the Tiger Mom syndrome which is focused on keeping the kids motivated and primed for success.
Personally, I tend to think that all of these techniques have some validity, but that none of them should be accepted blindly. For example, I have never so much as swatted my daughter, yet I got “the old lash” regularly when I was a kid and – oddly enough – I didn’t really mind. What I disliked was the yelling and recriminations that went along with the spankings. I guess my point is that it is hard to generalize successfully about how the raise “the little brutes”.
Last night, I was pleased to discover that there is a MOM in – you guessed it, Florida – who apparently has her head screwed on right when it comes to raising her kids. Her goal in life is laudable – to keep their property (and by extension her kids) safe from wild hogs. This is very important. If you’ve ever been chased by a violent wild hog (and I’m not talking about law enforcement personnel), you know just how dangerous those brutes can be. In Northern California where my old man owns some property way out in the woods, the locals regale one another with tales of “narrow hog escapes” and how you better just hope that there is a sturdy (and climbable) tree handy when the great snorting beasts come charging at you from out of the underbrush.
So I have considerable sympathy for 31-year-old Kayla Shavers of New Port Richey, Florida, who donned her camouflage gear the other morning and bravely set out into her woods to go after the hogs who, she informed the police, had “been tearing up her property”. Her desire to rid her land of hogs, however, seems to have been of such pressing importance that she failed to exercise good judgment when she allegedly made the decision to leave her 9-year-old boy and her 8-month old baby alone inside her car, which was not running, in near-freezing temperatures so that she could go on the hunt immediately.
This all occurred at 7 am, first thing in the morning, according to WPTV. The temperature was 38 degrees and Ms. Shavers’ 9-year-old did not have a coat.
According to Bay News 9, the 9-year-old called 911, saying he was cold and “a police car would be warmer.” The police have stated that they aren’t sure how long the children were alone in the car, but that after the officers arrived on the scene, they waited for about 40 minutes before Shavers emerged from the woods, clad in camo.
“Kudos to that little 9-year-old boy,” Sheriff Chris Nocco told WTSP. Nocco insists that by making the 911 call, the boy may have saved the baby’s life.
The authorities have stated that Shavers claimed she was close enough to the car to respond if her children needed help. She also allegedly said she left the keys in the car for the 9-year-old to turn it on if necessary, but that he apparently wasn’t able to do so.
According to the arrest affidavit, the deputy who responded to the 911 call in the Glades Avenue area of New Port Richey, said that when he removed the children from the car, he noticed that the boy was shivering, dressed only in a long-sleeve shirt with no coat. The report apparently does not describe how the 8-month-old baby was dressed.
Ms. Shavers was charged with child neglect on Thursday, according to WTSP.
* * * * *
Certain cynics have suggested that Ms. Shavers wasn’t hunting hogs at all (and in fairness, there was no mention of her carrying a gun. I have never heard of an individual subduing a wild hog(s) with their bare hands, but there’s always a first for everything). Some cynics have even taken the radical step of suggesting that Ms. Shavers went out into the woods at 7:00 am on a cold Florida morning to attend to her woodland meth-cooking apparatus.
It’s unclear whether law enforcement has investigated this possibility but I think Ms. Shavers should be given the benefit of the doubt unless it is conclusively proven that there is more to this story than meets the eye. Assuming it’s a simple case of child neglect, let’s hope she receives the necessary counseling to help her maintain better impulse control the next time she is filled with the burning desire to rid her land of hogs.
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