Thursday, September 3, 2009

Preventing Crimes

Thursday, September 3, 2009

There are so few mystery stories about preventing crimes.

I served one time on a county board which met every time a child in the county died. The purpose was to review the circumstances of death to make sure deaths by abuse don't get reported in other ways. As I recall, board membership included the county coroner, law enforcement officials, representatives from child protection agencies, medical people, and, in our county, a minister. We reviewed every death. For me, it was a painful, but necessary, thing to do.

Every county in Missouri has such a board, and, as I understood it at the time, many other states have the same practice.

These boards hope to recognize Munchausen by proxy syndrome and other abuse. Munchausen by proxy syndrome is that mental illness where parents intentionally make children ill for the parents' own psychological reasons.

This is a complex issue. Some parents have accident and illness-prone children. But some parents hurt their children too.

Why aren't there more mystery and suspense stories about prevention? In the face of things like kidnappings where the children are held into adulthood, sexually abused and abused in other ways, why not call attention to prevention?

Forensic investigation is such a big deal in mystery writing and drama, the details of how crimes are solved. Maybe, if we just looked, we'd find drama in prevention too.

PS I'd be interested in knowing the names of books you have found that do tells stories of prevention.


Corey Wilde said...

I have not read it, but there is a book called Framework For Death, by Aileen Schumacher, about a kind of underground railroad system to help frightened parents get children safely away from abusive parents.

And I've only read one of Andrew Vachss' books so far, so I don't know if they trend toward preventing child abuse or deal mostly with retribution. The first one was pretty much about retribution, but Vachss himself is so much a part of the fight to protect children, that I think some of his books would surely lean to some form of prevention.

Joe Barone said...

Thanks, Corey. I've looked up the Framework for Death book and it sounds interesting. I'll be on the lookout for it.