WHEN MOMS ATTACK
Another Adventure in Absurdity
by Lisa Lascody
I was shocked and horrified while watching the news coverage recently about
the woman in Texas who beat her children to death with rocks. This is not
the first time I have heard about a mother killing her kids, in fact, there
seems to quite a few of these cases in the news lately. I remember the high
profile cases of Susan Smith and Andrea Yates as well as a few others that
did not garner as much media attention.
While doing some research for this article, there was another horrible child
murder. A young couple in Texas strangled and then decapitated their three
young children. I began to wonder how many killer moms were out there. So,
after a bit of online research and remedial statistical analysis, I found
the surprising answer.
It is called "maternal filicide" which is a fancy way of saying child
murderer and it happens over 600 times each year. That number seemed
ridiculously high to me so I doubled checked with the Bureau of Justice
Statistics, National Center for Health Statistics and the FBI Crime
statistics. They verified that mothers kill their own kids over 600 times
That puts a pretty frightening face on the group calling itself the "Million
Mom March". I wonder how many of those mothers are ticking time bombs? What
sets them off and how can we protect their children? I know of at least one
of those anti-gun moms who committed murder. She even spoke out against gun
violence at the first Million Mom March in Washington, D.C. Then, a few
months later, she shot and killed a boy. Now, she didn't kill her own child,
but she did murder the boy she thought had shot her son. It turned out she
got the wrong guy and shot an innocent person. What that group needed to be
pushing was self control not gun control. Perhaps, after reading the rest of
this article, they will see the dangers within their own group and switch
their efforts to mother control.
Gun control groups love to use the phony statistic of "13 kids per day die
from firearms each year". Most of you reading this article know that number
includes suicides, accidents and homicides. It also includes children up to
19 years old as well as crime-related deaths. So, if a police officer shoots
and kills a 17-year-old armed robber that is counted as one of the "13 kids
I decided to do a little comparison between the number of kids killed by
their mothers and the number of children killed with a firearm.
I only used kids under the age of 5 for this comparison because they had
their own special statistical category called infanticide. Plus, not too
many kids under 5 are in gangs or committing suicide so the results would
not be skewed.
Children under the age of 5 in the United States are more likely to be
killed by their parents than by anyone else. FBI crime stats show that in
1999 parents were responsible for 57% of these murders. Even though women
commit less than 13% of all violent crime, they are responsible for about
50% of all parental murders.
These killer moms almost never use a gun to kill their kids. They prefer a
more hands-on approach like beating, drowning, shaking, strangling or
suffocation. Others will resort to poisoning, stabbing or exposure to the
elements. Less than 20% of the cases involved a parent shooting their child
to death. (US Dept. of Justice Study, 1988)
In 1999, there were 613 homicides of children under the age of 5. Of these
homicides, only 73 were killed with a firearm while 351were killed by a
parent! Of the 73 children killed with a firearm, about 20% of those were
committed by one of the parents. So, that brings down the number down from
73 to 59. (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1999) That is 351 cases of parents
murdering their kids compared to 59 firearm-related homicides in one year.
To be fair, I have been mainly discussing mothers. Since around half of all
the parental murderers are mothers, that number is about 175. Still, those
numbers are staggering.
The numbers seem to indicate that kids have much more to fear from their own
mothers than from most gun owners. In fact, legal gun owners are only
responsible for less than one percent of all crimes.
I am not anti-mother and I don't want to ban motherhood, but I do support
reasonable mom-control laws like background checks, licensing &
registration, waiting periods and a limit on the number of children one
mother can raise. After all, isn't it worth it if it saves just one child?