I had a nice, relaxing Christmas day yesterday. We had my oldest son Alaric over for dinner, and we did a little hangout online with Connlann, Ji, and Knut (he walks now! Watch out, world!), and and with Skatje, Kyle, and Iliana (who was quiet and wise throughout). Christmas has no religious associations at all for me, but the one thing it means is reconnecting with family, and a reminder that my greatest accomplishment in my life is producing three wonderful kids who have gone on to become admirable adults. And now there’s another generation coming along.
The worst thing you can tell me on Christmas, the thing that most violates my humanist, family-focused interpretation of the day, is to tell me that children are dying. So of course, once again, a young child has died in the custody of the US Customs and Border Patrol.
…an agent noticed Monday that the child had become ill. The boy and his father were taken to Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center in Alamogordo, N.M, where the boy was diagnosed with a cold, according to a CBP news release.
Later, he was found to have a fever and was held for an additional 90 minutes before he was released with prescriptions for an antibiotic and Ibuprofen.
But the child became more seriously ill Monday night, when he vomited, and was taken back to the hospital. He died shortly after midnight on Christmas Day.
Diagnosed with a cold, and given an antibiotic? That makes no sense. There was something more there in the child’s symptoms, which was basically ignored but for handing him a pill. Colds don’t make you vomit, or give you a fever. There was something seriously wrong with this boy (obviously, given that he died of it), and he got inadequate care.
You know, when you’re dealing with thousands of people, it is inevitable that some will fall ill, and some will die. I’m sure that children in the solicitous care of loving parents die every day. If the Border Patrol were thoroughly humane and careful in their treatment of people in their care, there would still be occasional deaths. But what matters is how well they actually do care for those people — do they take seriously the moral obligation imposed on anyone who takes responsibility for children? I don’t think they do.
That’s the thing about this wall obsession — it’s about building an excuse to deny responsibility for people on your doorstep. Even more children would die if they were isolated on the southern side of a wall, but we’d then get to pretend it wasn’t our fault, despite the fact that the reason there are migrants in the first place is the US has been working for decades to destabilize and wreck countries in Central America. We own that. And if we aren’t working to our utmost to help these people, the dead children are our fault.