OPINION – SB0124 is a bill that amends the Utah Criminal Code, by making it a class C misdemeanor for a person who is responsible for a child under nine years of age to intentionally, recklessly, knowingly, or with criminal negligence – to leave a child unattended in an enclosed compartment of a motor vehicle.
It was Brock Belnap’s decision that April Suwyn DID NOT “intentionally, knowingly, or with CRIMINAL negligence” leave her child under nine years of age in an enclosed compartment of a motor vehicle.
However, April Suwyn DID “recklessly” leave her child under nine years of age in an enclosed compartment of a motor vehicle.
The word “reckless” is as an adjective meaning:
utterly unconcerned about the consequences of some action,
Careless is defined as: “not giving sufficient attention or thought to avoiding harm or errors.”
Even though April Suwyn was sleep-deprived, she had the mental capacity to fix breakfast, get her kids ready, get her vehicle washed, return home, drive to the sitters, return to her neighborhood, park her car, talk to a construction worker, walk home, use the restroom, complete a 1 hour nail appointment, visit for five minutes with a friend who borrowed a Crock Pot, walk back to her car, drive to the sitters… But could not remember her daughter was in the car and could not remember that it’s a good idea to at least check on an 11-month-old baby (who was thought to be in her crib), before she left home?
Although it isn’t a Utah State Law to leave a child unattended at home – it is the MORAL OBLIGATION of a parent to provide a child who is not yet physically or mentally capable of being left alone without supervision, with someone who IS physically and mentally capable of supervising them.
Although (allegedly) sick for days and sleep-deprived, April Suwyn had the mental capacity to give sufficient attention or thought to everything else, except for the exact whereabouts and welfare of her 11 month-old child. Her child was left inside of a vehicle, where the inside temperature after 60-90 minutes could have reached somewhere between 130-140 degrees. Her child could have experienced nausea, vomiting and seizures – while strapped into a car seat and all the while unable to comprehend what was happening, or why it was happening.
Perhaps people are somehow incapable of realizing the severity of what this child must have endured – not only emotionally, but physically, as well. Their thoughts seem to only be focused on what the mother is now experiencing emotionally.
Donating money to help April Suwyn and her family, would be better spent on making each and every person in this State and the rest of this Nation, fully aware of the extreme dangers of leaving a child unattended. And although Brock Belnap’s decision that it wasn’t in the best interest of the general public to incarcerate or impose a monetary fine against April Suwyn – he could (at the very least) have considered suggesting that she be ordered to do community service; the aforementioned education / awareness.
There are so many laws that exist to prevent a potentially life-threatening incident; Texting-while-driving, Driving While Intoxicated, Driving Under the Influence, Driving without a seat belt and even for commercial truck drivers to prevent them from operating their 40-ton vehicles, if they are sleep-deprived. These are but a few and ALL of them are punishable under law, even IF the action does not result in them actually injuring or killing someone.
April Suwyn’s “inadvertent lapse of awareness” caused the extreme suffering and death of a defenseless human being. Who, amongst her supporters, is doing anything to prevent this from happening, yet again?
If Brock Belnap feels that he acted in the best interest of April Suwyn, he certainly did not serve in the best interest of the general public. To be more concise – WHO is acting in the best interest of her child? WHO is acting in the best interest of all children?
So many people may argue that “I” have no moral or legal right to judge others, for their actions. “I” am considered incapable of making a decision of what is right or wrong, simply because they did not appoint “me”, to do so. If this is true, then why does the First Amendment of our Constitution exist?
I am not a hate mongerer, like those who have publicly implied or outright stated that Brock Belnap or April Suwyn be harmed physically in some manner. I believe that those who did, should be charged and found guilty of conspiring to incite a riot. To be honest – I also do not want April Suwyn to be incarcerated or pay a monetary fine.
As the days turn to weeks / months / years – how many of us in this area will simply go on about our daily lives and (unintentionally) forget about this?
Is it not in the best interest of April Suwyn, that she may achieve some level of emotional and spiritual rehabilitation, by focusing on something that prevent others from making the same mistake?
The chance of April Suwyn righting her wrong and finding peace through her efforts – and every child that may be saved from an increased level of awareness and prevention, are all winners, in my book.
Submitted by David Rabbitt, Washington County resident
Letters to the Editor are not the product of St. George News, its editors, staff or contributors. The matters stated and opinions given are the responsibility of the person submitting them; they do not reflect the product or opinion of St. George News.
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