The sad case of pregnant, murdered Jessie Davis and her married lover (and alleged killer) Bobbie Cutts threatens to dominate cable news for months to come – especially now that Paris Hilton’s out of jail and the justice system has established the paternity of Anna Nicole’s baby.
Unlike these other media obsessions, however, this horrifying story conveys some significant messages and should help to refocus attention on the nation’s most significant and menacing social problem: the unchecked epidemic and unquestioning acceptance of out of wedlock birth.
Jessie Davis died within days of giving birth to her second illegitimate child, both of them fathered by Mr. Cutts. This busy police officer also found time to produce progeny with his wife, and with another extracurricular involvement (who eventually complained to authorities of his threats and harassment). The tragic details of the Davis disappearance included the testimony of her stricken two year old, Blake, found alone in their home in a dirty diaper, giving police only three enigmatic (and heartbreaking statements): “Mommy crying,” “Mommy broke table,” and “Mommy in rug,”
Numerous commentators worry over the future of this devastated little boy but fail to make the obvious observation about his pre-murder situation: that it’s a shame whenever any child is left alone with an unmarried mother in an obviously dysfunctional situation.
We’ve become so reluctant to issue “judgmental” comments that we refuse to discuss the way this case highlights the individual tragedies and gigantic social cost when one-third of all new babies in America are born to unmarried women.
Two other recent stories further demonstrate the vulnerability of children placed into these unhappy circumstances. In Pittsburgh, five kids below the age of seven died in a fire when their moms (both of them unwed mothers) locked them in an apartment while they went out together to a bar. In Lake Stevens, Washington, a nineteen-old-mother inadvertently killed her four-month-old son by taping a pacifier into his mouth so he’d keep quiet and she could catch up on her sleep. When she awoke (at 11 a.m. the next day) she found the baby’s lifeless body, but hesitated for more than half-hour to consult her boyfriend before calling 911. She also told police of her previous policy of binding the child in a “baby straightjacket” – using a blanket to tie his hands and arms to stop his irritating squirming.