Shanesha Taylor, an Arizona woman, left her two year old and six month old children locked in a very hot car for about 45 minutes while she was being interviewed for a job. Someone noticed one of the children crying hysterically and sweating profusely, and police arrested Taylor when she returned to her car. While her children appeared to have escaped serious harm and have been removed from her custody, she is being charged with felony child abuse and faces up to seven years in prison.
According to MSNBC host Chris Hayes, however, it is Arizona's fault this woman left two of her three children in a car as the state had cut child daycare services.
There is a petition circulating asking the county to drop the charges against Taylor, as she was at a job interview at the time.
During the MSNBC segment about the case, Hayes went on a rant saying that American policy towards the poor is "skilled and efficient" at punishing them, citing examples of people attempting to cheat on their taxes (which is illegal), possessing marijuana (also illegal), and leaving their children unattended in cars (again, illegal). These laws don't "punish the poor," they punish the people who break them. Being poor has nothing to do with marijuana possession, tax fraud, or child endangerment. An average of 38 children die each year due to heatstroke in a car. A vast majority of these children are under the age of three. Taylor is lucky her children aren't dead or seriously injured.
While this story is certainly heart wrenching and it's easy to feel sorry for Taylor, who was attempting to better her life, it's more more heart-wrenching to realize that this woman's lack of responsibility very nearly killed her children. It is foolish for Hayes to blame the state for the actions of the mother. If Taylor were to get the job, she would have to find some option for daycare as well. It is not the state's job to ensure that Taylor has other options besides leaving her children in a sweltering vehicle. That would be the literal definition of "nanny state."