“Kids/animals die every year cause ignorant ‘parents’ leave them in the car. I don’t give a flying fuck what her excuse was.”
This was an actual comment left on my Facebook page after I posted an article about Shanesha Taylor avoiding prosecution for leaving her children in a hot SUV, while attending a job interview. Shortly after the story broke, Taylor was immediately demonized as an irresponsible, unfit mother, who callously made her children suffer for her personal greed. And many folks reacted with the same knee-jerk rage as the person who made the comment above. However, since we live in a society in which shoddy fact-gathering, biased investigation, and misleading narratives rule the day, the uniquely sad facts about Taylor’s life went unreported.
First, Taylor was homeless at the time she decided to take the job interview. Everyday in urban epicenters around the world, there are self-righteous middle-class workers strolling through the downtown core of their city, repeating the same tried and true line to every homeless beggar: “Get a job!” Well, that is exactly what Taylor was trying to do. She didn’t have friends or family she could have left the children with, and she definitely couldn’t afford day care or a babysitter.
Second, Taylor is a single mother of two children, one who was 2 years old and another who was only 6 months old at the time of the incident. While the main character in The Pursuit of Happyness at least had a son that could walk, run, talk, and display some independence, Taylor was taking care of two children, by herself. And literally did not knowing where their next meal or night of shelter would come from. Those are the realities she was living through, and after getting the job interview, she weighed her options between her children suffering long-term from malnutrition, hunger, etc., and the short-term suffering of leaving them in a car while she tries to attain a job. She made a FUCKED UP choice, but she was only presented with FUCKED UP options.
[Image: AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Tom Tingle]