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Stopping for Charlie and Braden

February 6, 2012

Some events call you to stop. They are just so powerful and emotional, you need to stop everything and try to process the news. Such an event happened yesterday in the quiet community of Graham, WA. Charles and Braden Powell, 7 and 5, were dropped off at their father’s home for a court approved supervised visit. The unsuspecting social worker walked into an ambush. The father grabbed the children and locked the social worker out of the house. He then took their lives and his own.

Society owes such a deep apology to Charles and Braden. For two years, we have left them exposed to a toxic situation. We either failed in our response to the warning signs or were totally duped by their father. Our systems, though filled with good people, are impotent when faced with such evil intentions. On Wednesday, the system authorized a supervised visit. Four days later, their father did the unthinkable.

We cannot become fatalistic. We cannot not shirk from a commitment to protect those who are at risk of being injured or killed by violent persons who are often family or friends. We have people who are active in promoting laws and organizations that will help to accomplish this. But we cannot rely on a ‘system’ to provide the solution. We must take a personal stand against abuse in any form: verbal, emotional, or physical. We must commit to being people who care for and nurture those around us. We must not hope that someone else will do the job. The solution may be ‘out there’, but it begins in each one of us.

If this event doesn’t make us stop and take note, how do we hope to stop it from happening again?

(AP Photo Courtesy of Chuck and Judy Cox)

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