Tears and Laughter: What gives me grief

It is not unusual for me to get asked from out of nowhere, “Who are you?” or “What’s your name?” I don’t mind of course because if nobody is asking then nobody is reading. People are always friendly and polite and say nice things and frequently ask questions like, “Do you catch a lot of grief over some of the stuff you write?”

And I have to say that I do not. Sometimes people react. When they do it is often in an attempt to sway my thinking through something they have experienced. And that’s fair. I find it positive. It is how we evolve and understand one another. But I usually know on the frontend that I am chancing reaction. Sometimes…if what I am writing about is important enough to me, I will intentionally chance getting reaction in order to raise awareness.

So no, I do not lay awake at night worrying that I will catch some grief over what I write.

But if I’m honest, sometimes late at night before sleep wins out over thought, there are things that haunt me. Homeless people do…especially when it is raining and cold. My mom volunteers with a shelter in Montgomery that offers meals to the homeless or anyone in need. She told me some people sleep outside of the building at night. I think about that. And I also have a heart for abused women.

The only other think that grieves me is mistreated children. The number of physically abused, sexually abused, and murdered children in this state is alarming.

Here in Wilcox, nobody is ever going to forget the five children whose bodies were found September 9, after their father, Timothy Jones Jr, killed them in South Carolina and dumped them between Oak Hill and Pine Apple.

On September 18, 8-year- old Hiawayi Robinson’s body was found in a dumpster outside of an abandoned building in Prichard. Her father, Hiawatha Robinson Jr, has been charged with her murder.

Just last Thursday, Baldwin County Judge Jody Bishop handed down a 219-year prison sentence to Wendy Wood Holland for grotesque sex crimes against children. Her 19-year-old niece, Brittany Wood has been missing since 2012. Her disappearance led to the investigation.

Saturday, in Mobile, 20-month-old Dakota Burke was buried. She died January 8, from extensive injuries consistent with child abuse including a fractured skull, a broken clavicle, bruises, and burns on her face, hands and feet. According to Mobile District Attorney, Ashley Rich, she was tortured for at least a month prior to her death.

Dakota’s mother, Summer Everett, and then boyfriend-now husband, Christopher Knapp, have been charged with her murder. They were married four days after Dakota’s death at the Mobile County Courthouse. They were arrested two days later and booked into the Mobile Metro County Jail.

All of this within the past six months and the victims I listed are only a tiny few of countless many. If you are aware of a child who is in danger, there is a Department of Human Resources in every county in the state. Reporting child abuse will not cause you any grief. If you are in a position of knowing, have the courage to speak for a child who otherwise may not have voice.

Amanda Walker is a columnist with The West Al. Watchman, Al.com, The Thomasville Times, and The Wilcox Progressive Era – https://www.facebook.com/AmandaWalker.Columnist.