I was driving into work this morning when I heard about the following story. A 30 year old Texas woman, Saiqa Akhter called 911 to tell the dispatcher that she killed her two kids. After telling the operator that she killed the children, she proceeds to inform her how she did the act. First, she tried to poison them by getting them to drink bathroom cleaner. When that didn't work, she used a wire to strangle the kids.
The next part of the story is the reason this particular murder of a child by a parent caught my attention. When the 911 operator asked her why she killed her kids, I was floored. Among her reason for killing her kids were that her kids were both autistic, and she did not want her kids to be that way. She wanted her kids to be "normal."
As the father of a 16 year old autistic boy, I know all too well the difficulty and disappointment in having a child with autism. It is a lot of work. For most of my son's life, I have worked two jobs so that my wife is able to stay home with him. When I am not working, I am usually engaged with him in some way, shape or form. There is very little me time or couple time for me and my wife. I can't begin to tell you how tired I am.
I don't say these things because I want anybody to feel sorry for me, or pat me on the back and call me a great dad. I only say it because I know how hard it is and how easy it is to get frustrated. Trust me, I am no saint, and on more than one occasion I have lost my patience, but never to the point where I would harm my child.
Aside from the obvious of no longer having her kids around, Akhter is really going to miss out. In the 16 years of having my son around, quite often the things that make dealing with him difficult are the things that make him an absolute joy. How many fathers of a 16 year old boy can say their son will sit on the couch with him and lay his head on daddy's chest when he is tired? The laughter that comes from my son when he plays a video game the "wrong way" is just priceless and reminds me that games are supposed to be fun.
There are very few things in this life that I have a zero tolerance for. Crimes against children and the defenseless are one of those. In cases like this, I believe in the full force of any punishment the government can mete out. In fact, in cases like this, I do not believe there is anything such thing as "cruel and unusual punishment." Authorities are preparing capital murder charges against her, as well they should. The punishment should fit the crime.