Five-month-old James Stewart never got a chance in life to reach whatever potential that was in store for him.
If he had any memories, the last ones were of pain and suffering. He had fractures in 14 ribs, both thighs and both arms and the final cause of his death was a six-inch fracture in his head.
His mother and adopted father, Matea and Grant Stewart, were on trial this week in Rockdale County Superior Court. A jury of their peers found them guilty of murder. You can see the full story on the front page.
In our hearts, we can only feel disgust and revulsion for people who could do such a thing to a baby.
Matea and Grant Stewart were 21-years-old at the time of their baby's tragic death.
There seems to be a trend in our society that allows it to be acceptable for babies to have babies. For the most part, children, with the help of their parents or grandparents in most instances, try their best to be good parents.
Unfortunately, there are exceptions.
Because of this new trend, we all have a special responsibility. Raising young ones is one of the most important jobs we do, and the one with the longest lasting impact in society. It's also one of the most difficult.
There are many agencies and church groups in our communities that are able and willing to assist young parents.
Please contact them if help or advice is needed. There is no shame in doing so. It is natural to be frustrated with new babies. It is not natural to hurt them.
Prevent Child Abuse Rockdale offers free parenting classes, open for all parents, on Tuesday evenings through Sept. 25 at First United Methodist Church. It also is partnering with the Evening Reporting Center to offer classes specifically parents of teenagers, starting Sept. 27 through Nov. 8, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The classes focus on fine-tuning parenting skills, including managing stress and anger in the family and learning methods to handle children with learning differences. Dinner and childcare are provided free of charge. In-home classes for teen parents are also available. To register, contact Diane Howington at (770) 483-7333 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Even if you don't have children, you still have a role in protecting them from harm. If you see signs of abuse, don't look the other way. Contact a counselor, pastor, social worker, teacher or law enforcement.
There is no excuse no matter how old you are to mistreat an indefensible person or animal. If you do, you should receive the full punishment of the law that is due you.
We can have a safer community but it depends on us being alert and responsive.