Alberta couple who let son die of meningitis found guilty.

David and Collet Stephans

David and Collet Stephans

Back in 2012 an Alberta, Canada couple were brought up on charges of “failing to provide the necessaries of life” after their 19-month old son died of meningitis. It seems David Stephan and his wife Collet don’t believe in traditional medicine and instead insisted on using home remedies to cure what they thought was a case of the flu or croup even though a family friend who is a nurse said it was likely meningitis.

Their case finally went to trial in March of this year:

In a bid to boost his immune system, the couple gave the boy — who was lethargic and becoming stiff — various home remedies, such as water with maple syrup, juice with frozen berries and finally a mixture of apple cider vinegar, horse radish root, hot peppers, mashed onion, garlic and ginger root as his condition deteriorated.

Court heard the couple on tape explaining to the police officer that they prefer naturopathic remedies because of their family’s negative experiences with the medical system.

It took having their son stop breathing to get them to call for an ambulance. He was airlifted to a local hospital and put on life support for 5 days until it was clear he wasn’t going to recover. He suffered for two and a half weeks before he stopped breathing. You probably won’t be surprised to hear that David works for a  nutritional supplements company.

Yesterday the jury came back with a guilty verdict:

The four-man, eight-woman jury had been deliberating since Monday afternoon. There was a gasp in the courtroom as the decision from the jurors came down. Observers in the courtroom’s gallery started to cry.

The defence argued the couple were loving, responsible parents who simply didn’t realize how sick the little boy was.

The Crown said the Stephans didn’t do enough to ensure Ezekiel received the medical help he needed. The prosecution noted that the Stephans had been warned by a friend who was a registered nurse that the boy probably had meningitis.

The maximum penalty for failing to provide the necessaries of life is five years in prison.

Normally in cases of parents letting their sick kids die rather than getting them medical attention it’s due to religious reasons and often the parents get off because of that. I’m not sure if it’s because this is Canada or the fact that the reasoning these folks used was not religious in nature that they ended up being convicted, but it makes for a refreshing change of pace. Sentencing hasn’t been announced yet, but with any luck they’ll get the maximum to give them time to reconsider some of their deeply held beliefs.

I’m often asked what’s the harm in letting people hold onto their ignorance. This is a prime example of said harm. Alas it’s often their kids who end up suffering the consequences of that ignorance.

Happy 15th Anniversary to the love of my life!

On April 21st, 2001 I said “I do” to my best friend and love of my life, Annette Gribble.

Wedding picture.

The start of the journey.

Fifteen years later and we’re still making it work. It hasn’t always been easy, but we’ve made it this far.

I wish I could come up with something profound to say about marriage after this much time, but the truth is I’m still figuring it out as I go along. All I can say for certain is I love my wife more each day than the day before and I’m grateful she chose me to spend her life with.

Happy 15th Anniversary, sweetheart! Here’s hoping for many more to come!

China has an amazing non-firework fireworks display.

Fireworks originated in China so it’s easy to see why they’d be a big deal there, but back at the beginning they were reserved for rich people to enjoy. What do you do when you live in a poor rural part of the country, but still want to ring in the Chinese New Year? Well, you get the local blacksmith to put on a show by hurling molten metal on the city’s wall:

This is amazing both for its beauty and its absurdity. My favorite part of it is the fact that the blacksmith holds no illusions about how stupidly dangerous this is and makes no grandiose claims that it’s the most beautiful form of fireworks. Just that, hey, we’ve been doing this for 500 years so why not?

I miss drinking cola.

I gave up drinking regular sodas in my early thirties and diet colas in 2011 which means it’s been 5 years since I’ve last tasted a cola of any kind.

I really miss it.

Most days I’m fine and it doesn’t cross my mind, but then something happens and I’m reminded how much I loved Coca Cola in particular and colas in general. Today it’s my cubemate sitting across from me with a Diet Coke. He’s not flaunting it or anything, it’s just sitting there on his desk and he’s taking occasional sips from it.

And it looks so good.

These days 98% of what I drink in a day is plain old tap water. I start the day with a cup or two of coffee and then it’s my 32 ounce water bottle for the rest of the day. Anne’s been including small cans of tomato juice in my lunch the last week or so and that’s made for a nice change. Occasionally I’ll have some milk with dinner. Otherwise it’s lots and lots of water.

I hate water. It’s so fucking boring. Putting lemon in it or one of the various flavoring mixes doesn’t help so I just drink it plain, but I hates it. I know I’m better off having given up sodas and drinking more water, but that doesn’t make me feel any better about it.

I don’t really have a point with all of this, I’m just feeling a bit whiney so I thought I’d get it out of my system.

cocacola

Happy Easter Eve 2016!

pagansexdaySo it’s been a while since I last updated. I keep starting entries and then scrapping them as they’re not turning out the way I feel they should. So for now I’ll wish you a Happy Easter a day early.

Being an atheist, I don’t go in for the usual celebrations, but I did do the whole Easter Bunny thing as a kid with all the egg hunts and criminal amounts of candy that it entails. I don’t have as many fond memories of Easter as I do Christmas probably because I did attend church as a kid and the fun only lasted until you headed to church to hear about how a dead palestinian jew supposedly came back to life for like the four millionth time. It’s kinda like how they can’t do a Batman movie without showing his parents being murdered every single time. The pagan aspects of the holiday are pretty fun though and I’m happy to have a four day weekend.

So if you celebrate Easter in whatever fashion you might choose, here’s hoping you have a happy one that finds you safe, healthy, and surrounded by those you love.

The joy of living near asshole neighbors.

There’s always that one asshole in every neighborhood. I thought it was me, but it turns out I was wrong.

Instead, it’s a family with small children that apparently thinks that qualifies them to use one of the two handicapped spaces in our parking lot. There’s three different vehicles that fight over using that spot because it’s the closest to our building and none of them have handicapped tags. I’ve watched them park there and unload the car even when the spot RIGHT FUCKING NEXT TO IT is open. Apparently that extra 2 feet they’d have to walk is just too much for them. 99% of the time there’s is an available spot elsewhere in the lot they could’ve parked, but they choose not to because apparently the rules don’t apply to them.

Meet the Asshole Family.

Meet the Asshole Family. That black SUV in the next spot? that’s one of the other two cars that fight over the handicapped spot.

What happens when the lot, including the handicapped spots, are full?

That’s what I was greeted with when I stepped out the door this morning. The windows are fogged so that SUV has been on the sidewalk all night long. There’s a lot at the end of the sidewalk in that last pic that’s just across the street that we were told we should use if our lot is full. That lot is never full. It’s an extra 30 feet. I’ve parked there when I’ve had to. We go over there occasionally anyway as that’s where our building’s dumpsters are located.

I really hate to think I’ve evolved into that cranky bastard neighbor, but it appears that I have and I’ve contacted the Canton Township police department about these asshats. I know in the grand scheme of things this is a relatively minor offense, but I have bad knees and I still walk the extra distance when I have to. I have friends and family that have legit handicapped stickers who would not be able to make use of this spot because some asshole thinks their toddlers can’t walk the extra distance without being abducted or something.

Hey, at least I haven’t left them passive-aggressive printouts on their windshield… yet.

If I ever meet the person that came up with coffee cake…

… I would give them a big kiss on the lips. It’s brilliant. Cake you can eat with coffee at breakfast time. That’s a man and/or woman who said “Fuck your conventions! I WANT CAKE FOR BREAKFAST!”

Mmmmmmmm. Coffee cake.

Mmmmmmmm. Coffee cake.

 

And now for something completely different: The Wintergatan Marble Machine

I cannot begin to imagine how one would begin to build something as amazing as this is.

Wintergatan’s YouTube channel has a number of videos of the build process if you’re curious.

It won’t be long now…

springcorner

I’ve been waiting a whole year to use this image.

A belated birthday to my momma.

I could’ve sworn I had written an entry on Monday wishing my mother a happy birthday, but all evidence points to the contrary so I must have dreamt about it or something. As a result, I am late in wishing her a very happy 81st birthday.

momma81

Happy Birthday, Mom! I wish I could think of something profound to say right about now, but I’m coming up with nothing other than I love you and here’s to another 81 years!