By Elvis Wong
At the age of 21, Jessica Gamble, a single Springfield Township mother from Ohio, was accused of allegedly encouraging her two-year-old daughter to smoke marijuana. Gamble, finding it amusing, video recorded her daughter smoking a joint with her camera phone and sent the clip to a friend. This friend then proceeded to turn in the video to the authorities and Gamble was arrested and sentenced to eleven and a half years of prison.
In disbelief at such a news story, I went online and searched for the original footage that was turned over to the police. And what I opened my eyes to was one minute and thirty-seven seconds of torture and disgust: although part of the child’s face was censored, I felt as if time had suddenly slowed down, as if a cool air had crawled down my spine and I was left in shock at the sight of a little girl coughing while holding a joint in her innocent and fragile hands, slowly tainting her youthful temple with each breath of smoke and the sound of Gamble’s laughter in the background.
While I was attempting to process what I had just read and watched about, questions entered my mind: How can anyone let this happen? What prompts this kind of behavior from a mother? Has part of our society lost its sense?
Jessica Gamble has presented one of those examples in which a “Parents would never do that!” situation has suddenly become very real. Parenthood is all about responsibility: a duty, act, or liability for which someone is held accountable. And without this social force which universally binds every human being together, we and the people around us are consequently affected by our own actions.
Gamble was obviously not responsible enough to take care of her daughter and perhaps herself either. Maybe it was because Gamble was raised in a disastrous home with a broken family, maybe she was influenced by her friends to travel down a wrong path. But whatever her life had been like prior to this incident is absolutely no excuse for her actions because the importance of a healthy family is indispensable to a child’s physical and mental growth.
I am no parental expert, but I do know that there are a set of intrinsic responsibilities that go along with being one. I also know that being a parent can be very difficult; there are no guidelines or instructions for moms and dads to follow so that they are guaranteed to raise happy, healthy children. Parents makes their own decisions about how to raise their children.
With Gamble, she placed her daughter in a negative ambiance at an unbearably vulnerable and premature age; what will become of her life without a father and now without a mother? Who will teach her about morals and values, about mutual respect and discipline, about education, about self-esteem and individuality in our world today?
Hopefully she will be placed in the hands of a more responsible family relative or adult. When incidents like these occur, it should be a reminder to us all of our own responsibilities in society and how the decisions that we make, whether big or small, may affect how others live out their lives.