This is My Worst Day Since Moving to D.C.

I've received a few e-mails about the tragic deaths of Brittany Jacks, Tatianna Jacks, N'kiahFogle, and Aja Fogle. I didn't want to write about it. Once you accept that parents can actually kill their children, you just hope that when it happens that it's a case where it was unpreventable. I hate to use the word "hope" when dealing with four filicides, but that was my reaction once the bodies were found. It's easier to simply have a mother snap than to have a mother snap AND an entire city fail on these four girls. I guess I should have known better. Nothing happens in a vacuum. Nothing happens without some kind of sign or foreshadowing. And D.C. missed all the signs. They missed all the warnings. The mother could have gotten help and these kids could have had their lives spared. But the city failed.

From CNN:

Mayor Adrian Fenty called the lapses "egregious," saying at a news conference that social workers prematurely closed their files on a family that struggled on the fringes since arriving in the city in December 2005.

The parents asked for food stamps and were turned down. They asked for housing assistance and were turned down again, officials said.


Those red flags included reports from a nurse in July 2006 that both parents were substance abusers and that the children were living in a van, the mayor said. The case was closed because the family did not have a fixed address -- the opposite of what should have happened, Fenty said.

Maybe the deaths weren't preventable. Maybe the drug use and mental problems of the mother made all of this tragically inevitable. But we'll never know. What else is there to say?

I admit that sometimes this blog title is misleading. I guess it's because I was always raised to never say "hate." My mother would always tell me that "hate" was always too strong a word. But I honestly think it applies here. Hate. I have nothing but hate right now for D.C. I have nothing but hate for a place that could allow this to happen.

The deaths of four girls once shook the core of the entire nation. In D.C., the deaths of four girls is just another in a long line of mistakes and incompetence. I obviously had nothing to do with this case. I didn't know the family, don't work for a school one of these girls attended or social services. But simply living in the same city where this happened fills me with shame. I am ashamed to be from a place where a family cried for help and no one heeded that call.

UPDATE: Commenter EdTheRed sent me a link to The Washington Post's story. It's even more depressing than the CNN link.


  1. i read that WaPo story this morning and tried to blog about it but i don't think words can describe my utter disgust with the city and utter sadness for those girls. It's just a horrible story...in every facet.

  2. I never hated DC as much as I did the day I heard the story break.

  3. I thought of the four little girls in Birmingham as well and the wretched gut-pounding contrast between that and DC today.

    NO ONE in DC government will EVER be held accountable for their neglect into these girls' welfare. They just plain old DID NOT, DO NOT AND WILL NOT do their jobs. They're too busy stealing money from schools and blowing it @Neiman Marcus.

    What's even more disgusting is that the DC government asshats will have a nice fat retirement to look forward to while these girls' bodies rotted in their own house for what could have been SEVEN FUCKING MONTHS if the WaPo story is true.

    Some fucking moral-free shithole of a capital city!

  4. What you are all missing is this, DC is showing the nation where it's priorities are. People in DC's government are trying to get paid. That's it, nothing more nothing less.

    It was more important for the last administration to find $611,000,000 dollars so that we could build a stadium no one wanted.

    You can't tell me that no one noticed the tax supervisor that got paid $81,000 a year was pimpin' a Bently and different furs for every day.

    I suspect when people did notice, their response was "she's gettin' hers...I'll get mine."

    That leaves little time to do what you are supposed to do, govern.

  5. to quote David Simon's brilliant TV show about a city just up I-95, "they're dead in the wrong zip code."

  6. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia?

  7. Baltimore. The Wire.

  8. I know. It was a humor joke.

  9. Usually I'm pretty jaded about my surroundings here, but yeah... this story filled me with revulsion. Those poor girls never stood a chance.

  10. I hate all of you for being sheer idiots. Why hate this city because a mother killed her four children? She may have had mental health issues, but did you see the number of family member sitting behind her in court? Where the hell where they when their family members were being "held hostage" and mutilated by their mother? Why is it any more the city's responsibility than the family and neighborhood's responsibility? If any of you think that a government entity anywhere can stand in the place of family and familial obligations--you're wrong.

    In addition, CFSA did not FAIL these girls. Hindsight is 20/20. CFSA did their job. They responded to a call of educational neglect--making several attempts to locate the girls. They do not have the legal right to break down doors. Would you want them to have that opportunity? You and your children could be next! They did everything they could do with the legal authority granted to them for an educational neglect case--as this case was reported.

    Fatalities happen. That's the fact of the matter. Be disturbed with the Jacks' family members and be proud that at least ONE of the four government agencies touching this case made good faith attempts to locate these girls and provide assistance. Short of being psychics--that's all that could be done!

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  12. Kristin, they threw out the family's file when they were told they were homeless. You're the first person I've heard who doesn't consider this an institutional failure of astonishing proportions.