Salty Herbicide, Selfish Homicide

Joey and Jenny, enterprising toddlers that they are, decide to spend one June afternoon planting Joey’s backyard. With pudgy fingers, they press apple, pumpkin, and lettuce seeds into the ground. Then, with the certain solemnity that children have, they vow to spend an hour each day, for the rest of the summer, tending their patch of Eden. Surprisingly, neither forgets the promise, and for the next week, Joey and Jenny take time out of their schedules to water and weed. Sprouting shoots reward their efforts, future fruit-bearers stretching into the sunlight. Eventually, though, Joey decides that he would much rather play baseball than spend sixty minutes of every day pulling weeds, coming to the conclusion that hitting home runs is more exciting than helping plants grow. So, one morning, Joey takes the salt shaker from his kitchen cabinet and starts blanketing the garden. Halfway through, Jenny looks out her window, sees this vegetation devastation, and races over, begging for mercy. Joey, gentleman that he is, informs her that it is “his yard, his choice.” “But I helped plant it, too!” says Jenny. “My yard, my choice,” repeats Joey, shaking enough salt over the soil to shrivel an entire snail nation. Jenny, near tears, runs to tell her father, but he too says, “Joey’s yard, Joey’s choice.” Her mother is no better. She barely glances up from her work to say,“Joey’s yard, Joey’s choice.” Out of parents, out of help, and out of hope, Jenny falls to her knees and begins to cry. She has no say in whether the plants live or die, no right to fight the decision, no voice to speak against this terrible sowing of salt. It’s actually not that terrible, though, if you think about it. Jenny can plant her own garden in her own yard. No one was physically injured. Life goes on. When life doesn’t go on, however, it’s a different story. American men, for instance, have no say in their partner’s decision to obtain an abortion. If the woman gives birth, the man is required to pay child support. If the woman gives death, the man is required to pay no mind. He is required to watch as the seeds that he helped sow are trampled underfoot, drowned under a deluge of salty death, and reduced to ashes. In contrast to the above, a man cannot have his own child. A person was physically hurt. And though the lives of the rest of the world go on, the life of the child does not. For one final analogy, a child’s inability to save a garden is a paper-cut on the palm. A man’s inability to save his child is a stab in the back.

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