Could we become like the Turpins?
Could we become like this too?
This week, a horrifying story hit international news from just a couple miles away in Perris. The Turpin parents, who had been abusing & starving their thirteen children for decades were finally exposed and caught, thanks to their 17 year old girl who escaped and called 911. These kids had been beaten, starved, and chaine their family trips would make my kids jealous! Lot's of fun trips to Disneyland and Vegas, with everyone dressed up so nicely in matching clothes. A friend of Louise Turpin dubbed her as a "supermom" on facebook!d to their beds without being allowed to go to the bathroom or take showers. Ironically, the pictures that are surfacing of
How do these things happen? Obviously these parents were really sick and depraved people, but how did they become like that?
Reports are saying that this systematic abuse intensified over time. What started out twenty years ago in Texas as neglect (the parents would leave them at home and lived elsewhere. They would come to bring them food) slowly morphed into abuse. And then it intensified. When asked what they could do to deserve being chained to the bed, one of the children responded that washing hands above the wrists would be called "playing with water" and warrant being chained to bed for weeks or months on end.
I'm a parent of five, and it's not always easy. Every parent wants to have control in their home, and have obedient children. Children can be exhausting and trying at moments, and sometimes it can be tempting to just ignore them and take a break. Sometimes I feel the need to exert more power to "command their obedience".
The Talmud teaches that a person should never be confident in their wholesomeness, and say, "that can't happen to me". Rabbi Yochanan served as a kohen gadol, and at age 80 became a heretic. A person who lets down their guard from evil out of confidence is a perfect target for the yetzer hara (evil inclination).
And this is how the evil inclination works; one day he'll tell you to make a little sin, and after repeating, he'll encourage you to sin bigger. The catch is that there is no end to how much he wants you to sin. What starts off as a little neglect or an over harsh punishment can indeed transform into heinous abuse with enough time.
I pray every day (it's in the prayer book) that G-d steer me clear from this kind of sin, because the words "good person" is a verb, not a noun. I always need to be working on myself to become a better person, because no matter how good of a person I am today, I could be just a tiny step away from terrifying things like this tomorrow.