The easy temptation is to spin this story in terms of morality. I could easily identify this father using phrases like ‘deplorable’ or ‘evil’ or ‘immoral.’
But easy moral pronouncements are usually far off the mark. When I read the reports on this story I don’t see an immoral man, but a broken, desperate man.
We could see Jason Bristol as a bad father. Or, as I prefer, we could see him as a broken man who instead of acting out of a failure to love, acted out of an abundance of love and poor choices.
And yes, kidnapping is a bad parenting choice.
Bristol’s daughter was born in the Banner Thunderbird Medical Center. She had methamphetamine and marijuana in her system. She was two days old.
Knowing his daughter was going to be taken from him, he placed the little girl in a plastic shopping bag and tried to take her out a fire exit, setting off an alarm.
The alarm was actually triggered by a device on the baby’s arm.
Security footage shows an unsuspecting hospital employee using a key card to silence the alarm and directing him toward the main entrance.
Bristol was later arrested and was found with a small amount of meth on him.
Of all three hospital employees to confront Bristol, none suspected the baby was in the bag and at risk of suffocation. The hospital said the employees all did what they were supposed to do.
He was charged with child abuse and the girl is now in the custody of the Department of Child Safety. The mother of the child is Diana McKinney.
Let me quickly end with a note to all the dads out there. Protect the ones you love.
If you are crippled by addictions, get help. If you are scarred by trauma, seek support.
The best super power you have as a parent is to get your life together. Bristol in this story is not a bad person, just a hurting person making poor choices.
Let us hold him in our hearts with a hope that he can clean up and be a powerful, loving father figure for his daughter.
I don’t know about you, but I believe in him.
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