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How Do I Loathe Thee? Let Me Count The Ways

A little while ago, I was leaving a local store when I noticed a woman pulling in. She planted her vehicle right in front of a "HANDICAPPED ONLY" sign affixed to the building. That happens to be one of my pet peeves, and I responded in a suitably passive-aggressive way as she climbed out.

"Pardon me, ma'am? You forgot to put up your handicapped placard."

She had the bare minimum decency to feign ignorance. "Oh, I'm sorry! I didn't see it!" And she hopped back in to move over a single parking space.

I was still annoyed with her, so I watched her as she did so and I loaded my purchases into Mongo, my SUV. I admit it -- I was looking for more reasons to dislike her.

And oh, did she give me plenty.

I noticed as she entered the store that he had left her engine running. I was getting more and more irritated when I realized that she had a good reason for doing that.

She'd left a child strapped in the back seat.

I briefly thought about calling the police, or taking some pictures, or doing something to shame her. To my regret, I just cussed to myself and left.

But what the hell are people thinking? Yeah, this is West Nowhere, and the chances of something bad happening in the five minutes or so she's in the store are virtually nil, but still...


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Comments (52)

Eventually something will h... (Below threshold)
Mike G in Corvallis:

Eventually something will happen. Actions have consequences.

Think of it as evolution in action.

You know, there really are ... (Below threshold)
Webster:

You know, there really are some legitimate uses for Child Protective Services. At bare minimum they would scare her out of the practice of leaving her child in her car.

Heaven forbid anything happ... (Below threshold)
Maggie Mama:

Heaven forbid anything happened to her child, she would be that woman on the TV sobbing hysterically, totally distraught, and in shock that "something like this could happened to her baby."

I'm a fan, Jay Tea, but I really wish you HAD made the call ... not to get back at the mother but to protect the child.

Although personally, I might have been tempted to slap the dumb b--tch upside her head if not physically then certainly verbally!

lly are some legitimate ... (Below threshold)
Jody:

lly are some legitimate uses for Child Protective Services
Was the child being abused? No.
Was the parent nearby? Yes.
Does her actions appear suboptimal? Yes, but they may have been the best of several bad options.

If the child was being abused, then CPS is an appropriate response. Otherwise you're just involving the state over a difference in parenting style.

If state intervention in examples like this case is a consensus on this site, then there's no hope for this Republic, cause Lord knows the other side is inching closer to the Green Police.

FWIW, I'm a DINK but remember how I grew up.

Loathe? I know you're going... (Below threshold)
Saterp:

Loathe? I know you're going for the pun, but this is definitely an over reaction, imo. As Jody mentions, you don't know the whole story...

I don't think I would have ... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

I don't think I would have had the guts to call CPS, but I would have been real troubled seeing this child left alone in this situation. When you confronted her about the handicapped parking situation she didn't seem to get all snarky about it but moved to a new spot. My guess is between the parking situation and the kid ahe was in a hurry and I think she was giving in to bad decisions to save time. Having said that, I can't support her leaving the kid in the car completely unattneded. Potentially bad decision.

My wife has called CPS befo... (Below threshold)
mcg Author Profile Page:

My wife has called CPS before regarding a child in a car... however, the key is that it was *hot*. Unless there is imminent danger, as there is in the case of a hot car, I don't think the government really has a right to do anything about it. You still, however, have the right to give her a tongue-lashing.

For me, I don't have enough... (Below threshold)
Upset Old Guy:

For me, I don't have enough information here. Jay says, "child" but how old. There's big difference for me here if this is a infant as opposed to at 10-12 year-old. And a lot of gray area if the child is older than infant but less than 10 (or so).

I suspect the child is younger, just because she left the engine running. A 10 year old could sit in a slowly cooling car for a couple minutes. But Jay needs to give us a little more information. Mean while, I'll wax a hangman's noose just in case.

Jay....love ya man....but..... (Below threshold)
olhardhead:

Jay....love ya man....but....if this upset you so much, how'bout hanging around until she came back, watching the kid...then leaving and MINDING YOUR OWN BUSINESS!

just sayin,
ol'

Upset, I'm a lousy judge of... (Below threshold)

Upset, I'm a lousy judge of kid's ages, but they were in a child seat in the rear and didn't look more than 2 or 3.

J.

I don't see what this woman... (Below threshold)
Susan:

I don't see what this woman did that deserved this level of anger. I think Jay maybe hates kids or moms. Or is some kind of stalker.

Actually, you missed a very... (Below threshold)
klrtz1:

Actually, you missed a very effective way to shame her, Jay. You should have told her that while she was in the store you'd watch her kids for her. Yep, and if she takes you up on it just stand there and watch them while your ice cream melts. That would qualify as a good deed.

If you had called CPS, they... (Below threshold)
epador:

If you had called CPS, they would have notified the cops right away. This is illegal and endangerment.

My 2 cents: If a child is y... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

My 2 cents: If a child is young enough to require their own special add on seat, they should not be left in a parking lot alone. Esp in a running vehicle.
It wasn't that long ago in NJ when cops started ticketing cars left running in parking lots during the winter. Too many cars were being stolen from the local WaWa/7-11/Dunkin Donuts lots, many of them for joy rides. My local PD didn't ticket, they'd open the car door, take the keys, and wait inside to see how long before the owner screamed. Or dangle the keys up high and ask their was a free red Buick in the lot.

I'd be less concerned about a random pedophile spotting the kid in the back, but a random joy rider are car theif spotting an easy take, and not noticing the kid in the rush of the moment.

ok, I need to stop posting ... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

ok, I need to stop posting from a blackberry. that was atrocious.

JT, it was a tough call to ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

JT, it was a tough call to make. I would say 50/50. In a small town, or a very small town, the "norm" is much different then in big cities. ww

Thanks, Jay. Yes, that's a ... (Below threshold)
Upset Old Guy:

Thanks, Jay. Yes, that's a hanging offense.

In some areas parents leave... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

In some areas parents leave their young kids in the car to protect the car. Here sonny, take the shotgun. If someone besides mommy or daddy gets in the car just point it at them and pull the trigger. It adds new meaning to the term child protection :-)

Black Mercedes SUV near my ... (Below threshold)
Timmer:

Black Mercedes SUV near my office. Cuts in front of me...sigh...fine. Blasts through the school zone doing 45. Only slowed down at the zebra striped crosswalk because almost hit a senior citizen. It got stuck at the red light at the end of the Blvd...Bumper Sticker on the rear? You bet. "FREE PALESTINE NOW!!!" Clueless and entitled are no way to go through life Madame Blutowski.

I'll tell you what would bo... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

I'll tell you what would bother me more. If the child decided to play with the gear shift while mommy (or daddy) was in the store. It happened to me with an uncle who had down syndrome. I though for sure he'd be okay for five minutes - after all, he was almost 30 years old. In my mind I had forgotten he was mentally 4 or 5. He pulled the gear shift down and the car rolled into the street. Luckily no one was hit or hurt.

It' a bad idea all around to leave a child in a car for numerous reasons, but at the same time I get sick and tired of the nanny laws that result from every action any parent ever took.

'...this is West Nowhere, a... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

'...this is West Nowhere, and the chances of something bad happening in the five minutes or so she's in the store are virtually nil....'

I cannot even begin to count the number of times that I took a stolen vehicle report where the driver left their vehicle with the engine running 'for just a few minutes'. And these same idiots had no problem cursing me for 'not being there' when it happened; yet had no problem asking me to 'leave out the part about the engine running' in my report. Seeing as they didn't want their insurance company denying a claim.

Ya should have called the cops.

This same dip-sh*# female w... (Below threshold)
OLDPUPPYMAX:

This same dip-sh*# female would be whining, moaning, slobbering and demanding action from dozens--perhaps hundreds of police officers/volunteers, should some thug have TAKEN her child. The one thing we could be assured of NOT seeing would be her assumption of responsibility!

I guess that I am just evil... (Below threshold)
Burt:

I guess that I am just evil at heart. My first impulse would have been to get in the car and move it to the far side of the parking lot.

I find it interesting that ... (Below threshold)
Anon Y. Mous:

I find it interesting that on the trivial offense, parking in the vacant handicap spot, you were upset enough to actually take some kind of action; but on the one that really could have mattered, the endangerment of a child, you did nothing.

If you can't suppress your inclination to be a busybody, you should at least direct your energies more productively!

Anon:Please take n... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

Anon:

Please take note of this sentence in Jay's post

"To my regret, I just cussed to myself and left."

I don't think he needs any lectures from you.

Anon, I noticed the parking... (Below threshold)

Anon, I noticed the parking first, and said something. Once she was in the store, THEN I noticed the engine running. And then the kid.

True confession time: in real life, I don't handle potential confrontations too well when they surprise me. Part of the reason I posted this was to get some ideas on how to handle similar situations in the future.

If I have time to psych myself up, I can do OK. But when I'm cold-cocked like I was that day... not so much.

J.

"had left her engine runnin... (Below threshold)
xiphos:

"had left her engine running.
She'd left a child strapped in the back seat."

Make the phone call.

First it is hard to play wi... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

First it is hard to play with the gearshift in the back seat. Two you can have the car running and still have it lock. Three in a small town and a quick run into a store, there is a better chance of dropping the kid and hurting it getting the kid in and out or rushing around since she was in a hurry than leaving the kid in the car.

This is one of those calls that should be lift to the parents instead of a bunch of do gooders who want to tell everybody how to live their lives. Hitting the child is one thing but people and the government have gotten way too much invasive in how people live their lives. Educating them is fine but taking away their freedom is not.

True Story - Back in 1986, ... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

True Story - Back in 1986, when I was running a 6-screen cinema in Baytown, one Saturday I was alerted that a couple kids were unattended by their parents. Seems their Mom dropped them off with enough money to buy one ticket each (no money for snacks) and just took off. The kids got hungry and after a couple hours asked if they could have some food. They said their Mom used the movies, malls, etc. as a free baby sitting service and she'd be back sometime that night.

So, I got the kids some food and yeah, I called the police.

This woman had dropped her kids off about 9 AM in the parking lot in front the cinema, before most of the stores were open and long before we opened our doors. Mom showed up around 11 PM.

And got arrested.

She actually was surprised she was in trouble, and said - loudly - that it was the cinema's job to take care of her kids, that we had no business calling in the police. As I recall, the kids weren't all that distressed to see Mom go to jail. Either this happened enough times that it was no shock, or Mom was absent enough that seeing her go off again was no surprise.

If you ever see it happen again, Jay, make the call. If you didn't and something happened to a child, you'd never forgive yourself.

Wayne,Yup...you nail... (Below threshold)
olhardhead:

Wayne,
Yup...you nailed it...this is still a free country...well...sorta..if your REALLY concerned for the safety of the child...keep your ass around until momma is back...then MYOFB! Mom my not be real smart but IT's. NONE. OF. YOUR. FREAKIN'. BUSINESS!! Look everyone, look at what the Lib's have turned us into. I know..I know...city folk have different concerns than country folk but jeeezzze..Leaving the kids in the car is something I wouldn't do, but if I did, it wouldn't be done without considering my situation. MYOB!

jussayin',
ol'

I would also like to add an... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

I would also like to add another thought. If the town is small, and just about everyone knows everyone, making a call like that just to get the woman in trouble or "come to her senses" doesn't make sense. She probably is a great mother who had a lapse in judgement but had you called the authorities (which may be more screwed up) the child's life will be disrupted in a big way to a point of scarring. After everything cools down and you look at things a bit more detached, it is easier to see the better choice. ww

In this state, leaving a pe... (Below threshold)
Mycroft:

In this state, leaving a pet alone in a car is a felony, let alone a child.

As an adult scout leader, you are given 2 choices. Report it to the Scout Executive directly (not even to any of his staff), or to law enforcement IF YOU THINK THAT MAYBE ABUSE HAS OCCURRED. It is up to them to make the decision, your job is to report. PERIOD.

We have it drilled into us in youth protection classes over and over - we do not make judgements, if you think MAYBE, report it. It is their job to make the judgements, not yours.

Mycroft Sounds like ... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

Mycroft
Sounds like you are taught not to think. You probably teach your scouts that to. I think you might be abusing teaching them such nonsense and your kids if you have any. Please give me your personal information so I can report you to the authority that I suspect you are abusing kids. You shouldn't have a problem with that do you?

If you or any like you have kids, I suspect they lack discipline. Maybe the government should take them and send them to a military school to correct this abuse.

BTW: The reason you report ... (Below threshold)
Mycroft:

BTW: The reason you report it is that unless you report the suspected or even possible abuse - EVEN if you are not sure it actually happened - is that if you do not, then YOU may be guilty of a felony.

By reporting, you clear yourself of any chance of legal action against you.

In the case above, the only available reporting chain to you was law enforcement.

And on top of that, you report it even if she drives away before the cops actually get there, and you stay there until the cops arrive. THIS is what she thrust upon you.

"Mycroft Sounds l... (Below threshold)
Mycroft:

"Mycroft
Sounds like you are taught not to think. You probably teach your scouts that to. I think you might be abusing teaching them such nonsense and your kids if you have any. Please give me your personal information so I can report you to the authority that I suspect you are abusing kids. You shouldn't have a problem with that do you?

If you or any like you have kids, I suspect they lack discipline. Maybe the government should take them and send them to a military school to correct this abuse."

Posted by Wayne | February 10, 2010 2:02 PM"

I did not state whether I thought that this policy was right or wrong - it is the LAW.

And the law does not teach you to think in this case. You follow the rules, or you can be found guilty. If that offends you, get the laws changed.

"Yup...you nailed it...t... (Below threshold)
TomB:

"Yup...you nailed it...this is still a free country...well...sorta..if your REALLY concerned for the safety of the child...keep your ass around until momma is back...then MYOFB! Mom my not be real smart but IT's. NONE. OF. YOUR. FREAKIN'. BUSINESS!!"

Yea JT, what the hell's the matter with you? I mean, it IS a crime, but nobody's being hurt. (Unless someone take the car, and we know that NEVER happens). And while you're at it, if you see someone breaking into your neighbor's house when they aren't home, don't call the police. After all, "IT's. NONE. OF. YOUR. FREAKIN'. BUSINESS!!"

Sounds like you are taug... (Below threshold)
TomB:

Sounds like you are taught not to think. You probably teach your scouts that to. I think you might be abusing teaching them such nonsense and your kids if you have any.

Huh?

Teaching kids to obey the law is abuse???

What the bloody hell are you talking about?

Tom B. "IT's. NONE. ... (Below threshold)
olhardhead:

Tom B.
"IT's. NONE. OF. YOUR. FREAKIN'. BUSINESS!!"

That's my post, not Jay's. My friend, if you really believe what you just posted....well..this country is Totally screwed! It does not take a village to raise a child, but it does take a village of idiot's to think that government should be responsible for the care of our children. The right thing to do is to react to the situation. If the child or anyone else is in danger (in this case probably not) do everything you can to help out. If not...MYOFB! If you see someone abusing a kid or anyone else for that matter, KICK THEIR ASS, then call the police. THEN MYOFB!


yup! we're screwed the lib's have won and moron's have prevailed.

How'bout this, You Stay Out Of My Life and I'll Stay Out Of Yours!!

By the way.

This isn't against the law where I live and it doesn't need to be!

MYOFB!

ol'

God, I love the spittle-fle... (Below threshold)
TomB:

God, I love the spittle-flecked posts that completely miss the sarcasm.

In you previous SCREED, you were SHOUTING at JT. I just thought I'd HELP you out.

btw, You neeD to haVe a LOOK at your CAPS LOCK keY. It seemS to be STICKING>>>

BTW, do you agree that if I see someone breaking into your house I should MYOFB!!!11!!1?

Normally, I'll mind my own ... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Normally, I'll mind my own business in the first situation. (It's your ticket, asshat. Enjoy.)

But.... a child---in Jay Tea's estimation, a 2-3 year old---left in a running car in the middle of winter while mom goes inside (and I don't care for how short of a time), well, I'd make it my goddamn business right then and there. (No offense, Jay Tea, just my personal reaction.)

Hypothetically, I respond one of two ways: One, I watch over the kid for 5 mins. and wait of the piece of shit parent to come back. Upon their return, I say nothing. (If they don't give a crap about leaving their kid in the car, they're certainly not going to give a crap over a verbal beatdown unless I couple that by getting physical with them (a real temptation), which might also be dangerous to my well being, especially if Dad of the Year is bigger than me.)

After the 5th minute passes, I call the cops. Why? Simple. As a parent, this type of thing fills with me with nearly uncontainable rage. Let's see how the Mom of the Year likes dealing CPS's red tape and hoops.

We've all heard the stories a thousand times about kids being left in cars and dying, or even of running cars being stolen by some opportunistic carjacker, to even have one story about a child being kidnapped (accidentally or otherwise) is something no one with any human decency wants to hear on the 6 o'clock news.

I'll end with one of my favorite movie quotes:

You know, Mrs. Buckman, you need a license to buy a dog, to drive a car - hell, you even need a license to catch a fish. But they'll let any butt-reaming asshole be a father.

Or, in this case, a mother.

Re "Teaching kids to obey t... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

Re "Teaching kids to obey the law is abuse???
What the bloody hell are you talking about?"

If the law is asinine, yes. Teaching them to not think for themselves and to blindly follow authority, yes.

There are laws that have been worded wrong or are far outdated. For example, there was a law which I believe still exist in some places that a horseless carriage must be preceded by a person waving a red flag. Not exactly a law that should be followed.

I agree we should change laws that we don't agree with. First step is to point out it is a stupid law. Also I have pointed out several times that we need to do away with the process where a bunch liberal nuts from California can pass screw up federal laws telling those in Kansas what to do. Also passing a law doesn't make the law right.

Mycroft back to my point on blindly following laws and using laws to tell others how to raise their kids. It is likely that anyone with children does something at least on the surface that the majority doesn't agree with.Should we take their children? Almost every kid lack discipline at times. IMO there are many that are way too undisciplined to the point of it being abusive. Does that mean we should take away people kids and send them to military school? Would it be ok if we pass a law saying if anyone thinks you kid is unruly that is what happen? It the law we must blindly follow it right? Not in my nick of the woods we don't.

They are their parents' kids and the parent should raise them as they seem fit except in extreme cases. That means we should be diligent not to infringe on their rights in non-extreme cases even if we don't like their actions.

A mother slipping and falli... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

A mother slipping and falling killing her kid on icy street instead of leaving them safe in a car seat is something no one with any human decency wants to hear on the 6 o'clock news.

If the law is asinine, y... (Below threshold)
TomB:

If the law is asinine, yes.

And of course you have appointed yourself the arbiter of which law is "asinine".

How convenient.

No, you teach kids to obey the law and in addition that laws can be changed. But that doesn't excuse ignoring them.

A mother slipping and fa... (Below threshold)
TomB:

A mother slipping and falling killing her kid on icy street instead of leaving them safe in a car seat is something no one with any human decency wants to hear on the 6 o'clock news.

?????

Nor do we want to hear about a kid being hit by a meteor while sitting in a car while a parent runs into a store.

Because we know those things happen all the time.

A mother slipping and fa... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

A mother slipping and falling killing her kid on icy street instead of leaving them safe in a car seat is something no one with any human decency wants to hear on the 6 o'clock news.

Cute. But leaving a child in a car is not an unforeseeable accident; it's a purposeful act. The former far more understandable and tragic versus the latter. And if you want to get nuanced on the matter--and I suspect you will--and say that taking the child with her is also a purposeful act, you'd only be half right. The difference is in the control over the situation. the parent has control of the situation (ex: watching where she steps) by taking her child with her, whereas she has NO control over the situation once she leaves the child behind.

If She's at the post office... (Below threshold)
914:

If She's at the post office mailing some letters its one thing. Shopping at Wal-Mart is another. Maybe it was an emergency and She had to use the bathroom and could'nt hold it? Who knows? Either way if it's Her child the risk and loss is on Her.

The logical outcome of <a h... (Below threshold)
TomB:

The logical outcome of MYOFB!!!


Slipping and falling especi... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

Slipping and falling especially on ice is more common in some places than cars being stolen. Carrying a child on ice is a foreseeable risk and a purposeful act. It should be up to the parent which risk they choose. In the city I live in now, personally I wouldn't leave a small child. In the town I went to high school at, I would have no problem doing it. Hell in that town, people leave money on the bar when they go restroom and wouldn't hesitate and no one would flinch if they carry a gun into a store or bar.

So ToMB, if a law was passed that the government would take your kids at age 12, you would just protest and try to change the law or do something more?

Yes I think for myself. I don't blindly follow others. I try to get as much information that I can get and listen to all sides of an argument. Then I process it and come up with a decision. Once done I will try to gather more information and continue to process it.

There are laws and rules I don't like. I try to change them when I can. Some like the red flag in front of a car, I ignore. Others I fallow even if I don't like them. However there is a point where if the laws and government get too far out of hand that I would back a Revolution. The above example would be one of them.

If you want to follow your government and laws blindly and would allow them to tell you to do anything because they are in charge, that is your choice. However it is not mine.

So ToMB, if a law was pa... (Below threshold)
TomB:

So ToMB, if a law was passed that the government would take your kids at age 12, you would just protest and try to change the law or do something more?

Can you give me a reason that "law" would have any reason in hell to be passed?

All you are doing here is throwing out completely implausible scenarios to support your incredibly weak point.

If you want to follow your government and laws blindly

Christ on a Crutch, can you be any more desperate? Just because I don't think babies should be left alone in a running car (uh, hello!) doesn't mean I follow laws "blindly".

Because many parents are ra... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

Because many parents are raising undisciplined, out of control brats. Remember many screw up laws have been passed.

You said "No, you teach kids to obey the law and in addition that laws can be changed. But that doesn't excuse ignoring them." You also stuck up for Mycroft statement of "- we do not make judgements, if you think MAYBE, report it" while bashing my comment that "If the law is asinine, yes. Teaching them to not think for themselves and to blindly follow authority, yes."

That is a bit more than just saying you don't think babies should be left alone in a running car.

I have taught my kid to respect the law and authority but I also taught her there are limits and none of them including myself are above question. I taught her to think for herself and make her own decision. She has never been in trouble and is highly praised by teachers and anyone I heard talking about her, even from people who don't realize I'm her father or that I'm listening. So it is hard to say I did that bad of a job.

"" ... they were in a child... (Below threshold)

"" ... they were in a child seat .... ""

Sounds, right there, like cruel and unusual punishment! Two or more children ("they") in a single seat doesn't sound fair.

And/or: Who needs a nanny state when he/she's already a nanny?

First what does MYFOB mean?... (Below threshold)
Mary:

First what does MYFOB mean? Is there a dictionnary available to purchase in order to look up these ALPHA's being used today?. I'm an old Grandmother and this is total unaccetable. REmember John Walsh's son Adam?- gone is less than a minute. NEVER take a chance. Take your child with you-even if only running in and running out of a store. Or better- stay home until someone comes home to watch the child and then run your errand. Could be a minute of neglect- could mean a liftetime of regret.




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