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Won’t get worked up if Payne gets death penalty

Citizen Staff Writer
CARLOCK COLUMN

Editor’s note: Citizen staffer Judy Carlock wraps up the week’s events with a dash of sass.

JUDY CARLOCK

jcarlock@tucsoncitizen.com

A lot of people failed Ariana and Tyler Payne, in life and in death. Even so, joy shines from their faces in an image their stepgrandfather used as a screen saver. It didn’t last after they went to live with their father.

Imagine being 5 years old, starving to death in a tiny closet with your 4-year-old sister. Then she’s gone, replaced by a bag stuffed with rotting remains.

You leave this world soon after.

Christopher Payne is on trial this week for first-degree murder. Crossed signals between police and Child Protective Services helped keep the children in a fatal situation.

Ariana was found in February 2007 in a trash bin at a storage facility. Police retrieved her broken body, but didn’t think to search the whole bin. Tyler likely is in the city dump.

Payne’s former girlfriend, Reina Gonzales, 24, accepted a plea in the case and will serve 22 years. Just in time for menopause.

If convicted, Payne faces the death penalty. I don’t like capital punishment, but I don’t care if Payne is executed. And if it hurts? That’s why they call it punishment.

KID STUFF: State child care subsidies help many people keep working. Maybe you think people shouldn’t have kids they can’t afford. Once they’re here, though, someone has to take care of them.

Federal stimulus money may restore some child-care money slashed by the state. A bunch of other programs that aim to help people become responsible parents are also on the hit list, as well as staffing for Child Protective Services.

In my private and professional life, I’ve heard dozens of women complain about losing their kids. I’ve known some who tried hard to clean up their acts. Some couldn’t. Or in any case, didn’t.

DORM BABY: Some people should never have kids. Sarah Elizabeth Tatum, 19, may be one.

Police found a newborn “gasping for breath” in a plastic bag at a University of Arizona dorm Monday. Police say Tatum indicated she had miscarried, but the boy weighs 7 pounds.

Gasping for breath is a good sign. If a snippet of police radio chatter earlier this week is any indication (I sit next to one all night), his blood oxygen may not have fallen low enough to cause permanent damage.

I hope that Tatum, if found guilty, spends some time in prison. I also hope she gets her tubes tied.

NOBODY’S BUSINESS? It comes up all the time: Why should I have to pay for other people’s mistakes? If anything defines liberal and conservative these days, a lot of it comes down to the question of personal responsibility.

For instance: The Lost Barrio fire this week did up to $1 million in damage to the artsy businesses in a converted warehouse block. Fire officials said sprinklers could have minimized that. Yet the city may waive some building codes to encourage conversion of warehouses and other old buildings.

President Obama’s address this week laid this out on a grander scale.

Rewarding bad behavior sticks in the craw. But some argue that the greater good justifies – even demands – huge federal bailouts with money we have to borrow.

BAD KITTIES: Tiger got scratched off early in the Accenture Match Play Championship in the Tortolita foothills. Also on Thursday, the University of Arizona Wildcats got beat by Cougars – as in Washington State University.

The men’s road loss makes Saturday’s basketball game against the Huskies a must-win cat-and-dog fight. I love sports clich├ęs.

Hard to imagine an NCAA Tournament without the Cats.

Hard to imagine Tucson without the Citizen.

Judy Carlock is an online and copy editor at the Citizen. She can be reached at 573-4608 or at jcarlock@tucsoncitizen.com. For more on these stories, see this column at www.tucsoncitizen.com.

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