I really don't want to be accused of being hard-hearted or unsympathetic, and I cannot even begin to imagine what sort of hell the McCann family is living through right now, nor I can pray hard enough that Madeleine is reunited with her family sooner rather than later and that she has come to no harm... But (you knew there was a but).
I am uncomfortable that the mainstream media and commentators seem unwilling to question the wisdom of leaving three children aged 3 and under unsupervised. Yes, I know they popped back to check on the kids every half hour, but as events have so heartbreakingly demonstrated, thirty minutes is more than enough time for something awful to happen.
My mind is troubled by these questions:
If one of those children had somehow got to a window and climbed out, falling to injury or death, would the media be so sympathetic and loathe to criticise?
If the apartment had caught fire and the children died from smoke inhalation, would the media be so sympathetic?
If the McCanns were not so middle class and respectable, would the media not be readier to raise the uncomfortable question of the wisdom of their actions?
I can't emphasise enough how much I'd like to see a news bulletin announcing that Maddie has been found and she's OK. But I'd also like to say that I find the decision of her parents to leave their young family unattended while they enjoyed a meal together quite upsetting. When you decide to have a family, you also decide to put your children first. That means sacrifices, it means eating in or paying for a sitter if you want a dinner out à deux. Please, parents everywhere, your children are a most precious gift. I'm not advocating wrapping them in cotton wool, but don't leave them alone and vulnerable.