Where were the parents? ‘Deja vu’ all over again

Every now and then, I have moments in which I question the basic idea that as Americans, there is more that unites us than divides us.

These moments usually involve reality television marathons.

But the Post-Tribune of northwest Indiana obliged on Tuesday with this news item about a South Dakota man who left his three young children alone in a Hammond, Ind. motel room while he visited a nearby strip club.

Motel security found three children, ages 7, 4 and 2, alone in their room while Patrick Joseph Renk apparently spent a few hours over at the Déja Vu. (On an unrelated note, is there a national organization in charge of naming strip clubs? Phenomenal…)

“I was only gone like an hour. They were sleeping!” Renk is quoted in court records as saying. “Why the hell were they awake? What happened? What’s the problem?”

Oh, dear.

Not leaving your kids alone in a hotel room should go without saying, but it clearly doesn’t. These stories happen with alarming frequency: A couple in Florida leaves their 2- and 4-year-old kids alone to go swimming. A Louisville mother leaves her kids alone for 12 hours during a power outage. And here in Chicago last August, a 4-month-old boy died alone in a filthy apartment in the Austin neighborhood. His parents are now facing charges.

Gives a whole new meaning to “where were the parents?”

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