Eight years ago, a woman named Dena Schlosser killed her baby daughter during what has been called a religious frenzy. Declared insane by the courts, she was sent to a mental institution in 2006. Since June, she's been working at a Texas Wal-Mart. That is until the public got her fired.
Because nothing sounds safer than having a woman recently released from a court-ordered mental institution than having her swinging in the breeze with no job, right? I have to wonder if the people in Terell, Texas thought any of this through.
It seems someone spotted Dena Schlosser, who now goes by the name Dena Laettner, working the checkout line at their local Wal-Mart. They snapped a picture, and it went viral. And after the hew and cry from the community, the woman lost her job.
I won't exactly fault Wal-Mart on this one ... much. People were telling them they were afraid to enter their store because of fear. The question is whether their fear is valid.
According to the cops, Laettner literally cut her 10-month-old's arms off in 2004, later telling a police dispatcher that God told her to. She was later diagnosed with postpartum psychosis, which is what prompted the insanity defense.
It's an unthinkable horror. I don't excuse or sanction it. I can understand why people were horrified to see her out and about and wouldn't want to associate with her.
And yet, legally, Laettner got off. She was not guilty by reason of insanity. What's more, she actually served her time, as ordered by the court. She had remained in the mental institution from 2006 to 2008, when she was released into an outpatient program and allowed to work. Laettner went back into the hospital in 2010 for more treatment.
But now the courts say Dena Laettner isn't a threat to society. She's got a legal right to be out and about and to work at Wal-Mart or any other place willing to hire her. In fact, if she doesn't work, I'm imagining she ends up needing public assistance, making her a burden on the system. Not to mention she has a lot of time to sit around, thinking ...
Is it so wrong for this woman to work? Hasn't she served her time? When does the punishment end?
Image via walknboston/Flickr