Child abuse more than AP’s tragedy

Minnesota and the rest of the nation were shocked on Friday when it learned that a two year old boy in Sioux Falls, S.D., who died after allegedly being beaten by his mother’s boyfriend, was a son of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.

It’s a tragedy and a shame, and Peterson rightly asked for privacy as he deals with this intensely personal matter.

We should all respect his wish, but sadly, the issue of child abuse and neglect is bigger than even Adrian Peterson.

There are far too many news reports of similar deaths, stories of young, helpless children who die or suffer horrible torture at the hands of their parents, or step-parents, or friends of their parents who leave them for care.

According to statistics from Safe Horizon, the largest organization helping victims of crime and abuse in the U.S., 1,537 children in the U.S. died in 2010 as the result of abuse or neglect.?Nearly 80 percent were younger than four years of age, and nearly 48 percent were younger than one year old.

Many more who don’t die can suffer physical injury, mental impairment from brain injuries, and a host of psychological problems as they grow up. Some are likely to become abusers themselves.

The terrible personal tragedy that Adrian Peterson and his family are suffering through could be a call to action to do more to help these children. Law enforcement and family service agencies do what they can, but we can all look for ways to do more to help children who are helpless victims of abuse and neglect.

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