10/20/09 — Child neglect: Making money off your children really is a form of abuse.

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Child neglect: Making money off your children really is a form of abuse.

Out of the mouths of babes.

Well, at least, out of the mouths of coached children who are just too tired to keep up the charade.

What makes the story about the Heene family so appalling is not just that they could very well have created a hoax simply to get on TV -- although that in itself is disgusting. It is not even just that they tied up more than a few emergency workers in their town while these men and women chased a balloon that was nothing but a publicity stunt.

The reason that someone should be considering whether or not these parents are fit to be parents is that they coached their children to be part of the ruse.

That's right, the reason the authorities are investigating this couple is because the little boy who was allegedly on board the balloon outed his parents during an interview with Larry King -- obviously not realizing the consequences that would come from telling the interviewer that he was hiding "for a show."

There probably aren't too many people who believe anymore that the Heenes did not create this stunt to get their own show.

But what is certain is that they have no business endangering the health of a city -- or having the responsibility of raising one child, let alone three.

The end of the story is far from over, but one thing is certain -- we are just as guilty if this horrible couple gets a TV show and we do anything except change the channel.

Published in Editorials on October 20, 2009 10:33 AM