Radley Balko wrote a disturbing piece for Reason, raising the possibility that hundreds of parents have been wrongly accused of abusing and even murdering their children by violent shaking. I'm not even remotely qualified to evaluate the medical evidence, but Shaken Baby Syndrome is one of those charges that I've had an itchy feeling about.
I would certainly not defend or minimize child abuse, but I know that social services and prosecutors have occasionally gone on witch hunts at the expense of parents and childcare workers. Perhaps it was the sudden prominence of shaken baby charges that raised my suspicions. Any time a newly identified syndrome becomes an epidemic, I worry about whether we're looking at bogyman fantasies or reality.