In northern California, in the early part of 1996, a three-year-old boy lost consciousness in his home after his mother “disciplined” him by beating him and throwing him on the floor. The older of his two sisters-ages six and eleven-noticed that he wasn’t breathing and called emergency services. The story of this boy, whom I will call Adam,1 became the lead story in the area, with television and newspaper coverage providing frequent updates not only on his medical condition, but on the conditions that led to this tragic moment. After several days in a coma in the hospital, Adam died.