What's the difference between a dairy cow and a baby?
In this case, about two years in prison.
In Friday's papers and online editions are two stories that caught my eye, one on the death of three cows and another on the death of an 11-month-old baby.
First, two kids who allegedly killed a trio of dairy cows in rural LaPorte County.
Then there is a story of a Calumet City woman who is alleged to have drowned her 11-month-old baby while on a heroin binge.
Dead cows got top billing.
But the real kicker comes in our online edition, nwi.com, where you may feel free to drop in any time.
Unlike the print edition, it allows readers to comment electronically on stories and columns.
And guess what? The comments on the cows were running 77 to 9 Friday afternoon over the infant who drowned, allegedly at the hands of his mother.
The worst thing about killing the cows was financial. A farming family that depends on dairy products for its living has been deprived of something necessary to continue that income.
These kids, ages 14 and 17, are thoughtless idiots who, it is hoped, still have time to get their lives together.
They need to get a loan to pay off the farm family they have wronged, but three dead milk cows make poor collateral.
Not that I am saying people felt sympathy for the Calumet City woman, described in one of the nicer posts as a "sorry excuse for a human being."
But the two thoughtless punks who killed the cows are not "two wastes of lives," either. The punishment needs to fit the crime.
In Cook County, prosecutors charged Jessica Haynes, 21, with involuntary manslaughter in the death of her infant.
A Class 3 felony, involuntary manslaughter conviction carries a potential sentence of two to five years, but most are probation-able.
The juveniles in LaPorte County have been charged with three counts each of animal cruelty and criminal recklessness.
Indiana law provides for these Class D felonies to carry a potential sentencing range of six months to three years.
A judge may grant probation or reduce the sentence to a Class A misdemeanor under certain circumstances.
Cows. Babies. Potential probation under certain circumstances for their killings.
Think about it. Maybe it will give you pause.