It occurs to me from time to time that the reason the Pattersons act so damnably crazy most of the time nowadays is that three of them are trying to avoid asking themselves a simple question: "Did Elly know that April could open the back gate?" John and Elizabeth remember that horrible day twelve years ago when April nearly drowned and one thing that can't help but be etched upon their minds is the image of a gate they thought secure being, if not wide open, at least easily unlatched. In explaining this to Michael, they may have added in that little detail. Once they calmed down, it might have occured to them to ask if this could have been somehow avoided, especially since she somehow got out of the safety of the backyard before. It might also have dawned on them the Elly spent the most time with the child and was in the back yard with her on several occasions and might have seen how, exactly, she did it. They, each of them, have various reasons for not asking that question, though. If John were to start to think that his child nearly died because of his wife's laziness, stupidity and negligence, he might have to institute divorce proceedings. The old-fashioned country boy he used to be thinks that getting a dee-vorce means he's a failure as a man, so he can't think along those terms, he just can't. As for Mike and Liz, they would far rather live in denial than lose all respect for their Mom, so they too just ascribe it to bad luck. As for Elly herself, she can't face up to the fact she KNEW something like this could happen because she'd actually seen April prise the latch open and could have prevented it. It's far easier to spin endless blame-evading justifications than 'humiliate' herself by copping to being a shiftless fool.