Is America more dangerous or parents more paranoid?

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Is America more dangerous or parents more paranoid?

Post by DotNotInOz on Mon Oct 26, 2009 8:05 pm

I was watching a case on Judge Judy today that had my jaw dropping.

A seven-year-old boy was riding his bicycle to a store two blocks from his home when he lost control of the bike and swerved into the path of a car, suffering major injuries.

The boy's mother said that she'd only given him permission to walk to the store, that it was one that neighborhood children often went to unaccompanied by parents.

Judge Judy was probably doing her "judge thing" in advising the boy's mother that no seven-year-old child ought to be allowed to ride a bicycle unsupervised EVER. Supervised meaning accompanied by an adult. She added that in this day and age no child should be allowed to play anywhere but right outside the house where a parent can glance out periodically. Otherwise, a child should be accompanied by an adult always.

I'm extremely grateful that I was a kid in a gentler, simpler time and place. At that age, I walked or rode my bike over a half mile to school and generally wherever I wanted around town (pop. 3600) except for the main highway, which I knew was off-limits (and knew some adult would likely spot me and report to my parents if I did.)

I'm wondering if this country has really become THAT unsafe, or are people simply far more paranoid than they once were about letting kids be kids...which entails a certain amount of doing dumb stuff that might get them killed but mostly doesn't?

Sure, we did dumb stuff now and then, but very few kids I knew were seriously hurt as a result. It was nothing to go anywhere from a half mile to a mile or more from home on foot or bicycles.

Has this country gotten that much more dangerous, or are we all more paranoid due to so many reports of children being abducted?
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Re: Is America more dangerous or parents more paranoid?

Post by MaineCaptain on Mon Oct 26, 2009 8:13 pm

I personally think this contry has gotten that paranoid. Children walk all over the place where I live. I live in a small town.

Now of course bad things happen regardless of where you live, but making someone feel bad for allowing their child a feeling of independence is wrong.

When I was a child, my mother was afraid like that, and I felt stifled and trapped. It turned out the most dangerous people, were in my life already and she never knew.

One should set safe boundaries and teach them to their children. But holding them prisoner is probably not going to work, just make them more prone to rebel in dangerous ways. Just my opinion.

For any interested party, my views are based on the child's point of view, I am very child like. And I know it.
I am growing in reverse, was adult as child, am child now.

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Re: Is America more dangerous or parents more paranoid?

Post by tmarie64 on Mon Oct 26, 2009 8:46 pm

No one should EVER let a 7 year old child roam alone. Ever. My mother did not do it 38 years ago, and it should NEVER be done now.
That child could very easily have been killed because 7 year olds don't pay attention like they need to, they are also still developing at a rate that keeps their center of gravity off... and they tend to be clumsy. The kid in the case cited is a perfect example of that.
Who lets their 7 year old near the street?
Children are snatched out of their damn bedrooms, Polly Klaas ring any bells? Snatched from a slumber party inside her home in 1993.
Adam Walsh... snatched, decapitated, in 1981.
I went to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, did a search on kids missing in just the last 3 years in Ohio... turned up 9.
Amber Alert was started because a child was snatched off her bike, in her own neighborhood, in 1996.
Read about the children killed in drive by shootings
A Marshall University student, 22 year old woman, was killed and hidden in the crawl space of her apartment building in Huntington, WV. YOU'RE DAMN RIGHT I'M PARANOID. My 70 pound, 11 year old daughter doesn't stand a snowball's chance in hell against an adult, or even a large kid, attacker.
I let her out, I don't smother her. But I don't let her roam and disappear for hours, she knows to check in.

Ask the Beaumonts in Australia about how "safe" it is to let kids play "just down the street" in their "neighborhood"...
The children lived with their parents Jim and Nancy Beaumont in Harding Street, Somerton Park, a suburb of Adelaide. Not far from their home was Glenelg, a popular beach-side resort, which the children often visited. On the Australia Day public holiday, 26 January 1966, a hot summer day, the children took a five-minute bus journey from their home to the beach. Jane, the eldest child, was considered responsible enough to care for the two younger children, and their parents were not concerned. They left home at 10am and were expected to return home by noon. Their mother became worried when they had still not returned by 3pm.
Police investigating the case found several witnesses who had seen the children near the beach, in the company of a tall, blond man in his mid-30s. The children were playing with him, and appeared relaxed and to be enjoying themselves. The man and the children were seen walking away from the beach at 11am. A shopkeeper reported Jane Beaumont had bought pastries and a meat pie with a £1 note shortly after this.

Police viewed this as further evidence that they had been with another person, for two reasons:
The shopkeeper knew the children well from previous visits and reported that they had never purchased a meat pie before.
Mrs. Beaumont had given the children only enough coins for their bus fare and food, but had not given them a £1 note. Police believed it had been given to them by somebody else.
At about 3 pm the children were seen walking alone, away from the beach, along Jetty Road, in the general direction of their home. The witness, a postman, knew the children well, and his statement was regarded as factual. He said the children had stopped to say hello to him, and seemed cheerful. Police could not determine why the reliable children, already three hours late, were strolling alone and seemingly unconcerned. This was the last confirmed sighting of the children.

Mr and Mrs Beaumont described their children, particularly Jane, as shy. For them to be playing so confidently with a stranger seemed out of character. Investigators theorised that the children had perhaps met the man during a previous visit or visits and had grown to trust him.

Several months later a woman reported that on the night of the disappearance a man, accompanied by two girls and a boy, entered a neighbouring house that she had believed empty. Later she had seen the boy walking alone along a lane where he was pursued and roughly caught by the man. The next morning the house appeared to be deserted again, and she saw neither the man nor the children again. Police could not establish why she had failed to provide this information earlier.

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Re: Is America more dangerous or parents more paranoid?

Post by TigersEyeDowsing on Mon Oct 26, 2009 8:57 pm

Ya'll already think I'm paranoid. :p But what equals 'paranoia' to many of you equals 'common sense' to me. I've yet to disagree with Judy on anything, except that she feeds her dogs out of her hand and I make my pets eat out of a dish. If a parent wants their kids, they need to keep an eye on them. If they want them to get killed or disappeared, sure, let 'em play in traffic.

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Re: Is America more dangerous or parents more paranoid?

Post by DotNotInOz on Mon Oct 26, 2009 9:33 pm

tmarie64 wrote:No one should EVER let a 7 year old child roam alone. Ever. My mother did not do it 38 years ago, and it should NEVER be done now.
That child could very easily have been killed...

Yes, this kid MIGHT have been killed. That's what I meant when I said that kids do dumb stuff but mostly don't get killed doing it. In this instance, the driver of the car was a 16-year-old who admitted that while he wasn't speeding, he didn't slow down when he saw that the kids on bikes were pretty young.

who lets their 7 year old near the street?

You cannot possibly be serious in thinking that a kid that age ought not be allowed near the street...surely. Mom taught me how to walk the half mile to school in kindergarten, and I almost never got a ride to grade school unless the weather was really brutal.

In the very small towns where I lived for most of my teaching career, kids rode bikes and played in yards blocks from their homes. (I'm talking towns of 1400-1600 pop.) Of course, we're talking towns where people joked that a dog could sleep undisturbed in the middle of main street. Not quite...but nearly. It was true that people would often leave their cars running while they dashed into the post office or grocery to grab one or two things.

Children are snatched out of their damn bedrooms, Polly Klaas ring any bells? Snatched from a slumber party inside her home in 1993.
Adam Walsh... snatched, decapitated, in 1981.
I went to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, did a search on kids missing in just the last 3 years in Ohio... turned up 9.

Naturally, these things DO occasionally happen. They did even when I was a kid fifty years ago. But you tell me, what percentage of the number of people under age 18 does nine missing Ohio children in three years represent? Pretty damn small, I'm guessing.
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Re: Is America more dangerous or parents more paranoid?

Post by DotNotInOz on Mon Oct 26, 2009 9:57 pm

Out of idle curiosity, I looked up what percentage of Ohio's population was under age 18 in 2008 (based on U.S. Census Bureau estimates.) [Source: http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/39000.html ]

Nearly 24 percent which figures out to about two and three-quarter million.

Even if all 9 missing kids had been abducted in 2008, that's an infinitesimally small percentage.
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Re: Is America more dangerous or parents more paranoid?

Post by TigersEyeDowsing on Mon Oct 26, 2009 10:24 pm

"Being on a street" can have lots of different connotations. I grew up on streets that had little to no traffic. You could ride a bike, skateboard, walk, play marbles, whatever on the street. There are streets that routinely have cars and those, no, no 7 year old should be around. Not necessarily fears of abduction, but just plain traffic like the Judy case. If cars are zipping up and down the street, no 7 year old should be on a bike unsupervised! One of the streets I grew up on was very quiet, then, and today there are more houses and more people. It's a small residential street (paved, no lines, not enough room for 2 cars to pass so one would have to pull over to let another by). I played all over this street. Today, people drive about 50 miles an hour on this street. The old ladies call the police who, once every few months sets up a sting (yeah, that really solves it, lemme tell ya). If you have a kitten, kid, or anything else small that wanders onto the pavement you might need a spatula to get it scraped back up. The new generation of kids really cannot play up and down this road, and have to stick to the yards now. It all depends on where it is, but if there's traffic... no. Not if you've any clue how people drive!

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Re: Is America more dangerous or parents more paranoid?

Post by MaineCaptain on Mon Oct 26, 2009 10:37 pm

TigersEyeDowsing wrote:Ya'll already think I'm paranoid. :p But what equals 'paranoia' to many of you equals 'common sense' to me. I've yet to disagree with Judy on anything, except that she feeds her dogs out of her hand and I make my pets eat out of a dish. If a parent wants their kids, they need to keep an eye on them. If they want them to get killed or disappeared, sure, let 'em play in traffic.
You feed you animals out of dishes?

On a series note I do agree with Judge Judy most of the time. You have to know the circumstances of each individual situation I think. In a city I would be far more careful.
I think it depends on many things

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Re: Is America more dangerous or parents more paranoid?

Post by AutumnalTone on Tue Oct 27, 2009 12:41 am

To the tune of Allouette:

Paranoia, this is paranoia
Paranoia, a game we like to play....
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Re: Is America more dangerous or parents more paranoid?

Post by DotNotInOz on Tue Oct 27, 2009 5:00 am

TigersEyeDowsing wrote:"Being on a street" can have lots of different connotations.

One thing we don't know for certain is how traveled this street was. The boy's mother testified that neighborhood kids often walked the two blocks to this store, so I'm guessing that it was not at all a busy street.

There are streets that routinely have cars and those, no, no 7 year old should be around. Not necessarily fears of abduction, but just plain traffic like the Judy case.!

Do you really think I'm suggesting that a seven-year-old ought to be riding a bike on a street that routinely has traffic? Let's say "routine traffic" is one vehicle passing the kid's home in either direction every five minutes. Of course not!

But yanno what? My husband grew up in Brooklyn, NY and walked the four blocks to the closest playground or the half mile to his grandmother's apartment when he was only a bit older than seven. Judging by what I'm reading here, his parents would have been deemed homicidally negligent.
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Re: Is America more dangerous or parents more paranoid?

Post by tmarie64 on Tue Oct 27, 2009 7:39 am

DotNotInOz wrote:Out of idle curiosity, I looked up what percentage of Ohio's population was under age 18 in 2008 (based on U.S. Census Bureau estimates.) [Source: http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/39000.html ]

Nearly 24 percent which figures out to about two and three-quarter million.

Even if all 9 missing kids had been abducted in 2008, that's an infinitesimally small percentage.

I'm sure their parents are comforted by THAT... Rolling Eyes

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Re: Is America more dangerous or parents more paranoid?

Post by tmarie64 on Tue Oct 27, 2009 7:50 am

Dot... YOU and YOUR HUSBAND are not children NOW.
30 years ago we could all do things that we can't do now. Duh.

You can't compare yourself at 11 to the average 11 year old today. When I was 11, a movie that showed someone's bare butt was "scandalous". Today, if you DON'T see t&a it's a surprise.
When you were 11, did you know what "Statutory Rape" was? Did you know what "Gross Sexual Misconduct" meant? I didn't. My 11 year old does.

If your husband's parents did that NOW, they WOULD be negligent.
Bottom line on the Judy case... The woman neglected to supervise her kid, a clumsy 7 year old on a bike. She gave him permission to WALK, then, did not make sure he WALKED. Then wants to whine and complain when he gets hurt. You don't watch your kids, they get hurt, that's on you, not society.

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Re: Is America more dangerous or parents more paranoid?

Post by Davelaw on Tue Oct 27, 2009 8:09 am

We rode our bikes to school about miles distance in a tiny town called Houston maybe you've heard of it? My little brother was about that age when he got hit by a car as we were crossing the major street to get to school. We always got off our bikes and walked across the road with the light; and a lady was late to work and ran the light.

back then those were called accidents; he had stitches and a scar; but we still road our bikes to school
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Re: Is America more dangerous or parents more paranoid?

Post by MaineCaptain on Tue Oct 27, 2009 11:54 am

I am glad your Brother recovered, Dave. I walked to school every day, and no it was not up hill both ways, but it was a couple of miles both ways.

Yes they were called accidents. Accidents don't exist any more. They are all intentional and there is always someone to blame.

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Re: Is America more dangerous or parents more paranoid?

Post by Sakhaiva on Tue Oct 27, 2009 11:59 am

People who think that these days (in America) are more dangerous need to talk to folks 70 and above.

By age 7 my grandpa had quit school and was working in *the log woods* sawing down trees in the Ozarks. He drove his mules to places grown men were afraid to go, and his good Irish dad bragged about it.

To me, that is horror; I'd NEVER have my first grader operating a saw, let alone driving a mule team. But he did. And he lived to be 89.

I think we are WAY too paranoid. Horrible things have always happened; we just did not have the media outlets reporting every little thing as we do now. Personally, I'm also convinced that media outlets are way out of control. We're stripping away second chances from huge portions of our society, and that is a dangerous (and stupid) thing.
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Re: Is America more dangerous or parents more paranoid?

Post by MaineCaptain on Tue Oct 27, 2009 12:12 pm

It is strange how things have changed. The world is quite different then it was just 40 years ago.
Our children are more child like.

I am not sure if that is good or bad.

As you say Sak you Granddad work heavy equipment at 7 years old, and apparently did it well.
I could not have done that at 7 and I feel certain I have never met a child that could, although there must be some.

Forgive me, but I think we live in the wimpy whiny generation.
Yes it is dangerous out there. But I do believe we have it all out of proportion. IMO

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Re: Is America more dangerous or parents more paranoid?

Post by Sakhaiva on Tue Oct 27, 2009 12:53 pm

MaineCaptain wrote:Forgive me, but I think we live in the wimpy whiny generation.
Yes it is dangerous out there. But I do believe we have it all out of proportion. IMO

Nothing to forgive; I agree with you fully.

My family is really into collecting stories to save for future generations. My mom's own collection of life stories is jaw dropping when compared to the cushy life my own kids have. (For a time she lived in a run-down gold-miner's shack with her 7 siblings and parents, and only had the trash pile to play with. Ironically enough, the little syrup tins they dug out and played with are now valuable.) I cannot imagine letting my kids play in a trash heap (and not knowing where they were)

I think the only way we can understand our own past, or see how good we all have it, is to visit some place like India or Africa.... conditions there are similar to what America was less than a century ago.

On another note, you know what's truly dangerous? Trying to cross-stitch with 3 cats who hunt thread.

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Re: Is America more dangerous or parents more paranoid?

Post by AutumnalTone on Tue Oct 27, 2009 2:44 pm

MaineCaptain wrote:
Forgive me, but I think we live in the wimpy whiny generation.
Yes it is dangerous out there. But I do believe we have it all out of proportion. IMO

Exactly! Clap
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Re: Is America more dangerous or parents more paranoid?

Post by Willowcreek70633 on Tue Oct 27, 2009 2:58 pm

OK, I'll take my "come uppins" now..."so lash away lash away lash away all" Whip2
I have told y'all I grew up in Pittsburgh PA, its not NYC & it ain't poo dunk DeQuincy LA...but my family given to TODAY'S standards were insane.
From school age we (kids on the block) ran the streets, morning, noon & up into the night.
Us street kids were raised with "trust & respect of self". We knew who the MOB were, we knew where the wrong side/right side of the tracks began & ended. We knew all the prostitutes & hobos, the gigolo's & the number runners, we knew the drunks, & we knew who to trust & who not to trust, who to talk to & who NOT to talk to. We constantly gave the police a run for their $$$. We gave the fireman quarterly work outs to see if their new equipment worked or not! (We were equal opportunity kids)

At the age of 6yrs old me & my childhood friend Ted (no not OUR TED)..hopped a freight train (steel/coal) & headed 10miles into downtown Pittsburgh...walked around & hopped back on another train & headed home. I was punished to my own back yard for the entire summer. At age 7yrs Ted & I again hopped on a freight train (steel/coal) and headed in the other direction to the next town (Turtle Creek) walked around went to the market, checked out a park & hopped another train back home. I was again punished to my own back yard for the summer. At 8yrs old and beyond, well, instead of taking trains we saved up coins (that drunks & hobos would loose outta their pockets) & took buses into Pittsburgh sneaked into Forbes Field Pirate ball games, walked across the many bridges went window shopping, & took the bus back home BEFORE the 4PM steel mill whistles blew. (Ha, we learned to be back in our borough before dinner time)
Very Happy At the ages of 8, 9, 10...I suffered a concussion each yr, from doing backward spin flips on the (safety) railings on the hills, cracked my head on a "home plate brick" while playing kick ball, & got into a fight w a big pansy ass MF for my 3d concussion. Well hell I survived it all. Sue me, for being resilient, hard headed, clumsy, & a street smart.
During the winter time all of us kids would slide on our books/sleds/loafers/cardboard box/trash can lids, both on sidewalks & streets...making them slick with ICE. One winter the wine/booze distillery caught on fire...made the old people think of WWII over in England. The firetrucks couldn't get to it because they kept sliding down the hills & couldn't pick up traction with their chains! Wow, such a cool fire burned for days! We laughed, & cryed because we couldn't steal any wine or booze any more! Another winter a neighbors house caught on fire (he fell asleep smoking in bed) again the firetrucks even with chains could not get close to the neighbors house because we had "slicked" the streets & walks terrible with ICE. The guy died & we laughed (thats what ya get for smokin in bed).
For the "jumpers" in the area we used to congregate around & yell "Jump, Jump"...to our amusement & hearts content...until the police scurried us away, yelling & cursing at us. During Halloween we would make "stuffed" people, hang them off the bridges over the train tracks then lay in wait & watch the train engineers freak out as they blowed whistles, apply brakes & smack into the "hanged people". We rolled with laughter.
By the age of 10yrs old, we used to drink on a neighbors porch directly across from the cop shop & heckled them & invite them over for drinks! (They couldn't touch us, we were on private property). Again the yelled & cursed at us.
At the age of 11yrs old during July 4th, we blew up the electricity & telephone poles down @ the dump (where the hobos hung out to catch their trains) & blew the whole boroughs lights & phone service out... Hysterical (that was a close one) Very Happy
Were we bored? No. Were we evil? No. Were we trying to get noticed for fame? No. Were we unsupervised? No.
We were kids being kids, doing kids things, & not realizing the consequences of our actions? Yep. We NEVER bullied, (we always went to the rescue of the under dog) we NEVER brandished weapons, (we used our fists & our quick PF Flyers). AND if someone HAD a weapon (chain, tire rod, brick, knife...They were called/heckled "chicken, yellow back MFer"). We NEVER picked on the young or the old. (we assisted them, school books, or grocery bags). AND never took $$ from the old. We NEVER stalked the weak, (we watched so they got home or work safely).
I told you On OUR block...."We were equal opportunity kids."
Just my thoughts on this here subject.
But I still live by "Only the strong will survive."
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Re: Is America more dangerous or parents more paranoid?

Post by MaineCaptain on Tue Oct 27, 2009 3:21 pm

Sakhaiva wrote:


On another note, you know what's truly dangerous? Trying to cross-stitch with 3 cats who hunt thread.

Thank you Sak, and
sorry, I can picture it

everyone go back to topic now




Thank you SC Smile

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Re: Is America more dangerous or parents more paranoid?

Post by MaineCaptain on Tue Oct 27, 2009 3:26 pm

Willow.........................WOW!, just WOW.
Not bad WOW, just WOW

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Re: Is America more dangerous or parents more paranoid?

Post by DotNotInOz on Tue Oct 27, 2009 5:17 pm

tmarie64 wrote:
DotNotInOz wrote:Out of idle curiosity, I looked up what percentage of Ohio's population was under age 18 in 2008 (based on U.S. Census Bureau estimates.) [Source: http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/39000.html ]

Nearly 24 percent which figures out to about two and three-quarter million.

Even if all 9 missing kids had been abducted in 2008, that's an infinitesimally small percentage.

I'm sure their parents are comforted by THAT... Rolling Eyes

Come on, Tina. This is an all too predictable jerk of people's emotions...one of the reasons why the issue of missing children has been blown so ridiculously out of proportion.

As Sakhaiva points out, thanks to overly zealous media coverage, we hear in exhaustive and gory detail about the rare instances of children who are abducted and murdered today.

tmarie64 wrote:You can't compare yourself at 11 to the average 11 year old today.

No, because neither of us had parents so paranoid they wouldn't allow us ever to leave the house without them. Incidentally, my husband's two nephews grew up in that same house in the 1990's, and both of them had similar freedoms as my husband. They survived to adulthood unscathed, too.

When I was 11, a movie that showed someone's bare butt was "scandalous". Today, if you DON'T see t&a it's a surprise. When you were 11, did you know what "Statutory Rape" was? Did you know what "Gross Sexual Misconduct" meant? I didn't. My 11 year old does.

By your own admission then, you haven't supervised that child adequately, or an eleven-year-old wouldn't know those things. Looks to me like you're clearly guilty of negligence. (Pretty ridiculous argument, isn't it?)

Bottom line on the Judy case... The woman neglected to supervise her kid, a clumsy 7 year old on a bike. She gave him permission to WALK, then, did not make sure he WALKED. Then wants to whine and complain when he gets hurt. You don't watch your kids, they get hurt, that's on you, not society.

No argument here. She didn't win her case either.

The reality, as Dave pointed out above, is that sometimes no matter how careful anyone is, accidents happen and kids get hurt. The vast majority of the time, the kids survive.
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Re: Is America more dangerous or parents more paranoid?

Post by DotNotInOz on Tue Oct 27, 2009 5:31 pm

Sakhaiva and Willow,

Yeah, your stories remind me of how I didn't believe that my dad sometimes got a piece of bread with a little bacon grease smeared on it and an apple for breakfast as a real treat. Otherwise, they ate cornmeal mush every morning. That's how it was with 14 kids on a Kansas farm during the Depression.

I thought it was another "twenty miles to school in a blizzard" story until Mom told me that it was true. Dad's family was really hard up during those years.

LOL Willow. I never had the nerve to do half of what you did, but I do recall the day I slipped while climbing down out of the big elm tree in our front yard and bellyflopped onto the grass. Knocked the wind out of me so thoroughly that as soon as I could laugh, Mom and I both did at the memory of her standing over me demanding to know if I'd broken anything. I'd have loved to be able to reassure her, but all I could do for several minutes was gasp like a fish out of water.
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Re: Is America more dangerous or parents more paranoid?

Post by MaineCaptain on Tue Oct 27, 2009 5:39 pm

Very good Dot. My point although I am sure it was missed. Is that the best of parents can not be looking at their child 100 percent of the time. Both child and parent would lose their minds, and nothing else would ever get done.

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Re: Is America more dangerous or parents more paranoid?

Post by DotNotInOz on Tue Oct 27, 2009 6:05 pm

Thanks, MC. I think you're exactly right. No parent would stay sane for long (and their kids certainly wouldn't) if the parent tried to watch their kids every moment. No rational person blames Polly Klaas's parents for the fact that she was abducted from her own home. Who'd think that something like that could happen in the midst of a freakin' slumber party????

Just this past spring a three-year-old who'd been playing on the floor while his mom worked in the kitchen slipped out the back screendoor.

The boy was lost in the woods for more than two days with much fear for his survival since there are coyotes and other predators in the Missouri wilds. Not to mention that both shoes were found not far from his home, leaving him wearing only training pants and a tee shirt with nighttime temperatures still in the lower forties.

He was found over three miles from his home and was only significantly dehydrated.

Kids, as you and Willow argued, are frequently a lot more resilient than adults think they are.
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Re: Is America more dangerous or parents more paranoid?

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