Lovely Gainesville Sun editorial

Now, if only people would listen: abduction of children by strangers is incredibly rare. These days people keep their children indoors under supervision at all times, or at least chained to a cell phone, because they’re terrified some boogeyman is going to get them if they ever go anywhere by themselves. But the world, at least in terms of stranger kidnappings, is no more risky than it ever was: which is to say, not risky at all. The real danger is from neighbors, friends, teachers, relatives: all the people the parents trust.

I fear sometimes for the youth of today. I worry that they’re going to grow up into completely clueless adults who have no idea how to take care of themselves, because they were never allowed to take responsibility and never allowed to be alone. I heard once about a woman who wrote a newspaper column in I think Boston, and she mentioned in her column that she let her twelve-year-old son take public transportation to and from school by himself, and a bunch of people wrote her hate mail calling her a terrible mother for subjecting her child to such danger, didn’t she know that he could be kidnapped or molested, especially now that she’d publicly advertised that he would be on the bus alone five days a week? It seems to me that she was a good mother for seeing to it that the kid knew how to take care of himself in the city and knew how to get around without assistance. But I guess I’m a minority in this belief.

Anyway, I wish there were more editorials like this one.

9 thoughts on “Lovely Gainesville Sun editorial

  1. Aimee April 19, 2009 / 4:47 pm

    I imagine you’d be safer on city transportation than you would think. I mean, you wouldn’t be isolated, there’d always be people around you, somebody to notice if you ran into trouble or needed help.
    I have always wished I lived in an area where they had good, reliable public transportation. It would make things so much easier for me, and I feel I’ve missed out on a lot of experience and independence by not having that option.

  2. Anthony April 19, 2009 / 5:07 pm

    Huzzah! for truth-telling. So rare these days. Almost as rare as child-abduction by strangers.

    Me too Aimee, on the “good, reliable public transport” thing. In San Antonio we only had gnarly buses. (In Podunkville OK here, “public transportation” is also known as “walking.”) The D.C. Metro system really impressed me when I was there ages ago.

  3. Aimee April 19, 2009 / 5:17 pm

    Here in Chickenhouselandvilletown City, we have a few mom and pop type taxis mostly used by drunks needing a ride, a van service for state employees only, and Paratransti. And the last is a pain in the ass: they can shift your pickup time up to an hour either way, and if it means you arrive at a closed office an hour before your appointment, too bad for you. Most of the drivers are very nice and helpful, but they’re overbooked and poorly scheduled, so sometimes you spend two or three times the expected amount of time on the bus before you get dropped off.
    Oh, and they don’t cross county lines, so when you need to go upstate, you have to change buses twice. Which adds who knows how much time to your trip?
    Don’t get me started on that, it’s a thorn in my side.

  4. Anthony April 19, 2009 / 5:33 pm

    Before I ask Aimee a question (“Now, how do you feel about bus trips and the changing of buses when going upstate, and the time added to your trip in the process? Good thing? Not so good?”), I’ll stay on-topic (rare, this) and say that, in Websleuths posts, during the search for Sandra Cantu and the “stranger abduction” possibility in the case then, scores of moms were pledging never to let their young-uns stray outside the house, and, as well, swearing to Taser the next hapless passerby who came within three feet of their offspring.

    Thus, they could stand to read the Gainesville Sun’s editorial, lest the future be like the present but even more-so, and overweight nine-year-olds with blank expressions and little experience of the outside world remain staring into screens and monitors and the mid-distance, totally divorced from bright sun, blue skies, green grass, etc., forever.

  5. Donna April 19, 2009 / 5:42 pm

    I remember walking to school, a good 2 miles away and am alive to talk about it. I started using public transportation in the Boston are at a young age, and also lived to talk about it. It’s the pedophile that is disguised as a Teacher, Bus Driver, Uncle so-and-so. It’s the people you know and trust that you have to watch. Be forever vigilant in making sure that those close to the children are good for the children. They have to grow up to be self sufficient and responsible adults. Mine didn’t get that way by hiding under my wing.

  6. Aimee April 19, 2009 / 5:49 pm

    I guess it’s easier for parents to fear people they don’t know than it is to doubt somebody you know and have ties to.
    But how many times do you read: “The rapist/kidnapper/killer is the mother’s boyfriend?” Yet, their own boyfriends seems to be the one area where mothers are totally iblivious about.

  7. KingOfK April 20, 2009 / 3:27 am

    Now that you mention it. I’ve known 3 victims of molestation. All 3 girls. And all 3 from people they knew….father, brother’s friend, 2 uncles

  8. Meaghan April 20, 2009 / 4:40 am

    By the age of four, I was going as far as the end of my block. By six or so, I was freely wandering the woods and fields surrounding my house. By twelve, I was riding my bicycle ten miles to the nearest town, and back. Admittedly, I live in a very rural area. But I can’t imagine kids today having that kind of freedom, even where I live. A woman quoted in the editorial, who also lives in a small, safe town, said she won’t even let her kids walk six blocks anywhere by themselves.

    The only person who ever tried to molest me (and failed) was a neighbor whom my parents and I knew.

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