Wednesday, June 4, 2014
On the culture of fear in our society...
I just shared this on Facebook but wanted to share it here too.
Last week, I stopped home from the grocery to put some frozen food away before heading back out to visit my mother-in-law. I came out of the house 3 minutes later to find a strange woman parked in my driveway, yelling to me "ARE THESE KIDS OKAY? THEY'RE IN THIS CAR WITH THE WINDOWS UP!" First of all, yes they are fine, I ran in the house and came right back out. Second of all, they are both big enough to exit the car on their own if they get hot. Third of all, get the hell off my property! Okay, I didn't say the last one except in my head, but really? I spent the rest of that day wondering if I was going to receive a call from the authorities. I understand that people want to look out for the safety of children, but sometimes it gets a little out of control and crosses into nosy busybody territory.
Someone posted this article on FB this morning http://www.salon.com/2014/06/03/the_day_i_left_my_son_in_the_car/, and even though it's kind of long, it's a worthy read. It shows how, not only do we have to live in constant fear of terrible things happening everywhere (according the media, anyway), now we have to be afraid of the people who are so afraid of bad things happening that they feel entitled to involve themselves and law enforcement into the lives of strangers over the most minute concerns. And while I don't agree with what this mother did - I would never leave my 4 year old alone in a mall parking lot even if it was only for 5 minutes - but I don't think it's necessarily criminal. It just pisses me off, what this mom had to go through. The worst part is how her son now fears the police and is afraid to have her leave his side because he's afraid someone will kidnap him, since you know, there are kidnappers lurking EVERYWHERE. Right?
For further reading, look up Lenore Skenazy (mentioned in the above article) and her blog Free Range Kids. If you're not familiar with her, she's the mom who let her very capable 9-year-old son use the subway on his own and received outrage for it. Her blog is a breath of (rational!) fresh air.