Lenore Skezany, a promoter of "free-range children", has an op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal, criticizing the state of society where men are assumed, by default, to be predators.
Last week, the lieutenant governor of Massachusetts, Timothy Murray, noticed smoke coming out of a minivan in his hometown of Worcester. He raced over and pulled out two small children, moments before the van's tire exploded into flames. At which point, according to the AP account, the kids' grandmother, who had been driving, nearly punched our hero in the face.
Mr. Murray said she told him she thought he might be a kidnapper.
I agree that this level of paranoia is ridiculous and harmful. There aren't too many kids in my neighborhood, but I can't help but feel a little worried in talking to them. I know I'm fine. (Maybe a little quiet, keeping to myself... :) ) Heck, I could even babysit. On a given evening when I have nothing particular planned, I could watch TV just as well while keeping an eye on a couple of kids. But would I ever offer this? Let's just say I'd have to know the family really well to even suggest that.
Incidentally, "free range" is how I was raised. It may not have been the biggest range, but being free to roam the neighborhood or the woods surrounding the neighborhood without being monitored was just fine, and probably safer and healthier than being driven around to a variety of organized events.