Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Politicians: The Real Stranger Danger For Kids

There are some things we subversively discuss here which are very irritating, but still others which are so obscene that it makes me weep for the future those younger than us will be forced to live in.

It's taken me a while to properly catch up on Lenore Skenazy's recent articles, but this kind of perverted attitude really grips my shit, so it's worth reproducing it in full.
I was accused of abusing a child when I rescued him from drowning. I was swimming on beach and I noticed a 8 or 9 year old kid come off his little surf board and he sunk straight to the bottom, about 10 feet deep. I swam down and rescued the kid and swam him back to the beach.

As soon as I got the child to the beach he was crying and coughing up water, his mother ran down screaming to leave her boy alone. She was screaming at me so loudly that people were crowding around to see what had happened. At this time the life guards turned up and I advised them what happened as I could not talk any sense to the mother. The life guards took the boy and mother to the life guard hut and I went back to my towel on the beach.

One of the life guards came back to me 10 minutes later and ask me to stay where I am because the police have been called and the mother wants to press charges. The cops turned up 20 minutes later and interviewed me and at that time another lady came up to the police and corroborated my story. The cops let me go, no apology from mother who was marching off the beach arguing with the cops after they told her what happened.

If it was not for the other lady I believe I would be sitting in a police cell for rescuing a kid.
"Leave her boy alone", she said. Great, so there'd be a possibility of his being a dead boy.

This is a story from America, but you just know that the scenario is equally likely to have happened here. The first I noticed this pathetic parental attitude was back in around 1990 when - with my partner of the time - I attempted to soothe a child who had lost her Mummy in Sainsbury's. When the daft cow turned up, she yanked the kid away and gave us the filthiest look I've ever seen.

This, of course, two decades before the hysterical paedohysteria we see now with the entire population being condemned as kiddie-fiddlers until they are proven otherwise. In fact, nowadays, just a wild accusation can land you with a record which makes you unemployable.

It's part of a vile underbelly of filthy distrust which I have touched upon regularly on this blog, and which leads inevitably to childhood self-reliance being curtailed thanks to the selfishness of idiot elders.

All encouraged by politicians who are blindly ignorant to the nasty society they are creating with kneejerk policies which create child harm from an almost non-existent threat.
In 2008, a report for Civitas, a think tank, said the increasing use of such checks had created an atmosphere of suspicion among parents, many of whom were volunteers at sports and social clubs, and who found themselves regarded as "potential child abusers".
I don't use the term 'child harm' lightly, either. There is ample evidence that such hysteria leads to everyday situations where kids suffer real harm over fears of a risk so vanishingly small that it is literally one in a million.
On average 11 children are killed by a stranger each year in the UK (and there are more than 11 million children in the UK), a figure that has not increased since the 1970s. Statistically children are more at risk of abuse from someone they know. Of course the murder or abuse of any child is a tragedy but the actual statistics do imply that our parental anxieties about stranger danger are misplaced.
Conversely, a population scared to step in for fear of being branded a sex pest contributes to tragedies like this, not to mention the numerous lives destroyed as a result of a society obsessed with dirty-minded suspicion.

As a nation, we have shifted from a position where it is a moral imperative to look after kids where one sees them to be in trouble, to one where it is far wiser to look the other way.

Spineless politicians did that. Hurried into it by pathetic idiots who see non-existent paedos behind every hedge and - indeed, on every public beach - thereby contributing to a culture of irrational fear which destroys us all, along with communities which for centuries have been naturally disposed to looking after them.

Would you, for example, come to the aid of a kid in the current atmosphere of stranger terror?

I know I'd think long and hard before doing so.


Jay said...

This paedo hysteria is why I refuse to do any work that could or does involve children.  That, and because of the government insisting on background checks, as if we are all paedo-criminals. I have no criminal record. I've never been arrested for anything. I've never been cautioned. I've never really spoken to the police. If someone wants to do a CRB on their own back, I can live with that.  Making it a law, however, simply grates. 

Jocelyn said...

CRB checks have become a money-making exercise too.  So many jobs want CRB checks now, even if you don't work directly with children or vulnerable people.  If you go to employment agencies, each agency wants you to get a CRB check.  One CRB check will not suffice for all prospective employers - you have to get a separate one for each employer and in the case of agencies, the jobseeker has to pay for it.  Imagine- all the duplication that goes on - The CRB agency must be making a fortune! Well I suppose that creates a lot of (non) jobs for jobsworth bureaucrats!

greg said...

Nope. But if someone can't do basic maths why should I trust the rest of their arguments? Out by a factor of 20 is a huge amount. 

There is no actual evidence in this article1. No evidence that the reason the dodgy look was for any reason other than being a bit embarrassed2. A story from 2006 - I can imagine someone saying something similar to justify their actions  in similar situations. Again just a story rather than real evidence3. The only statistics used are pretty poor. 4. On that point  apparently serious harm is defined as death? Pretty poor reasoning. Serious harm can include a whole range of things apart from death. Rape, sexual assault, physical abuse can and do have long lasting serious impacts on children.Spurious correlation and causation here as well. Is 11 deaths a year because of effective child protection policy or do CRB checks do nothing?

I want children to have a life and that means obviously a wide range of paid and voluntary adults often regular contact. I also don't want them to be abused which means preventing adults contact being limited or regulated to a certain extent. I have no doubt the balance has swung too far to regulation but this article adds nothing to the general debate. 

david thomas said...

I remember swimming off Swanpool beach in Falmouth aged about 11 + 3/4, not feeling particularly endangered but probably being swept out to sea I was suddenly 'rescued' by an anonymouse stranger and hauled back to shore with a hearty "ther you be, my handsome". Jolly embarrasing I can tell you but these days I expect that he would leave me to my fate.

I hold an 'enhanced' CRB check  btw. 

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Did CRB checks start in the 1970s then? Who knew? #GG

greg said...

straw man! Have CRB checks saved at least one child from some form of physical emotional harm? 

Dick_Puddlecote said...

It was your suggestion, not mine. Have they saved more than the number of kids who may have been harmed (in all different ways) by the effect of adults not being universally caring? No-one knows, but I venture to suggest everyone looking the other way is more dangerous than the tiny minority of people who wish harm on kids.

You carry on with your pedancy if you like, the rest of us are doomed to live in your world where kids are taught to mistrust everyone over 18. And where kids themselves are sometimes destroyed for life as a result.


Well done.

Jax said...

… no apology from mother who was marching off the beach arguing with the cops after they told her what happened. That’s the bit which most concerns me about the whole thing.  Maybe – just maybe – it’s possible that a drone-mother might be so convinced that any adult touching any child is only doing so for their own perverted pleasure – I guess that any parent with a lower-than-average IQ (as this one clearly had) might have swallowed wholesale the hysteria induced by the media, but it’s when that ignorant jumping-to-conclusions mentality, seemingly in the space of an instant, jumps from being suspicious that something’s happened to absolute certainty that it did, even in the light of clear evidence and explanation that their assumptions are incorrect, that it becomes terrifying.  How dense and wrapped up in her own self-righteousness must this dumbass piece of scum be?? In fact, in the litigious USA, I’d have thought that this person might well have had good cause to stop the ignorant, squabbling mother, taken her details and then sued her for causing unnecessary distress and upset to him (I'm assuming that it is a "him").  Maybe a few thousand pounds’ settlement and the threat of having her child taken into care for being a neurotic, and thus unfit, mother might knock a bit of common sense into her thick, selfish American head.   But then parents, as a race, don’t seem to the most grateful of creatures anyway, though, do they?  I’ve stopped twice to “rescue” a frightened, crying, lost child in busy shopping centres, which has involved little more than stopping and talking to them – asking them when they last saw Mum, if brothers or sisters were with her, what colour coat she had on etc etc – more to calm them down than anything else, and thankfully on both occasions Mother has rushed up very quickly and retrieved said lost children.  But bearing in mind that this was way before paedo-hysteria really got going, in neither instances has a peep of thanks or even acknowledgement been forthcoming from Mother.  At precisely what point during the conception/birth/child-rearing process does the “good manners and common courtesy to people not directly related to oneself” part of the brain get switched off?

nisakiman said...

It's a sad indictment of society today. We have the likes of  Rebekah Brooks during her tenure at the NoW to thank for the poisonous atmosphere that now surrounds any contact between adults and non-related kids. All so she could peddle her rag full of scandal and prurience to the uncritical masses.It's another (of many) reason I choose to live where I do. There's none of that stupidity here. It's normal for kids to interact with adult strangers. On several occasions in the last few years I've been sitting alone in a cafĂ© and had a young child come up and engage me in conversation. It's great. I like kids. (I've had four of my own). And Mum's reaction? A glance over to check little Amelia isn't being a nuisance, and a smile at me. Can you imagine that scenario in UK nowadays? No, nor can I.

greg said...

You completely misrepresent my argument and don't address any of my points. I actually stated that there is too much regulation. I agree that there are too many CRBs. I just think you don't argue the point very well. 

Smoking Scot said...

There's a woman alive today and hopefully unaware of the fact I rescued her (age 5) in a swimming pool in the '70's.

Fortunately her mother understood her crying was out of fear and frustration that she couldn't remain submerged on the bottom unless she exhaled!

Been there myself (and got hauled out by my father), hence the reasonably swift response to a heck of a lot of bubbles - way too many!

I know there's always a risk in coming to the aid of a child: the parent and his or her inability to be there 100% of the time. It's their guilt I feel I have to deal with first. Once the child recovers and calms down (as she did in this case), then all is validated.

Would I do it, or something similar, again? You betcha; it's about the kid and, they simply do not know their limits. Yet I know I'll have to cover myself with the parent or guardian pdq!

Don't have a link to it, but there's a video today on youtube of a Chinese boy, aged 3, peddling his bike with outriggers through the streets, surrounded by muckle great trucks and buses. Policeman saw him and saved his butt. Kid did a runner when his grandfather went off "to answer the call of nature".

CCTV does have it's uses.

junican41 said...

It seems that the only way to answer the 'mother anger' is to get angry at the mother! "What the hell were you doing letting this child swim out like that, woman! Were you not watching him? You stupid woman! Take better care in future!"

I don't understand where Greg is coming from. Does he think that real paedos take CRB checks and fail them? What DP is talking about it the hysteria which has caused massive uncertainty in adults as to whether or not they should help/comfort a child in distress - or even recognise that they exist. The accuracy of the story is neither here nor there - it merely illustrates a point, that point being that some parents have been so brainwashed by the hysteria about paedos that they can no longer recognise real dangers.

And when did the definition of 'child' extend to the age of 18? This person sounds like a Holy Zealot of Tobacco Control to me.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

We're not all that way, Jax. I have known parents who go that way, though, so I understand your point. 

It always seems to me that they see themselves as, all of a sudden, more important because they are now entrusted with a child. Mr P Snr generally rants that they think they're the first people in the world to ever have kids. Some turn into very judgemental people overnight too, we know a couple who - since having their one child two years after ours - seem to believe it's their role to tell us (and everyone else) how to bring up kids. As if we're somehow doing it all wrong.

When an ego is so over-inflated, perhaps they no longer feel the need to employ manners when dealing with 'lesser' beings IYSWIM. ;) 

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Not without a lot of suspicion on the one side and apprehension on the other, no. 

Dick_Puddlecote said...

I'm glad you 'got it' Junican. It was an opinion piece exactly along the lines you describe, not a forensic statistical deconstruction. The links are there as examples, not comprehensive studies. 

I think some may read it as something it is not, rather than the 'tabloid junk' I'm proud this blog has been labelled by the Bad Science chimps. :)

Jax said...

Yes, that was probably a little harsh.  Of course there are good, socially-minded parents around and they usually produce lovely, socially-minded children.  I guess what makes me most mad is that the trumped-up, self-presumed “rights” of the other kind never seem to go unchallenged, even by otherwise fair-minded members of society.   Your story is a classic example of this.  Instead of thinking “hang on, this is a parent, and she is thus naturally inclined to be over-protective of her child, but this might have led her to make an incorrect judgement of the situation,” the authorities took her at her word and actually started down the road towards accusing an innocent (indeed a heroic) person of one of the most despised crimes in modern society today.  Their own empathy and understanding – and thus acceptance – of this woman’s feelings actually disabled them from using their own rational faculties, and thus their good judgement, when in point of fact it should have enabled them to understand just how easy it was for her to jump to the wrong conclusion.  That’s why it’s so dangerous (it also, incidentally, is one of the reasons why the old “for the sake of the cheeldren” line is trotted out with such unerring regularity by the Healthists – people like your readers on here might question the facts, but even they don’t question the principle). This mindset in turn seems to encourage these “dreadful” parents to be even more demanding, unreasonable and inconsiderate, because they know they’ll get away with it, and – to be perfectly frank – it’s a very good way of ensuring that they get to do precisely what they want to, simply by chanting the magic mantra that “I’m only doing this for the sake of my cheeeldren.”   So, apologies to all you decent, caring parents out there for tarring you all with the same brush.  I just wish there were more of you!

Lyn Ladds said...

I know a female head teacher of a primary school and it breaks her heart that when a child in her school falls over and is crying that she cannot give that child a hug, or even put her arm around their shoulder.

This lack of caring can also impact seriously on the future wellbeing of children, they can feel alone, isolated and unworthy.  That impacts on a hell of a lot more children than any real danger does.

Lyn Ladds said...

The trouble today Jax is that the police (though cannot comment on the US Cops) don't have the common sense they were born with, just the rule book!

In the past, with proper policing, when we actually had bobbies on the beat, they would and could mediate and calm situations down because they had a certain amount of autonomy.  Today they just react with the current sway of general political mantras without any thought or idea that things are not just exactly as they seem.

Off subject, but I got done for speeding in a truck, I sped up from 40mph to 46mph to prevent someone overtaking on a blind bend because I could see over the hedge and what was coming - I did it to save a major head on collision, but that is no reason for speeding, apparently!

Angry Exile said...

Would you, for example, come to the aid of a kid in the current atmosphere of stranger terror?

Easy question, easy answer: nope. I'd want to and I'd feel like I ought to, but without a lot of witnesses of impeccable character and a waiver signed by one of the child's parents I'd be reluctant even to yell helpful advice to a kid I didn't know in case some shitwit thought it was grooming. Fuck's sake, these days you'd almost get less hassle and suspicion for having a pitbull that partially eats someone's kid than being the guy who grabs hold of the kid and pulls him to safety, especially if you're unlucky enough to be driving a van.

NB Some of this comment may be exaggerated.