By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
A Seattle news medium saw it fitting to send a news team out to investigate a report of a child leaving school early and walking home. No, it was not The Onion but KOMO News. It does show a sense of the zeitgeist and the culture of fear that is sadly inherent in many today.
A five year old boy wanted to walk home after having first been driving to school by his father. He then left school early and walked home to see his mother. He reportedly walked a mile to reach home.
In an interview with reporters, the father reported that he was “scared to death” when he received a call from the school the boy left.
“When somebody like that calls you, you think of every milk carton kid, every lost kid, every child molester”
The parents are now saying they will be home schooling their children beginning next school year.
The school admitted its error and vowed to beef up security and have more adults guarding the perimeter of the school as well as on crosswalks and throughout the area surrounding the school. It showed surveillance video of the boy leaving.
A news crew had a video segment retracing the boy’s route home. The reporter commented how there was no sidewalk and what he described as heavy traffic. (one car driving by) He asked rhetorically at an intersection “How could a little five year old get across without being hit?”
Then came the almost predictable reference to sex offenders amok in the community
“And I did some checking. There are five registered sex offenders in this general area; [Lacey, WA] fortunately, none around this route.”
Statistically, the boy would have a greater chance of being struck by lightning than being abducted. But the fear is that child molesters wait behind trees and mailboxes all day to pounce upon wayward children.
Remembering back, somehow I survived my half-mile walk to kindergarten along with many of my other classmates. In fact, some of my elder relatives who went to school walking or on horseback generations ago seemed to have survived long enough to continue the family lineage. But today the perception of risk is so detached from actual risk the mollycoddling and defensiveness exercised by parents brings up the question of what is actually more of a risk to the children–the culture of fear or the extremely remote risk.
Sadly, a child errantly walking home becomes matter for a major news outlet.
Source: KOMO News
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