Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Cause of death: bad politics

If you keep up with the news, you may have read the sad tale of Abigail Rae, the 2 year old who drowned in England recently. The saddest part of the tale is that she could have been saved by Clive Peachey, a bricklayer who drove by her moments before death.

Why didn't he stop?

"I kept thinking I should go back. The reason I didn't was because I thought people might think I was trying to abduct her."

It's an indictment of our culture, both in the US and in England, than an adult doesn't stop to help a child that's obviously in a dangerous situation because he's afraid of being labeled a child molester.

Wendy McElroy has an excellent editorial on the subject, and I urge you to read it.

The entire subject hits home for three reasons. Each has it's own little story.

The first was the national hysteria a few years ago over allegations, almost all of which proved unfounded, of massive child abuse in daycare centers. I was in the area of one of the worst examples, the Little Rascals Daycare Center case. Despite a complete lack of physical evidence and some astounding claims by the children, people were convicted and lives ruined in a case of what turned out to be mass hysteria.

The second was my own sighting of a little girl, maybe 3 years old, walking beside a busy road on Christmas Day. I had my wife and children with me, and Mrs. Freeholder and I agonized over whether or not to stop and see why this child was alone in this area. We decided, for the same reasons that Mr. Peachey did, that this might not be the wisest course of action.

The third was on a field trip with my son's fourth grade class to our state capital. During a restroom break, a fight broke out in which one boy, who I assumed was with our school but in another group, had another smaller child pinned in a stall and was threatening to drown him. I broke it up and sent the little miscreant out of the room. I'll swear that this kid was seriously thinking of taking me on. I've had people look at me like that before, and it isn't a look you mistake.

Well, it turned out he was from another school. The chaperone decided she wanted to make a federal case of it, and was screaming at the top of her lungs. The Capital Police got involved, and I was fortunate enough to have two adult chaperones with our group and every one of the kids in my group crowding around me and defending my actions to the officer.

I've never been so proud of a group of kids in my life. I fully suspect they kept me from spending an entertaining afternoon in the company of the police.

In the end, nothing happened, and the harridan went off to do whatever harridans do when they don't get their way.

I've chaperoned two field trips since, but I have decided that I won't get involved in any more fights unless the kids are in the group I'm dealing with.

Is it any wonder Abigail is dead?

No comments: