Monday, October 26, 2009

Stupid Adults

Someone (Annie) just left the following comment about the Balloon Boy hoax:

Couple of things: Mom and dad met at acting class; clearly they didn't learn how to act. And I live in Colorado, and at some point I think the stupid balloon actually went over my house, and they should most definitely pay our state back! How unfair for my taxes to be spent on this crap!! Also, I would like an apology. I was a MESS all day as I watched the ENTIRE thing unfold on tv. I hate them.

(Hope you don't mind me using your comment here, Annie, it reminded me of something that has been nagging at my brain lately.)

I was also worried sick about Balloon Boy. I have a 6-year-old--I was nearly out of my mind with anxiety about how that boy's mother must be feeling, and what that poor little boy's (most likely) last moments would or will be like.

Then to find out we had all been duped? That national media eclipsed presidential speeches to cover a hoax so these asshats could hopefully get a reality show? That those parents instructed all of their kids to lie to authorities, media, neighbors and friends? Fuck them. I don't have any more eloquent way of putting it.

That same week, some mommy blogger (and I won't link to her--her site is monetized and we should not give money to melodramatic attention whores) insisted that airport security had taken her baby out of her sight--tweeted it, asked people to retweet it, cackled over how she was going to sell the story to publishers...and then TSA released video proving that her child had been next to her all along. The video was doctored, she claimed.

Okay,'re so important that a government agency is going to edit security footage to conspire against you to protect their reputation on Twitter? It seemed doubtful.

In response, TSA released unedited footage from ALL 9 CAMERAS, with all 9 time-stamped and showing her baby right next to her. So she went "on vacation" and came back admitting nothing but pointing fingers and screaming, "you're mean" at people who had believed and repeated her story and were now understandably angry at her outright lies and her audacity to continue it so.

So, people are crazy and you don't need a license to have kids. Also, new media gives crazy people a world stage and we give them a willing audience. But unfortunately, all this nonsense (and these are just 2 recent examples, there's child-related craziness all over the place) erodes our human desire to help the vulnerable. It rightfully turns us all into skeptics for next time. It makes us less likely to get involved in someone else's plight, and that's really sad.

The pedophile-scare-craze is also contributing to the erosion of caring (and I have the same fears every other parent does, it is a terrifying thought). When I was in elementary school, our church pastor and his wife would regularly have groups of girls spend the night at their home. There was nothing weird about it at all, just a loving, childless couple who enjoyed entertaining kids in their home. Can you even imagine allowing that in this day and age though? It would seem highly unnecessary at best, sinister at worst.

I recently read about a guy who spotted a clearly lost and crying child in the mall, but since it was a little girl and he was an adult male by himself, he didn't feel like it was appropriate to approach her, just in case someone thought he was trying to take her. He kept an eye on her from afar until a woman passed and then asked her to go help the little girl. So, we're creating an environment where a grown male can't even approach a lost and terrified little girl without being scared of being accused of something untoward. There's something not right about that.

It means our kids are missing out on the joy of being surrounded by people who care, or at the very least are concerned for their immediate welfare. That makes me sad for them. A lot of us had childhoods enriched by other adults--teachers, neighbors, coaches, etc. I read an account from someone who had befriended the school janitor when she was a child. Her father was molesting her and one morning the janitor asked how she was and she blurted out the terror she was living. He took her to the guidance counselor, who called the police, who ended her ordeal. This day in age, janitors wouldn't/shouldn't befriend random little girls.

I guess there's no real answer or solution. It just sucks that so many adults are too stupid to trust, and it's making normal adults fearful and skeptical of others.

It sucks that they (the crazies) are hurting our kids one way or another.


Former Fat Chick said...

I used to spend the night at my English teachers house, she was married w/ no kids, 8th grade-11the grade, the first fight I had as a married woman, I walked to her house and slept on the sofa after crying on her shoulder. I worked in a school 3 years ago, I was told to never give a ride to a student and taught the "right" way to hug a student (when they asked to a hug) as to avoid full on contact...makes me cry

Valerie said...

I don’t think there are any more sickos out there than there ever were before. We just hear so much more as the media grows. Knowing more than was known before makes people more paranoid.

I remember when we were kids, we would go play outside with the other kids in the neighborhood, and we just knew to go home when it started to get dark. Our parents didn’t know exactly where we were, just that we were at one of the neighbors’ house. You don’t see much of that anymore because of all these child abductions that we hear about. We don’t have kids yet, but I don’t think I would be comfortable letting them do half the things I did when I was younger, sadly.

In relation to the guy in the mall story…my husband is just like a big kid, and from time to time he will be out in the street playing softball with the neighborhood kids or even when he is just cutting the grass or working on the landscaping out front, some of the kids will run over to say hi. Well one day he was out at the mailbox and the two girls across the street ran over to see what he was up to. While he was standing there talking to them, a guy from down the street shouted, “pervert!” at him. Ever since then, he has been really paranoid about what people think, but he doesn’t want to tell the kids to go away because the neighbor might think he’s a perv.

Jennifer said...

I agree whole heartedly. I'm a in a place where I don't know what to do, and I hate that. I want my children to have the freedom I felt like I had as a child, but at the same time I'm terrified that something horrible will happen to them and it will be all my fault (in my head) for allowing it. I think it is just so unfair for our kids.

Carol said...

You are so right, it is a sad commentary. I was stressed about the poor little boy stuck in the balloon. Now I'm stressed about the poor little boy with not one but two psychotic parents.

Theresa said...

I wish I could be okay with my kids playing around the neighborhood on their own (like I did as a child), but the thought of one of my children being molested or hurt in any way makes me physically ill, angry, and terrified all at once.

Preppy Pink Crocodile said...

I totally agree.

But on a side note: what does the fact that they took acting classes have to do with anything. The news (and crazy Nancy Grace) keep saying that. I took acting classes and manage to live my life mostly on the up and up. I also took many writing classes and refrain from telling any tall tales on my blog. I don't really think one has much to do with the other unless he took acting classes in hopes of scaming the state of Colorado. Don't get me wrong, I think they are shady at best. But I just don't think it matters that they took an acting class 10 years ago.

Unknown said...

PPC, I think the acting class information is interesting because it is one of many signs that they are theatrical, overdramatic, attention-craving types, especially once you combine that with 2 Wife Swap shows and some elaborate publicity ploy. It's also interesting because they are such terrible actors and handled the revelation lie so poorly.

As far as kids playing unsupervised, I grew up on an island and all of us just roamed each other's houses and neighborhoods. Currently, there are about 8 kids on my street of varying ages and I NEVER see kids out playing. Sometimes in their yards, but even that's pretty rare. Big Kid would love neighbor friends, but it's hard to make it happen on its own when no one lets their kids out (myself included). It is sad.

Brittany said...

Oh, this is making my heart ACHE because you are SO RIGHT! My husband is the guy who would go up to that little girl, take her hand and say, "Are you ok? Do we need to find your parents?" and never think anything about it, all the while never knowing what people around seeing him might be thinking.

When I was in 5th grade, our teacher, Mr. Jones told us that we were ever in trouble and needed an adult, we could call him. Like if someone offered us drugs or wanted to drive us somewhere and was drunk. Nowadays, parents would think, "Why is he telling you to call him?" It is SO sad.

I love this post so much, thank you for sharing your insight.

Unknown said...

Grove, you're right! Even presenting yourself as an open, alternate line of communication seems suspect now. When I was in 9th grade, my psychology teacher gave us all his number (and I still remember it because the last 4 numbers spelled SHIT and he told us that so we'd remember) and told us to call for any reason--especially if we felt we were in danger, or needed a ride home, regardless of the time, situation or our condition. He also promised not to tell our parents.

As a parent, I'd be pissed!! But I do know of several kids who did call him and who knows, he may have saved their lives. He was also an amazing person and an incredible teacher and we felt we could trust him because he seriously seemed to care and felt non-judgmental.

MzLiz said...

Excellent post. I read the "TSA stole my kid" post--it was ridiculous.
This made me think of Halloween when I was a kid--we didn't go out till after dark. Unless we were really little, like 5 or 6, we'd just run with our friends all over the neighborhood--an area of several blocks. We didn't come in till late and no one ever thought about it. No one would do this now. I think there may be some reason to be fearful, but at the same time I think we are creating a bunch of paranoid, suspicious people. It is just sad.

~Gretchen~ said...

"her site is monetized and we should not give money to melodramatic attention whores"

but i thought you wanted us to read your blog???

honestly, i dont worry about bad shit happening to my kids. what i worry about is some helicopter mommy reporting me to CPS for giving my child some freedom in life

(ashley, the email response is being worked on)

Amy said...

When I was "little", some 40 years ago, we too roamed the neighborhood until dark. We played jumprope in the street, went in and out of each other's houses like our own and thought our teachers could do no wrong.

Unfortunately, the danger for me was in my own home. I was molested by my step-father and when I finally told my mother, she said it was my own fault for "wearing nightgowns". It was years before I got therapy and someone told me that it wasn't really my fault. I was grown by then and had kids of my own.

It's terrible that perfectly decent people feel the need to repress their natural instinct to help children in need. You can be sure that those truly preying on our children feel no such qualms.

Unknown said...

Amy, I want to slap your mother. Hard. It kills me that you went through that and she compounded the hurt once you confided in her. As a mom, I can't wrap my mind around that. It also goes to show that the increasing isolation of kids also protects abusers at home.

Gretchen, this chick makes me look like the sanest, calmest person on Earth. Her blog was almost impossible to read because I had to stop so often to roll my eyes. And, I don't make any money here (I do get cool free stuff occasionally). I'm cool with monetized blogs, as long as you're not profiting from being a lying, crazy bitch.

No worries on the email response, you know my turnaround time is around 3 months, so we're cool.

Kate said...

Amy - my heart goes out to you.

I agree with the posters who mentioned that there aren't more crazies out there today - we just hear more about it. That said, one of the best books I have ever read is "Protecting the Gift" by Gavin de Becker. He is a security expert who talks about how to keep kids safe by allowing them to trust their instincts - and your own. That whole "stranger danger" bullshit doesn't work. It's been shown over and over that kids think a stranger is someone who looks strange. I always tell my kids that if they get separated from me when we are out - to find a mom.

Unknown said...

Feel free to use my comments any time!

To Preppy Pink: I find it funny that they took acting classes, because if you watched the interview where the little boy blew the whole thing, the parents' acting was AWFUL!

Ashley, this post is so sad and unfortunately so true. I would rather some man I don't know try to help my son find me than have my son lost and crying, but I guess that just isn't ok anymore.

I agree with Gretchen though, I worry more about getting social services called on me than my children getting hurt, but that is because I always have one eye on them. It sucks that other moms are so worried about something happening that they feel they need to parent me on parenting my children. I'm not very nice to those meddling moms!

Jess said...

THIS! This is exactly why I was so mad at the whole hoax. I felt like it stripped away a little more of our trust. I mean, silly me, for caring that a little boy was in trouble. It's like the boy who cried wolf. Each time this happens, we lose something as a culture and society.

I hope and pray that if my 6 year old is ever in trouble, people will believe me, and still unite and help me. I am committed to doing the same for any one else. If you tell me your kid is in trouble, I will believe you. It's not worth the risk not to.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't have said it better myself. It's insane to know that people these days are creating this environment you are talking about.