You’ll recall the case of Mike Tang, the California chemist who made his son Isaac, age 8, walk home a mile at night to teach him a lesson: Keep cutting corners on your homework and you could end up not HAVING a home.
Of course someone saw the child outside alone and called 911. The police came, and Mike was jailed for the night. Eventually he stood trial, and the arresting officer testified that not only did he find Mike’s choice of discipline criminally dangerous, he (the cop) wouldn’t even let his own daughter, age 20, walk home at night.
The jury agreed with the officer. Tang was found guilty of child endangerment and sentenced to 56 days “hard labor” — that is, picking up trash and other menial work– which he has, to date, refused to do. As reports Reason.com (a site I write for, too):
[T]here’s an outstanding arrest warrant for his failure to comply. He scrawled a response on top of the warrant and mailed it back.
“Fuck you all!” Mike’s written response begins. “Walking on a public sidewalk at 7:45 p.m. is not child endangerment.”
Is Mike right, or did he jeopardize Isaac’s safety? And was it appropriate for the police to intervene?
“It rises to the level of unusual. It rises to the level of, perhaps, controversial. But it was not literally dangerous. That’s not a crime,” says journalist and Reason contributor Lenore Skenazy, founder of the Free Range Kids movement.
Watch the full video above and decide for yourself.
Approximately 5 minutes. Produced by Zach Weissmueller. Camera by Weissmueller and Alex Manning. Music by Blue Dot Sessions.
Share the video if you feel like starting a conversation on when it is appropriate for the authorities to intervene in family life. – L.