“DWM” — Driving While Male. Let’s Start Using This New Phrase.

Readers — Sometimes a phenom needs a name before we start to recognize it, so I am hereby declaring incidents like this one (and this onethis one, and even “experiments” like this one) “Driving While Male.”

In this latest story, the facts are simply that a man driving a car spoke to some kids. This occasioned a report, below. But oftentimes, the driver doesn’t even need to speak. The mere presence of a male in a car anywhere near a school, bus stop or child  is enough to inspire notes home from school, Facebook posts and news stories:

Newport police have a warning for Kingdom parents after a suspicious incident in the former Vermont Teddy Bear parking lot.

Police say just before 5 p.m., a four-door, maroon sedan approached two children playing in the lot off Farrant Street. The driver, described as a white man in his 40s with brown hair and a beard, allegedly asked the kids about another house on the street.

At this point, police don’t believe the man was trying to abduct the children, but they remind parents to keep an eye on their kids when they’re playing outside. They also urge parents and kids to call police if they spot a suspicious person or vehicle in their neighborhoods.

And here’s a note I got about two weeks ago:

I had moved to a new area for a job.  I won’t answer a cellphone unless I’m parked, so as I’m exploring the roads to find alternate routes (The area gets a lot of snow)I get a call.  I pull onto a side street, park and answer.  Since I had just moved, all the billing questions and personal calls were to the cell until I got my hard line at the house.  After THREE different people reported a suspicious male stopping near their homes, the cops came to have a talk.  They were sympathetic, but said if I got called on again, I’d be cited civilly as a “Public Nuisance”.

What is to be done? It’s wonderful that communities are alert and aware of what’s going on in the neighborhood, but automatically leaping from “man in car” to “quite possibly a predator!” is as outlandish as leaping from, “two kids hanging out” to “one kid probably being bullied!” This is worst-first thinking: Leaping to the worst possible conclusion first. I’m just hoping that by giving this leap a name, we can start to see it for what it is: Hysteria + prejudice. – L.

OMG! Is that a MAN in a CAR? Near MY CHILD???

OMG! Is that a MAN in a CAR? Near MY CHILD???

 

76 Responses to “DWM” — Driving While Male. Let’s Start Using This New Phrase.

  1. MichaelF May 6, 2014 at 8:23 am #

    Unlike in the Jersey case we saw here yesterday where the woman drove slow with her hazard lights on (heh…now I see the humor in that) and trying to “stall” the child where she was ok. If that was a man, even if he was trying to call the cops, there would have probably been a SWAT response.

    Again all we are seeing here is that hyper-vigilance is bordering on McCarthyism, where it does not matter if you are or ever were a “communist” (or child predator) all that matters is you are suspected of being one now. So it’s alright to go into overdrive to “protect the children” or the “country” from this threat. When all you ever see are threats then you never get a moments peace.

  2. QuicoT May 6, 2014 at 8:31 am #

    I think only people who have a full police background check should be allowed to drive at less than 15 mph

  3. tana C May 6, 2014 at 8:32 am #

    Whoa! So a guy does the SAFE thing, and stops to take a phone call, and he’s a potential public nuisance? Crazy!

  4. Mama Bear May 6, 2014 at 8:43 am #

    After THREE different people reported a suspicious male stopping near their homes, the cops came to have a talk. They were sympathetic, but said if I got called on again, I’d be cited civilly as a “Public Nuisance”.

    So, let me get this straight. The cops were supposedly sympathetic, but if they should happen to be annoyed and inconvenienced by even one more call about this guy, HE’S going to be cited?? Even though he was minding his own business, behaving within the law, but now because we’ve got multiple neighbors freaking out, it’s time to clamp down on the stranger who isn’t from these parts. This sounds like the cops just trying to rid themselves of a perceived nuisance the easy way, never mind what’s right.

    If that had been me, I would have remained civil and polite, but still argued the point with at least one officer, asking what law or local ordinance I’d unwittingly broken. If that didn’t resolve things, I’d probably go pay a friendly visit to the captain, and start getting to know the local constabulary in general.

  5. KathrynH May 6, 2014 at 8:47 am #

    We have had one of those recently here, too. This is the press release the school district emailed parents and put on their website:

    “On 04-16-2014 at approximately 4:45pm the R—— Police Department received a complaint regarding a suspicious white male in the area of S—— Lane. It was reported that a 9 year-old boy was playing outside when an unidentified male pulled up in a white van and parked it in the roadway. The male then exited the van and yelled to the boy to come over to him. Subsequently, the boy ran to his residence. The male then entered the van and left the area.

    The suspicious individual is being described as a white male, in his fifties, balding, with a moustache and beard. The male was wearing plain blue shorts, a plain black t-shirt and reading glasses at the time of the incident.

    The van is being described as a newer model work van, white in color, with no rear windows, and no ladder rack or markings.

    At this time the R——– Police Department is actively investigating this incident and is working with the area towns that have had similar incidents to see if there is any connection. The intentions of the unidentified male are not known at this time.”

    This was after a couple other similar incidences in neighboring towns. “Man in a Van” hysteria, it seems. Friends of mine have expressed concern over it and, well, I just can’t help but roll my eyes.

  6. Karen Dempsey May 6, 2014 at 8:50 am #

    We’re really making an analogy to what black drivers (walkers, riders of public transportation) are put through?

  7. Brooks May 6, 2014 at 9:03 am #

    At my kids’ schools, now retrofit with mag-lock bullet-proof doors thanks to Sandy Hook hysteria, the office workers automatically buzz in any woman after barely looking up. But any man gets the full visual pat-down before being buzzed in. The other day I followed a woman in just behind her, and the office person was apoplectic. My response, “If this place wasn’t the prison that it now is, you wouldn’t have been worried, would you?”

  8. lollipoplover May 6, 2014 at 9:12 am #

    Even more dangerous than DWM is DIWVWM.
    Driving In White Van While Male.

    Anxious, bored helicopter moms and Nancy Grace loving busybodies place more phone calls about white vans driving slowly near children than pizza delivery orders during the Super Bowl. There really needs to be awareness about this plight. Maybe a Support ribbon on the back of these vans for “White Vans for Freedom from Creeper Discrimination” or “If this van is just driving, don’t go a dialing”.

  9. marie May 6, 2014 at 9:25 am #

    I think only people who have a full police background check should be allowed to drive at less than 15 mphI think only people who have a full police background check should be allowed to drive at less than 15 mph

    I love this! Made me laugh.

    @Brooks: I have had to drop something off at the high school during the school day a couple of times and was asked for my ID. The front doors are supposed to be locked so we have to buzz in but since the kids use that entrance as a shortcut between areas of the school, they are unlocked most of the time. The first time, I said I didn’t have my ID with me. The woman obviously didn’t believe me but said she would deliver my item to the office for me, which I let her do. I left before I saw what she did, but I’m guessing she left her little table and walked the twenty feet to the office.

    The second time, I didn’t cause any trouble and offered up my ID. I am still sorry for not arguing my point that No, they really DON’T need my ID. There is always a cop on campus and it does worry me that someone who refuses to show ID could be questioned by the cop. I don’t know what happens if someone refuses to show ID.

    Crazy thing is that in the evening, with the school play or sports events or cheerleader clinics or concerts or any number of other events, adults can enter the school unimpeded. Evidently the school is not allowed to blow up during the day but in the evenings, all comers are welcome.

  10. Ann in LA May 6, 2014 at 9:29 am #

    Men need to start suing. The man in the second story should have asked: Just out of curiosity, if I were a woman would this have happened? If the officer said no, he should sue the department for sexual discrimination.

  11. marie May 6, 2014 at 9:33 am #

    We’re really making an analogy to what black drivers (walkers, riders of public transportation) are put through?

    Analogy? I dunno. I thought Lenore was starting with a reference that many people are familiar with (DWB) and using it to make her own point. Another segment of our population having more frequent or worse experiences, should not prevent someone from pointing out situations where society/cops do the wrong thing.

  12. pentamom May 6, 2014 at 10:11 am #

    “We’re really making an analogy to what black drivers (walkers, riders of public transportation) are put through?”

    Yes, because it is EXACTLY the same thing. A class of people gets harassed for driving around because other people instinctively and prejudicially think the person poses a threat just because of his appearance.

    Of course black people have a lot of OTHER stuff to put with too, that’s also unjust, so that means that overall their situations are different, but within the context these two situations are exactly comparable as far as it goes — people react in fear because of who a person is with no other reason, and the person’s freedom to participate in normal activities in society is hampered because of fear and prejudice.

  13. Michelle May 6, 2014 at 10:43 am #

    “So, let me get this straight. The cops were supposedly sympathetic, but if they should happen to be annoyed and inconvenienced by even one more call about this guy, HE’S going to be cited?? Even though he was minding his own business, behaving within the law, but now because we’ve got multiple neighbors freaking out, it’s time to clamp down on the stranger who isn’t from these parts. This sounds like the cops just trying to rid themselves of a perceived nuisance the easy way, never mind what’s right.”

    This is what upsets me the most. I mentioned this in another thread, but I was told nearly the same thing when CPS investigated me for letting my kid go to the park without me. I was told that I had done nothing wrong, that it wasn’t unsafe or illegal to let my daughter go to the park, but that if people kept calling to complain then I would get in trouble. WTF??

  14. Papilio May 6, 2014 at 11:08 am #

    Hah. It’s also the last paragraph every time: ‘there was absolutely NOTHING going on, but police still ask you to be dead scared.’

    About the second letter: it’s just too bad the cops apparently never just tell the callers, “Oh THAT guy, yeah, we went to check it out and it’s nothing. Go find yourself a hobby. Bye.” (OK maybe not the hobby part 😀 )

  15. Steve S May 6, 2014 at 11:11 am #

    I was in DC last month and because of Google maps sometimes spotty directions, was unable to find the Metro station I needed. I considered asking a kid walking down the street for directions, but was worried that this exact thing would happen. Someone would call the police.

    The thing that I am having trouble understanding is why do the police show up? Why aren’t the 911 operators doing a better job of screening these calls? Here in my state (MI), we had issues with people openly carrying firearms. This is a lawful activity. People would see someone that was doing this and call 911. Eventually, the police seemed to get tired of checking up on people that were otherwise doing nothing wrong and the operators were told to ask more questions…are they waving the gun around…are they acting threatening…do they look intoxicated?

    It would seem that some of these calls regarding drivers and children could have been screened out as being not an emergency or not something that required a police response.

  16. Michelle May 6, 2014 at 11:15 am #

    “We’re really making an analogy to what black drivers (walkers, riders of public transportation) are put through?”

    What, you mean being harassed by police and treated like a criminal just because of a physical trait that they have no control over and which has nothing to do with actually BEING a criminal?

  17. Papilio May 6, 2014 at 11:33 am #

    @Steve S: That’s what they should do, yes.
    “I considered asking a kid walking down the street for directions, but was worried that this exact thing would happen. Someone would call the police.”
    So… If someone is going to call the police anyway, you could call the police to give you directions and save them the trouble to come check you out if you’d asked that kid instead! 😀

  18. John May 6, 2014 at 12:33 pm #

    For goodness gracious sakes, is it now a crime to even TALK to children??? What in the world is American society turning into??? Is it this bad in Great Britain and Australia??

  19. Jill May 6, 2014 at 12:52 pm #

    What I don’t get is the knee jerk reaction of THREE people to immediately call the cops. I live in in an urban area with tons of kids on my block. I see a strange car my first reaction is to WATCH them for a bit.

    If they’re still there I get out of my cocoon and TALK to them. I just go right up to the car and ask them if they need help with something. Three times I’ve done this and three times they were waiting in their cars for legit reasons.

    Why are we so quick to call the cops instead of just talking to people while giving them the benefit of the doubht?

    Was there even a kid in sight when the man in this post was sitting using his phone? Geez!

  20. anonymous mom May 6, 2014 at 1:09 pm #

    “This is what upsets me the most. I mentioned this in another thread, but I was told nearly the same thing when CPS investigated me for letting my kid go to the park without me. I was told that I had done nothing wrong, that it wasn’t unsafe or illegal to let my daughter go to the park, but that if people kept calling to complain then I would get in trouble. WTF??”

    Yes. This is insanity, and it is very scary. People’s irrational fears and concerns should not become the basis upon which professionals act.

  21. lollipoplover May 6, 2014 at 1:13 pm #

    “I was told nearly the same thing when CPS investigated me for letting my kid go to the park without me. I was told that I had done nothing wrong, that it wasn’t unsafe or illegal to let my daughter go to the park, but that if people kept calling to complain then I would get in trouble.”

    Michelle- If someone continually calls to complain about a basic freedom children have to play outside they should be charged with harrassment. And you have a right to know who is placing these calls against your law-abiding family. There are no leash laws for children. Yet.
    Children playing and walking to parks is a GOOD sight. To think otherwise automatically is a mental health condition.

    I would also ask the officer and CPS what mental health services/hotlines are available from the county and how they can help these neighbors and repeat callers with irrational phobias involving children. Unless they want to set up a special division for imaginary crimes.

  22. Kate May 6, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

    Public Nuisance? So its worse to sit at the side of the road talking on the cell phone then it is to drive while talking (which is illegal in a lot of places!)?

  23. Beth May 6, 2014 at 3:00 pm #

    As a 911 dispatcher in Wisconsin, I can tell you that we absolutely CAN NOT screen calls in order to avoid sending an officer. We can tell the person that what’s going on is not illegal, or a civil matter, or ask them for a more detailed description of “suspicious” but we have to put the call in and dispatch the police. Can you imagine the uproar if I unilaterally decided to just cancel out a call I received because I, personally, without any type of investigation or follow-up, decided it wasn’t a problem? I can tell you I’d be on the front page of the paper the next day if it turned out an actual crime was occurring.

    It’s the officer’s prerogative not to respond (and hopefully contact the complainant to explain why they are not responding) and the officer’s prerogative to take no action. It’s not on the dispatcher that officers DO respond to calls about “nothing” and say things like “if one more person calls, you’re a nuisance”.

  24. Steve Cournoyer May 6, 2014 at 3:13 pm #

    I drive a “creepy white van”-excellent vehicle for a whitewater kayaker. Last week , stopped by a river to check a rapid I hadn’t paddled in 25 years or better. The old dilapidated mill site is now a neighborhood park! Nice! hike down along the river 10-15 minutes to scout the rapid and upon my return- cops and the full treatment(me and the van thoughorly searched just short of being locked up, I’ve zero record) was told I “shouldn’t be there”…

  25. Tsu Dho Nimh May 6, 2014 at 3:33 pm #

    After THREE different people reported a suspicious male stopping near their homes, the cops came to have a talk. They were sympathetic, but said if I got called on again, I’d be cited civilly as a “Public Nuisance”.

    They would rather he keep driving and talk?

  26. Tsu Dho Nimh May 6, 2014 at 3:39 pm #

    From a comment on the “experiment” story: For those that believe in “all or most people are good”….watch the ID channel for half a day, maybe that’ll change your mind!

    So watching intensive coverage of a few crimes for several hours proves that people are bad?

    And another: “There is absolutely no logical reason why any adult would ever ask for directions from a child.
    Because maybe the child lives in the neighborthood and knows where things are? I wouldn’t ask a toddler, but a 7-10 year old certainly would know where the Zoo was.

  27. Yocheved May 6, 2014 at 3:41 pm #

    @Karen Dempsey, yes, we are making that analogy. White privileged people are finally getting a taste of the sheer insanity that people of color have had to endure for the past 400 years, and they don’t like it. You know that nothing gets reported or commented on unless it upsets a white person, and you’re right to point out the injustice of that.

    These days, you don’t have to be a Big Scary Black Man to incite hysteria, you just have to be in possession of a penis. Everyone knows it’s a potential weapon, and you can never be too safe, amitire? I weep for humanity.

    SMH

  28. J- May 6, 2014 at 3:54 pm #

    A similar thing happened to me recently. My wife and I were looking for a daycare center. There is one close to my work and so we thought that I should stop by and take a tour (which they offer) after work.

    I park on the street next to the daycare center, and shoot a couple of a texts back and forth with to my wife telling her that I am there, what she want me to ask, etc. I was in my pickup for not even 5 minutes.

    I get out of my truck and find myself facing a posse of harridans and one daycare worker, who want to know just who the hell I am, what the hell I am doing there, why I am parked near a daycare, why I am on my phone, and why they shouldn’t call the cops that instant.

    I explained I was there to take a tour and put down a $250 deposit on enrollment, but I guess that is not going to happen any more. Then I drove off.

    Talk about worst first thinking. God forbid a dad has to do anything around a daycare. If the first assumption is that I am up to no good, how could I ever enroll my son there? If it’s my turn to pick him up after work, will it be assumed that I am an abductor instead of his father? Will I get the “creepy guy” stare every time I show up.

    They weren’t the only daycare that had crazy anti-male rules, but they were the worst in terms of personal interaction. One place needed a written consent form from my wife to say it was OK for me to pick up our son. They said is was an issue with divorced parents and custodial rights. But 1) I’m not divorced, and 2) I didn’t need to sign anything to let my wife pick up our son. Other daycares had “mommy days”, but no indication that as a dad I could participate in anything. I got the feeling that most daycare centers were happy to take my money and then ever wanted to see me again.

  29. Warren May 6, 2014 at 4:41 pm #

    First thing men have to stop being so freaking wimpy.

    When approached by the busy bodies or confronted by the police, who will cite you for bothering the morons that called in, there are two words to be said………one starts with F the second with O.

    Since you are not doing anything wrong, don’t take crap from them. Tell them off.

  30. Bostonian May 6, 2014 at 4:43 pm #

    This conversation reminds me of the many years I spent living and traveling abroad. Sometimes I didn’t speak the language too well. Most of the time I didn’t know my way around too well. But I never had a problem getting where I was going anywhere in the world for one reason:

    Shoeshine Boys.

    I called it the Shoeshine Boy Method of Navigation. Don’t worry too much about planning your exact route; just ask the next Shoeshine Boy. These tykes are out there all day for small change. If you ask them a question, they’ll go out of their way to help you. I’ve had shoeshine boys lead me by the hand through neighborhoods, to bus stops, to bars. Sometimes it turned into a regular little party, with all their friends tagging along. Flip them some change and everybody comes out ahead.

    Meanwhile, in America…

    It honestly makes me wonder sometimes if the culture of fear is going to have long-term effects on the adults produced. Are kids who are terrorized about crossing the street at ten going to invent careers or start companies at twenty?

  31. Havva May 6, 2014 at 4:43 pm #

    The stories from the men here are sickening. Individually I would be tempted to brush them off as random bad authority figures. But together this many in response to one post demonstrate a pervasive problem.

    Except what J said which is a problem all on it’s own:
    “One place needed a written consent form from my wife to say it was OK for me to pick up our son.”

    My daughter is at the day care featured here for briefly wanting us to slam the door on other parents (http://www.freerangekids.com/post-traumatic-stupidity-syndrome-for-safety-do-not-hold-the-door-open-for-the-parent-behind-you-at-drop-off/).

    And despite the paranoia they are capable of, their policy clearly states that they can not legally withhold a child from his/her parents unless there is a court order saying otherwise. On the few occasions my husband has appeared he has been treated with respect. He is given no grief in taking our daughter, even at unusual hours, even with no warning. Perhaps we’ve just been lucky and staff on hand happened to recognize him from prior rare appearances. But more likely, they know we have no custody issues. So they take my daughter’s friends telling her her dad is her followed by her open arm run to him shouting “daddy” as sufficient ID. And per policy take the fact that he is her dad as sufficient permission.

  32. Bostonian May 6, 2014 at 4:49 pm #

    I got the third degree the first time I picked up my daughter at her new day care. The woman at the desk said “Can I help you?” in a very aggressive tone when I came in. I said “No thanks, I know the way.” Next, in the same tone: “Who are you?” “I’m so-and-so’s dad. Who are you?” I made sure to squint and scrutinize her and pronounce her name a few times. I was ready for her to ask for my ID, at which point I would ask to see hers first.

    Who am I? I’m the guy who just opened your front door with an IRIS SCAN. Do these eyes look fake to you?

    And off I go to do it again. Wish me luck.

  33. Andrea May 6, 2014 at 5:17 pm #

    In response to Lenore’s question, “What is to be done?”

    I think we are seeing the culmination of cultural programming reach a level of absurdity not unlike what happened in the Soviet Union. It takes years and years to overcome something like this, but it is possible. There’s a documentary called “My Perestroika” in which a Russian woman, now in her forties, finds it truly bizarre to think about how when she was in school, it was a normal part of her life to sing songs glorifying communism. Maybe we can collectively get to a point where we look back on this era from a point of sanity and laugh about how stupid it all was.

    I think the only thing that can be done is for those of us who see the absurdity for what it is to stand our ground, keep talking about it, and keep mindfully giving our kids their independence. I’ve personally broken the cycle in my own family, demonstrating with confidence that my mom’s stranger-danger fetish is dated and irrational. It is becoming clear that my kids are already better adjusted than I was because they are free to roam the neighborhood and make friends with adults, so long as they follow the rules about not going anywhere with anybody without permission.

    After several decades of one family at a time getting the message there will be a tipping point as the older generations die out. Our kids will start raising their own kids this way and things will eventually change for the better.

    The risks are real for us (nosy neighbors, stupid cops, CPS) and the whole thing seems so stupid it isn’t fair that we have to deal with it, but like it or not, this is one of the challenges our generation of parents has been dealt. What we do to overcome it will define us and we can be proud of that.

  34. Buffy May 6, 2014 at 6:12 pm #

    Andrea said “…. finds it truly bizarre to think about how when she was in school, it was a normal part of her life to sing songs glorifying communism” and mentions cultural programming.

    We have that here. Look at God Bless America; someone, somewhere, decided that we the people are now required to stand, hat off, hand/hat on heart (regardless of one’s belief in God) when this song is performed, which at minimum is at every major league ballpark every Sunday. Woe to the one that doesn’t follow this directive. I have, on occasion, had to go to the bathroom during this song (it’s a good time to slip out of the row, everyone is standing…), and have endured nasty looks, comments such as “How disrespectful”, and even the line in the bathroom isn’t moving because everyone is standing at attention.

    Cultural programming, indeed.

  35. Papilio May 6, 2014 at 6:33 pm #

    J: “I get out of my truck and find myself facing a posse of harridans and one daycare worker, who want to know just who the hell I am, what the hell I am doing there, why I am parked near a daycare, why I am on my phone, and why they shouldn’t call the cops that instant”

    Something for a contest, Lenore? 😀
    ‘What kind of conversation should they have overheard to warrant that kind of reaction?’

  36. Michelle May 6, 2014 at 6:50 pm #

    Buffy, unless something has changed since the last time I was at a ball game, I think you mean The Star-Spangled Banner, which has only one short, indirect mention of God, in a verse that no one ever sings. And, yeah, most countries find it kind of rude not to show respect to their national anthem. It’s nothing new, nor unique to the US.

  37. stacey May 6, 2014 at 6:53 pm #

    I find it interesting that all the male hater/paranoia vanishes when a male police officer shows up. Why is he any better or different? His job is to serve and protect. What about all the men that protect their families, and even their country, through military service and so forth. Do we fear them all? Is to see men as protectors wrong? Do we betray “feminism” by acknowledging the strength AND goodness of most men? I suspect the root of male hating is at the fringe of radical feminism. People confuse the concept of “equal under the law” vs. THE SAME. We are not the same. And that’s ok.

  38. JP Merzetti May 6, 2014 at 7:08 pm #

    Sadly – in many burbs……there is never hide nor hair of any kinda kid of any description actually ON the street.
    They’re all escorted by secret security wearing wires and stuff, whisked to and fro behind tinted windows.
    So all manner of shady characters could be parked all over heck’s half-acre, and it wouldn’t matter a lick.

    If I was that guy….I think what would cheese me off the most is that any neighborhood nosy hose who called the cops before they actually checked me out first, wouldn’t deserve my repectful disdain.
    DWM could just as well be LWM (stands for living while male.)

    Unfortunately, men aren’t going away any time soon.

  39. Mike May 6, 2014 at 7:24 pm #

    Several years ago when our first child was a toddler, my wife and I volunteered a few times in the church nursery. At some point I started to change a child’s diaper and noticed that above the changing table there was a little typed paper with a few rules, one of which said something to the effect that no men are permitted to change diapers unless the child is their own. I was dumbfounded. What? Why? Then I realized that, of course, it’s because some parent might worry that I could be a child molester.

    It infuriated me, because I was molested as a child, and this asinine policy automatically assumed that I might be just like the bastard who molested me, simply because I am a male. But the truly ridiculous part is the utter pointlessness of it. Exactly what did they think I might do to the child (even if I really were a molester) with my WIFE and several other children no more than a few feet away from me in the same room?

    This whole all-men-are-potential-rapists-pediphiles-and-child-abductors thing is really starting to drive me crazy. My three little girls are all Asian, looking nothing like me, so for years now I’ve been waiting for the day that I’m going to be alone with one of them somewhere and have to deal with someone calling the police on me because, “what is that man doing with that little girl??” Especially with the two-year-old, because she throws tantrums a LOT. I can see it now… “Why is that child screaming and crying?? *gasp* Child Abductor!!!

  40. Warren May 6, 2014 at 10:51 pm #

    Jill,
    Who are you to decide what is a legit reason for sitting in their vehicle, on a public road? Who are you to question them in the first place? You should be told none of your damn business.

    J,
    I would love to see any daycare or school stop me from picking up my child, for any reason. First time they refuse to allow me to get my child, they get warned. Then they might get hurt.

  41. J.T. Wenting May 7, 2014 at 12:20 am #

    “Again all we are seeing here is that hyper-vigilance is bordering on McCarthyism, where it does not matter if you are or ever were a “communist” (or child predator) all that matters is you are suspected of being one now. ”

    And McCarthy was overall right, most of the people on his lists were later found to be communists and working for the Soviets or the Chinese…

    Here, none of the suspects are ever arrested, at least not for they’re accused of here…

  42. J.T. Wenting May 7, 2014 at 12:26 am #

    “We’re really making an analogy to what black drivers (walkers, riders of public transportation) are put through?”

    no. Even looking at those weird, let alone voicing suspicion about them, is “racist” so you’d better not do it or you get arrested for “hate crimes”.

  43. Omer Golan-Joel May 7, 2014 at 3:52 am #

    Question from an Israeli:

    Don’t you Americans have a constitution where it is proclaimed that everyone is INNOCENT until proven guilty by court in a fair trial?

    Because this man is being treated as GUILTY by the town’s busy-bodies without any crime being committed or trial being held.

  44. Buffy May 7, 2014 at 5:18 am #

    Geez Michelle, I am not an idiot. I said God Bless America, and I mean God Bless America. It is played every Sunday during the seventh inning stretch, usually (but some places play it in conjuction with the national anthem-I DO know what that is), at every major league ballpark during the entire baseball season.

  45. pentamom May 7, 2014 at 8:12 am #

    “Who am I? I’m the guy who just opened your front door with an IRIS SCAN. Do these eyes look fake to you?”

    :headdesk

    Unbelievable.

  46. Steve S May 7, 2014 at 8:24 am #

    In the US, the presumption of innocence comes from common law. That being said, it only applies to the criminal justice system. Other entities and private individuals can act like this. It also isn’t going to stop people from reporting stupid stuff. In my perfect world, people that continually made baseless 911 reports would be prosecuted under the same laws that make it illegal to abuse the 911 system. I know this is unlikely to happen.

    As for things like day care centers that are anti-male or require waivers for a custodial father to pick them up, I have a potential solution. Don’t give them your business. The same holds true for a church that doesn’t allow a male to change a diaper. I would leave and let them know why.

  47. Andy May 7, 2014 at 8:53 am #

    @Steve S Aren’t cops members of criminal justice system? I am referring to the “public nuisance” guy or anyone else told by cops to leave public space even through he did nothing illegal.

    As for “don’t give them your business” it will change nothing as long as affected people are in the minority. They do not have to care, because its usually mothers who look for these things, there is enough of them and they are not affected. Just don’t give them your business amounts to “shut up and put up with it” in such situation.

    Plus, some of those mothers may even like the policy and it changes nothing on fact that someone is getting bothered, questioned, asked for id and otherwise discriminated against. If you accept that as normal, then it is hard to qualify the place as “equal” or “free”.

  48. Puzzled May 7, 2014 at 9:49 am #

    Buffy – As a volunteer firefighter, I refuse at department meetings to recite the pledge of allegiance, since my allegiance is always based on actions, not a pledge in advance. I’m tolerated, but this stance is not exactly respected.

    Warren – What you suggest would work if either we had a free country, or we had a sizable minority opposed to this insanity. Instead, you’ll be tasered and dragged off while bystanders tsk about how lucky they were to avoid the danger of, well, something.

    Stacey – I don’t know about other people, but while I don’t fear men, I do fear police officers and military personnel. I consider myself in danger while around people who have demonstrated a willingness (there is no draft at the moment) to travel around the world and kill people they know nothing about. I don’t know how they’ll treat me. As for police, well, I fear those who will unquestioningly kidnap people for growing plants.

    General note – The people most harmed here aren’t men. They’re the children who can’t interact with half of the population. Interacting with adults is where the most learning takes place, far more than in a place called ‘school.’

  49. Steve S May 7, 2014 at 10:35 am #

    @Andy, yes cops are part of the CJ system, but they are under no obligation to treat you a certain way. Obviously, if they are going to arrest, detain, or search you, then some standards have to be met (PC or RAS). Absent some crime or legitimate reason, they can’t make you leave a public area.

    I am generally pretty libertarian when it comes to how businesses operate. If a business wants to have asinine policies, then that is their choice. Apparently, some people either don’t care, or like these policies. If I had to guess, it is probably mostly women that make day care arrangements.

    I am not suggesting that people shut up and put up with it. I don’t and haven’t. My kids have been in day care and I have never had to do any of the things described. I have also never heard of anyone I know having to do any of those things. Apparently, there are some day care places that aren’t staffed by idiots.

    What do you think the solution is? I have helped a few people with day care licensing. Some of the requirements are logical, but many of them are onerous and just plain silly. It is because of this, I am reluctant to suggest that the legislature get involved.

  50. Jen May 7, 2014 at 10:43 am #

    I’m afraid that both my husband and I to tell our daughter to look for “a mom” or a store clerk for help if she gets lost — why? not because we think that men won’t help. But more, because we know how uncomfortable it can make men to be approached by a strange little girl–they know they are being judged and may not be willing to help. I suppose that perpetuates the problem — but if my daughter needs help, she should have a plan that will likely get help for her on the first try.

    We were in a large city on the East Coast (which will remain nameless to protect its many sane inhabitants) once and a toddler boy was running straight for traffic–his parents racing behind him by about 25 yards. . .my husband stepped in front of him at the curb and said, “whoa buddy!” He didn’t touch him but that was enough to stop the kid in his tracks. His parents caught up and rather than a relieved thanks, they grabbed the kid’s hand and dragged him off with a backward glare towards my husband. Clearly it doesn’t make sense but when enough of these odd interactions happen, how can you not approach interactions with other people’s children more cautiously?

  51. John May 7, 2014 at 11:51 am #

    @Omer…under the American justice system, a person is considered innocent until proven guilty. That statement is the rule of thumb for anyone charged with a crime in America. But the reality is, when it comes to children a person is considered guilty until proven innocent. Now a Lawyer, legal person or constitutional expert will argue me into the ground on that observation and basically tell me that I’m full of cowplop. But if you really examine situations of suspected child abuse here in America, particularly the ones that are sexual in nature, the press, the public and even the courts have basically convicted that person unless his Lawyer can do a bang-up job of proving his innocence. Even then, most people will not believe it and although his innocence is proven, his life and reputation is still tarnished beyond repair.

    @puzzled…can you honestly blame people for not respecting your stance of refusing to recite the pledge at department fire fighter meetings? I guess I’m rather “puzzled” by your stand.

  52. Michelle May 7, 2014 at 11:56 am #

    Tsu Dho Nimh: “And another: “There is absolutely no logical reason why any adult would ever ask for directions from a child.”
    Because maybe the child lives in the neighborthood and knows where things are? I wouldn’t ask a toddler, but a 7-10 year old certainly would know where the Zoo was.”

    Exactly. I ask my kids for directions to places in my own neighborhood, because they wander all over and I don’t. Apparently there’s an out-of-the-way food stand attached to the golf course that I didn’t even know was there until my kids told me about it. I’ve lived here for eight years, and still don’t know exactly where it is.

  53. J.T. Wenting May 7, 2014 at 12:27 pm #

    “They would rather he keep driving and talk?”

    yes, that way the fine is higher. More income for them.

  54. Warren May 7, 2014 at 12:43 pm #

    Puzzled,

    Not sure what authority the police have where you live, but here they do not have the authority to question what you are doing, where you are going, even if some busy body called them on you. They can ask, but you do not have to answer. And when they threaten to pull some bullshit charge out unless you comply, tell them to go for it. Hand them your lawyers business card and tell them to call your lawyer so he or she knows where to meet you.

  55. Steve S May 7, 2014 at 1:05 pm #

    @John, I wouldn’t say you are full of cowplop, but the presumption of innocence also applies to people accused of doing things to children. It is important to realize that, outside of the judicial system, this presumption may not apply. The media, your neighbors, your co-workers, and most other people, are free to jump to all sorts of conclusions.

  56. Andy May 7, 2014 at 1:09 pm #

    @Steve S Cops are or should be under obligation to treat people in certain way and equally. There is zero difference between “I will arrest/fine you for being public nuissance if you do not leave” and making you leave the area.

    I do not have solution, but I’m pretty sure that complaining loud about wrong is part of it. So is refusing to let them treat you this way, not giving them your id etc. I’m also ok with laws that prevent discrimination by private parties, if said discrimination starts interfere with ability to live normally. I’m not saying it is the case here, just in general.

    “But it was not government” is an excuse. It does not make discrimination any more easy to live with nor any more damaging. Maybe it even makes it worst, you can always pretend the government is some elite detached from real live, but you can not do that with people you meet everyday. If they discriminate, then the country discriminates and is not free/equal for some.

  57. CrazyCatLady May 7, 2014 at 1:35 pm #

    It is not “Driving While Male” it is “Driving Responsibly While Male.” At least for the cell phone user who was actually following the law of most states.

  58. Papilio May 7, 2014 at 2:42 pm #

    @Michelle, and Buffy: “And, yeah, most countries find it kind of rude not to show respect to their national anthem. It’s nothing new, nor unique to the US.”

    Actually….. According to my history teacher (in the dark ages of my life 😛 ), the USA *is* more fanatic with this kind of, eh, national pride building rituals, because it’s a former colony that had to unite a lot of different immigrant groups in one country and under one flag, so it was important everyone would actually start to feel “American” (new concept!). We Europeans on the other hand think it’s the most normal thing in the world to be [fill in nationality], so we’re faaar more relaxed about the national anthem (I think we play it less often, too) and don’t bother with traditions such as standing up and putting hands on hearts (though it’s appreciated if you sing along).
    But who knows, maybe my teacher was at least partly wrong, and I can certainly imagine certain Eastern European countries wanting to emphasize their nationality and a feeling of belonging together… :-/

  59. Buffy May 7, 2014 at 3:42 pm #

    Once again, I’m not talking about the national anthem. I’m talking about a song UNRELATED to the national anthem that someone, somewhere decided needed to be treated like the national anthem, and everyone (sheeple?) unquestioningly goes along. If they don’t they’re called “disrespectful”, even right here on this site, where fighting against cultural programming is often respected and encouraged.

  60. Puzzled May 8, 2014 at 12:00 am #

    John – I’m not sure what you mean by blame. I blame them for pledging to mindlessly follow a government regardless of what it does. They can judge me for refusing to do so. To each his own.

    Warren – again, that’s all true in a free country. In the world we live in, it boils down to them having more guns. If there were many opposed to it, that’s one thing. As it is, once I’m gunned down, the people will mostly talk about how lucky they are that I was dealt with.

  61. Bostonian May 8, 2014 at 5:54 am #

    Warren,

    Let me introduce you to a phrase you probably don’t know yet:

    “You can beat the rap, but you can’t beat the ride.”

    The police have all the authority they need to put anyone they want into a cruiser at any time and take them down to the station for processing. Having a good lawyer can ensure you only lose a couple hours on two days to the process – one for booking, one for arraignment – and get the bogus charges thrown out expeditiously. But you can’t get your time back, it’ll cost you, and nothing will happen to the cop. You can beat the rap, but you can’t beat the ride.

    Up until now certain types of people have had a pass from the reality others live in – including, say, middle or upper-class white men. But this pass is now revoked if you are anywhere near children. Welcome to the suspect class.

  62. Warren May 8, 2014 at 10:16 am #

    Bostonian,
    Don’t really care about your Nazi state. Here they need a good reason to detain you. They cannot just make up the rules as they go.
    Gotta laugh at people that are too afraid to stand up for themselves. And if the cops have that kind of power then I advise you to move or vote your representative out of office.
    I had a cop stop me and accuse me of following him. We just happen to get on and off the highway at the same ramps. I told him that, and he started asking what I was doing and where I was going. I told him it was none of his business. Now he may have run my plates, but that is all he could do, and he left.
    I don’t have to prove anything, that is his job.

  63. Annie May 8, 2014 at 11:56 am #

    Buffy – I have never heard anything but “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” during the 7th inning stretch… from Houston, TX, Little Rock, AR and Charleston, SC, and televised ball games. Maybe it’s just where you live they play “God Bless America” during that time.

  64. John May 8, 2014 at 2:09 pm #

    @Steve S….What you’re saying is true Steve. Even when it comes to children, our justice system says that a person accused of assaulting a child is innocent until proven guilty. But what it says and what really happens are two complete different things when it comes to children. It’s as if we throw out the constitution when it comes to people charged or accused of assaulting a child.

    Don’t know how old you are but remember the lady up in Wisconsin 28 years ago who, after she became a born again Christian, recanted her rape accusation? She said she had lied about being raped but after her conversion, she felt convicted and wanted to right a wrong against the person she falsely accused. Well, that story is beside the point BUT I knew the Lawyer who defended her during her recanting. During an after church lunch get-together, Mr. McClario said his office DEFENDED a man accused of molesting a young girl in his neighborhood. They believed him when he claimed innocence and decided to take the case. He said they were up against a mountain when entering the court room! Their office got hate mail from the community and upon entering the courtroom, the jury gave them a dirty look, the spectators in the courtroom gave them a dirty look and even the Judge gave them a dirty look! Even before hearing their defense BUT somehow, someway, upon cross examination, they proved that the child had lied about being sexually assaulted and were able to get their client acquitted.

    He said cases like that involving children are the most difficult cases a defense Lawyer can defend. It’s like a team being down 21-0 before the opening kickoff!

  65. Buffy May 8, 2014 at 5:40 pm #

    From Wikipedia: Since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, “God Bless America” is commonly sung during the seventh-inning stretch in Major League Baseball games, most often on Sundays,[19] Opening Day,[20] Memorial Day,[21] Independence Day, All-Star Game, Labor Day, September 11,[22] and all post-season Major League Baseball games.

    Please keep telling me how wrong I am.

  66. Annie May 8, 2014 at 6:33 pm #

    Buffy – Relax, I didn’t say you were wrong, I just stated I’d not heard God Bless America at a ball game ever at any place I’ve seen a baseball game. This goes for after 9/11, so it’s out of my experience… I did say maybe it was just where you are, but as you pointed it out, wikipedia says there has been wide adoption of the song at ball games. So if you say they play it where you’ve been to baseball games, they play it. Just please accept my statement as fact, too, that Take Me Out to the Ball Game gets played in Charleston, or at least at the last River Dogs game I attended.

    I like God Bless America, and I’m not sure why someone wouldn’t want their homeland to be blessed by whatever diety they believe in. I do think it’s odd for it to be played at a baseball game during the 7th inning stretch.

  67. Apollyon May 8, 2014 at 9:36 pm #

    First, we gave them the vote…

  68. Puzzled May 8, 2014 at 10:30 pm #

    Warren –

    You do realize that your last statement amounts to saying you’re going to give advice without paying attention to the reality at hand, right?

    Also, voting my representative out wouldn’t impact police policy, as my representative doesn’t control my police department. In fact, my state did away with elected Sheriffs a while back, meaning that there is no publicly accountable person who controls the police (the chief state’s attorney is also appointed, and Sheriff power went to the Marshal’s Service, run by an appointed commissioner.) The first selectman is chief of police, but that is primarily a ceremonial role, and in any case, it only applies to our town PD, which goes off duty at 5 (and doesn’t cause any trouble) not to the trooper barracks that takes over for the night shift.

    I’m willing to risk my life taking on armed thugs – if I think that something may come of it, not when I’m guaranteed to lose.

    What would you do if armed at gunpoint? Would you argue the point, or hand over your money?

  69. Bostonian May 9, 2014 at 9:14 am #

    The privilege of a clueless cracker is the finest entitlement of all. Don’t try to pop the precious bubble. Let reality do that.

  70. AB May 9, 2014 at 10:08 am #

    Hey, Buffy: Unless your anecdote about “God Bless America” ends with “…and then me and my family were escorted out of the stadium and transported to a Siberian Gulag where we were forced into slave labor” then it has no business being used as an analogy to what people in Russia went through.

  71. Warren May 9, 2014 at 10:22 am #

    Puzzled,

    So what you are saying is the police in the states are all powerful and not accountable to anyone. The do not answer to mayors, govenors, senators, congressmen or anyone. BS!

    It is a sorry time when you live in just as much fear of the police as you do of the criminals.

    As for what I would do at gunpoint? I cannot honestly answer that one way or the other. I can freely admit that my instincts would be to fight, and knowing that I cannot say what I would do in the heat of the moment. Also knowing full well that most armed criminals are not experienced shooters, and that they mostly miss high and to their left. Considering they are not calm, that they are not expecting resistance, the odds are more in my favour than theirs.

  72. Ian B May 9, 2014 at 5:02 pm #

    Apparently the cops are unaware that HALF THE POPULATION is male. Now, if a car that looks out of place for our neighborhood parks across the street from my house for more than a few minutes, I’ll usually go out and inquire. Since there’s no house across the street and there’s a line of trees, it’s not unlikely that they’re casing the neighborhood. But “predator” is about the last thing on my mind (“burglary planning” is a lot further up the list) Heck, I once even went and asked a cop why she was parked across the street, if they were looking for someone… Turns out she’d stopped to read and reply to a text message from her boyfriend. We had a nice conversation about our new neighborhood.

  73. Warren May 9, 2014 at 11:20 pm #

    Ian,
    Be careful, you will eventually run into someone like me, who will tell you to mind your own business.

    Why does everyone believe they have the right to poke their nose into other’s business? I don’t care if I have pulled over to read a map, write an invoice, check my email or take a freakin break, I do not and will not justify myself to anyone.

    And yes that goes for cops as well. If I am legally parked, they can do the right thing and leave me alone. And they will be told that.

  74. Puzzled May 10, 2014 at 3:41 pm #

    Warren, they answer to the governor, who answers to the unions. As an elected official who managed two campaigns, I have some idea how the process works. Don’t tell me to get a different governor like it was the same as buying soap.. This society is getting what it asked for, good and hard, just like Obama voters complaining about hospitals in decline.

    I don’t fear criminals and cops equally. Criminals lack weapon training and experience, have less powerful weapon, can’t track me easily, and have smaller gangs.

  75. Jess May 11, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

    Those are interesting stories about driving and the assumptions people make.

  76. Warren May 11, 2014 at 11:55 pm #

    Puzzled,
    So you fear the cops more than the criminals. You best move then.