Fake Kidnapping at a Playground: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Readers – –This just in. Two masked men grabbed a 4 year old from a playground and threw him in a van. Surprise! It was to make a video about “kidnapping awareness.” Why is this insane?

A – The “perps” could have been shot.

B – It is based on the crazy idea that WITHOUT a video of masked men snatching a child off a playground, no one would be aware that masked men shouldn’t be doing this.

C- It is also based on the crazy idea that this is happening so much, no one should consider the playground a safe place.

D – All of the above and THEN some.

P.S. You KNOW the answer.

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36 Responses to Fake Kidnapping at a Playground: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

  1. BL April 16, 2014 at 10:29 pm #

    ‘The “perps” could have been shot.’

    Perhaps more likely: someone pursues the “kidnapper’s” van in a car and causes an accident, perhaps fatal.

  2. pentamom April 16, 2014 at 10:45 pm #

    It also promotes the idea that whatever danger there may be to your kids as far as kidnapping or other physical harm, comes in the form of masked men. I wonder what percentage of all the extremely rare cases of public stranger abduction there are, involved masked men. Probably only the ones that involve a child being held for ransom, which almost never happens in the U.S. I don’t mean “almost never” like random stranger abduction almost never, I mean really, almost NEVER. Way to promote awareness by depicting something happening in a way that doesn’t represent the way it ever actually does happen.

  3. Lance Mitaro April 16, 2014 at 10:50 pm #

    It just goes to show you how people over-react with the “OMG, that could have been my child” folly.

    Those over-protective hens that gave chase to the getaway van were so obese, they could hardly run! I’m surprised they even noticed what was going on because they most likely had their head buried in their cell phone or tablet.

    One thing is certain in this instance.. The “Bystander Effect” didn’t come into play here. The people that staged this video just proved what everyone on freerangekids already knows. Society is too hyper-vigilant and over-reactionary when it comes to children. All logic and reason goes out the window.

  4. Lance Mitaro April 16, 2014 at 11:01 pm #

    @ pentamom

    Exactly. This awareness video is just doing the opposite of “awareness.” It’s fanning the flames of fear and ignorance on this already over-hyped stranger abduction myth. It only serves to perpetuate the media driven fear. This video is to awareness like water is to a grease fire.

    When you try to argue with these people, it’s like trying to talk someone out of a cult. It ain’t happening. They are drowning in paranoia and hell bent convinced that someone is out to take their child. This is what happens when you drink too much John Walsh Kool-aid.

  5. Sha April 16, 2014 at 11:28 pm #

    This happened in my county and I am beside myself with anger at this stupidity. We are a relatively free range area and I would hate it if people blew this completely out of proportion.

  6. Matt April 16, 2014 at 11:40 pm #

    To think this happened in my own back yard (Sequim is just a ferry ride across Puget Sound from me, the long way around is taking I-5 to US-101). FWIW: I understand the point these people think they were attempting to make (Playgrounds ain’t safe), however, they are wrong (as evidenced by the number of people who called 911 thinking it was real) and completely stupid for thinking this was the right way to do it.

  7. SOA April 17, 2014 at 1:25 am #

    I saw this and was going to send it to you but you got it already. That is just so stupid and dangerous. They are going to “prank” the wrong person one day and get shot.

  8. SOA April 17, 2014 at 1:28 am #

    Lance: that was a very rude comment about the mothers. They did what you are supposed to do and looked out for another child in their community. Which is what Lenore says people will and should do so that we can feel safe that our neighbors will watch out for our kids even when we are out of sight. Making fun of their weight just is unclassy. They have ever right to be mad that someone did this as a stunt when they were generally convinced they were witnesses to a crime and tried to stop it.

  9. J- April 17, 2014 at 2:55 am #

    @BL

    Oh, yes, they could have. There is a show on TV that is about as dumb and dangerous as any I have ever seen called “What Would You Do.” It has actors engage in various fake scenarios to see how people will react. A lot of the time they are just trolling for bigots. Every once in a while they will do a domestic violence type situation, where some actor preteens to beat and threatens to kill his actress girlfriend/wife. I don’t think the producers of the show realize that in 39 states, it is 100% legal for a citizen with a concealed carry permit to defend the life of a third party with lethal force – shoot the actor to save the actress.

    Had these two idiots pulled this stunt in the wrong (or maybe right) part of the country, some mom with a .38 in her purse might very well have filled one of these masked morons with bullets.

  10. hineata April 17, 2014 at 4:23 am #

    For some reason, maybe the masked man thing, this reminds me of an SAS exercise that a group of us ‘hockey parents’ saw one day at a warehouse over the road from the indoor hockey place. We all stood around for some minutes chatting about how fun it looked – they were breaking into the building through various broken windows, repelling from the roof etc. After about fifteen minutes, someone commented that for all we knew, it could be an actual terrorist break-in (though, as that same person added, it would have to be a truly idiotic terrorist group :-) ). We just don’t expect that sort of thing, so we see a bunch of masked men, we think training exercise..

    If I saw a masked idiot snatching a kid in a playground, I would automatically think Varsity prank. Am not sure I would even bother to take down the number plate. Maybe I needed this public service announcement – I am obviously dangerously naïve, MUWHAHAH!

    Or these kids are just morons looking for attention….

  11. pentamom April 17, 2014 at 8:07 am #

    “It raised awareness, that’s what it was about” said one of these geniuses.

    Yes, it raised awareness about what idiots you guys are. It did NOT raise awareness about anything that is 1) a legitimate concern or 2) people previously thought too little about. There’s no one in Washington who thought too little about the dangers of your kids being suddenly dragged off the playground by guys in masks in full view of a crowd because that’s not something you *should* be spending *any* time thinking about.

  12. Donna April 17, 2014 at 8:24 am #

    Lance – I read an article recently (someone posted it on Facebook and I can’t remember who to get the link) involving studies that show the more facts you present to people that counter their deeply-held beliefs, the stronger they believe their own position. The studies involved political beliefs but would hold true here too. The more you try to convince people with facts and statistics that the world is safe, the more rabidly they hold onto their insistence that it is not.

  13. Gary April 17, 2014 at 8:26 am #

    pfffft, amateurs.

    Anyone with a brain knows real kidnappers do not “grab a child and rush to their van and then speed away.”

    The smart ones have a series of tunnels underneath the swingsets and grab children when they come by, similar to how the trapdoor spider hunts, at which point they then hurry them off to their waiting van parked a few blocks away.

    I mean it’s how *I* do it, but man digging those tunnels is a BITCH, good thing I am part Viet-Cong on my dad’s side…

  14. Gary April 17, 2014 at 8:40 am #

    @Donna “the more facts you present to people that counter their deeply-held beliefs, the stronger they believe their own position.”

    OMFG T.R.U.T.H!!!

  15. lollipoplover April 17, 2014 at 8:42 am #

    What is most wrong with this (and it’s a dart board of choices) is it perpetuates the Urban Myth of the Boogeyman. The masked man that we need to be ever aware of lurking in the bushes. Those poor parents who had to witness this attention-seeking, brain-damaged duo’s attempt to “see if they could get caught”. Like they were in some video game version of Grand Theft Playground.

    They want to start a talk about safety?
    How about not driving and playing with cameras. Keep your eyes on the road, moron. Save the fist pumps for later. You could have just mowed down a kid on a bike. That’s reckless driving and you just recorded it. You go! *fistpump*.

    What about the safety of the parents that had to go through extreme stress of witnessing a traumatic event? Do you know CPR and how to administer asthma medication? That mom that ran to chase the car down, you probably just gave her PTSD. What they did is the equivalent of yelling “fire” in a movie theater. Maybe getting charged with something will be just the kind of attention these two deserve.
    *fistpump*

  16. MichaelF April 17, 2014 at 9:22 am #

    Considering all the masked men around at Halloween time does this mean I should not be going to the playground on Halloween since they just blend in?

  17. SKL April 17, 2014 at 9:27 am #

    Well, I don’t see why they can’t be charged with mayhem, endangering a kid, and probably a few other things. Since when does “good intentions” negate the fact that you created mayhem?

    I think their punishment should be to have to create 10 thoroughly-researched PSAs about why it’s important for kids to engage in free play outside!

  18. SKL April 17, 2014 at 9:33 am #

    But perfectly responsible parents whose kids are seen momentarily “alone,” tantruming, or injured via a normal kid accident risk years of monitoring and interference should someone call 911 on them.

    Just yesterday someone posted in another forum about someone calling CPS on her (anonymously of course) after her tot had fallen and gotten a boo boo, and the whole investigation etc. and the fear and social humiliation that this is causing. Why is it OK for parents to have to go through all this and yet when someone pulls a stunt like this, it’s all “well that was dumb, but it wasn’t illegal.” BS.

  19. Papilio April 17, 2014 at 9:47 am #

    “What could possibly go wrong?”

    Who knows, maybe the four-year-old now thinks being kidnapped is actually good fun 😛

    “studies that show the more facts you present to people that counter their deeply-held beliefs, the stronger they believe their own position.”

    That… is… depressing. Wow.
    Does explain some things though.

  20. Papilio April 17, 2014 at 9:48 am #

    @MichealF: Just disguise your kid as a masked man and he’ll blend in, too 😛

  21. pentamom April 17, 2014 at 9:56 am #

    It’s not clear — was the kid in on this? If not, they should definitely be charged with something — endangerment or assault or something along those lines. Even if so, there might be some disturbing the peace or causing a panic charge that could come to bear. I’m not normally in favor of finding things to charge people with when no real harm was done but these people, and anybody else who thinks this kind of “awareness-raising” is a good idea, need to be taught a lesson.

  22. BL April 17, 2014 at 10:01 am #

    @J-
    “Oh, yes, they could have. There is a show on TV that is about as dumb and dangerous as any I have ever seen called “What Would You Do.” It has actors engage in various fake scenarios to see how people will react.”

    Never said they couldn’t. I just thought the pursuit possibility was more likely. Contrary to popular belief, most Americans do not routinely carry guns. A lot more drive cars.

    As for dangerous fake scenarios:

    Has anyone else seen a British TV show called “Bunny Boiler”? The “star” of the show is a woman who approaches men in public, in the company of their wives/girlfriends, and flirts outrageously with them, just to provoke a reaction from the other woman. In some of the episodes she appeared close to getting her ass kicked by the other woman.

  23. Terry Firma April 17, 2014 at 10:14 am #

    So are these dumbasses off the hook now? If I were the parent, I’d be pressing charges for sure.

    I don’t even believe the story that they only realized AFTER the kidnapping it was wrong and foolish to have done this. Read their facial cues and heir body languages — there’s a high likelihood they’re lying. My guess: They knew all along this stunt was madness and they did it anyway.

    I’d call them attention whores, but that would be an insult to actual whores everywhere.

  24. CrazyCatLady April 17, 2014 at 10:44 am #

    These idiots should have been thinking about their OWN safety. WA is a concealed carry state, and the gun shows do great business marketing concealed carry pocket books to women. The west side is more liberal – it is good they didn’t try this at a playground on the east side of the state.

  25. Warren April 17, 2014 at 12:42 pm #

    Other than the fact that they are demonstrating an abduction, that probably never happens. 2 masked men, working in tandem, in broad daylight kidnapping a child from a crowded playground? When does that ever happen?

    They ran the risk of being killed or seriously injured by bystanders, and law enforcement. They filmed being stopped by a cop who admitted he was ready to shot the driver, of the van!

    I saw the video and was thinking that had I been in the parking lot, I would not have thought about it. Seeing this happen, I would have rammed the van with my truck. Guaranteed that my truck would win the battle. Then who would have been on the liability hook for that one?

  26. Michelle April 17, 2014 at 1:16 pm #

    Whoa, Lance. Trying to stop two masked men from abducting a 4 year old boy from a playground right before your eyes is over-reacting?? WTH? Yes, it was fake, but they had absolutely no reason to suspect that. And you think it’s appropriate to make fun of the woman who tried to help? (Not to mention accusing the moms of being too over-protective while simultaneously feigning surprise that they were even paying attention.)

    I would have absolutely tried to stop them, myself. I know full well that stranger abductions are extremely rare, and that a two masked-man abduction is pretty much only the stuff of crime dramas, but if I *saw* it happen I damn sure would get involved. If my husband was around, those jokers would be lucky not to end up seriously injured.

  27. SKL April 17, 2014 at 1:19 pm #

    Yeah, I too would probably have tried to physically stop the guy. And I may be pushin 50, but I can run pretty fast when I want to – and I don’t have a 4yo child weighing me down. I probably would’ve tripped him which could have mildly injured the child. They say do whatever it takes to prevent the victim being taken to another place in a kidnapping. So that’s what I’d do. And it would not be pretty.

  28. MM April 17, 2014 at 2:23 pm #

    Couldn’t the driver of the vehicle be charged for driving with a minor without a seat belt or proper restraint?

    I live in Washington and they have some very strict child safety seat laws.

    @Matt If you were going to drive around please don’t go all the way to US-101. Hop off I-5 onto Highway 16 then take Highway 3 to the hood canal bridge.

  29. John April 17, 2014 at 4:04 pm #

    Saw this video on Fox & Friends this morning and I thought they said these men would be charged with a crime. Perhaps a disorderly conduct charge. Not sure cause I was huffing and puffing on my elyptical.

    I’m certain that the 4-year-old knew he wasn’t really being abducted. Perhaps it was the kid’s father who perpetuated the fake crime. STILL, it was a stupid and senseless thing to pull which served absolutely no purpose.

  30. DMS April 17, 2014 at 4:20 pm #

    One good thing I saw was on the today.com article that reported on the “abduction” they included this bit, looks like your message is getting out there:

    Parents worried about their child being taken by a stranger should know that out of the approximately 800,000 children reported missing in the most recent national study, only 115 were the victims of kidnapping involving someone the child did not know, according to The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

    In comparison, more than 6,000 kids a year are killed in car accidents, more than 1,000 drown and more than 900 die from accidental poisonings, according to the National Center for Child Death Review Policy and Practice.

  31. Becky April 17, 2014 at 4:39 pm #

    “nothing illegal about what happened in the video…”
    since when is inducing panic not illegal? :/

  32. Bartimaeus April 17, 2014 at 8:14 pm #

    What the fuck. WHAT the fuck. What the FUCK. How on earth is this supposed to raise ANYTHING but general community fear and stress levels?

    [There ‘s probably some statistics I could quote here about how most abducted kids get taken in messy divorces or whatever, but seriously, I’m just flabbergasted at this point.]

    PS. Sorry for my language…

  33. Jane Bakken April 17, 2014 at 8:32 pm #

    I don’t even know where to begin. But since Jeremy and Jason, the people in ‘your village’ are not getting through to you, perhaps some of us ‘out here’ will.

    I am a mother…and I have sons…and one is a film maker.
    And if any of my sons, or anyone had even thought of doing this, I would ferociously confront them.

    I won’t waste my breath telling you what you already know.
    Because you know this was self-indulgent for a movie scam.
    And you gave it away, and at this point, I’m not sure even if you know…but you did.

    On one of your radio interviews…you slipped, and accidentally said something to the effect ‘that we were going for ‘the rush’… to see what people would do to stop us.’

    And what you gave away is that you are already on the path to being ‘adrenalin/rush junkies’…something we’ve trained a lot of our kids to be. And the first step in retribution for yourselves is to begin by coming clean…full out…in every single interview…that yes, this was the real reason. You may get hell for it…but you know, in the long run, the other karma is just going to come and bite you in the rear…over and over again.

    I am most ferociously concerned about those adults around you…your sister (and her poor kid)…your mother, etc. Where are the voices that teach you that stunts like this desensitize …disconnect…body, mind, feelings…for you and for others who witnessed it.

    Unfortunately, it sounds as if you are already going down that path.

    You may have a creative bone in your body…but without character, civility and the wisdom to know how to use it,
    you are going to end up being remembered as just two wanna-be’s from Sequim!

    Seek out some counseling from elders whom you respect…and who are telling you the opposite of those who encouraged you to do this!

  34. Warren April 17, 2014 at 10:44 pm #

    Was talking to my MRS. about this. She asked me what I would have done after ramming the van, when I found out it was a hoax? I told her that I would have probably put a beating on the twits for pulling the hoax.

  35. Tsu Dho Nimh April 18, 2014 at 2:39 pm #

    What happens if …

    … someone happens to be carrying a gun and kills the abductors with a beautifully aimed head shot? What will the charges be? Many states would allow deadly force in this instance, but if it were a fake kidnapping, is it real manslaughter?

    … someone in a large truck forces the kidnapper’s car off the road and injures or kills them? Are they a hero or jailed?

    This was monumentally STUPID on the part of the fakers, because real people might have reacted in lethal ways.

  36. SKL April 19, 2014 at 2:43 pm #

    I was thinking about this some more. What if there was a pregnant lady who panicked and tried to stop this guy and hurt herself / lost her baby? Or a little kid got knocked over or otherwise went into harm’s way while parents tried to chase the creep?

    I think they should interview every person who was present at the park and ask them if they have had any pains or nightmares or other inconveniences as a result of this idiotic stunt. And both civil and criminal charges should be filed for each and every ache, pain, and worry.