UPDATE: Lowering the Bar for “Attempted Luring”

UPDATE: Hi all! Just thought I’d clarify the reason for this “Attempted Luring” post. I highlight the media’s obsession with a very unlikely crime — stranger abduction — because constant coverage makes it seem common and ubiquitous.

It’s the same reason I highlight the stories that run when  a child is dropped off at the wrong bus stop and the narrative is, “Oh, how incredibly lucky we are that they child wasn’t immediately snatched by a predator!” No one writes, “A child walked by a building today and we are just incredibly lucky no brick dislodged and hit her on the head.”  But the possibility of abduction is always given credence. Non-events are treated as near misses.

It is harder to raise a Free-Range Kid, competently going about his or her day in the world, when we are told it’s World War Z out there. – L. 

Here’s a story from my neck of the woods, NYC, about a “frightening attempted luring” yesterday.

When you read it, ask yourself: What terrible thing happened that warrants news coverage? What are the odds that a van full of four people was trying to kidnap this girl? (Four people all agreeing to this felony, in the company vehicle?) What happens to our culture when fear gets reported as fact? And I’d love us to discuss the last line.

From ABC News , by 

PELHAM GARDENS, Bronx (WABC) —

There is a warning for parents and their children in the Bronx after a frightening attempted luring near a school.

The picture released by police is grainy, but the writing on the side of the truck apparently says “Empire Architecture Group.”

Police are looking for the men who were riding in this white pickup and who allegedly tried to lure a young girl to their vehicle

Shortly before 9 a.m. last Thursday in the Pelham Gardens section of the Bronx, a 13-year-old girl was walking to school.

She says the truck followed her for about a block.

By the time she reached Eastchester Road and Allerton Avenue, authorities report one of the men in the vehicle yelled out for her to come to the truck.

Eyewitness News is told there were four men in the pickup.

Thankfully, the young student kept on walking and made it safely to school

This area is heavy with commercial traffic.

Eyewitness News reached out to Empire Architecture Group, which is located in Queens, but we have not yet heard back.

Meanwhile, many in the neighborhood are hoping police make an arrest before another youngster is approached.

There are 8 million stories in the naked city.
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This isn’t one of them.  – L.

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We all know that no one drives a white van without evil in their heart.

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97 Responses to UPDATE: Lowering the Bar for “Attempted Luring”

  1. Jessica March 8, 2017 at 9:58 am #

    Unfortunately this is the state of the media right now, and it isn’t limited to stories about children. Some minor event (or non-event, as in this story) occurs, and the news media rushes to interpret it in the most inflammatory way possible. They know that a headline about an attempted kidnapping will get tons of clicks, so they’re going to publish any story that could possibly be interpreted that way.

  2. BL March 8, 2017 at 10:01 am #

    Probably they were trying to ask directions to something or other.

  3. Dienne March 8, 2017 at 10:11 am #

    Okay, I get the point about overdramatizing “attempted luring” and, yes, the last paragraph is over the top. But let’s look at the other side. Obviously this girl felt uncomfortable with the situation. Being followed by four men in a vehicle for a block would be uncomfortable for me, let alone a thirteen-year-old. Most likely, she was trying to walk faster and stay as far away from them as possible; in other words, giving them visual signals that she was uncomfortable. Yet still they followed her (they would have had to be going awfully slow if they kept down with her walking speed), and even called out to her to come to the truck.

    They didn’t do anything criminal, but they were being creepy. I know I’m going to get the standard “she probably looked older than 13” argument, but regardless, when someone, particularly a girl or young woman, is giving off signals that they are uncomfortable, a decent person backs off.

  4. Ken Hagler March 8, 2017 at 10:14 am #

    I remember people used to make jokes about how men were supposedly unwilling to ask for directions. That was before asking directions while male became a crime, though.

  5. M March 8, 2017 at 10:23 am #

    Make an arrest for what? It’s not illegal to call out to people. It’s not illegal to drive a van.

  6. Dienne March 8, 2017 at 10:24 am #

    It wasn’t a van. It was a pick up truck.

  7. Michelle March 8, 2017 at 10:26 am #

    Dienne, I agree that this probably would have made me uncomfortable, and the girl shouldn’t put herself in situations that make her uneasy like that. Walking away was good. But that leaves the facts of the case as following: Some men made a girl uncomfortable. She walked away. Nothing else happened. How is this a case for the police or newsworthy?

  8. Dienne March 8, 2017 at 10:31 am #

    Michelle – you’re right, I should have said something like, “Okay, I get the point about overdramatizing “attempted luring” and, yes, the last paragraph is over the top.” And I could have followed it up with “They didn’t do anything criminal….”

    Incidentally, what in the world do you mean by “the girl shouldn’t put herself in situations that make her uneasy like that”? How did she put herself in that position? By walking to school? So 13 year old girls shouldn’t walk to school on their own? Woo-wee, I think you just opened a can of worms here….

  9. James March 8, 2017 at 10:37 am #

    “They didn’t do anything criminal, but they were being creepy.”

    Were they? I haven’t been to NYC, but typically a block is defined by pretty major streets. It’s hard to be going in the same direction as someone and NOT be “following” them, as roads and sidewalks go in the same direction.

    As for asking the girl to come to the truck, we need to know more before we can know if it’s creepy or not. Merely being asked to approach a van isn’t creepy; there are innumerable innocent reasons for it. Did they say “Excuse me, can you come here a second?” Did they say “Hey, can you help us figure this map out?” My guess is that they said something like that, with perfectly innocent intentions. When I was a kid folks–especially contractors and construction/landscaping/home repair types–would frequently stop members of my family to ask directions, and frequently ask us to look at a map they were holding so they could understand what was being discussed.

    Don’t get me wrong–the girl did the right thing. She felt threatened, and avoided putting herself in a situation where the threat would increase. That’s the proper response. What is improper, however, is assuming, without evidence, that her interpretation of the situation was accurate. She’s 13; kids that age don’t have a great understanding of how the world works, and we cannot assume, absent some other data, that their interpretations are 100% accurate. I remember being 13. I was a moron.

    Getting the police involved isn’t merely blowing this out of proportion. It’s harassment. There is no evidence that these people did anything wrong.

  10. Workshop March 8, 2017 at 10:48 am #

    Considering the school is likely going to force her to sit in a chair for six hours, obey the big person in charge, give her 20 minutes of yard time after she eats her pre-approved state-sanctioned lunch, dismiss her with mandatory work to perform on her own time, and then demand she return by the time the bell rings the next day, “safely at school” seems like a bit of a misappropriation of the term.

    Heck, I was walking downtown one day, during rush hour, and it seemed like a car was following me for a block. Then I realized traffic was just really slow.

    These are the people who will be in charge when we’ve retired. God help us.

  11. Dienne March 8, 2017 at 10:56 am #

    “Getting the police involved isn’t merely blowing this out of proportion. It’s harassment. There is no evidence that these people did anything wrong.”

    Oh for pity’s sake! Are you saying no one can call the police unless they’re actually in the process of being kidnapped/beaten/raped? The police are there to be called when you feel your safety is being threatened, which this girl obviously did. Sorry, but I’m inclined to trust her gut judgment on this. I’m also inclined to believe this girl is smart enough to know the difference between being followed vs. someone happened to be driving in the same direction. Incidentally, average walking speed is less than 5 miles per hour. Its *really* hard to drive a vehicle that slow, unless one is intentionally doing so to keep up with someone who is walking.

    I have no doubt that had the police arrived on the scene as it was happening, they would have told these “gentlemen” (ahem) to back off and leave the girl the hell alone.

  12. Dienne March 8, 2017 at 10:59 am #

    “She’s 13; kids that age don’t have a great understanding of how the world works, and we cannot assume, absent some other data, that their interpretations are 100% accurate. I remember being 13. I was a moron.”

    Perfect argument against everything that Free Range Kids stands for. If 13 year olds are that moronic and lacking basic sense, by all means, we absolutely *should* mandate that they have to be directly supervised by an adult at all times.

  13. Dienne March 8, 2017 at 11:11 am #

    It seems to me that one of the fundamental tenets of Free Range Kids is that when adults overprotect and smother kids in the name of “safety”, it actually makes them less safe because they don’t develop their own sense of what is or isn’t dangerous and how to handle that danger. Here we have a kid who was allowed to be on her own. She found herself in a situation that her gut told her was dangerous. She reacted to that situation by getting out of it and contacting the police. Now people are turning around and criticizing that the whole thing is being blown out of proportion because the police got involved, the argument being that she didn’t know their intentions and they were probably perfectly harmless. So which is it? Should kids learn to trust their own guts? Or are they inherently untrustworthy, so we should just scoff when a 13 year old girl feels threatened by a carload of men calling out to her? And since the poor dear obviously doesn’t know her own mind, shouldn’t she be protected by responsible older people who can protect her safety? Which is it?

  14. Warren March 8, 2017 at 11:19 am #

    Dienne

    Hate to burst your bubble but at that time of day in most major cities, pedestrian traffic often moves faster than those driving.

  15. Dienne March 8, 2017 at 11:30 am #

    Warren, I live in a major city. Not all streets move at a snail’s pace. Again, I think we have to trust the girl’s judgment on this – she felt specifically targeted by these men. Either there were other people around, in which case, why were these men targeting a young girl, even if they were just asking for directions – weren’t there better people they could have asked? Or there weren’t many people around, in which case she might not have felt there was anyone to protect her. And if that was the case, that would probably mean that traffic wouldn’t be that slow either, so there would be no reason for these guys to be going that slowly.

    Again, if you’re going to make the argument that the girl’s judgment can’t be trusted, then by definition you are making an argument *for* increased adult supervision of children.

  16. angie March 8, 2017 at 11:51 am #

    Am I the only one that immediately had TLC’s “No Scrubs” running through their heads with this one? “Hanging out the passenger side Of his best friend’s ride Trying to holler at me”. Yea had this happen to me too when I was 13. Guys stuck head out of his friends ride and asked if I wanted “candy”. Since we don’t know if the guys were asking for directions, lost puppy, or “candy” maybe the argument over whether the girl did the right thing by contacting the police should stay at she made her decision and it may be warranted. What I think is more important is the media sensationalization. The fact that the media has latched onto the fear that people feel when they see a teen walking alone (either fear of or fear for) is the problem here. I’ve seen comments of the girl isn’t old enough to know the situation and might be blowing things out of proportion, but isn’t’ that way of thinking exactly why people say she shouldn’t be walking without an adult in the first place? I know I did stupid stuff as a kid but I knew when someone was being a creep and when I could brush it off. So what is the solution? We are here because we see a common issue in society but all I don’t see any suggestions on how to combat the media hype. Sometimes it seems like the exact same type of click bait sensationalization.

  17. mer March 8, 2017 at 11:55 am #

    You know, I would expect that in NYC, especially morning when kids may be going to school that thousands of kids are followed every day by millions of cars, so why in the heck is that fact that this white pickup was behind this girl for a block such a surprise?
    “…Authorities report one of the men yelled…” Did said authorities hear the man yell or did the frightened little girl say one did?

    Sorry, but the whole thing is overdramatized as are some of the responses.

  18. Richard Bartel March 8, 2017 at 12:05 pm #

    Just stand up to the prudes.

  19. John B. March 8, 2017 at 12:09 pm #

    Make an arrest for what? Ok, I can understand them investigating this BUT there may be nothing to it. Until they ascertain whether or not these men had nefarious intentions, there is nothing to arrest them for.

    So here we go again, because children are involved, the media prematurely posts a story that they feel could be a potential child abduction when in fact it could be nothing of the sort and now all of a sudden, parents in the neighborhood are whipped into a frenzy and demand that arrests be made before we even know if a crime was committed.

    I’ve said it once and I’ll say it a thousand more times, because children are involved, the Constitution as it would apply to these men, is trampled upon and completely discarded.

  20. Mary March 8, 2017 at 12:10 pm #

    I think it’s interesting that they put the name of the company in the newspaper. It might be relevant to the police, but it doesn’t seem like this company’s name should be publicly associated with this ‘crime’ when there have been no charges made. The whole ‘innocent until proven guilty’ thing doesn’t seem to matter when the public is in panic-attack mode.

  21. LGB March 8, 2017 at 12:17 pm #

    The girl did all of the right things. She trusted her gut and did nothing unreasonable by calling the police as a precaution. Their behavior was off-color, and driving under influence should be ruled out in these situations. They may have also just been asking for directions. That’s for the police to sort out.

    The media did the *wrong* thing by making a Big Story out of it. At most, this story should have received only a brief mention in the newspaper’s local police blotter report: “8:58a.m. on Bronx Ave., female, age 13, reported two caucasion males blah blah blah.”

  22. LGB March 8, 2017 at 12:18 pm #

    Also, am I the only one sick to death of yellow journalists telling us how we’re supposed to feel? Words like “frightening” and “terrifying” are getting overused to the point of losing their meaning. Just report the @#$%^ facts already!

  23. Christopher Byrne March 8, 2017 at 12:23 pm #

    You want to be scared? Get to NYC and see the new production of “Sweeney Todd” at Barrow Street theater. I guarantee you’ll have nightmares for weeks.
    In other word get your “frisson” of terror from theater, TV and, dare I say it, books. And leave the scaremongering of the news out of it.

  24. Wish MenWeren't AfraidOfMen March 8, 2017 at 12:27 pm #

    I doubt 4 people in a company van shouted anything out to the 13 yo girl. City streets are noisy. Anyone could have shouted something out from anywhere, and because the girl was scared, she interpreted it to confirm her fear. She was scared because people and the media keep hyping luring and abduction stories (and because she may experience street harassment from strangers.

  25. John B. March 8, 2017 at 12:31 pm #

    The sad part of this situation is that even if it is determined that these men had no nefarious intentions whatsoever and that the whole situation was a complete misunderstanding, the company these men work for, that being the Empire Architecture Group, will have no choice but to fire them. This is assuming that the men are mere employees and not the owners of this firm. Because the company will want to avoid bad publicity, sinking business and piles of hate mail even though the men have been proven innocent.

    As we all know, in America when it comes to children, you are guilty until proven innocent and even then you are never innocent according to the torch bearing public.

    Now I am not declaring that these men did not have nefarious intentions. I’m just saying that we all need to take it down a notch until we know more about the situation.

  26. Mark Roulo March 8, 2017 at 12:40 pm #

    Helpful comment from the article’s comment section:

    These men will never be caught If they do get caught and go to jail, they will be hailed as heroes in prison, because the prisons are full of child molesters.The majority of residents in our community are cowards and just walk on by when children are being violated. We all live in a dirty violent society that deserves what it gets.

    I’m glad I don’t live where the commenter lives.

  27. Melissa March 8, 2017 at 1:06 pm #

    They also could have been saying, “You dropped your glove!” or something helpful to the girl, rather than themselves. Agreed with other posters that you can’t easily tell a teenager’s age, as they grow at different rates. She could have looked 252 from that distance and they wanted to ask her where the nearest parking garage was located. I feel sorriest for the company whose vehicle was being driven, since their name is being affiliated with child abduction. Very bad PR, especially when it’s unlikely anything nefarious was going on.

  28. Melissa March 8, 2017 at 1:07 pm #

    ^ I meant to type “22” and not “252”

  29. Andrea March 8, 2017 at 1:21 pm #

    “They didn’t do anything criminal, but they were being creepy. I know I’m going to get the standard “she probably looked older than 13” argument, but regardless, when someone, particularly a girl or young woman, is giving off signals that they are uncomfortable, a decent person backs off.”

    Agree. And they backed away, so I guess that makes them decent? I have not opinion on that question. My question is — what makes any of this newsworthy? If the news covered every event where a man did something creepy to a woman, there would be wall to wall coverage of that and room for nothing else. If this is an “attempted luring,” then a guy at a bar trying to kiss a woman without solicitation and moving on when she says no is attempted rape. Could that behavior potentially lead to rape? Absolutely. Does it need to be reported on the news? No.

    Media creates perception which creates policy. This isn’t about the girl or the guys in the van. This is about the media’s decision to make this a story to which they dedicated their limited resources. Honestly, sometimes I think part of the reason media does this is pornographic, knowing that most people in some way get off on these types of stories. I wish they would be more responsible and not make journalistic decisions on our basest instincts.

  30. Donna March 8, 2017 at 1:26 pm #

    “Are you saying no one can call the police unless they’re actually in the process of being kidnapped/beaten/raped? ”

    By all means, if you feel that you are being followed by someone with nefarious purposes, you should call the police WHILE YOU ARE BEING FOLLOWED. Calling the police after you are no longer in the situation and it is abundantly clear that the person you are reporting did not actually commit or even attempt to commit a single crime in your presence is harassment.

    “I also inclined to believe this girl is smart enough to know the difference between being followed vs. someone happened to be driving in the same direction.”

    I am not sure why you are inclined to believe this of a random 13 year old that you don’t know and who is being raised in an environment where someone would call the police for this complete non-incident.

    Further there are several other possibilities that are FAR more likely than an attempted luring (extremely rare), during a high visibility portion of the day (stupid) in an easily identifiable company truck (downright idiotic) that would not involve being followed OR someone happened to be driving the same direction. The most obvious, and my guess what happened here if we ever hear, is that they were looking for an address or turn. I usually drive under walking speed if I am trying to find someplace as it makes finding it before I am past it far more likely.

  31. Donna March 8, 2017 at 1:29 pm #

    “Meanwhile, many in the neighborhood are hoping police make an arrest before another youngster is approached.”

    Arrested for what????? They have committed no crime whatsoever (not in this scenario anyway).

  32. Momof8 March 8, 2017 at 1:32 pm #

    Dienne: perfectly said on all counts.

  33. Flossy08 March 8, 2017 at 1:49 pm #

    So, there are folks in the neighborhood honestly believe the police should arrest this person (or people) because the neighbors have already taken upon themselves to decide these guys were creeps who probably had a serious criminal intention ergo: These odds are “frightening and high” that the guys will eventually catch and hurt a kid? They want to violate due process and demand a vigilante reaction because they “feel” someone is going to maybe do something bad?
    I would say this is absurd but…..
    This is what Offender Registration and and Stranger Danger has resulted in- dangerous paranoia

  34. Robin March 8, 2017 at 1:53 pm #

    How does she know they were “following” her? Heavy commercial traffic for only a block, maybe they were just drving to their destination, which happened to be along the same route she was walking? Maybe she looked older than thirteen and they were four young, stupid guys who thought it would be funny to call out to her? Maybe nothing happened at all except she got a bit rattled over something that others have expanded (others who by the way, weren’t there as witnesses).

    Really as others have said, where is the news in this?

  35. Dienne March 8, 2017 at 2:01 pm #

    “I am not sure why you are inclined to believe this of a random 13 year old that you don’t know and who is being raised in an environment where someone would call the police for this complete non-incident.”

    So, you’re saying that random 13 year olds can’t be trusted. Ergo, it’s not unreasonable at all to require adult supervision up to at least 13 years old at all times. It really is that simple.

    The fact of the matter is that someone, presumably this girl’s parents, *do* trust her. That’s why they let her walk to school on her own. Isn’t that what we support around here? The fact of the matter is that only that 13 year old girl was in that situation and only she knows why she felt threatened enough to call the police. If you’re going to second guess her, you’re saying that she can’t be trusted and that her parents were foolish to do so.

    Again, according to the report, the girl felt that she was being followed for about a block. It takes at least 2-3 minutes to walk a block – that’s a very long time to feel threatened. During that time, I’m sure she was giving out signals that she felt uncomfortable/intimidated/threatened – moving away, walking faster, looking around, etc. Yet still these *four* men in a truck proceed to yell something to her. At best, they are guilty of cluelessness, even if their intentions are not otherwise bad.

    It kind of astounds me that the sympathy here lies with the four men in a truck who were, at best, too clueless to leave a frightened young girl alone, not with the frightened young girl herself.

  36. Jason March 8, 2017 at 2:09 pm #

    I also agree strongly with Dienne on all points.

    In an area “heavy with commercial traffic”, I can’t see how a truck can just appear to be following a pedestrian over any distance, without several vehicles also “following” the pedestrian.

    I’ve never been to NYC, but I don’t imagine a lot of drivers call out to people for help with directions or their map. They certainly don’t in any other city I’ve been in.

    I don’t think the company’s name should have been mentioned, but I assume the ostensible reason was to identify the vehicle – not to shame the company.

    I also don’t understand residents hoping for a quick “arrest”.

  37. James March 8, 2017 at 2:12 pm #

    “Are you saying no one can call the police unless they’re actually in the process of being kidnapped/beaten/raped?”

    If you can demonstrate where I said anything of this nature, please do so. If you can’t, please apologize. I do not appreciate words being put into my mouth. Threats, harassment, and the like certainly warrant police action. High crime areas warrant police presence. If someone actually attempts to harm you, you should go to the police, even if you get away without injury.

    The trouble is, NONE of that is evident in this story. There is NOTHING in this story to support the idea that these men were a threat, other than the feelings of a child living in a society that treats all strangers (and men in particular) as intrinsically threatening. This is so wildly different from what you are accusing me of saying that I have to wonder if you actually read what I wrote, or if your response was merely a knee-jerk reaction to me having the audacity to question this child’s interpretation.

    I do not think that a 13 year old feeling uncomfortable rises to the level where police response is warranted, and I definitely think that detaining or interfering with the lives of these men based on the mere feelings of a child is harassment. There was no objective threat here. Again, this doesn’t mean that the child was wrong to act as she did–what IS wrong is harassing these men.

    The police are there to enforce the law. They are not there as a security blanket. If you feel threatened, sure, you can call the cops. The cops should have the sense to tell this child “You did the right thing, but there’s not enough for us to act on.”

    “Perfect argument against everything that Free Range Kids stands for. If 13 year olds are that moronic and lacking basic sense, by all means, we absolutely *should* mandate that they have to be directly supervised by an adult at all times.”

    13 year olds don’t have a wide range of experience dealing with the world. That’s obvious by the fact that they’re 13. They do not have the knowledge to make consistent proper judgments about situations. That’s why they aren’t allowed to own houses, enter into contracts, get married, etc, so you’re not going to argue against this; we can treat it as given. They are BUILDING experience. And what that means is that they’ll screw up. We should expect a certain amount of falls positives and false negatives merely by virtue of the fact that they’re learning. This is a false negative, or at least is indistinguishable from it. The child in this story should learn that.

    13 year olds are morons. But that’s because they lack the data necessary to not be morons, and the experience necessary to process that data properly. Free-range doesn’t mean treating children as adults; it means giving them age-appropriate levels of liberty and responsibility. Walking to school is age-appropriate responsibility and liberty. I’d rather she defaults to “leave the area” when it comes to threats.

    To be clear: If the police investigated these men based on the feelings of an adult woman, given the facts presented in the article, I would consider that harassment. There is no objective threat, so the cops should not get involved. They may put this on file, so that if a pattern emerges they can see it, but until there’s something to indicate that there was a threat the cops shouldn’t do anything. Feelings are not sufficient to detain people in my opinion. Maybe your opinion is different–but if so, remember the past post, about the family who decided to treat ALL men as potential molesters merely by virtue of them being men. Some people feel that ALL men (or blacks, or Muslims, or atheists, or Christians, or whites, or…….) are threats. If you want to open that floodgate, we’ll have to build a lot more prisons.

  38. Kirsten March 8, 2017 at 2:15 pm #

    As the many seesaws of this discussion show, I think we ought to be very precise about exactly which parts of this story we think were handled incorrectly, which parts are sensationalism, which are overreaction.

    It’s possible to think that there are no grounds for an arrest here or even a follow up (which I agree with) and still not want to discourage a girl from trusting her instincts and reporting something that freaked her out. To me the proper police response is to make a note of what happened and file it. Because this is likely completely innocent and there’s no evidence that anything suspicious was happening, they should not go beyond that. At the same time, in the unlikely event that something happens with these guys again in future there will have been a record of it.

    I have had men follow me or make sexual comments to me very rarely, but the first time was when I was 12. I have developed an instinct on the streets about what is happening if a car is behind me or someone is calling out. 99.99% of the time it doesn’t amount to anything to worry about. In a very few instances I have felt the hairs rise on the back of my neck and fear develop in the pit of my stomach that told me, “Something’s wrong here.” I got away from those situations without waiting around to see what happened. Could I have been wrong? Sure. But I don’t regret it. I never reported them to anyone because it didn’t seem like there was any substance to report. But I am glad that I acted on my instinct.

  39. NY Mom March 8, 2017 at 2:16 pm #

    Poor girl!
    How is this not “brain-washing” to instill irrational fear in an entire generation of children of white privilege?
    Poor girl!

  40. Kirsten March 8, 2017 at 2:32 pm #

    Ps. I forgot to add that I also don’t think this rises to the level of “news” or should be spread around as a “warning” to others. There is just nothing substantial at this point. She felt weird, followed her instinct. No reason for it to be reported to the public or to scare others.

  41. Dienne March 8, 2017 at 3:09 pm #

    Actually, James, I already quoted what you said that implies that, but I’ll quote it again: “Getting the police involved isn’t merely blowing this out of proportion. It’s harassment. There is no evidence that these people did anything wrong.”

    The girl called the police because she felt threatened. You’re the one saying she blew it out of proportion by getting the police involved. What was she supposed to do? At what exact moment is it okay to call the police, if not when one feels threatened?

  42. JTW March 8, 2017 at 3:11 pm #

    “Obviously this girl felt uncomfortable with the situation. Being followed by four men in a vehicle for a block would be uncomfortable for me, let alone a thirteen-year-old.”

    Most likely she wasn’t being followed at all, but the van just happened to be on the same route she was for a few blocks.
    Ever thought of that far more logical explanation?

    No? Why not? It’s the first thing that comes to my mind when I see a car following me for a while.
    And in busy traffic, a car or van is quite likely to be no faster than walking pace.

    This is a non-event, inflated for the drama headlines that sell newspapers and advertising on television and radio channels.

    It’s no more real that all the BS about President Trump being a Soviet spy, or secret CIA bases under the Antarctic ice hiding alien flying saucers.

  43. Dienne March 8, 2017 at 3:13 pm #

    As for the media, of course they made a big deal out of it. They operate on the same profit-driven free market principals that every other predatory aspect of our sick society does. They have to make money and they have to fill hours of news every day. If it yells, it sells; if it bleeds, it leads. We the American people could change that. We could demand more sober, analytic news and refuse to watch sensationalistic sound-bite “news”. But we don’t.

  44. Dienne March 8, 2017 at 3:17 pm #

    “Most likely she wasn’t being followed at all, but the van just happened to be on the same route she was for a few blocks.
    Ever thought of that far more logical explanation?

    No? Why not? It’s the first thing that comes to my mind when I see a car following me for a while.
    And in busy traffic, a car or van is quite likely to be no faster than walking pace.”

    Do you think that *didn’t* occur to her? I’m sure she tried to talk herself out of feeling threatened. I’m sure she tried to tell herself “oh, it’s probably nothing”. That’s what we’re programed to do, especially girls. It’s engrained in us not to make a fuss, not to cause a problem, always think of other people’s needs first.

    Yet still, she felt threatened and she acted on it. It must have made her feel very, very threatened to go to the lengths she did. I don’t see how anyone who wasn’t there has any business second guessing her on that. If she had been abducted or whatever, you people would probably be the first ones saying, “well, why didn’t she call the police?”!

  45. Dienne March 8, 2017 at 3:18 pm #

    Incidentally, I’d like all you nay-sayers to stop and think for a moment if it were *your* daughter who felt threatened enough to get away and call police, and then she has a bunch of internet commenters who weren’t even there telling her it was a “non-incident”, etc. What would you have to say to those internet commenters?

  46. donald March 8, 2017 at 4:09 pm #

    Dienne

    You hit the nail on the head!

    I feel uncomfortable = the other person probably has a sinister motive.

    Children are taught to avoid. Therefore they aren’t taught to recognize what is a threat and what isn’t. It’s ‘safer’ to assume anything that makes you feel uncomfortable is a threat.

    Empire Architecture Group sounds like a company van. 4 men in a company van sound like 4 workers. Driving down the road slowly sounds like they were looking for an address.

    However, an image of being gang raped can be so traumatic that it force disregard any of these possibilities or any other thinking such as:

    1. When commuting a crime why would a person drive a vehicle that’s labeled Empire Architecture Group? That would be easy to find.
    2. Why follow a person for a block before you kidnap them?
    3. I’m near a school. A kidnapper would choose a quieter place with fewer eyewitnesses
    4. A kidnapper wouldn’t shout “GET IN THE VAN”. It’s possible I misheard. They may have been asking directions.

    When a person is so strongly engaged in ‘what if’ that even if any of these thoughts would come up, they’d be ‘vetoed’ because the survival mode declares ‘martial law’ over any other thinking!

  47. Michelle March 8, 2017 at 4:16 pm #

    Dienne said, “Incidentally, what in the world do you mean by “the girl shouldn’t put herself in situations that make her uneasy like that”? How did she put herself in that position? By walking to school? So 13 year old girls shouldn’t walk to school on their own? Woo-wee, I think you just opened a can of worms here….”

    I meant that she shouldn’t be obligated to speak to men that make her feel uncomfortable. She shouldn’t be expected to stop or go back to answer their call. Why you’d assume I meant that she shouldn’t be walking to school is beyond me.

  48. donald March 8, 2017 at 4:21 pm #

    People can get so locked into ‘WHAT IF’ that they act as though this is the only potential danger that exists. I wouldn’t want my daughter kidnapped either. However, I’d also not want to see her slipping into paranoia. Depression and anxiety is an epidemic.

  49. Eric S March 8, 2017 at 4:36 pm #

    Going to play devil’s advocate here. There are two scenarios that come to mind. 1. It’s a little sketchy to follow a kid for a block (considering NY blocks are pretty long) before calling out to her. There is no reason too. Unless, 2. They were looking for an address, which is why they were driving slow. Perhaps hoping to find someone to get confirmation. And since it was just the kid there, they called to her. We don’t know. I’ve done the same thing, I have the address, and GPS, but among a 4 buildings in a complex, I wasn’t sure which building it was (the building numbers were not visible). I drove around the parking lots trying to find the building numbers, until I saw a kid walking his dog. So I stopped and asked where #36 was. He pointed to the building in front of us. I thanked him, he went off with his dog, I parked. Done.

    But what we do know, is that the girl was smart enough to ignore people she didn’t know, kept calm, and went straight to school. Crisis (if at that) averted. The best way to protect our children, is to teach them to protect themselves. They learn street smarts by their own experiences, based on what you have taught them. And never teach children to be fearful and paranoid. Teach them to wary, vigilant, and observant. Teach them what visual queues to look for when their on their own. And to always remain calm. Being calm helps one to be more focused, and make better decisions. This is what we should be learning and taking away from situations like this. Not panicking and jumping to conclusions.

  50. donald March 8, 2017 at 4:38 pm #

    “They have to make money and they have to fill hours of news every day. If it yells, it sells; if it bleeds, it leads. We the American people could change that. We could demand more sober, analytic news and refuse to watch sensationalistic sound-bite “news”. But we don’t”.

    I agree with you 100% on this. Most people ‘want’ sober, analytic news. However, as long as they keep watching crap and rewarding them by clicking on the website, we’ll keep having the sensationalistic sound-bite ‘news’ that brain wash children and encourage paranoid schizophrenia.

    While they are giving into their drama addiction and ENCOURAGING anxiety/depression, they’re also patting themselves on the back for being such good parents.

  51. Alanna March 8, 2017 at 5:45 pm #

    It isn’t only the state of the media, it is the state of the child’s mind. Children have been led to believe that they are in great danger every time an unfamiliar adult approaches them. Could it have been the girl who reported this?

  52. donald March 8, 2017 at 6:30 pm #

    @Alanna

    It could very well could have been.

    Parent, police, and reporters go by the interpretation of the girl that reported it. This is the girl that was fearful because 4 men in a white van were driving slow on the same road that she was walking on her way to school.

    This is a circular argument like the chicken and the egg scenario. Reporters sensationalize. This helps to brainwash people into believing that things that are dangerous when the aren’t. This means that the tell reporters about all the ‘dangerous’ things they encounter.

    “Meanwhile, many in the neighborhood are hoping police make an arrest before another youngster is approached”.

    LONG LIVE PARANOIA!

  53. Donna March 8, 2017 at 6:48 pm #

    “So, you’re saying that random 13 year olds can’t be trusted.”

    No, I’m saying exactly what I said. I am not sure why you are so convinced that you know the mind and psyche, etc. of this total stranger you do not know and about whom you know absolutely nothing other than what was written above. Personally, I tend not to presume that I know the minds of people I do know and am certainly not going to begin to insist that I am all knowing about the minds of people that I have never met.

    “The fact of the matter is that only that 13 year old girl was in that situation and only she knows why she felt threatened enough to call the police.”

    Why are you insisting that she was frightened and that she called the police? Neither of those facts were given in the above report. It is possible that one or both of these “facts” you insist must be true are true. It is also very possible that she was not frightened and was simply relaying a story about this at school and some teacher took it upon herself to be outraged and call the police. It is very possible that she was not frightened at all on the way to school, relayed the story to people like you who weren’t there but who insisted that this must have been a horribly frightening experience, causing her to become frightened.

    “I’m sure she was giving out signals that she felt uncomfortable/intimidated/threatened – moving away, walking faster, looking around, etc. ”

    Again, so certain about things you were not present to view and have absolutely no evidence of whatsoever.

    I am not saying that the girl should have ignored her gut if her gut was telling her something was wrong (if that is even what occurred). She absolutely did the right thing to follow her gut instinct to stay away from the truck and continue on her way too school. Calling the police for a situation where there is nothing the police can do because no crime actually occurred was over-the-top, but I don’t believe for a second that the 13 year old called the police herself so that is not on her.

    None of that means that the other 320 million people in America must take as an irrefutable conclusion that (a) her gut was correct and (b) that the truck was following her for some nefarious purpose. We are actually allowed to look at the facts and draw our own conclusion that maybe there was an overreaction here. We are allowed to look at the facts and draw our own conclusion that maybe her gut was wrong. Because even the best guts are wrong, and guts are influenced by our social conditioning and we have no idea what the girl’s social conditioning was.

  54. Donna March 8, 2017 at 6:52 pm #

    “I’m sure she tried to talk herself out of feeling threatened. I’m sure she tried to tell herself “oh, it’s probably nothing”. ”

    Wow, Dienne, you have built up a whole story of how this went down in your mind, haven’t you? One you are willing to insist over and over is 100% true despite not being present for any of the events or knowing any of the people involved.

  55. Donna March 8, 2017 at 6:56 pm #

    “Incidentally, I’d like all you nay-sayers to stop and think for a moment if it were *your* daughter who felt threatened enough to get away and call police, and then she has a bunch of internet commenters who weren’t even there telling her it was a “non-incident”, etc. What would you have to say to those internet commenters?”

    If this were my daughter, I would tell her great work trusting your gut and avoiding a potentially dangerous situation. We would then have a discussion about appropriate times to call the police and inappropriate times to call the police.

  56. James Pollock March 8, 2017 at 6:58 pm #

    “By all means, if you feel that you are being followed by someone with nefarious purposes, you should call the police WHILE YOU ARE BEING FOLLOWED. Calling the police after you are no longer in the situation and it is abundantly clear that the person you are reporting did not actually commit or even attempt to commit a single crime in your presence is harassment”

    Calling the police if you think a crime may be committed, however, is still OK. If I believe that a carful of people is driving around planning to abduct someone, you bet I’m going to call the police… AND SO WOULD YOU. The difference is that it’s much harder to convince you or I that this is the case.

    And “it would be amazingly stupid to do that” isn’t determinative. Criminals are, on the whole, a pretty stupid lot. It would be pretty stupid to try to rob a bank right after swiping your account card on their terminal, giving them your name and mailing address. It would be stupid to fill out a job application, completely and accurately, and then try to rob the place. It would be stupid to hand the teller a robbery note written on the back of your jail release paperwork. But bank robbers have done all of these things.

  57. Donna March 8, 2017 at 7:01 pm #

    I hate that we can’t edit because I his send too soon. But to complete that last thought.

    However, I also KNOW my daughter. I know how she was raised and I know that she was not raised to fear every stranger in her vicinity who talks to her. If she felt threatened, I know that it would not be a knee-jerk reaction of “a man I don’t know spoke to me so he must want to rape me.”

    I don’t know this particular person so I have no idea how much validity to give her gut, so all I can do is look at the facts and the facts surrounding this situation tell me that it was more likely than not a complete overreaction.

  58. James Pollock March 8, 2017 at 7:23 pm #

    “The police are there to enforce the law. They are not there as a security blanket. If you feel threatened, sure, you can call the cops. The cops should have the sense to tell this child ‘You did the right thing, but there’s not enough for us to act on.’”

    Except, of course, that there IS something they can do. Several somethings. They can keep an eye out for a pickup truck that matches the description of the suspect vehicle, and if they see it, they can ask the men inside if they did what was claimed and if so, why. They could find out if a vehicle that matches that description was stolen (Wanna snatch a kid off the street? Start by stealing a vehicle to do it in). Check to see if there are any OTHER reports of children or young women being followed by such a vehicle.
    You’re starting with your conclusion that it was nothing, and then acting as if that’s the end of the inquiry. Investigation FIRST, THEN conclusion.

    “13 year olds don’t have a wide range of experience dealing with the world. That’s obvious by the fact that they’re 13. They do not have the knowledge to make consistent proper judgments about situations. That’s why they aren’t allowed to own houses, enter into contracts, get married, etc, so you’re not going to argue against this; we can treat it as given.
    I don’t know what country you’re from, but in the United States 13-year-olds are allowed to own houses, enter into contracts, and may even get married.. (Granted, the number of 13-year-olds with the means to PURCHASE houses are rather few, there are some and 13-year-olds can inherit. 13-year-olds have ALWAYS been allowed to enter into contracts, going back to the English common-law. Marriage laws vary by state. Mine includes provisions that allows 13-year-olds to marry.) So that thing that is no obvious as to be considered a “given”, is, well, not necessarily true. Some cultures consider 13-year-olds to be adults.

    It’s EXTREMELY likely that this is a case of nothing, blown out of proportion by media reports. But police don’t know this until after they investigate.

  59. Donna March 8, 2017 at 7:52 pm #

    “If I believe that a carful of people is driving around planning to abduct someone, you bet I’m going to call the police… AND SO WOULD YOU.”

    Possibly under very different facts than were presented here, I would. In the scenario presented, I would not call the police even if I was convinced that these men would have abducted me if I had walked to the truck because nothing occurred to investigate.

    “And ‘it would be amazingly stupid to do that’ isn’t determinative.”

    Never said it was. However, given amazingly stupid crime vs completely rational explanation that involves no criminal behavior whatsoever, the latter is most likely every time. It would be incredibly ridiculous to assume that every person who filled out a job application was going to rob the business because, although someone stupid did that once, the extreme vast majority of people who complete job applications don’t then rob the business.

  60. Donna March 8, 2017 at 8:01 pm #

    “They can keep an eye out for a pickup truck that matches the description of the suspect vehicle, and if they see it, they can ask the men inside if they did what was claimed and if so, why.”

    And then? Because even if they did exactly what was claimed, no crime occurred. They can’t arrest them. I suppose they could then watch them 24/7 for the rest of their lives on the off chance that one or more of them commit a completely separate crime, but it would be a rare police force with that kind of man power and it would open them up to a lawsuit.

    “You’re starting with your conclusion that it was nothing, and then acting as if that’s the end of the inquiry.”

    It is the end of the inquiry when what was actually reported was not a crime or even something that would be sufficient to be charged as an attempted crime. Police don’t actually get to investigate random people for non-crimes just in case that investigation turns up unrelated actual crimes.

  61. Lena March 8, 2017 at 8:48 pm #

    Here’s a story from Germany that didn’t get reported on the news (I only know it because it involves family): Two 8-year girls were walking home in the late afternoon/early evening from an activity at a community center. It was getting dark. A car approached them, rolled down the window and a woman called out to come over. The girls did. When the girls were next to the open window, the woman poured a can of soda over them and drove off. Apparently that was her idea of a practical joke. All the adults agreed that hopefully the girls learned a lesson (stay a further away while you listen to what the driver wants) but nobody thought of calling the police or news.

  62. James Pollock March 8, 2017 at 8:51 pm #

    “‘They can keep an eye out for a pickup truck that matches the description of the suspect vehicle, and if they see it, they can ask the men inside if they did what was claimed and if so, why.’

    And then? Because even if they did exactly what was claimed, no crime occurred.”
    Er, no. If they did exactly what was claimed, and nothing else, no crime occurred. You’ve ALSO interjected your conclusion before any investigation.

    “They can’t arrest them.”
    Depends on what the investigation finds, now doesn’t it? If it turns up nothing, because there is nothing to turn up, then there’s nothing to arrest them for. If it turns up something, because there IS something to turn up, then they can be arrested for it. Just like on “Law & Order” (that’s a joke, in case it isn’t obvious). Deciding what the investigation is going to discover, before it happens, is just as wrong whether you’re assuming innocence OR guilt.
    Investigation FIRST, conclusion after. You should know this more than most, Donna. It’s kind of your job.

    “’You’re starting with your conclusion that it was nothing, and then acting as if that’s the end of the inquiry.’
    It is the end of the inquiry when what was actually reported was not a crime or even something that would be sufficient to be charged as an attempted crime. Police don’t actually get to investigate random people for non-crimes just in case that investigation turns up unrelated actual crimes”

    The Supreme Court said otherwise, in Terry v. Ohio. Mr. Terry was investigated for walking back and forth in front of a store, then walking away to a different street corner… neither of which are crimes. The investigation turned up an unrelated crime, which Mr. Terry was convicted of, and the conviction stood. The holding in Terry was pretty clear… the police DO NOT HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL A CRIME IS COMMITTED to take action. Part of their job is investigation of crime, but part of their job is prevention.

    “‘If I believe that a carful of people is driving around planning to abduct someone, you bet I’m going to call the police… AND SO WOULD YOU.’
    Possibly under very different facts than were presented here, I would.”
    The part you cut from the quote covers that, I think.

    “In the scenario presented, I would not call the police”
    Neither would I, as best as I can tell.

    “even if I was convinced that these men would have abducted me if I had walked to the truck because nothing occurred to investigate.”
    You’d take no action to protect other people who might be abducted? That’s… interesting.

    It’s kind of funny that you berate someone for reading their own facts into this story, while you’re doing the exact same thing. We have a third- or fourth-hand account. We don’t have statements from the parties involved, or even know their identities. But you’re CERTAIN you know what happened…

  63. Amy in SC March 8, 2017 at 9:28 pm #

    It’s always a white van.

    With 6 kids, my family car is a big, white 15-passenger van. The van automatically makes me suspect at a local church where one of my daughters works. One man actually said that lots of APB’s were for white vans like mine so he was worried. Sure, on Law and Order maybe. Those are also usually the work vans with no windows not the window covered in stickers like mine.

    At least I’m a woman. My husband doesn’t drive it as often as I do.

  64. Babs March 8, 2017 at 11:38 pm #

    I really like the 10% of articles on this webpage that aren’t all about defending the stereotypes that girls pretend to be victims or boys are just being boys when they behave like predators.
    A 13 year old girl is old enough to know when something’s out of the norm and right to take precautions. Is it newsworthy? Maybe not but we don’t need to make this girl out to be a nincompoop either.

  65. Buffy March 9, 2017 at 7:26 am #

    “I really like the 10% of articles on this webpage that aren’t all about defending the stereotypes that girls pretend to be victims or boys are just being boys when they behave like predators.”

    90% of the articles on this website are not remotely like this. I don’t know what you’ve been reading.

  66. marie March 9, 2017 at 9:38 am #

    EVEN IF the four men were shouting “Hey Baby” and “If I had a swing like that, I’d put it in the back yard” and making smooching noises at her, they haven’t done anything illegal. If the 13yo is frightened by that (not an unreasonable response), then let’s help her deal with her fright. Kids need to learn how to deal with weird stuff that happens in this world.

    It all comes back to Lenore’s “prepare kids for the world instead of preparing the world for the kids”.

  67. Michael Fandal March 9, 2017 at 10:46 am #

    Attempted luring is not a crime nor is attempted leering.@hotmail.com

  68. Andrew Jones March 9, 2017 at 12:27 pm #

    Dienne – I don’t have any daughters, but if I did, I’d make sure to teach them to think rationally first.

    Your argument is essentially “She was uncomfortable, therefore there was a risk.” Actually that statement is flat out wrong. There are people who would feel uncomfortable if they say a black person in the same area. Others who would feel uncomfortable if they saw a visibly non-Christian (Jewish, other) because you know, they are all on the side of Satan. I know people who would be uncomfortable if a Honda Civic drove by, because all Honda Civic drivers are crazy a**holes.

    People can be uncomfortable for all kinds of reasons – sadly, most of those are *not* the result of other people’s actions, but of their own programmed/learned insecurities. So, if the best they can come up with is “a vehicle with 4 guys in it went down a street the same direction as me, and they may have called out to me” I’m sorry, that *is* a non-incident.

  69. David March 9, 2017 at 12:36 pm #

    @James
    “13 year olds are morons. But that’s because they lack the data necessary to not be morons, and the experience necessary to process that data properly. ”

    Ignorance/inexperience is not the same thing as stupidity! If you think 13 year olds are morons what do you think 7 year olds are? Imbeciles? Cretins?

    Perhaps you should moderate your language a little.

  70. Backroads March 9, 2017 at 1:22 pm #

    Just because something is creepy and unusual, just because someone felt uneasy in their gut, just because someone even reported something, does not make that something newsworthy.

    An actual abduction, or even a girl fighting her way out of their hands/the van, maybe.

    A girl having a creepy experience but coming to no ill fate? Not newsworthy.

  71. HM March 9, 2017 at 1:48 pm #

    I certainly agree that getting the police involved in this case was most likely unnecessary (whoever it was who called them), and yes, these guys were probably not going to kidnap her, nor drag her into their truck.

    But frankly, there is a way to point this out without blatantly dismissing the fact that a female teenager might be made uncomfortable by four grown men who may or may not have been catcalling her. There is no reason to call a female teenager “moron” because she feels uncomfortable in a situation like this – on International Women’s Day no less! Yes, it was probably nothing more serious than catcalling at most, and yes, the media seems to be completely blowing this out of proportion. But I’m a bit shocked that people here are so quick to turn this into arguments about how a teenager is apparently being stupid for possibly being uncomfortable in a situation where she believes that four grown men were hollering at her. About to be kidnapped? Probably not. Having a right to feel uncomfortable? Definitely yes.

    I think Dienne is right when she says that if you honestly believe that children and teenagers should be taken seriously, then perhaps you shouldn’t immediately undermine a girl’s credibility. It kind of smacks of sexism too. Besides, this happened in the Bronx, not in some upper-middle class suburbs somewhere in the Midwest, and newsflash, most kids in upper Manhattan and the Bronx don’t exactly grow up overprotected and sheltered. From my own experience of living in the city, I kind of have a feeling that most kids in this part of town are used to interactions with strangers and wouldn’t immediately freak out if someone spoke to them.

  72. James Pollock March 9, 2017 at 2:29 pm #

    “Just because something is creepy and unusual, just because someone felt uneasy in their gut, just because someone even reported something, does not make that something newsworthy.
    An actual abduction, or even a girl fighting her way out of their hands/the van, maybe.
    A girl having a creepy experience but coming to no ill fate? Not newsworthy.”

    I’m going to let you in on a little secret. There is no magic line between “newsworthy” and “not newsworthy”. It depends on what else is happening (or not happening) on that particular day.

    A TV newscast has a certain amount of time to fill, regardless of how many “newsworthy” events happened recently. A newspaper has so much blank space to fill, regardless of how many “newsworthy” events happened recently. Heck, it’s most obvious on talk radio, where they have to fill 3 or 4 hours with something-or-other that is simply OUTRAGEOUS! every day. If there isn’t something actually happening to get OUTRAGED! about, they have to make something up.

    You can see the difference most obviously if you happen to live someplace where one TV station produces a half-hour news program, and another TV station produces a full hour news program. You’d think the station with the full hour program could cover stories in more depth, because they have more time, but viewers still have short attention spans and won’t sit still for that… so the longer newscast has more stories… in my local broadcasting area, more crime stories, because those are easy to do.

  73. Patrick March 9, 2017 at 3:16 pm #

    I used to field these complaints at a construction company. People always assumed the worst. That ladder we said we were going to put up? Now we’re peeping toms because there’s a window somewhere within eyeshot. That whistle to the crew (effective communication), now we’re whistling at any female of any age within earshot. And the callers want to be right, want to be mad, and don’t want to hear reason.

  74. Workshop March 9, 2017 at 3:47 pm #

    Maybe they were singing along to Billy Ocean “Get out of my dreams/Get into my car.”

    Far more likely.

  75. James Pollock March 9, 2017 at 4:03 pm #

    “Maybe they were singing along to Billy Ocean “Get out of my dreams/Get into my car.”
    Far more likely.”

    Far more likely, statistically speaking, than EITHER a planned abduction OR your Billy Ocean theory is that they were attempting to solicit an act of prostitution… although we’re still a LONG way from anything like the most statistically-likely answer.

  76. S March 9, 2017 at 4:32 pm #

    Just wanted to share our story. Our daughter was 4 years old and was sent home on the bus by accident one day. I got a call at work from the principal who said that they accidentally put our DD on the bus and that they didn’t know where she was at the time. They called me about 30 minutes after the bus would have dropped her off half a km from our house. As it turned out, my 4 year old walked home from the bus stop, rang the doorbell, when no one answered sat on the front porch and read a book from her backpack. She then heard some neighbors who live about half a block away come home. She went to see them, said that her parents weren’t home and played in the front yard with the neighbours until someone from the school picked her up (about 45 minutes after being dropped off by the bus). She was fine and handled the situation like a pro!

  77. Papilio March 9, 2017 at 5:18 pm #

    “Empire Architecture Group sounds like a company van. 4 men in a company van sound like 4 workers. Driving down the road slowly sounds like they were looking for an address.”

    Or even checking out the architecture, depending on the street??

    Also… “young girl” to describe a 13-year-old… I mean, factually, a ‘girl’ is a female between 0 and 18 years old. 13 is almost at three-quarters of that time span, so how is that ‘young’? If I apply the same logic to ‘woman’ (female over the age of 18, assuming average lifespan of 80 years in total), then a ‘young woman’ is ~62…

    “a visibly non-Christian (Jewish, other) because you know, they are all on the side of Satan.”

    LOL @Lenore: They’re on to you! Grab that broomstick and run! 😛

  78. BL March 9, 2017 at 5:43 pm #

    @Papilio
    ‘Also… “young girl” to describe a 13-year-old… I mean, factually, a ‘girl’ is a female between 0 and 18 years old. 13 is almost at three-quarters of that time span, so how is that ‘young’? If I apply the same logic to ‘woman’ (female over the age of 18, assuming average lifespan of 80 years in total), then a ‘young woman’ is ~62’

    Come to think of it, when have we ever someone referred to an “old girl”? I’ve heard it as a jocular form of address (usually addressed to a grown woman), or as a conventional term for an alumna of certain prep schools, but as an actual description?

  79. Jason March 9, 2017 at 6:03 pm #

    Our news has a story today about a 78 y.o. man who was caught on video “trying to lure” a 6 y.o. girl into the men’s restroom at a supermarket by promising her a treat. She was going to the women’s restroom on her own in good free-range style, and reported the encounter to her family, resulting in the police being called and the media reporting it and showing the video.

    I don’t know anything about this man or this girl. Perhaps they were both just heading to the restroom at the same time. Perhaps the girl had been wrongly conditioned to fear men. Perhaps the man just likes kids and wanted to give her some candy. Maybe he needed some sort of assistance.

    Is the little girl a moron? Should the police have been called? Should the video have been aired? Should the cops have picked this poor guy up at the gym this morning based on the tips of busybodies? Is this rampant paranoia?

  80. Peter March 9, 2017 at 8:18 pm #

    Being followed by four men in a vehicle for a block would be uncomfortable for me, let alone a thirteen-year-old.

    Totally understandable. But were they following her?

    I’ve seen plenty of vehicles drive slowly when they’re looking for a particular address or street. Heck, I got “merged into” on my bike once when someone was driving along trying to read the numbers off the buildings.

    So the truck is moving slowly where the girl is walking while the people in the truck try to figure out where they are. Finally, one person calls out to a person that they see hoping to get some help.

    I know that we all like to believe that we’re the center of the universe, but lots of things happen that have absolutely nothing to do with us.

  81. Donna March 10, 2017 at 8:51 am #

    “I know that we all like to believe that we’re the center of the universe, but lots of things happen that have absolutely nothing to do with us.”

    And that I think is what is at the heart of all this paranoia – the belief that we (or our children) are the center of the universe and the failure to understand that 99.999999% of the time the rest of the world is just doing their own things without even fully acknowledging that we entered their orbit unless necessary. A car driving slowly behind us MUST be following us. The occupants MUST have seen us getting nervous so clueless to call out to us. The occupants MUST have thoroughly thought through this course of action from HER POINT OF VIEW and therefore must have meant harm or are completely socially inept.

  82. SteveS March 10, 2017 at 9:18 am #

    I don’t know what country you’re from, but in the United States 13-year-olds are allowed to own houses, enter into contracts, and may even get married..

    This isn’t true across the board and it depends on the state. In regards to a contract, a 13 year old may be a,e to enter one, but only an idiot would contract with a minor. In most places, most contracts are voidable if the person is a minor.

  83. James Pollock March 10, 2017 at 11:16 am #

    ” In regards to a contract, a 13 year old may be a,e to enter one, but only an idiot would contract with a minor. In most places, most contracts are voidable if the person is a minor.”

    I hate to tell you this, but lots of people who are not idiots make contracts with minors, every day. Most contracts made by minors are not voidable, because they fall into one (or more) of the exceptions to the the rule. And, (duh) “minors can’t enter contracts” and “it might be a bad idea to enter a contract with a minor” are not the same thing.

    “This isn’t true across the board and it depends on the state”
    Gee, now I wish I’d included a parenthetical note that went into detail on just this point. I should have said something like “(Granted, the number of 13-year-olds with the means to PURCHASE houses are rather few, there are some and 13-year-olds can inherit. 13-year-olds have ALWAYS been allowed to enter into contracts, going back to the English common-law. Marriage laws vary by state. Mine includes provisions that allows 13-year-olds to marry.)” Yeah, I wish I’d said something like that the FIRST time…

  84. Roger the Shrubber March 10, 2017 at 12:28 pm #

    Gee, now I wish I’d included a parenthetical note…..

    I think I’ve seen you posting here before, SteveS. I would have thought you to have known better. I knew that all I would have to do to see JP’s witty retort was to hit RELOAD. I was not disappointed.

  85. Warren March 10, 2017 at 3:40 pm #

    Dienne
    Yes we can debate her instincts. Growing up in this era of fear creates people whose instincts that are no longer helpful tools. There is a huge difference between good instincts and paranoia.

  86. Donna March 10, 2017 at 7:27 pm #

    “If they did exactly what was claimed, and nothing else, no crime occurred.”

    It is perfectly reasonable to accept that this article was not written by a horrible reporter who decided to leave out a bunch of pertinent facts. If you happen to have some evidence that this was written by the world’s worst reporter, I may change my opinion, but otherwise, I will accept that it is very possible that this was all that was reported to us because it was all that was reported at all and that it was all that was reported at all because it was all that occurred. I am not going to spend time speculating about what should have been done in a bunch of made up scenarios that we have no evidence whatsoever occurred.

    “Depends on what the investigation finds, now doesn’t it?”

    Only if that investigation uncovers that one or more of these individuals happened to, independent of the actions described here, have done something that was illegal and they found evidence of that crime. However, there is nothing to be discovered that would suddenly make driving on a public street behind this girl and asking her to come to the car and driving away with no further interaction illegal. Well, with one exception I guess – the police could determine that the driver had a suspended or no driver’s license which would make the driving on a public street part illegal, although it is rare to charge that crime when the police did not see you driving the car.

    “The Supreme Court said otherwise, in Terry v. Ohio.”

    We have discussed on more than one occasion your completely wrong description of Terry v. Ohio and I have no desire to do it again.

    “It’s kind of funny that you berate someone for reading their own facts into this story, while you’re doing the exact same thing.”

    Please point to where I have read a single fact into this story in my response.

    “But you’re CERTAIN you know what happened…”

    Nope just willing to accept, until I have evidence otherwise, that what I’ve been told is quite likely what happened.

  87. James Pollock March 10, 2017 at 8:57 pm #

    “It is perfectly reasonable to accept that this article was not written by a horrible reporter who decided to leave out a bunch of pertinent facts. If you happen to have some evidence that this was written by the world’s worst reporter, I may change my opinion, but otherwise, I will accept that it is very possible that this was all that was reported to us because it was all that was reported at all and that it was all that was reported at all because it was all that occurred. I am not going to spend time speculating about what should have been done in a bunch of made up scenarios that we have no evidence whatsoever occurred.”

    Let me shorten that up for you.

    “We don’t have any evidence, so there’s no need to look for any evidence”

    Good news! President Trump would like you to head up the investigation into whether or not Russia had any contacts with the Trump campaign…

    (I find it odd that you are so certain that 3rd and 4th hand accounts of the event are completely accurate. Particularly after you went into some detail about various ways it could be inaccurate previously.)

    “Only if that investigation uncovers that one or more of these individuals happened to, independent of the actions described here, have done something that was illegal and they found evidence of that crime.”

    Or, of course, if that investigation turned up the fact that one or more of these individuals happened to, by the actions described here, have been doing something illegal, and they found evidence of that crime.

    “I am not sure why you are so convinced that you know the mind and psyche, etc. of this total stranger you do not know and about whom you know absolutely nothing other than what was written above. Personally, I tend not to presume that I know the minds of people I do know and am certainly not going to begin to insist that I am all knowing about the minds of people that I have never met.”

    Oops. So much for that one.

    “Please point to where I have read a single fact into this story in my response.”
    Uh, OK.
    “Because even if they did exactly what was claimed, no crime occurred.”

    “We have discussed on more than one occasion your completely wrong description of Terry v. Ohio and I have no desire to do it again.”
    If “the police DO NOT HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL A CRIME IS COMMITTED to take action.” is a “completely wrong” description of Terry v. Ohio, I wonder why so many other people share it? By which I mean, not just random people who know nothing about the law and law enforcement, but people who write training manuals for public defenders? And police policy manuals? And criminal law textbooks?
    Oh, sorry. You don’t want to talk about it. I can understand why.

  88. pentamom March 11, 2017 at 9:32 am #

    “So, you’re saying that random 13 year olds can’t be trusted. Ergo, it’s not unreasonable at all to require adult supervision up to at least 13 years old at all times. It really is that simple.”

    No There is a difference between “a 13 year old’s judgment as to a threat is to be implicitly believed” and “a 13 year old is unsafe alone on the streets.” If anything, she’s demonstrably safe because her judgment is excessively cautious. But it’s still likely not to be completely sound.

  89. Paul March 11, 2017 at 1:52 pm #

    I don’t know what kind of shenanigans they get up to in the Bronx, but back in Brooklyn if someone shouted at you from a car you shouted back at them. I mean, that’s just courtesy.

  90. SteveS March 13, 2017 at 8:36 am #

    I hate to tell you this, but lots of people who are not idiots make contracts with minors, every day. Most contracts made by minors are not voidable, because they fall into one (or more) of the exceptions to the the rule. And, (duh) “minors can’t enter contracts” and “it might be a bad idea to enter a contract with a minor” are not the same thing.

    Gee, now I wish I’d included a parenthetical note that went into detail on just this point. I should have said something like “(Granted, the number of 13-year-olds with the means to PURCHASE houses are rather few, there are some and 13-year-olds can inherit. 13-year-olds have ALWAYS been allowed to enter into contracts, going back to the English common-law. Marriage laws vary by state. Mine includes provisions that allows 13-year-olds to marry.)” Yeah, I wish I’d said something like that the FIRST time…

    Duh?!?! Are you 13?

    You should include a parenthetical note when you are obviously trolling, with the disclaimer that you are not an attorney, did not stay at a Holiday Inn Express, nor are you attempting to provide factual information.

    At the risk of taking this further off topic, I will try and be concise.

    At common law, minors generally lack the capacity to contract and any contract they enter is likely voidable, meaning that they can disaffirm it and not be forced to comply with the terms. There are some exceptions, but they most revolve around contracts for necessities if the child is not living under the care of a parent or guardian, or involve the child turning 18 and following the terms of the contract. They may also enter into a contract if they become emancipated.

    Some states have modified this rule, but children are generally still very limited in terms of being able to contract. Google the topic and there is tons of information from a variety of legal sources. I don’t see what 13 year olds being able to inherit has to do with anything. The law requires that someone be appointed to manage the property and they have no control over it until they reach adulthood. The same holds true for real property. A minor can own title, but lacks the capacity to convey title. This can be very problematic.

  91. SteveS March 13, 2017 at 8:45 am #


    Roger the Shrubber March 10, 2017 at 12:28 pm #

    I think I’ve seen you posting here before, SteveS. I would have thought you to have known better. I knew that all I would have to do to see JP’s witty retort was to hit RELOAD. I was not disappointed.

    Roger, I am familiar with JP’s retorts and I can usually ignore them. In some cases, he is right or is stating an interesting opinion. I am perfectly willing to admit that. Occasionally, his legal assertions are even correct. However, at other times, he is just wrong or mostly wrong. I probably should just ignore him because he will typically just say he didn’t mean what was said or keep running with the falsehood. Regardless, I am also responding to provide accurate information for the others.

  92. SteveS March 13, 2017 at 8:55 am #

    The Supreme Court said otherwise, in Terry v. Ohio. Mr. Terry was investigated for walking back and forth in front of a store, then walking away to a different street corner… neither of which are crimes. The investigation turned up an unrelated crime, which Mr. Terry was convicted of, and the conviction stood. The holding in Terry was pretty clear… the police DO NOT HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL A CRIME IS COMMITTED to take action. Part of their job is investigation of crime, but part of their job is prevention.

    Roger, I just can’t let this one slide, either, as it appears that JP hasn’t even read the Wikipedia entry on Terry v. Ohio.

    The holding in Terry was that the police don’t need PC to conduct a stop of someone. They can briefly stop someone if they have reasonable suspicion (lower standard than PC) that the person is engaged in criminal activity and conduct a pat down search for weapons.

  93. James Pollock March 13, 2017 at 1:30 pm #

    “At common law, minors generally lack the capacity to contract and any contract they enter is likely voidable, meaning that they can disaffirm it and not be forced to comply with the terms.”

    True enough. But the original claim was “Minors may not enter into contracts”. Can minors enter into contracts, or not, Steve? My counter-claim was the minors MAY enter contracts, and that this has been true since the English common-law. Have minors been allowed to enter into contracts since English common-law, Steve?

    I realize it’s easier to argue with points you wish I’d made instead of the ones I actually made, Steve, but I really wish you’d stop doing that.

    “Some states have modified this rule, but children are generally still very limited in terms of being able to contract.”
    Duh. That’s probably why I DIDN’T say “children are totally unrestricted in the types and sorts of contracts they form” Again, because you seem to have trouble with this, the original claim was a flat claim that minors are not allowed to form contracts. The counter-argument I made is that yes, they are. Are minors A) not permitted to enter contracts, or B) permitted to enter contracts, Steve?

    “I don’t see what 13 year olds being able to inherit has to do with anything.”
    The original claim was the 13-year-olds may not own houses. I responded that yes, they can. I went on to say that there are not many 13-year-olds with the means to purchase houses, but they can inherit. You see, by inheritance is one of the ways that 13-year-olds can own a house.
    Can a 13-year-old own a house, Steve?

    “Roger, I am familiar with JP’s retorts and I can usually ignore them. In some cases, he is right or is stating an interesting opinion. I am perfectly willing to admit that.”
    How generous of you.

    “Roger, I just can’t let this one slide, either, as it appears that JP hasn’t even read the Wikipedia entry on Terry v. Ohio”
    That would be correct.

    “The holding in Terry was that the police don’t need PC to conduct a stop of someone. They can briefly stop someone if they have reasonable suspicion (lower standard than PC) that the person is engaged in criminal activity and conduct a pat down search for weapons.”

    Engaged in or about to be engaged in.
    “We merely hold today that, where a police officer observes unusual conduct which leads him reasonably to conclude in light of his experience that criminal activity may be afoot and that the persons with whom he is dealing may be armed and presently dangerous, where, in the course of investigating this behavior, he identifies himself as a policeman and makes reasonable inquiries, and where nothing in the initial stages of the encounter serves to dispel his reasonable fear for his own or others’ safety, he is entitled for the protection of himself and others in the area to conduct a carefully limited search of the outer clothing of such persons in an attempt to discover weapons which might be used to assault him.”

    Mr. Terry was stopped because the officer observed behavior that led him to believe that Terry and his confederates were planning to rob a store. The officer took action BEFORE that robbery could take place.

    There were two completely separate yet intertwined legal questions in play. The first was, can the officer require Terry to stop what he is doing while the officer investigates (that is, may the officer seize Mr. Terry without arresting him?), and the second one was, when Terry was involuntarily searched and his weapon seized, both without warrant, were his fourth-amendment rights violated? Chief Justice Warren put a lot of time and effort into answering the second question explicitly and in depth, and doesn’t directly address the first.
    We know that, at the time he was seized, the officer did not have legal justification to arrest. He had a pretty strong opinion that he’d seen Terry and his crew preparing to rob a store; but had not witnessed them doing anything illegal. Now, stop right there.
    Is the officer required to ignore Mr. Terry until he observes Terry and company actually robbing the store (or doing something else illegal), or may the officer investigate an inchoate crime he reasonably suspects is afoot? Chief Justice Warren actually answers this question, though not directly by coming right out and saying “the cops can investigate possible crimes that haven’t happened yet, if there’s a reason to believe its in the works”. There’s Constitutional reason why he can’t make such a pronouncement (the “case or controversy” requirement). But, if the officer ISN’T allowed to seize Mr. Terry for an “investigatory stop”, then everything that followed (the search of Mr. Terry, the seizure of the gun he was convicted of carrying) would have been inadmissible as fruit of an unlawful seizure.
    Now… returning to the claim. It was this: “the police DO NOT HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL A CRIME IS COMMITTED to take action.”
    You find this to be not true? Which part of the Terry decision do you feel contains the requirement that police wait until a crime is committed before they may take action?

  94. SteveS March 13, 2017 at 4:15 pm #

    LOL, you are very predictable. When you are clearly wrong, you double down on your nonsense.

  95. James Pollock March 13, 2017 at 9:03 pm #

    LOL. You are very predictable. You avoid the question(s) when you don’t like the answer(s).

  96. James Pollock March 14, 2017 at 11:13 pm #

    Yes, that’s pretty much how I figured you’d respond.

    Please understand when I interpret your “unwillingness” to back up any of your claims with anything other than ad hominem as being due to a complete and total inability to do so.

  97. Buffy March 19, 2017 at 10:29 am #

    ……and another thread gone to the dogs.