The Death of Hailey Owens and the Fear It Strikes

How should the tragic news of a 10-year-old Hailey Owens’ abduction and murder change us?

For me, it will mean feeling sickeningly sad for her and her family.  And beyond that, it will mean a call for…


Not more laws protecting kids — there are already laws against murder. Not more police on the street — I don’t want a cop on every cul de sac. Not more stringent laws against those on the Sex Offender Registry — added strictures have not been shown to make kids any safer.

So how about more oversight of kids? How about advising parents never to let their kids do anything on their own?

That is not something we need either. 

Looking backward, we all wish Hailey had not been walking in her neighborhood on Tuesday. Looking backward on any tragedy — a car crash, a pedestrian death, a tree branch falling on a child — we all wish that, on that particular day, at that particular hour, the victim had been doing anything besides getting driven to soccer, or crossing the street to school, or playing hopscotch on the sidewalk. That doesn’t mean that no one should ever get into a car, or walk to school, or play under a tree again.

The really hard thing to recall when a terrible thing happens to some child somewhere,  is that it does not mean all children are now in danger at all times everywhere. 

This is particularly hard to recall in a society has taken to reflexively using the very worst, saddest story — a murdered child — as a sort of touchstone for parenting. A rare and tragic death is something we’re now expected to think about all the time, when making any decisions for our kids. To be able to swallow the idea that there is risk in everything in everyday life — not a lot, but a little — has gone from being considered normal to being considered negligent.

It is not negligent. 

I will think about Hailey’s death from time to time, with a heart that feels leaden. But I cannot make it my touchstone. It is a terrified and warped society that would regard a walk  home as a dangerous activity for a child,  despite the fact that on one sad day, in one town, for one child, it was. – L

Fearing the front lawn.

Fearing  the front lawn.

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95 Responses to The Death of Hailey Owens and the Fear It Strikes

  1. E February 20, 2014 at 9:16 am #

    I just read the ABC news article on it and it seems that since there were eyewitnesses (one with the license #), & that the police were notified pretty quickly. Presumably one thing that can (and should) be done is to review the police reaction to information. That’s completely understandable.

    I’m not sure how I feel about a child that hasn’t even been laid to rest being the focus of this post with a “do nothing” conclusion. I work in IT and when bad things happen, we do reviews to find out how if/how we can do things better/safer next time.

    In this case, that doesn’t mean new laws, but I certainly don’t think this death is a “call for … nothing”.

  2. Phil February 20, 2014 at 9:32 am #

    We should call for the swift punishment of the perpetrator however we cannot be ruled by his actions.

  3. Kristen February 20, 2014 at 9:48 am #

    How about we do something in terms of the slap on the wrist most dangerous offenders receive? People who commit fraud get tougher sentences than violent offenders because of course, money is more important than the safety of others… This is where things need to change.

  4. SKL February 20, 2014 at 9:52 am #

    E, I think Lenore’s message is a reminder that we shouldn’t jump to react in the heat of the moment. The usual result of doing that is that people overreact and cause new problems without solving old ones.

    It would make more sense to add this to the list of incidents that occur, step back, and look at things from a cool perspective. In my view, no matter what the topic, there is always room for improvement in how humans do things. But I doubt the period right after a horrible incident is going to produce the most rational way forward.

  5. E February 20, 2014 at 10:06 am #

    SKL, yup – that’s called grief. A completely normal reaction to a sudden and unnecessary death. People (family, community members) have to process a very tragic event. I disagree that there is nothing beyond feeling sadness and grief for her family.

    Perhaps in the end, nothing can be learned or change or improved, but you don’t know that until you go thru the process.

    Exploitation of a tragic event can work both ways.

  6. SOA February 20, 2014 at 10:07 am #

    I was kinda wondering too how they had all this info about the abductor and yet did not catch him in time. That there were eye witnesses but why they didn’t think to intervene or follow the guy or call the cops right away or if they did why the cops failed to catch him.

    As someone who has known two people violently murdered by random people, the cops generally SUCK at catching these types of murderers. They were never caught or even come close to catching anyone and they barely investigated. The families were OUTRAGED. Because it was two gay men and so nobody apparently cared about them. It has made me lose a lot of faith in police to actually catch real killers. They can easily pin it on the husband or the boyfriend or the parents but they suck at catching random killers.

  7. E February 20, 2014 at 10:12 am #

    The ABC article says someone did try to follow him (but lost him) and that they did call with the license right away.

  8. Molly February 20, 2014 at 10:18 am #

    Thank you! I am a free range parent. If this were to happen to me, I have no idea how I would feel or react. Upon reading about the tragedy, I feel sad for the loss of a child. I will not change my parenting, however. I will not let horror stories of the media dictate a constant surveillance of my kids. I appreciate this reminder, and the statistics still do not lie. Kids (and adults) are generally very safe. My heart goes out to the family of the victim.

  9. SKL February 20, 2014 at 10:21 am #

    Yes, from what I’ve seen in the news, it sounds like one neighbor tried to pull her away from the perp, and another tried to chase him in the car, and at least one called 911 with the license plate right away. No idea why they were unable to get to the guy’s house within minutes of the 911 call. That probably would have saved this girl. I would be interested to know what prevented that.

  10. Beth February 20, 2014 at 10:28 am #

    So, E, what action are you calling for?

    I have to wonder why people who so despise what Lenore writes spend any time on this blog. Surely there are other parenting blogs more in line with their thinking.

  11. Warren February 20, 2014 at 10:42 am #

    People need to cut the cops some slack. Yes, there were witnesses, and yes they got a license plate number.

    According to CNN, the plate came back to perp’s parents, and not him. Now they have to track down the parent’s, question them, and depending on how cooperative they are, this all takes time. Now they have to find the suspect. According to the CNN article they got him as he pulled into his driveway.
    When talking to him in his house the cops smelled bleach and saw the floor was wet, then obtained a warrant.

    So in other words, the cops did their jobs. They cannot save everyone.

  12. E. Simms February 20, 2014 at 10:55 am #

    @Warren “So in other words, the cops did their jobs. They cannot save everyone.”

    Agreed. This guy was so unhinged that he abducted a girl in broad daylight in front of neighbors and murdered her right away. No police force in this country could have done more.

    We can’t have it both ways. We can’t cry foul when the government tries to collect information on us and intrude into our lives, then expect the police to know exactly where the guy associated with the license plate number was at all times.

  13. BL February 20, 2014 at 10:56 am #

    “it sounds like one neighbor tried to pull her away from the perp, and another tried to chase him in the car, and at least one called 911 with the license plate right away.”

    So it’s not likely more would have been done if her mother had been standing right there.

    About the only thing that might have stopped this would be a regularly armed citizenry.

  14. Dirge February 20, 2014 at 10:58 am #

    @E – the reason this blog post appears to say “do nothing” is because most everything that can be done has been done. Unfortunately, in the face of a tragedy such as this, people feel safer if “something is done to prevent this from ever happening again.” But realistically, nothing will ever prevent this from EVER happening again. Passing a new law won’t do anything but let some people think that it will never happen to them now.

    The best thing that can be done is for parents to reinforce safety lessons.

  15. CrazyCatLady February 20, 2014 at 11:08 am #

    Gravy, where are you? I read the same report as SKL – that a neighbor tried to pull the girl from the vehicle, that someone else called police and same person or a third, actually chased the car down the road in their own vehicle. Not being a trained race car driver, and also worried, no doubt, about his own and others safety, he was not able to stay with the vehicle.

    This sicko was determined. He took a child IN FRONT OF OTHER PEOPLE WHO WERE CLOSE ENOUGH TO HELP THE CHILD! So what if the parent had walked with the poor girl? The parent might have stopped to pick up the poop that their dog did off the neighbor’s lawn and the girl would have gotten a few feet ahead. The parent even could have gotten TO THE HOUSE with the girl, have her friend rush out to great her, (being several feet away from parent) and this sicko could have grabbed the child before the adults could intervene, because remember, other adults DID INTERVENE and the child was still taken.

    The main thing that I see…this girl was NOT walking alone. She had her community there with her, they did their absolute best to help her, and I am sure that they wish, just like the parents that they could have done more. I hope this sick guy rots in jail, and never sees the face of a child again.

  16. anonymous mom February 20, 2014 at 11:08 am #

    I have two thoughts about this:

    1) We cannot control everything. We could all keep our kids locked in our homes with us all day, and an armed deranged man could force his way in and kill them. There are going to be people who do horrific, terrible things. We can take reasonable precautions, but we can’t prevent every bad thing from happening. We just can’t.

    2) More information is not necessarily better. I’m not sure we’re well-served by the media reporting on every missing or murdered child. What good does that do? So that those of us hundreds of miles away can feel terrified, enraged, sad?

    Crime reporting is a significant problem. It’s done purely for entertainment–of a twisted sort, no doubt–and not because it’s information we need to be informed, responsible citizens. Yes, we should be aware of crimes going on in our neighborhood, so we can make good choices. For example, a few weeks ago we had a rash of street crime–car thefts, muggings–in my inner-city neighborhood. So, we took some extra precautions, like many of our neighbors. But, if there’s a crime wave in Chicago, that doesn’t affect me.

    I just think we need to some extent to just refuse to consume this kind of news. We need to voluntarily boycott it. We need to stop rewarding news outlets for making family and community tragedies national headlines. I don’t know how you do that, when these stories become so completely ubiquitous. But I do think we need to at least acknowledge that stories like this becoming national (rather than local, where people will be able to support the family, to take extra precautions if necessary–in the case where a perpetrator may still be on the loose or to look for a child who is missing, etc.) news doesn’t do anything positive in our lives, except give us things to feel scared, sad, angry, and helpless about, without any actual outlet for real productive action, so instead we call for un- or counter-productive political action (who thinks this is going to result in more restrictions on sex offenders, even though this guy was not one?) and personal choices (like deciding our own kids can NEVER be outside unsupervised).

  17. marie February 20, 2014 at 11:10 am #

    Presumably one thing that can (and should) be done is to review the police reaction to information. That’s completely understandable.

    That was E’s suggestion and I think it is reasonable. Perhaps the cops did everything right but maybe if they look carefully at everything they knew and everything they did, they might find a way to react more quickly next time.

    I don’t think she is disagreeing with Lenore’s assertion that we should not change our parenting practices and that we should not rush to write Hailey’s Law. She’s just saying…maybe there is something to be learned here.

    My heart goes out to Hailey’s family. It is hard to think of anything more terrible but I thought that when a friend’s daughter died of cancer. Terrible things happen.

  18. E February 20, 2014 at 11:13 am #

    @Beth — I’m not in a position to say what needs to be done, but as I mentioned, when an unpleasant/unexpected/rare outcome occurs in my line of work (as I mentioned, IT) we don’t just say well, there’s such a small chance of this happening, let’s just move on. We put together timelines and look for places we should have anticipated the issue. It could be in regard to QA processes, monitoring programs, hardware issues, etc. Until we go thru that process, we don’t know what we’ll find.

    Perhaps the police or community will arrive at no procedures or methods that could be improved, but I’d suspect the review would be worthwhile, no?

    As to why I read/post? Well, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve embraced some viewpoints that I just hadn’t considered before. I don’t always agree. I thought that was ok. BTW, I thought this was more about how society looks at children, not just parents (though I am one).

    @Dirge, you use the words “most everything”. I agree. Most is not all, however.

  19. wombat94 February 20, 2014 at 11:32 am #

    @E — I am also in IT and while I agree with your general approach (we go through the same thing when there are IT failures where I work) I don’t believe it applies to cases such as this.

    The reason why is pretty simple – you can’t predict what the next “failure” is in a case like this. And in fact, the details that have emerged don’t point to a “failure” at all… they point to an unpredictable, evil action by a possibly sick human being. You can’t plan/fix/be better at predicting all of those issues. It isn’t like computer technology where there is a set of rules (however arcane and technical) that you can attempt to discern and implement… we’re talking about unpredictable behaviors of human beings.

    The choice is to be reasonably safe and live our lives or place more restrictions on the lives of our kids.

    I know which one I will choose already.

  20. anonymous mom February 20, 2014 at 11:37 am #

    @E, while there may be things that can be done, there’s nothing that we can do. Any reasonable, effective changes that can be made need to be determined by people with the knowledge and ability to make those changes. We don’t have that.

    And that’s the problem. When we get understandable enraged and frightened, and then demand action, we often demand action that is ineffective or ends up causing more harm. Take sex offender registries. They were not a result of law enforcement bodies thinking it would be wonderful for the public to have lists of people who have committed any variety of offenses available on the web. They were the result of the public demanding them, even though there is not a single high-profile abduction in which such a list would have made a difference. And they have proven entirely ineffective at preventing crimes against children, and in some studies have been found to increase the risk to kids.

    Or, mandatory minimums. They were not the result of people with background in criminal justice and offender rehabilitation deciding they’d be a great idea. They were the result of public demand. And, they have backfired enormously.

    So I do think the call is for most of us to do nothing, because anything we do do, or demand be done, will probably do more harm than good.

  21. E February 20, 2014 at 11:45 am #

    @anon mom, yes I agree with your point. There is nothing I (as someone who isn’t directly involved) can/should do. I also agree that there are already laws to address what happened.

    Perhaps I took the ‘beyond feeling sadness…do nothing’ a little to literally/expansive.

  22. anonymous mom February 20, 2014 at 11:56 am #

    @E, this is why I wonder about the wisdom on making this sort of story national news. Because, a “do nothing” reaction does feel, on some level, cold and wrong. Our natural reaction to something horrible happening is wanting to do something. But I’m not sure that reaction serves us well when the horrible thing is something that happened hundreds of miles away that we’re only learning about because of the mass media and that we can’t do anything productive about. This is a family and community tragedy that I just honestly don’t think either they or we are served by being turned into national news.

  23. SKL February 20, 2014 at 12:02 pm #

    IT is a lot different from criminal science because computers can’t think anything their human creators didn’t design them to think.

    Unfortunately, some rare humans are capable of thinking the unthinkable. :(

    Thanks for the additional facts provided in the comments above. Obviously the investigation is still continuing, and I’m glad the news networks are not jumping to report every rumor as fact. If the license was registered to the man’s parents, I can totally understand how it took the cops so long to find the perp.

    I feel awful for the cops, too. Knowing a child has been taken; knowing that, if the guy is a killer, the time before he kills is likely to be very short; and not being able to move fast enough.

  24. ifsogirl February 20, 2014 at 12:25 pm #

    I’ve been thinking about the “do nothing” phrase. I don’t see it as a societal reaction. It is what most parents do upon hearing of a tragedy in not only another city, state but for me a different country.

    I live in Canada, I feel terrible for the parents of Hailey Owens. I can not imagine the horror that is their lives right now. How will this affect how I parent my kids. Not one bit. I still let them play in the yard unsupervised. I let my 9 y/o walk partway to school with friends, partway because it’s a good 45 minute walk on a Highway for us. I get her to a safe neighbourhood (home to two Hell’s Angels club houses btw and safest part of town) where she meets her friends and walks the 4 blocks.

    I agree that no child’s death, accidental or by someone’s hand, should be ignored. but a murderer in the US, or the other side of Canada, or one in my province does not mean there is one waiting on my block, or near my kids school.

    I also think we should have the option to LIKE people’s posts. Nothing negative just an I agree with you button.

  25. Papilio February 20, 2014 at 12:29 pm #

    So Gravy trolled at least four threads, now got what (s)he wanted, and is nowhere to be seen?
    Now that’s a lesson right there: don’t negotiate with terrorists.

  26. Donna February 20, 2014 at 12:32 pm #

    I do think that there are things that we can take away from this for our personal lives that are more than do nothing. I will remind my daughter not to get close to cars driven by strangers if they stop to ask her a question. I will try to remember to do this myself as well since this could easily happen to an adult.

    I am already bothered by the response to this incident. I had not heard of this at all so I googled it when Gravy started yesterday. The first thing that I came up with was an article about porch lights around the WORLD being left on for Hailey. Why? Yes, this was a horrible tragedy and my heart aches for the people who knew Hailey, but it was no more or less tragic and heart-breaking than the other children who died yesterday that the world is not expected to publicly mourn or even acknowledge. It just seems like so much focus is put on this one form of tragedy.

  27. lollipoplover February 20, 2014 at 1:13 pm #

    Where’s the Gravy?

    Amen, Lenore.
    I came to this blog years ago when I struggled with how to parent my oldest who was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 6. We faced a parenting crisis- do we pull him in tight, limit his exposure to things that could trigger more seizures or allow him a proper childhood with freedoms that all kids should enjoy?
    We did both. The activities that triggered seizures were sedentary- watching TV, video games, computers, sitting still and reading(I know, bummer). He was seizure free when he rode his bike and engaged in activities like climbing trees, playing games with friends, and spending ample time outdoors all year round. He basically was prescribed to be a free range kid by or neurologist.
    And he is. So was I. Kids playing freely outdoors (my mother used to call it “happy noise”) was such a normal part of my childhood yet it seems to be disappearing rapidly without a rational explanation. Like rainforests.

    The newscycle and trolls like Gravy make such stories worse. Seriously, where’s the Gravy?
    This is what I cannot stand; You make us know the names of girls who were kidnapped and murdered (never heard of this until it was put up here by Gravy) but none of the names of the kids in fires, household accidents, or tragic car accidents, all on the same day. You blame bloggers with intelligent, sage parenting opinions and heave blame on grieving parents for the actions of a madmen. Shame on you. Have compassion for this family and put away your pointy finger.

    Please, let’s all stop the blame game. I did not drink Lenore’s Koolaid (though I would if she spiked it with good tequila) and do not consider myself a *follower* of anyone. Ask my husband. I came to this blog because I was upset with some of the parental judgements that conflicted with other parents, mainly that allowing kids to play outside somehow endangered them. For my son, who outgrew his epilepsy, it was the best thing for him because his danger(having 100’s of mini seizures) lurked indoors.
    We don’t fear the lawn. For him, it’s the XBOX.

  28. J.T. Wenting February 20, 2014 at 1:18 pm #

    ever wondered if the people spreading such scares maybe want a cop on every corner, everyone afraid of and ratting on everyone else?
    Because that’s the reality…

  29. SKL February 20, 2014 at 1:25 pm #

    I don’t watch TV news, but I check it on the internet. I have to say that this time around, none of the news sites I view have gone overboard with the story, so far. The two I checked late this morning didn’t even have it on the national stories page any more. I had to google to get the latest, so I would hopefully not be talking out my butt on this site. 😛

    I heard about her going missing because a couple of my facebook friends posted the Amber alert. That was before she was found dead.

  30. marie February 20, 2014 at 1:29 pm #

    I first heard of this story on Facebook when people were re-posting the Amber Alert. (Amber Alert is another initiative that started because of one very, very rare event.) I refused to click the links to read details.

    Then I saw Gravy’s tirade(s) here and this time, I clicked the link because I wanted to know if anyone already knew for sure the details Gravy was putting out there about what happened to the little girl. When I saw that Gravy was imagining things, I quit looking.

    I did the same thing for the Sandy Hook story. I don’t know the names of the people who were killed, I don’t know the timeline or the layout of the building. I don’t know who was heroic.

    NOT knowing feels okay. Maybe even good.

  31. SKL February 20, 2014 at 1:35 pm #

    I have nothing against distributing the photo of a child who has been snatched and not yet recovered, along with info that might lead to someone finding her. It has been known to help before. I don’t know how often it helps, and actually I’d like that information if anyone here knows.

  32. anonymous this time February 20, 2014 at 1:38 pm #

    So much for background checks! Can we start laying that one to rest?

  33. Backroads February 20, 2014 at 2:06 pm #

    Now that I know more of this, I feel this tragedy is nothing but a horrible, nightmarish, tragic, awful… freak thing.

    While I’m all for reviewing an incident to improve action for the future (which is what I think E was suggesting), this is still a case where the community and the cops were trying to do what needs to be done.

    The community was there for that poor little girl. I suppose the community failed in regards to end result of saving her, but they did not fail in doing what a decent community should be doing.

    This is not a case of negligent parenting, this is not a case of a fearful anti-community.

    It’s a tragedy caused by a horrible human being.

  34. John February 20, 2014 at 2:15 pm #

    Good point anonymous, this person was NOT on the sex offender registry nor did he have any track record of violence. But I just hope the politicians don’t do what Americans typically do and over react to this murder and start drawing up totally worthless laws and restrictions on parents and kids that will cause more collateral damage than they’re worth.

    Perhaps I missed it but I’m surprised that Bill O’Reilly hasn’t brought this tragedy up on his show and called for the expansion of the sex offender registry and the criminalization of parents who let their child go outside unattended! But unless I’m mistaken, I don’t believe this guy even sexually assaulted this little girl but shot her in the head. Of course, that certainly doesn’t make this any less of a tragedy.

  35. Josh Olmsted February 20, 2014 at 2:19 pm #

    I was very disapponted with the “do nothing” conclusion from this blog post, especialy since it’s entitled “how to raise safe, self-reliant children.” I fully expected to come here and get some good tips about how to talk to your children about strangers, how to handle someone stopping their car near you, maybe even how to explain such tragic events to your kids while providing a learning experience. Hailey seemed to be well-versed and kudos to her parents for that, but that doesn’t mean we can’t use this as an opportunity to give our kids the tools to know how to react should a situation like this happen to them. In this sense, the attitude of “do nothing” is in fact doing worse than nothing as you’re neglecting the oppportunity to learn and to teach vauable lessons.

  36. SOA February 20, 2014 at 2:46 pm #

    Besides letting Hailey carry a gun or teach her extreme martial arts I don’t think there was anything she could have done to save herself. Same for the other people that tried to help.

    He took her right in front of several people. The only thing that needs to be thought about and looked at was the police response and make sure there is no way they could have improved. Other than that, this seems to be one of those times where there was nothing that could have been done to prevent it or stop it.

  37. SKL February 20, 2014 at 2:56 pm #

    Josh, I’m not sure what you mean by “use this as an opportunity.” If you mean tell our kids about this incident and point out that they need to do xyz to prevent this from happening to them, no way. That would be a great way to make them scared of doing developmentally appropriate things and panicked every time a stranger looks at them.

    We already advocate teaching our kids rules and skills to try to avoid this kind of danger. These need to be reviewed periodically regardless of the current news headlines.

    Now I hope they don’t tell our kids about this in school, like they did with the Sandy Hook tragedy and certain other child rape-murders, bathtub drownings, etc. :/

  38. Donna February 20, 2014 at 3:08 pm #

    I agree with SKL on Amber Alerts. Of all the named-after-a-dead-child laws, this one is the most innocuous and most potentially helpful.

    Back when we used to get those flyers in the mail with missing children, one of my acquaintances actually identified one of the kids on the flyer as a child who frequented her grocery store. Apparently so did some others since, when she called to report it, the police told her they already had the child in custody. The little girl had been missing for a couple years at that point. So such things do occasionally work.

  39. CrazyCatLady February 20, 2014 at 3:08 pm #

    Josh Olmsted, this particular post is not about the safety, but others are, and the book is as well.

    Me, I teach my kids to trust their gut. True, that doesn’t always work. I tell them to do what they think is best and to know, in the rare chance that they were taken, that their father and I would never stop looking until we found them.

    I teach my kids to follow safety rules when on their bikes or walking. I have taught them if they are lost in the woods, go TO the stranger calling their name, because I have told them their names. I let them take baby steps to independence – going for a walk without me, buying something in the store, riding or walking to the friend.

    In this case with this girl, what could be done different? There is no evidence that this guy wouldn’t have pulled the girl away from her mother who was also holding her hand. He didn’t give up when the neighbors tried to pull her out…a mom like me, small and petite? Maybe the dad should only then go with the children. Dad, who works all day. So that means that Dad, who statistically makes more money, needs to wait at the bus stop in the morning, and when the children get off the bus. No…I don’t see that. It is better to assume that yes, there is a slim chance, but to allow the kids the chance to have a happy childhood. Let the kids go see their friends.

  40. Josh Olmsted February 20, 2014 at 3:38 pm #

    I don’t mean to imply that anything could have been done in this case or that we should gruesomely describe what happened to our, making our children scared of everything. What I do mean is that there are valuable tips out there on what parents can tell their children should someone pull up alongside them. This incident can be a reminder to talk to our kids about what to do. Kudos to those here who have already imbedded these valuable life lessons to their kids, but it’s certainly a topic that MANY parents have not talked about with their children. If I read about a house fire that killed a family it would remind me to go over the fire safety rules and escape procedures in our house. That may not sound like a lot, but it is definitely not “doing nothing”. Learning these things are valuable skills that give kids confidence to be out on their own because they know what to do.

  41. SKL February 20, 2014 at 4:05 pm #

    Josh, we talk all the time about safety in stranger situations. We don’t wait for a tragedy to remind us.

    I think maybe Lenore specifically chose not to bring that up here for a couple of reasons.

    1. It smacks of “what the parents may have done wrong” if presented in that context.

    2. It implies that *this incident* proves change is needed, but we believe no new measures are warranted by this incident.

    3. It implies that if everyone just does exactly the right thing, no more children will be taken. Not true. The players in this case (other than the perp) did almost everything exactly right. And still a girl is dead. It’s one of those crazy things, like an asteroid falling out of the sky.

  42. Josh Olmsted February 20, 2014 at 4:18 pm #

    We’ll just have to disagree. It’s very easy to say “the parents did nothing wrong, and nothing would have changed the outcome, still here are some tips that MAY help your children should they ever be in the same situation.” Fear of likely unfounded implications doesn’t sound like an excuse to not learn anything. Just my opinion.

  43. Jim Collins February 20, 2014 at 4:21 pm #

    In my opinion the only thing that could have stopped this is if one of the neighbors who tried to stop the abduction was ARMED.
    I agree with Lenore’s statement that “nothing” should be done. We don’t need a new law named “Hailey’s Law”. If we did, what should that law be? What law would have stopped this? The answer is none of them. The only people that laws affect are the ones that you don’t have to worry about in the first place.

  44. SJH February 20, 2014 at 5:08 pm #

    To all those balking at the “do nothing” part of this post: I think we need to understand that Lenore means, “Do nothing NEW. Do nothing extra.” Lenore (and others on this site) talk about safety measures all the time: how to respond to cars pulling up beside you, how to deal with interactions with strangers, etc. She and others have already equipped their children with the best safety they can, and a tragedy like this one does not prompt the need to sit down with their kids and have “the stranger talk.” Their kids already know. If you haven’t had this talk with your children, by all means, allow yourself to be reminded by this or other prompts. But we don’t need to assume that everyone should respond in kind. And we certainly don’t need more laws about child supervision, background checks, etc!
    (Also, I’m with the other posters on here who pointed out that one firearm amongst all those bystanders would have done the job. If we need to review our safety laws, let’s look there first! The bad guys will always be out there. They will always have weapons. Let’s equip upright, law-abiding citizens to defend themselves and others.)

  45. Papilio February 20, 2014 at 5:30 pm #

    Yeah great, let’s have MORE weapons out there! And then the parent of an autistic kid with a meltdown gets shot dead, or an innocent bystander, or the actual kid, and then what?
    Or the bad guy – who is prepared while bystanders aren’t – just thinks ‘safety first’ and shoots those few witnesses before they can shoot him.

    Like Hineata said the other day, in places with strict gun policies most bad guys don’t have guns either.

  46. Donna February 20, 2014 at 5:42 pm #

    Wow, I am not totally anti-gun but I am amazed at the number of people who seem to think that a bystander with a gun shooting at a man inside a vehicle while he is holding onto a young child is a good idea. I understand that the result here was tragic either way and hindsight is 20/20, but sheesh, I like her odds of survival better if they catch the abductor before he has a chance to kill her than shooting her dead on the street.

  47. Gary February 20, 2014 at 7:54 pm #

    As usual, and against my better judgement, I read the article on Yahoo along with a few of the comments…

    As usual I still cannot wait for that 70mi wide asteroid to bullseye us.

  48. Gary February 20, 2014 at 7:56 pm #

    “Like Hineata said the other day, in places with strict gun policies most bad guys don’t have guns either.”

    except no…

  49. SJH February 20, 2014 at 7:58 pm #

    Obviously there are situations in which it would be unsafe to fire. I don’t know the details of the case– based on others’ descriptions, I was picturing a man leaving his vehicle to grab a girl off the street, and one or two neighbors being close enough to try to resist. It that scenario, a gun might have worked. In other situations, possibly not.

  50. SKL February 20, 2014 at 8:29 pm #

    If I’d been nearby with a firearm, I would have shot out the guy’s tires.

  51. Donna February 20, 2014 at 10:01 pm #

    SJH – It is my understand from what I have read that the man was only out of the car for a second, with Hailey in his arms the entire time. He asked Hailey for directions while still inside the car, Hailey stepped close to him, he lunged out of the car grabbed her and threw her into the car. No way that you are registering a kidnapping just happened, pulling a weapon and firing a precise shot without serious risk to the child in that scenario.

    SKL – All shooting out the tires does is cause flat tires. He was not going to be traveling fast enough to lose control of the car.

  52. SKL February 20, 2014 at 11:33 pm #

    Donna, the flat tires would have made it a lot harder for him to get away when the neighbor was trying to follow him in a car. They would also have made the vehicle very conspicuous and easier for the police to locate. Shooting out tires is what cops do when a car tries to speed away from them.

  53. Nanci February 21, 2014 at 12:26 am #

    I live in Missouri so this has been a big story around here. It’s horrible and heartbreaking and did cause me to have another conversation with my kids about never even going near someone’s car. I made sure to go over with my kids how highly unlikely it would be that they would ever be approached by a “bad guy”, and that most of the time the adult would probably truly be lost and just looking for some help. I told them that they should not take that chance however and should either ignore the person or yell “go ask an adult”, but NEVER approach the car. Other than that I turned them out to go play in the neighborhood and they did so without fear.

    Unfortunately I had a facebook friend write a knee jerk response about how sad it is that kids can no longer play outside and about the great carefree childhood she had in the 80’s and how sad that her son cannot have the same. I wrote a well thought out response validating that yes, what happened was very sad, but that it was also extremely rare and not something we can base our decisions in life on. She deleted it my comment…

    When I see things like what she wrote it makes me want to scream. I just don’t get the logic, or actually lack of logic. I’ve seen news stories on plane crashes, and never see the next day that people are all worked up about how they will never fly again. There was a movie theater mass shooting 2 years ago and no one ran to facebook to say how they were never going to let their child go to the movies again. How many mall shooting have there been, yet parents still take their kids to the mall. For some reason parents don’t respond to child abductions with the same rationality they respond to other rare tragedies. Kids are paying the price for the paranoia and that is a tragedy.

  54. Gravy February 21, 2014 at 12:49 am #

    Watch this video and you tell me this mother is an aware parent who chooses a free range lifestyle because she believes it is the intelligent and caring way to raise a child. No sir, red flags all over the place. But if I’m being honest here not a single one of you will see red flags from this mother. You’ll just see a grieving woman who did the best she could.

  55. Reziac February 21, 2014 at 12:58 am #

    Armed citizens stop more crimes than do cops. I myself have halted or prevented two assaults (one of them my own) and one robbery by being the armed citizen willing to stick my neck out. And don’t assume the armed citizen would need to shoot the perp. Just having the gun in sight is often enough to shut ’em down. And the sensible course for halting a vehicle is to shoot the tires (to slow or halt it), not the driver (no telling what would happen). Most armed citizens have very good sense about such things. Trouble is we don’t have enough of ’em.

  56. Reziac February 21, 2014 at 1:01 am #

    @E — the difference between IT and people is that you can invasively monitor your network and it won’t feel like you’re Big Brother. But the invasive level of monitoring necessary to ‘prevent’ crime is far beyond what most of us would tolerate.

  57. Kristen Howerton February 21, 2014 at 5:46 am #

    I’m not arguing with the premise of this post, but I have to say the timing is in poor taste. A family just lost a child. It’s a horrific story, and granted the collective reaction may be bad for your “brand” . . but writing a quick rebuttal to a tragedy is really insensitive. A little girl died. Parents are grieving. Sit with it . . . have some compassion instead of making it a talking point.

  58. Kenny Felder February 21, 2014 at 6:35 am #

    Beautifully said as always, Lenore. At this sad time in particular I want to thank you for your rare combination of compassion and reason.

  59. Donna February 21, 2014 at 6:41 am #

    SKL – I know why you would shoot out tires, but from someone who deals with criminals daily, you are dealing with an extremely dedicated criminal. It is very rare to have one do this in front of witnesses and continue when confronted by the witnesses. Flat tires are not going to stop him or probably even slow him down. And, yes I’ve had clients outrun cops with flat tires and drive for miles on rims shooting out sparks. Further it doesn’t seem like this guy traveled far. He seems to have gone right home with her. He didn’t drive around for long periods of time.

    That is not to say there is anything wrong with shooting out tires since you couldn’t know those things prior to the end of the story, I just get tired of guns as some magic bullet that will stop crime. 99 times out of 100 they are unless like most likely here or they just cause more problems than they solve.

  60. sue February 21, 2014 at 6:45 am #

    i see gravy the great and all knowing is back. “i see red flags”. i get the feeling unless there had been an armed squad of bodyguards you would have seen red flags. you apparentlt excell at monday morning quarterbacking

  61. Donna February 21, 2014 at 7:00 am #

    Gravy, in your unreasonable insistence on blaming Lenore and blaming free ranging, you seem to miss where this child was not walking alone down a deserted street. There were several adults present who intervened and physically tried to stop the crime and followed the car. What more do you think the mother could have done? Her presence wouldn’t have stopped this crime any more than the presence of other adults did. Unless you know some personal information about her superhuman strength, I don’t see where she would have been better able to pry her daughter out of this man’s hands. Mothers are not super heroes who stop crime by their mere presence and this looks like a pretty unstoppable crime since people did try to stoo it and failed.

  62. Warren February 21, 2014 at 8:07 am #

    Yes just what we need, a bunch of wannabe Wyatt Earps shooting at the tires.

    I do not what cops you know, but even the cops on TV stopped aiming at tires years ago. Taking out tires on a moving vehicle is not the easy target that you think.

  63. SKL February 21, 2014 at 10:05 am #

    The problem with guns in this country is that people only hear about them when they are connected with criminals. The vast majority of gun owners are peace loving people who would have done anything to try to save this child, given a chance. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had people reporting all the times a gun owner did something helpful or useful or simply did nothing hurtful with his/her gun. The whole anti-gun sentiment is similar to the anti-man sentiment this site fights against.

    Just the other day a mom used a gun to scare away three young thugs who had broken into her house at night. She’s not the criminal!

    And Warren, no, cops have not stopped shooting out car tires. It has happened in recent news stories. It makes sense.

    Here you have a little girl obviously snatched by a violent stranger. When that happens, it is imperative that the person is stopped and the child recovered immediately, if at all possible. A very high percentage of kids murdered by strangers are dead within an hour of the abduction. As seems to have been the case here. No guarantee that shooting the tires would have saved her, but it would have increased the chances significantly.

  64. SKL February 21, 2014 at 10:09 am #

    Gravy, that video does a lot of things, but relevant to your comments, it proves that that mom was not a follower of FRK. So why don’t you find some other site to pour out your misplaced anger?

  65. Donna February 21, 2014 at 10:41 am #

    SKL – I am not opposed to guns in the home if you want them for protection. Whatever floats your boat. Only people getting killed are criminals and/or you so not my place to care.

    I care greatly about people carrying guns out on the street. Pro-carry concealed people also tend to be anti-any kind of licensing whatsoever and I’d kinda like to know that the people who are carrying guns around me and my child are not mentally unstable or drug addicted and have some level of intelligence, knowledge of guns and ability to shoot. Just like a feel much safer knowing that you need to pass a couple tests and show some knowledge before they let you drive a car. 50% of the population lives life with below average intelligence. I interact with them on a daily basis and I don’t want the vast majority of them anywhere in the vicinity of me or my child with a fire arm as they have absolutely nothing by way of decision-making skills.

    I think the “guns will save everything” culture is as ridiculous as the “mommy will save everything” culture. I deal all the time with cases involving people who thought they should try to take on a criminal with a gun and lost. If they are lucky, they only end up losing 2 years of their life to jail pending trial on murder charges after shooting someone who jumped them. If less lucky, they are dead or in a vegetative state while the robber doesn’t have a scratch on him.

  66. Donna February 21, 2014 at 10:49 am #

    And, I have to agree with Warren (shocking I know) on the tire thing. Never in 10 years of criminal law in big gun country dealing with many cops with cowboy mentalities have I ever had a case involving a police officer who tried to shoot out the tires of the car. And I would fight hard to get any police officer fired who tried and killed an innocent bystander.

    Moving tires are hard to shoot. And bullets that don’t hit tires continue moving until they do hit something, including the kid playing in the yard across the street. THIS IS EXACTLY why I don’t want people carrying guns around anywhere near me or my family.

  67. SKL February 21, 2014 at 10:54 am #

    Donna, you are taking our words and really stretching them. I saw nobody saying that everyone on the planet should have a gun, or that there should be no licensing for guns (like a driver’s license, which includes several kinds of tests), or no background check for mental illness etc.

    And nobody said guns are going to solve every problem on earth. But they don’t cause every problem on earth, either.

    You often note that you deal with folks of low intelligence, poor reasoning, foolish impulses. I suggest that you beware lest that skewed experience distort your view of society (and gun-owners) as a whole.

  68. SKL February 21, 2014 at 10:57 am #

    As for the cops shooting tires, I assure you I’ve seen it in a recent news story (involving a minivan mom of all people), and I’m sure that isn’t the only one. Just because you haven’t heard of any doesn’t mean they don’t occur.

  69. SKL February 21, 2014 at 11:01 am #

    I grew up in a family that owns guns and is absolutely non-violent (unless you consider occasional hunting for food to be violence). Maybe that’s why we have different perspectives. Your experience does not invalidate my perspective.

  70. SOA February 21, 2014 at 12:06 pm #

    I want to know what exact “red flags” did Gravy see in the mother’s interview? I watched about half of the interview and she does seem….”odd” like something strikes odd about the way she is acting to me but that could just be her personality. I don’t know her. She might be super camera shy or medicated. There is no telling.

    But if you are implying the mother is on drugs or not upset about Hailey getting killed or something then that puts the blame off Free Range kids and puts it on the parents. So not really proving your point.

  71. ifsogirl February 21, 2014 at 12:27 pm #

    I watched the video Gravy posted, well some of it. The mother appears to be reacting to the death of her child in a fairly typical way. People seem to think that if you are not sobbing in a heap on the floor you don’t care about something.

    This mother could be in shock, medicated, nervous about speaking in front of a camera and how judged she will be by thousands of people out there. I personally hate letting people see me cry. I hate letting the people closest to me see me cry. When my kids have been hurt or sick badly enough to need an ER visit, I am calm and fairly emotionless so I can get done what needs doing and then I can go cry alone the way I prefer. Still trying to figure out How Gravy has found a link to Free Range but crazy is as crazy does.

    On a more positive note, a Facebook friend of mine that lives in the same area had commented on the Porch Lights for Haley page. It was actually nice to see the comments were all about compassion for the parents and child. No blame that I saw.

  72. Papilio February 21, 2014 at 12:32 pm #

    @SOA: She just lost her kid, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if a doctor gave her something to calm down or whatever.

  73. SKL February 21, 2014 at 12:38 pm #

    To me the mom looks like she is in shock – full of natural adrenaline, which is keeping her upright for the sake of her other child and so she can live through this horror. She is aching to hug her little girl and processing the fact that it will never happen again this side of Heaven. How is she supposed to look?

    I can’t imagine what Gravy is trying to insinuate. Gravy sounds like she’s gone off the deep end.

  74. Donna February 21, 2014 at 12:39 pm #

    “I saw nobody saying that everyone on the planet should have a gun, or that there should be no licensing for guns (like a driver’s license, which includes several kinds of tests), or no background check for mental illness etc.”

    Then apparently you have seen absolutely nothing in the media about gun laws at all. The exact same people who support carry legislation generally also attack any attempt to regulate guns. They don’t want waiting periods to allow for background checks. They don’t want background checks to have to be done at gun shows. I haven’t seen any recent legislation with testing requirements to be able to carry on the street, although I’ve seen a lot of recent legislative activity in this area.

    I have lived in rural Georgia for the better part of the last 31 years. The majority of people I know are gun owners. I lived with a hunter in a house full of guns, both usable and antique, for 5 years. I absolutely am not anti-gun or anti-gun people. I don’t understand the obsession at all, but whatever.

    Nor is my view of people skewed. I fully understand there are a great number of intelligent, wise, rational, calm in the face of danger people in the world. I know many and some of them own guns. I also fully understand that there are about an equal number of unintelligent, foolish, impulsive, easily panicked people in the world. I know many and some of them own guns. I also understand that there is truly no way to allow the former to carry guns in public while preventing the latter so I’d prefer nobody be allowed to do it.

  75. SKL February 21, 2014 at 12:53 pm #

    Donna, I disagree with your last comment. Each state has its own law about concealed carry. Some don’t allow it at all, some provide for a license for people who pass specified requirements. I don’t know if there are states that allow everyone to carry a concealed weapon regardless of anything. Maybe so, but my state isn’t one of them.

    Point being, you are wrong when you say that if we allow one type of person to carry concealed weapons, we have to allow everyone to do so. There are all kinds of quite realistic possibilities in-between.

    As for Georgia, I have been there a couple of times, both rural and urban, and it certainly never felt like I was in a dangerous place. In fact, it’s one of the friendliest places I’ve been to in the USA. I think there is more per-capita gun violence on the streets in DC or NY, where guns are highly regulated, than in Georgia. The people I know who have been held up with guns were in places where either concealed carry or open carry was illegal.

  76. SKL February 21, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

    And Donna, when I say “I saw nobody saying,” I’m talking about the comments to this post. Obviously there are all kinds of ideas floating around on the planet. Some people think it should be illegal to eat meat. Some think military service should be required of every human. And yes, some people hate the idea of gun control. Though I have to believe that there wouldn’t be such a stink about it if other people weren’t so set on going to the other extreme.

    I know lots of gun lovers who have no problem with rational gun policies. They don’t see anything good about mentally ill people having guns, or machine guns being available to the general public, etc. But if some people can’t see the difference between someone buying an antique shotgun and a modern automatic weapon, then … well, as you say, Donna, there are ignorant people in the world, and ignorant people should not be allowed to control what others do.

  77. Kay February 21, 2014 at 1:17 pm #

    Gravy, why are you insisting on holding Lenore accountable for this tragedy? Do you know Free Range is not a new concept? It’s just a name for childhood the way it used to be.

    Are you one of those who thinks the times were better when we were kids and it was safer? Because it really wasn’t, random rare things happened back then, too. But we didn’t hear about it all over the nation like we do now.

    When Beverly Potts disappeared in Cleveland in 1951, it struck terror in the local community. But I don’t think it gripped the entire nation because it was a local story. So society continued to function. The local community eventually went back to normal and kids were able to do the things they used to do.

    Have you heard of Amy Mihaljevic? That happened in 1989. I am from Columbus and I never heard about either of these kids until I moved here.

    When things happen close to home it gives the impression it is always happening. Or if you frequent websites like Scared Monkeys, it can make one want to keep a tighter reign on their children.

    When my boys were infants I had a fear of SIDS, I was reading about cases online, too. I about cried one night I couldn’t go to sleep for the fear and I knew at the time it was completely irrational. That is what fear does.

    I now have a phobia of flying. When I was younger I had no fear and loved going somewhere on a plane. But then Flight 800 happened and then the Value-Jet and so on and it seemed all these plane crashes are happening and has ever since. The thing is I really started to pay attention to news more at this time but the news is planes have been crashing since they’ve been flying. Statistically it is still safer than driving so I know it is completely irrational but that tiny chance of something happening still puts the fear in me so I have to drink some wine to keep calm.

    What you are proposing is that we always escort our children and hold their hands until they are 18. We have to hold their hands because Jaycee Dugard was kidnapped right in front of her step father and Samantha Runyon was snatched in her front yard with a playmate and grandmother inside. What you are proposing is we stop all children from riding bikes because Amber Hagerman was brazenly snatched right off her bike.

    What you are really proposing is we stifle our children’s growth. Even Jacob Wetterling’s mom (and I never heard of him until I became friends with someone from Minnesota) said we must let our children go and not stop them from living life. When she saw her own children afterward holding up in their house for months she told them to get out, get back on their bikes, and get back to living. She knew what happened to her son was random and not likely and we shouldn’t make all children suffer because of it. This would be like that one mother from Australia who proposed we ban all backyard pools because one child drowned.

    I know this hit close to home but you really need to get a grip because your fear is what has poisoned society. When I was 10 I was riding my bike all over the neighborhood and to the corner store and that was the era of the serial killer. The fear started with the milk cartons, got worse after Adam Walsh because we became aware. Awareness is one thing, letting fear rule our lives is another. I am trying to raise competent children, not hot house flowers. Children need to grow. Do you know there are studies done that show that the helicoptering is harmful to a child’s success and “leadership” qualities?

    I think it is in very poor taste that you are laying this at Lenore’s feet as if it’s her fault. What you are doing is indirectly blaming this mother for letting her child do something normal. You ARE victim blaming. I watched the video and I could see that this mother was somewhat blaming herself and trying to defend her rationale. It was perfectly reasonable letting her 10 year old, who could follow traffic safety walk halfway to meet her friend. This happens all the time in our neighborhood, letting our kids go down the street to their friend’s house. You can’t be serious that all this must stop.

    Just like what happened in Sandy Hook, it’s really hard to stop a crazy determined maniac. The school already had all reasonable precautions but he shot his way through. Now schools all over the nation are being turned into prisons. Now suddenly all guns must be banned. Now all volunteers must get background checks when the year before they didn’t. A background check wouldn’t have saved Hailey either, he had a clean record.

    I think you best stop and just grieve for a precious life lost, call it what it is, a tragedy caused by an evil and twisted pervert, and stop the parent blaming. You are letting the terrorists win and our freedoms get chipped away more. Which is happening each time another grandmother or child gets searched at the airport all in the name of “safety”. You raise your children how you see fit but let mine have a normal childhood so they can become functional independent adults.

  78. kate February 21, 2014 at 1:34 pm #

    A couple years ago now a little girl was raped and murdered in my area. I live in a small city in Ontario, and as scary as it is, as horrible as it is, tragedies happen. There is something so monstrous about killing/hurting a child. The anger we feel, the questioning of procedure etc that is an appropriate response to a tragedy like this. keeping our kids inside, and sheltered from the world is not. I see it as this: yes there will always be a small risk of our kids being hurt or even(rarely) killed, but I can’t control it. No one can. It seems to me that these guys are caught quickly. There are protocols to follow and everyone did their job.

  79. Warren February 21, 2014 at 2:06 pm #

    I would bet that the cop that shot out the tire did so by accident, and is just trying to make it look like a great shot.

    Cops are not taught to shoot at tires. It is too dangerous, and unpredictable. For one thing, uless you are completely square to the moving tire, there is no guarantee the bullet will penetrate and not just glance off. Secondly once the car is moving the tires become a small target.

    Cops are not taught to shoot to wound anymore. They are taught to shoot to kill. Center mass.

    I wouldn’t doubt that a cop in most areas caught trying to shoot out tires on a moving vehicle would be reprimanded, if not suspended for his/her wreckless actions.

  80. SKL February 21, 2014 at 2:13 pm #

    Warren, you are wrong.

    Maybe that’s true where you live, and maybe you’re just making it up, I don’t know, but as far as the USA goes, you are wrong.

  81. Warren February 21, 2014 at 2:48 pm #

    And SKL, go join Dolly with her getting her information from movies.

    I would really like to know where you get your info, because mine comes straight from law enforcement.

  82. SKL February 21, 2014 at 3:43 pm #

    Warren, you can easily find many real-life, recent instances of it online.

    I don’t watch movies.

  83. Warren February 21, 2014 at 4:18 pm #


    My apologies, of course I will just disregard the word of law enforcement officers, and believe what is online.

    I will make sure that I tell them that they are wrong, and from now on to shoot for the tires, and avoid center mass.

  84. Beth February 21, 2014 at 4:37 pm #

    A cop in my city (population approx. 250,000) tried to shoot the tires of a vehicle that was fleeing from him in a parking ramp. He was soundly disciplined by his department (suspended without pay, reprimand in his file, etc)and crucified in the media. Yes, I understand the media lives for crucifying, well, anyone, but I don’t think there would have been quite the firestorm had this been a common thing cops do. And it certainly wasn’t any part of the police department’s protocol.

  85. SKL February 21, 2014 at 4:40 pm #

    Well, like anything else, rules vary by location. It of course depends on what is around and how important it is to stop the person.

    I dunno, if it was my kid being kidnapped and I had a gun on me, I would have shot at the tires. Everyone else is entitled to his/her own opinion.

  86. anonymous this time February 21, 2014 at 8:56 pm #

    “If my kid were being kidnapped and I had a gun on me…”

    I would throw down the gun so I had both hands free to do something that might actually help her.

  87. Art February 21, 2014 at 9:27 pm #


    I’m four minutes into your video. That’s someone that’s barely coherent, hanging on by sheer willpower.

    According to the video, Hailey HAD made the trip to her friends several times, usually meeting her friend halfway. She WAS being supervised many times. So this happened while Hailey had done something she had done before.

    If you REALLY want to see a “red flag” parental reaction to a child’s death, look up Robbie Parker’s (Emilie Parker’s dad)video after the Newtown shooting. Conspiracy theories aside, it’s truly a “what the hell?” moment.

    Hailey’s mom is showing true pain, Robbie is doing everything he can to keep from busting out laughing.

    On a more serious, realist, note, while Hailey’s death was tragic, I know of something that was much, much worse. It was allegedly caused by a 5th grade student who was a known firebug.

    On Dec 1st, 1958, a large Catholic elementary school in Chicago caught fire. 92 students and three nuns lost their lives, including an entire class of 5th graders. A 4th grade class jumped from second story windows out of desperation to save themselves.

    Here’s the full story

    The community did eventually recover.

    Because of this fire, modern fire safety regulations for schools were ushered in.

    It’s about keeping things in perspective.

  88. Beth February 22, 2014 at 9:35 am #

    Yes Dolly, it’s just my *opinion* that a cop in my town got punished by his department for shooting tires.

  89. pentamom February 22, 2014 at 11:30 am #

    Beth, SKL is not Dolly.

  90. SKL February 22, 2014 at 12:51 pm #

    Because a cop got punished for something in one circumstance does not mean it is not allowed in any circumstance. Cops get disciplined for all kinds of things that are perfectly acceptable under other circumstances.

    Maybe some people don’t know the statistics re what happens *after* a child (or woman) gets abducted by a violent stranger. True, it is a rare occurrance, but within that rare occurrance there are clear trends. If the guy succeeds in taking you somewhere alone, your chances of getting out alive are significantly reduced. Fact. In the extremely unlikely case that something like this happens, the victim and everyone around needs to do everything possible to prevent the victim from being taken somewhere alone in the first place.

  91. Beth February 22, 2014 at 5:52 pm #

    Sorry, I read the name too quickly.

  92. Tsu Dho Nimh February 23, 2014 at 2:42 pm #

    @Backroads said, The community was there for that poor little girl. I suppose the community failed in regards to end result of saving her, but they did not fail in doing what a decent community should be doing.

    Exactly. Success is not guaranteed even when you do it all right.

    My success rate for CPR is 50% (1 out of 2 made it to the hospital alive) … but that doesn’t mean I’m a failure at CPR. When #3 comes along, I’m going to do what needs to be done.

  93. Suzanne February 23, 2014 at 7:19 pm #

    E, If you feel that there should be more new laws as a result of one tragic event why are you even reading this blog? Should we feel sad that a child was murdered but that doesn’t mean it is a call to do something – sometimes bad things happen. A call to nothing is exactly what it is. Someone reported it, the police reacted quickly, what more do you want. A couple of years ago there was a drive-by in Cleveland, OH. A little girl was sitting on her couch inside the house and was shot. Should we now outlaw sitting on a couch in front of a window so that no one else can possibly have that happen? Of course not. The point is and this is the point Lenore made, murder is illegal these people broke the law, more laws wouldn’t have prevented this.

  94. Rodney C Davis February 24, 2014 at 4:19 am #

    Never mind how it sounds. I’ve been following Lenore for a few years now, and I’m a huge fan. “Doing nothing” simply means don’t let the perp win by letting him rule our lives with fear… that there are a billion more kids who can feel safe playing in their own front-yards, for every one we lost to a tragedy like this; that we cannot keep letting a few sick bastards force us to keep our children indoors, force us to teach our kids to distrust the whole world, and force us change what should come natural to our little people growing up. It’s time to discuss ways of taking our neighborhoods back. But that’s for a separate post. Let kids be kids!

  95. JP February 24, 2014 at 10:19 pm #

    A tragedy is a tragedy.
    I can’t help wondering, though…
    In times gone by, how much real safety did kids derive from relaxed, sensible and aware adults who were all around them in their neighborhoods, communities, and all the usual places they moved through?
    What I’m getting at is this: how much did good, solid calm and common sense provide them with (most) of what they ever needed (that they couldn’t provide for themselves) to keep them safe from (most) harm?
    When I was a kid, terrible things happened. Occasionally, I heard about them (and so did the adults in my community.)
    However, those adults didn’t freeze into paralytic panic. They continued on providing me and all the rest of us with the rock-solid foundation we needed as kids. Nothing really changed (to us.) Life carried on.