Readers — This article explains everything I am always trying to say … but better. It’s by Frank Furedi — have you heard of him? I wrote about his book, “Paranoid Parenting,” in 2001 — seven years before I sent my son on his solo subway ride. Furedi gets how paranoia for our kids directly leads to us giving the authorities more and more sway in our lives, because they are “saving” kids from the ever-present threat of everything, but most of all from predators.
Which brings us to sex offender mania. Last week I was at the national Reform Sex Offender Laws conference in Dallas (where I was the keynote). We are locking up hundreds of thousands of people, many, many of them young men (see this piece) for unconscionably long sentences, often for consensual sex with other teens. Once a person is labeled a sex offender, even a 17 year old who had sex with a 14 year old is treated like a child rapist, and must undergo years of “therapy” including things like keeping a “masturbation journal,” and telling the therapist all of his “deviant” thoughts. I’d say most teen boys have plenty of “deviant” thoughts. But for the sake of the children we are happy to demonize horny teens, as well as lock up parents who send their kids to the park, and — in Scotland — assign a guardian to every family, as if an outside observer must watch mom and dad’s every move.
Convince the public that all children are in danger all the time and it will accept any so-called safety measures, no matter how absurd or draconian.
That is why Free-Range Kids has, as its mission statement, “Fighting the belief that our children are in constant danger.” Fight we must. – L.