Attempted Child Abduction!!!! Or, wait…

UPDATE: srrtbyfede
Turns out this story took place in Mansfield, OH, not Mansfield, TX. Sorry, Texas! 

Stranger danger education saved one Butler Elementary School student from possible abduction Tuesday.

The student was leaving the building after school Tuesday when a man described as wearing a backward ball cap and a scruffy beard came up to them. The student turned and immediately ran back into the building, where they notified staff of a stranger on campus, Clear Fork Valley Local Schools Superintendent Janice Wyckoff said.

A letter sent home Wednesday alerting parents about the attempted abduction said the man was a passenger in a white colored Ford Ranger pickup. The vehicle was driven by an older woman with gray hair, the letter said.

The school was able to provide security camera footage of the vehicle and its occupants to the Butler Police Department. The department could not be reached for a report on the abduction or photos of the alleged suspects.

“I’m really proud of the students and staff, the way they reacted,” Wyckoff said.

Really? She’s proud? Because here’s what they reacted to (from a news story a day later):

The attempted abduction reported Tuesday in Butler has turned out not to be one.

Butler police Chief Brian Darby said Thursday the incident outside Butler Elementary School was a miscommunication.

Darby contacted the News Journal on Thursday morning after a grandmother who lives in the village called him at 8 a.m. to say she was reading the newspaper story and realized it was her vehicle, she and her son being described in the incident outside the school.

Darby said Cindy McCready, 55, was driving a white Ford Ranger and she has gray hair, just as the student described the alleged stranger on campus to school officials. And, as the student said, McCready’s son Stephen, 32, got out of the vehicle.

But what really happened was that the man got out of the vehicle near the end of the school zone to wave at his two children, who were outside on the school grounds.

You mean, rather than witnessing one of the rarest crimes in America — a stranger abduction of a child — the kids and staff actually witnessed one of the most common things in the world, a parent greeting his kids?

What are the odds of THAT? Thank goodness for that stranger danger education! – L.

Welcome to Mansfield, OH, where there’s even a MAN in its name! Terrifying!

Welcome to Mansfield, OH, where there’s even a MAN in its name! Terrifying!




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74 Responses to Attempted Child Abduction!!!! Or, wait…

  1. Michael La Porte May 29, 2015 at 9:19 am #

    When will the media start labeling these overreactions for what they are — paranoia. Its not a “reaction” to be proud of, its an illness.

    “Paranoid personality disorder (PPD) is a mental disorder characterized by paranoia and a pervasive, long-standing suspiciousness and generalized mistrust of others. Individuals with this personality disorder may be hypersensitive, easily feel slighted, and habitually relate to the world by vigilant scanning of the environment for clues or suggestions that may validate their fears or biases. Paranoid individuals are eager observers. They think they are in danger and look for signs and threats of that danger, potentially not appreciating other evidence.[1]”

  2. Pete Comas May 29, 2015 at 9:32 am #

    Part of me thinks this stranger danger mentality goes hand in hand with a certain narcissism. A thought of “my precious, perfect child — who wouldn’t want to steal him?” where in reality, very few people actually want your children. I’m not trying to be funny. Sure, there are some sickos out there, somewhere. But they’re few and far between. And by and large the sickos try to gain your trust — they’re far too insidious and subtle to just grab a kid off the street. But putting the sickos aside, for the most part, people already have plenty of kids in their lives, and they’re not looking to add yours!

  3. bob m May 29, 2015 at 9:44 am #

    well, after all she was driving a vehicle painted “child abductor white”

    “she was approached by a man driving a white van.”

    “His vehicle is described as a newer white, four-door midsize sedan…”

    “when a man in a white van pulled up next to him and offered him a ride…”

    “Investigators believe the girl was dropped off by a suspect in a four-door 2008-2012 white Nissan Altima…”

    “The girl reported seeing a white vehicle in the alley — a van, truck or SUV that was older with some rust.”

    “…a white van pulled over near her, and a man wearing a ski mask followed her on foot.”

    “… approached by a stranger in a white van… “

  4. Warren May 29, 2015 at 10:13 am #

    Now had they not turned themselves in, how long would they have been detained if stopped by the cops?

  5. SKL May 29, 2015 at 10:18 am #

    They still let men interact with their own children in Texas?

  6. MichaelF May 29, 2015 at 10:25 am #

    When you live in fear it will always be your first reaction.

    I wonder what it will be like when Generation Fear grows up, how are they going to be relate socially, if this is all they know as a first reaction for strangers. It’s a long, bumpy road down from a strangers is just a friend you haven’t met.

  7. pentamom May 29, 2015 at 10:46 am #

    Yes, it’s easy to think that a Ranger could be a van or an Altima —

    if you’re blind.

  8. Brenna May 29, 2015 at 10:52 am #

    Pete, I totally agree about the narcissism. Seriously, no one wants your kids. I’ve got a friend with three year old twin boys, and she is convinced that people kidnap twins more often, and they are more of a target, because people are always telling her how cute they are. Because obviously, saying kids are cute is a precursor to kidnapping.

  9. Tiny Tim May 29, 2015 at 11:01 am #

    Years ago my wife and I offered to (and did) babysit a friends’ fiveish-year-old and pay for their dinner out as a favor. It was the first time they’d used a babysitter. After returning from dinner they informed us that their dinner conversation was mostly about how they were worried that it was some elaborate plan to take their child from them. It was somewhat of a joke… but only somewhat.

    No we didn’t want to take their kid.

  10. Dhewco May 29, 2015 at 11:16 am #

    We should be teaching kids deductive reasoning skills. People on this site are always talking about how kids are better at deducing bad guys than we give them credit for. This shows that that’s not always the case. The tendency of bureaucracy to have all or nothing policies rob kids of the ability to learn how to think for themselves.

    There’s no indication that this guy did anything toward the student in question. He’s waving at his own kids for crying out loud. If schools would teach kids something besides run away from strangers, maybe this child would have taken time to figure out what the guy was doing. There’s even a small chance he could have known the guy’s kids.

    Of course, the student could have a ‘center of the universe’ mentality and assumed the guy was waving at him, not even understand there might be someone else around, and thought that since HE (I say he, even though the student’s gender isn’t all that clear to me. Maybe they’re trying to be ambiguous on purpose) didn’t know the man…it’s an abductor.

  11. Anna May 29, 2015 at 11:16 am #

    A backwards baseball cap and scruffy beard: obviously a criminal and would-be child abductor!

  12. Chet D May 29, 2015 at 11:45 am #

    Paranoia and narcissism do seem to be driving factors in the parent’s and administrator’s mentality – to the point that is arguably detrimental to their kids by installing the same paranoia and narcissistic tendencies in them, thus also promoting anxiety and dysfunction in social interactions. My initial reaction to this story was that it bordered on slander (there being no proof of even intent of abduction), but a few seconds reflection makes me think this is the wrong approach…. One could make the argument that these parents and administrators are potentially eligible for involuntarily civil commitment in the basis their paranoia is causing serious harm to the children. While I admit that sounds harsh (and has lots of unforeseen consequences), in almost any other context such behavior and beliefs could easily land them a lithium prescription. (No, I’m not sure if I’m being sarcastic or not.)

    Brenna, your comment makes me think you may be on to something. Showering these parents with complements does seem to enable their beliefs. People seem to do this to parents on reflex. I can’t count the number of times a kid enters a room and people start spewing generic empty complements at the parents. Perhaps this needs to stop – just so there is hope some grounding in reality may take. Just a thought….

  13. K May 29, 2015 at 11:51 am #

    The most recent uproar in my town is over a man who asked a walking pre-teen if she needed a ride, because it was hot out. When she said no, and that her parents were nearby, he “sped” away. This follows closely on the heels of another “attempted abduction” which does sound more concerning (man got out of car and grabbed girl’s arm), and I bet they’ve really put the fear of God in kids about men in cars. Meanwhile, I’d bet that the guy offering a ride was well-meaning and, knowing his own intentions, honestly thought this girl would be in more danger from dehydration than from him. (I should note that at least our police have called it a “suspicious incident” rather than an “attempted abduction” but it’s clear what the entire community thinks was happening.)

  14. Christina May 29, 2015 at 11:56 am #

    I have adorable, identical twin boys. I pity the fool that tries to abduct them. Whenever someone spouts that idiotic stranger danger crap, my only response is “Ransom of Red Chief. Read it.” Oh, and not only do I post pix of them online, they’ve been in the local paper, featured in YMCA mailings and appeared on at least two websites. No attempted abductions thus far…

  15. Barry Lederman May 29, 2015 at 12:03 pm #

    Just when I think I can no longer be surprised by the paranoid insanity that is our world, you manage to surprise me Lenore. Thank you!

    To quote Albert Einstein: “The universe and stupidity are infinite, and I’m not sure about the first one.”

  16. SKL May 29, 2015 at 12:03 pm #

    They need to stop reporting this stuff in the news.

  17. Warren May 29, 2015 at 12:05 pm #


    Stop spreading that discription around please. As I was reading it my cap was on backward, and hadn’t shaved for a couple of days. Thanks, now I’m a suspect.

  18. Dee May 29, 2015 at 12:26 pm #

    Well, Lenore and others, you will be proud of me. I took on this “stranger danger” issue head on last night. I was attending a book signing with about 50 other people. One woman brought her daughter who was maybe 7 or 8. While we were waiting in line, an older woman addressed the little girl. I didn’t see what happened, but suddenly they were talking about stranger danger and the mom was commenting on how you had to be careful “these days” because there’s so much more to worry about now. I called her on it, pointing out that there’s not more crime against kids – we just know more about it from the 24-hour news cycle. She pulled the “but we have to do everything we can to keep them safe.” I countered with the idea that what really keeps kids “safe” is learning how to be self-reliant, how to make their way in the world, which is what I’ve done w/ my son. I shared how I got lost as a kid and how stranger danger would’ve been dangerous for me in that situation. I needed to trust strangers to help me get home. She said she’s told her kids that if they *have* to talk to a stranger, to approach a woman with kids. I countered with how that’s just painting all men as scary, evil people out to do them harm. Her argument was that men were more likely to hurt kids. We went on like that for a few minutes until the line moved. I obviously didn’t change any hearts or minds and I think she thought I was looney, especially as the daughter of a cop she felt she was an authority. But I felt good for speaking out and not silently agreeing.

  19. ladywoman May 29, 2015 at 12:28 pm #

    Further down in the original “attempted abduction” story are some tips they say come from, including this gem:

    “NEVER GET CLOSE TO A STRANGER, TALK TO A STRANGER [emphasis mine], take anything from a stranger, or go with a stranger, unless they have permission from an adult in charge.”

    What are kids supposed to do when the go out in public which is comprised almost entirely of these terrifying strangers? on a glance has far more info than this and does talk about how most strangers are nice people and you can go to strangers for help in an emergency, but it also reiterates the rule (specifically noted as a “rule”) of not talking to or being near strangers without permission. It’s one of those things that in theory and with flexibility and nuance make sense – and I understand that very small children really do need to learn social and safety boundaries, but when the RULES are oriented in such a way that begin from a negative, stay away from everyone angle it can be taken way too far.

  20. Kathy Havins May 29, 2015 at 12:31 pm #

    This didn’t happen in Mansfield Tx. I live in the city next to Mansfield and know their school district very well. There is no Butler Elementary in Mansfield Texas and the school district there is called Mansfield ISD.

    The article is very specific about Butler Elementary and Clear Fork Valley Schools. A little internet research shows that to be in Butler, Ohio. The news article is from the Mansfield News Journal in Mansfield, Ohio.

    Texas has enough problems of its own without misinformation being given out about us.

  21. bsolar May 29, 2015 at 12:39 pm #

    @Dee: “She said she’s told her kids that if they *have* to talk to a stranger, to approach a woman with kids. I countered with how that’s just painting all men as scary, evil people out to do them harm. Her argument was that men were more likely to hurt kids.”

    You should have simply pointed out that women are actually not less likely to hurt kids:

    “Of the 2012 child abuse cases, 45.3% of the perpetrators were male and 53.5% were female.”

  22. BL May 29, 2015 at 12:44 pm #

    “They still let men interact with their own children in Texas?”

    Texas is such a backward, redneck place. They still do things like that there.

  23. MichelleB May 29, 2015 at 1:09 pm #

    My daughter and I were walking along the highway near our house two days ago, on a stretch that’s definitely not pedestrian friendly but that people do walk along. An SUV turned onto a mostly unused dirt road just ahead of us and stopped for a long moment before turning around and going back the way it came. Someone must have been lost, or forgotten something back at the house…. but for a while we were wondering what was up.

    An attempted abduction? Absolutely not. But it did lead to a conversation about how it was likely that someone who saw us walking might think that we didn’t have a better way to get to the store and offer us a ride and that the best way to handle it was by responding with a cheerful “nope, just getting some exercise!” and not getting too close.

  24. JP Merzetti May 29, 2015 at 1:16 pm #

    Paranoid disorder? Narcissistic whatever? Big Pharma loves you.
    Coming soon is a Watching too much damned tv disorder. (That’s WTMD bringing you all that’s fit to spew, folks!)
    Have a lovely night, now. Take a pill for it.

    You know, I sorta wish I had been the adult in charge at that school. But I’d probably have been fired, by now.

    A valiant attempt. Too often common sense does not rule. And you feel like you’re arguing religion or politics – which can be a frightening affair with strangers…..(talk about stranger danger!)

    When I was a kid, I was not taught stranger danger at all. I was taught something referred to as Creep Factor.
    And I learned this from other kids. Oddly enough……this was the done thing. Kid education on a peer basis.
    We never really rolled it by adults at all. It was more something like our own private language. A spidey sense. A spine tingle. A gut wrench.
    All along the lines of who you could, and couldn’t trust.
    And I know damned well the world was no safer then, than it is now. Or more dangerous, in actual fact.

    But here’s how I figure it. Us kids learned what we knew as a result of great gobs of quality time spent in our own company without any adult supervision around at all. They were scarce. You could swing a dead Godzilla and not hit one. That’s marvelous elbow room. When we wanted their opinion or advice on something, we’d go looking for one. Sooner or later we’d find one, somewhere. Who would usually take a quick measurement of our own burgeoning little common senses – and then send us happily on our way.
    Sounds like a kid Paradise, um?

    It was a rough tough world.
    Full of scabs, cuts, scars and bruises. (The Red badges of courage.) The Valentines we didn’t get. The disorganized and unsupervised daily wars of freedom fought. The long hot walks there and back again. The great hungers and thirsts. The lack of sunscreen. The blown bike tires, miles from home. The scorching, soaking baths that never completely banished the grime. The poison ivy and the frostbit toes. The sullen, stubborn insults that finally paved the way toward reluctant teamwork.
    The whole education of it all. Never learned in textbooks.
    But almost every single one of us earned that PHD with pride.

    When I was six, a perfect stranger showed up at our local diner/ corner store/comic book stand (which was what attracted us kids until the owner got pissed off enough at us for not buying anything).
    And with a wad of double bubble in my mouth, I peeked over the top of my comic book at him…….asking if he could try out that old Gibson hanging up there on the wall.
    He looked like a long tall Texan. And he played and sang a good old song so sweet and smooth…….it just fascinated the crap outa me. I thought on the spot: I wanna be him one day.
    So I figured that one out when I was 19……..and me and my Gibson have been inseparable ever since.
    The kindness of strangers.
    (and where was my creep factor that fine day? Fast asleep, safe and sound, put to bed like a baby in a cradle.)

  25. FRM May 29, 2015 at 1:35 pm #

    This reminds me of a day when my daughter who at age 7 (at the time) was getting ready to walk (a WHOLE TWO BLOCKS) home from school. Apparently, she got about 100 ft from the school and realized that she had to use the bathroom. Of course other parents were diligently picking up their kids and escorting them off to home or their next extracurricular activity. So I was surprised when my daughter’s teacher called me frantically about a “strange man” that was walking with my daughter on the way back to the building. I let the teacher know that everything would be okay, she is safe and everything is fine. When I asked my daughter about this “strange man” she casually replied, “oh, that’s just my friend’s dad, he always walks with us.”

    UGH. Why is this happening!? It’s intolerable!

  26. Pete Comas May 29, 2015 at 1:35 pm #

    JP Merzetti — you have described my childhood almost exactly. And I’m sure I’m not the only one — it’s the typical childhood I suspect we all remember. There were about a dozen kids who grew up on my block in Elizabeth, NJ (not the safest place in the 70s and 80s) of all different ages. The older kids watched out for the younger kids. We self-organized: games, sports, pool parties, snowball fights. Adults generally had things to do and left us to fend for ourselves. We did just fine. None of us was ever abducted or disappeared. I remember my first “job” was at about 12 years old babysitting neighbor kids. There were two families who used my services frequently — one had three boys aged 7, 6, 4, and an infant girl; the other had three boys aged 6, 3, and 2. I got $2 per hour — which seemed like a good way to spend an afternoon/evening. Can you imagine a 12 year old being left with small children for 6 hours today? The police would need to get involved. Those “kids” are now some of my best friends today — 30 years later.

  27. Jessica May 29, 2015 at 2:12 pm #

    @Tiny Tim, five years old and the first time they’d left him with a baby-sitter? Yikes. With my first I was ready for a baby-sitter about a month in. I also recently shocked a friend when I said I didn’t think anyone would want to abduct my kids. They might be cute, but the oldest is an incessant talker and the other a screamer and a biter. I wouldn’t take them if they were someone else’s kids, but they’re mine, I’m used to their personalities (or as Bill Cosby called it, brain damage) and I love them. I also want them out of the house and self-reliant when they grow up, so yeah, I’ll show them how to interact with the world, not to hide from it.

  28. Dee May 29, 2015 at 2:22 pm #

    @Bsolar. There’s lots I could have told her. None of it would have mattered. She is convinced she is doing the best thing for her precious ones and that the world is a big, bad, dark, evil place. So sad.

  29. Kathy Havins May 29, 2015 at 2:41 pm #


    This didn’t happen in Mansfield Tx. I live in the city next to Mansfield and know their school district very well. There is no Butler Elementary in Mansfield Texas and the school district there is called Mansfield ISD.

    The news article is from the Mansfield News Journal in Mansfield, Ohio. In reading the article it is very specific about Butler Elementary and Clear Fork Valley Schools. A little internet research shows that to be in Butler, Ohio.

    Call we Texans names but at least *I* read the article well enough to understand that it was talking about Mansfield and Butler, OHIO.

  30. Steve May 29, 2015 at 2:52 pm #

    Lenore, why not send a few of these school principals a complimentary copy of your book? It might end up resulting in more sales.

  31. Buffy May 29, 2015 at 2:56 pm #

    “There’s no indication that this guy did anything toward the student in question. He’s waving at his own kids for crying out loud.”

    But yet, look how the first article celebrated him for following his “stranger danger” training.

  32. Eric S May 29, 2015 at 3:24 pm #

    THIS is what is being taught to children. And look how it turns out. All for nothing. “Stranger Danger” is dangerous for children. Because it doesn’t teach them ANYTHING, other than to fear strangers at the drop of a hat. This could have been bad for the grandmother and father.

    Everyone, kids and adults, need to start thinking before acting and speaking, or they can ruin people’s lives with “lies”. You can’t take stuff like this back. And just like Mietivs, could have gone all sorts of wrong, not just for the grandmother and father, but for his kids as well.

    Stupid educators. Don’t be proud for someone doing something without thinking.

  33. Havva May 29, 2015 at 3:33 pm #

    When my daughter was a baby, and I started letting people beyond close family hold her, I got a fair number of jokes about kidnapping her. I worked out a standard response. I would sort of block the path to the door and say “Yeah go for it.” then laugh a little and say “I could use a good night’s sleep!” Then look them over with raised eyebrow and said “You’ll brink her back here tomorrow.”

    They always got this petrified look on their face and handed her back as fast as they could possibly manage. I still wonder what exactly they were thinking when they made such jokes. Why they didn’t find the response at all funny. And what they were thinking about my response. But I was content that it seemed to scare people who tried to make me paranoid.

  34. Eric S May 29, 2015 at 3:33 pm #

    @Dee: I’ve had similar conversations with family and friends. The shut up moment is when I say “you seem to like looking at headlines on the internet, check out Google. And research, of stranger abductions, who commit more. Men or women. You’ll find that more women strangers are the reason those abductions. Male strangers kidnap kids for the woman, and the women condone it.” They get quiet pretty quickly.

    I don’t believe people have lost common sense, they just refuse to listen to it because of their paranoia and fears. But they know that they are over reacting. They just can’t help themselves. Like Michael La Porta said in the first post, PPD. It’s just like any other mental illness, it’s bad for you.

  35. Eric S May 29, 2015 at 3:35 pm #

    @Havva: If I had to guess, they felt your underlying “that’s not very funny” vibe. And maybe was afraid you’d call the cops on them. Classic case of not being able to take what they dish. Which is not thinking before speaking. 😉

  36. anonymous mom May 29, 2015 at 3:41 pm #

    “Free-Range Parenting: Because, Seriously, Nobody Else Wants Your Kid”

    I mean that only half-jokingly. People don’t even want to have kids of their own any more–the streets are simply not filled with people just waiting for a chance to grab your precious darlings.

  37. Roger the Shrubber May 29, 2015 at 3:42 pm #

    Last weekend I’m standing by my vehicle in a large parking lot at the conclusion of a MLB game. Lots of folks streaming from the stadium to their cars. There’s a woman yelling her son’s name ‘Where are you?’ The kid, about 12, appears from between two cars. ‘You have to stay where I can see you. Someone could steal you.’

    Poor kid, having such an insanely compulsive woman for a mother. I’m trying to imagine how a kidnapping would occur in such a place? Would all these people ignore a screaming kid being shoved into a van? Where would the kidnappers escape to with long queues of vehicles waiting to exit the lot?

    ‘No one wants to steal your kid,’ I half-muttered. ‘Shut your mouth,’ said my wife.

  38. anonymous mom May 29, 2015 at 3:47 pm #

    I tell my own kids that nobody wants to steal them. My son has pulled the “But what if I get kidnapped!” card about not wanting to bike to friends’ homes. And (among other, more sensitive responses), I assure him that the market for poorly-behaved, snarky 11-year-old boys is exceedingly small, so he is pretty well stuck with us.

  39. Beth May 29, 2015 at 3:48 pm #

    I know I’ve complained about this before, but I HATE HATE HATE the “find a woman with children” advice for a lost or in-need-of-help child. I hate what it says about men in our society, and I really hate the message it sends to our sons.

  40. bsolar May 29, 2015 at 4:03 pm #

    @Dee: maybe she is not open to a different idea of the world now, but you never know which kind of experiences she will live in the future. Some events might end up shaking her certainties and maybe she will then remember the discussion with you under a different light.

    On top of that, even if you believe that the world is a scary, dangerous place you should not assume women are less a risk just because that’s your gut feeling.

  41. Becky May 29, 2015 at 4:08 pm #

    Several days ago when I initially read this story I said to myself, “I’ll bet $5 this guy is the father of some kid at the school. I bet he reads about this is the paper, realizes its him, and calls the police to explain.” I didn’t know about the grandma driving the truck at the time, but still….I think I owe myself $5.

  42. Havva May 29, 2015 at 4:11 pm #

    You know… with all the times these “attempted abductions” turn out to be less than nothing, and the number of journalists paying attention to free-range at the moment. It might pay to come up with a list of hard hitting questions that should be asked in the aftermath of such an over reaction, in the style of questions asked when there has been a ‘failure’ like a kid deciding to walk home alone and no one being positioned to preventing the escape.

    Let’s see… of the top of my head
    Asking school personnel:
    What questions did you ask the child to determine the nature of the incident before calling the police?
    Will you be sending another letter to parents explaining the mistake and assuring them that a kidnaper is not presently on the loose?
    What steps will the school be taking to help mitigate this child’s fears?
    Where you aware that in the immediate aftermath of stranger danger training, a number of children become deeply fearful of strangers in common situations, for instance becoming afraid for instance of passerby looking at them, or a store clerk saying hello?
    What will you be doing to help mitigate excess fear for children who underwent similar training?
    How will you be modifying your personal safety training for the children to prevent inducing paranoia in response to common, non-threatening situations?

    For the police:
    How was the initial conclusion reached that this was an attempted kidnapping?
    In retrospect where there any questions you felt you should have asked at the time of the initial report?
    What do you recommended parents tell their children if the children are feeling excessively skittish after this school’s stranger danger training?
    Will you be helping the school revamp its personal safety training, to give the children necessary safety awareness, without making them so afraid?

  43. Resident Iconoclast May 29, 2015 at 4:25 pm #

    The government’s War on Men continues.

  44. Liz May 29, 2015 at 4:44 pm #

    Notice they didn’t say he talked to them or tried to, just that he was near them so they ran away in terror. In what way is that an abduction? This is just insanity!!

  45. Steve May 29, 2015 at 4:45 pm #

    Jessica said:

    “…I also recently shocked a friend when I said I didn’t think anyone would want to abduct my kids. They might be cute, but the oldest is an incessant talker …”

    Which reminded me of this old song:

    You Talk Too Much

    When I listened to it just now, I wondered how many cellphone-addicted “concerned” fearmongers might resemble the person in the song..


    Regarding Our Fearmongering Society’s Paranoia

    I was just talking with a friend who mentioned that when he was younger, he went through a time of thinking he heard people talking about him in a certain setting because a word frequently spoken in that setting was similar to his name.

    I’m sure he is not unique. Wherever there’s a self conscious person you have a chance for this kind of thing to happen.

    Years ago, a woman who had low self esteem told my wife she was hearing people talking about her. This woman was not crazy, and was not hearing voices. I’m sure of that. But because she was very self conscious, I’m relatively sure she was assuming far more than was “reality.” I’m willing to bet that her situation was similar to my friend whose name sounded like a similar word.

    Our society’s fearmongering has programed many people today to jump to the wrong conclusion when any number of innocent factors appear. And unfortunately there are far too many times when just being male causes certain women to freakout. This would be a great subject for a social psychologist like Dan Ariely (author of Predictably Irrational) to investigate.

  46. Cassandra May 29, 2015 at 4:52 pm #

    Oh dear. This us the school right near us… thing though. It was in the Mansfield paper, not Mansfield. Butler is about 20 miles away.

    And in their defense, they were probably on high alert because the week before in a neighboring town, a man did approach the kids while on the playground and allegedly pulled out a gun and was threatening to blow up the school. (Now I think there are holes in the story, but that is what the kids said he did/said).

    Still overboard, yeah, but I think we still need to understand where they are coming from, educate, and just hope they learn not to give in to the fear.

  47. Maggie May 29, 2015 at 4:57 pm #

    Wow. Just WOW.

    1-A man outside of a school is news.

    2-A man outside of a school is instantly suspect.

    3-Not only suspect, but accused of attempted kidnapping.

    4-Pretty sure people assumed he was pedo too.

  48. Nicole May 29, 2015 at 5:39 pm #

    If dads really need to wave at their kids, they should probably make sure they have three forms of identification affixed to their persons, and a female standing next to them might not hurt, you know, just in case. Or just wait to greet their children at home, with a formal handshake. Can’t be too safe.

  49. Jason May 29, 2015 at 5:48 pm #

    @K I may be paranoid, but I would find it suspicious as well if some man pulled over to offer a strange girl a ride, hot day or not. He either has a malevolent motive or he’s incredibly stupid/naive to think that’s a good idea. As well as appearing suspicious by even asking, he puts himself at risk of accusations if she accepts.

    We also had an “arm-grabbing” of a 15 y.o. recently, but as there were no witnesses in a heavily traveled area, and the girl was already a couple hours late to school, I wonder if it happened at all.

    Meanwhile, I read today that a 64 y.o. parolee and sex offender (and not the good kind) got some teen into his car at a busy pier with the promise of a ride, followed by some booze, cash, and a trip to his condo. Some bystanders convinced the girl to get out of the car, and I doubt the guy had honorable intentions.

    Obviously, kids do get dragged into cars, or it’s attempted, but I agree that many harmless interactions, or non-interactions (such as in this story) end up being mid-reported as near-abductions.

  50. Warren May 29, 2015 at 5:50 pm #

    This whole thing of finding a woman with kids is BS. My daughters who were 150% at the trailer park from an early age, because of it being a very small tight knit community knew who to go to if in need. The list did not have one woman’s name on it. You could divide the park into quadrants, and their was a man in each one that all kids knew to go to. No offense to the women here, but as my girls will tell you, men are bigger and stronger, and for the most part more aggresive. Not to say they would bypass a woman they knew, just they knew who to go to.

    When they were ranging around home, they knew that they could trust men. They knew how to pick them. When asked they said they would look for a group of guys, like work crews, or buddies hanging out in their garage, or shops. LOL, my oldest once told me they would look for a guy they figured knew how to kick ass.

  51. Warren May 29, 2015 at 6:01 pm #


    I have two daughters, both with more friends than I can count. I have recognized them when out and about, but they needed reminding of who I am. I have seen their friends walking in bad weather, and offered them a lift. Most recogonized my work truck and knew me from putting 2 and 2 together, and took the ride. Some didn’t and we went our seperate ways.

    So yes you are paranoid.

    And OMG, these kids also took bottles of water from me………………….Working outdoors I always have a cooler full of bottles of water and ice. They even got to know this and would wave me down on really hot days like I was an Ice Cream truck. Hell two bucks for a case of water, and everyone is hydrated and happy.

  52. Chuck99 May 29, 2015 at 6:37 pm #

    You would honestly think that men weren’t involved in producing children, since everyone assumes they just want to molest or abduct them, rather than raising them.

  53. steve bowes May 29, 2015 at 6:52 pm #

    Why always with the beard? I have a beard and I’m always wondering if children think I’m going to snatch them. I can tell you that the last thing this bearded man wants is another kid, much less someone else’s.

  54. hineata May 29, 2015 at 8:25 pm #

    We have men walking around inside our school, shock horror. Some of them are teachers, true 🙂 ….but some are just dad’s turning up to say hi to their kids at break times, or to play soccer or something. Keeps the kids occupied, so everyone is happy.

    Can’t imagine this level of paranoia ….it’s pretty sad for the poor kid involved.

  55. hineata May 29, 2015 at 8:26 pm #

    dads. ..I hate you, predictive text!

  56. Emily May 29, 2015 at 9:39 pm #

    This is about 75 minutes or so north of Columbus and made the news here. Guess what didn’t make the news? The fact that it wasn’t an actual abduction attempt.

  57. Mark Davis May 29, 2015 at 11:04 pm #

    It’s simply stunning, the way that “a man came up to them” morphs into “the attempted abduction” in the second paragraph and then simply “the abduction” in the third. Talk about overreacting…

  58. C.J. May 29, 2015 at 11:15 pm #

    The naked man that tried to get me in his car to look at his map when I was 10, yep likely an attempted abduction. The two men that offered my sister candy and movies to get in their car and when she ran away one got out and chased her, yep likely an attempted abduction (luckily she was smart enough to run to a nearby gas station for help). Some guy getting out of his car and waving at a school, not so much. Really, many parents pick their kids up from school. Every child is not going to know every parent in the school. Stands to reason if an adult is waving at a school they are waving at their own child, or at least a child they know that they have to pick up for some reason.

  59. sexhysteria May 30, 2015 at 2:10 am #

    Do people want to believe that stranger danger is rampant because many adults experience some kind of sexual excitement by imagining a child being abducted and molested? Ironically, if children received accurate, balanced and comprehensive sex education and were allowed to enjoy innocent sex play with each other, they would grow up sexually functional instead of eager to fantasize about illicit sex between children and adults.

    But a scruffy beard is a clear sign of a dangerous stranger. If the beard had been well-trimmed, then witnesses could breathe easier. Whoops! Did I just just give all those millions of dangerous strangers out there a hint on how to get away with their daily attempts to abduct other people’s children? If anybody feels tempted, read “The Ransom of Little Red Chief” first.

  60. Joel May 30, 2015 at 6:19 pm #

    I’d have to ask the fearful people one question.

    If your brains were manure, would you have enough to stink ?

  61. SjH May 30, 2015 at 11:30 pm #

    Edina, MN
    Luckily, we have AMAZING best friends living two doors away!!
    Those children, ages 6 & 8 ~ had a weird day ~ mom had an earily meeting & dad took to them TO school on not-his-usual-day-to & FORGOT TO REMIND THEM; they had Kids Club after school –
    They children walked home ((we live across the street & can see the door)) with MY boys.
    Thought it was odd – mom didn’t pick them up & came to ME – to check in & see what was up.
    IMEDITATLY – I text their mom & said = here’s what happened = we are going to BACK to school/ kids club to check in!
    The lady “in-charge” – who hides in her office, & ONLY runs the after school program DID NOT KNOW ME – but 6 EMPLOYEES – standing there did – this “lady-in-charge” ~
    Kept telling me; The teacher SAID SHE SAW THESE CHILDREN GET PICKED UP IN A CAR.

    So after the THIRD TIME she insulted me;
    I had it – I said
    “look, I have enough children of my own; I do not like you implying; I took my best friends children ((go check = I AM THEIR EMGERGENCY CONTACT)) in a car to drive right their ((Pointing to our homes ACROSS THE STREET))
    SO THEN – I changed my mind & what – walked them & my dog – carrying this dog poo in a bag – back here to catch hell from you? No. No way. Sounds like you have bigger ISSUES -then me…. that teacher- lied to you – she covered HER self… go hide in your office & address that. Any more questions for me – you can get my number & address & name; from these children’s emergency contact sheet. YOUR WELCOME….. Maybe try ASKING before accusing.”

    She also said, I should be GREATFUL they didn’t call the POLICE…. I said ” YOU LOST THESE CHILDREN – that’s why you didn’t call – DO NOT BLAME ME ~”

    It still gets me emotional.

  62. gap.runner May 31, 2015 at 2:34 am #

    Just when I think that I have heard everything, you post stories like this. My son (age 16) also reads the FRK page occasionally and shakes his head in disbelief at most of the stories. It makes me glad that I am in Germany, where there is still sanity. You still see men working with kids (e.g. as teachers or ski instructors) or out doing things with kids like hiking or skiing. Nobody bats an eye at a man, even one with a beard and backwards baseball cap, out with a child or several children.

    Kids learn from an early age to find an adult if they are out on their own and have a problem. But they also learn not to go off with strangers. In fact, my son has relied on the kindness of strangers when he had a problem with his bike in town or when he went to Munich and got lost trying to find the nearest subway stop.

    My friends in the States are amazed that I let my son take the train to Munich (about 90 km/55 miles away) without adult supervision. First of all, he’s not on his own; he’s with three or four other teenage boys. Secondly, he speaks German like a native, so he can ask for help if he gets lost or if there is an emergency. When people ask if I’m worried about him being kidnapped, I’d say that anyone who would want to abduct a group of teenage boys would either have to be crazy to put up with their typical teenage behavior or be very rich to be able to afford to feed them.

  63. hancock May 31, 2015 at 4:06 pm #

    There are times when I catch myself thinking of a worst first type scenario, that my seven year old son will be abducted by a total stranger. Then I remember the most recent episode of noisy, attention grabbing misbehavior, and think to myself how I am one of the only a very few people in the world that actually want to take him home with me.

    This stranger danger stuff needs to be dialed back.

  64. Dhewco June 1, 2015 at 9:29 am #

    The kind of person who would actually kidnap a kid off the street probably wouldn’t give a flip how crazy, obnoxious and whatever your kids are. There are violent ways of controlling that sort of behavior that you won’t consider. Thankfully, these kinds of abductions are very rare. It just irritates me when people talk about how their kids would be returned to them quickly due to the kids’ behaviors. It’s no longer funny…it’s an old line and untrue when you consider what kinds of abduction we’re actually talking about.

    Again, these types are very rare…but I’m sure that Steven Stayner and that Shawn kid’s
    parents thought the same thing about their kids before it happened. Their abductors kept them for years before they escaped.

    BTW, I’m not saying you shouldn’t allow your kids to do everything free range you want to do. Let them walk to the park, sit in the car safely, and do various errands you think they should do. I’m simply asking you to not find the thought of your kids being abducted a source of amusement. That one in a million abductor is not going to care about your child’s quirks. I definitely wouldn’t tell your kids that ‘amusing’ comment. When I was helping my ex take care of her little ones, one of my fears (after hearing her say that), was that the kid would be taken and then escape years later…only to have him tell her, “You said they would let me go, that my attitude was my best defense. Well, it didn’t happen.”

  65. Vicki Bradley June 3, 2015 at 9:50 am #

    @Dhewco I’m afraid the last sentence of your comment just proved that you used worst-first thinking. Also, when people jokingly say that no one would want to kidnap their annoying kid, it’s just that, a joke (a facetious one). The last thing you want to do given all the craziness we’re surrounded by is to lose your sense of humour.

  66. Mark June 3, 2015 at 5:17 pm #

    The latest local abduction attempt, from the police scanner:

    “Car , this is Dispatch. Welfare check at . Caller reported an older man leading two girls into a secluded area of the park. The man was described as…”

    A few minutes later: “Dispatch, this is Car . I’ve made contact with a family matching that description. Everybody is code four.” (Code four is police shorthand for “I have the situation under control”, but often used to mean “there’s nothing going on here”.)

    In short, someone called 911 to report a father, mother, and daughter taking a shortcut home through a city park.

  67. pentamom June 3, 2015 at 10:21 pm #

    “That one in a million abductor is not going to care about your child’s quirks. ”

    The whole point here is that we should not do anything with reference to how it bears on what that one in a million abductor will do or not do, since the overwhelming likelihood is that our child is never going to meet that person, and if they do, comments like that are just not going to be the most important thing going on.

    So I get not thinking snarky jokes like that are not appropriate with your kids, but it’s not because you should spend one second of your life thinking about how near-impossible situations will play out, and modifying your behavior accordingly.

  68. pentamom June 3, 2015 at 10:24 pm #

    Now if you really believed that was the sum total of how to address avoiding potentially dangerous situations with your kids, that would be a different thing. But that is really not the context when people say that as a joke, and people who actually do believe no one will take their kids because of the annoying things their kids do and that’s all there is to it, are probably so invincibly foolish as not to be strongly influenced one way or the other by hearing or not hearing that joke.

  69. Susie T June 4, 2015 at 1:54 pm #

    We have been without a television for the past year and how fearless it has been! Common sense applies when raising children and I employ that common sense, but why are we instilling so much fear into them?

  70. Susie T June 4, 2015 at 1:59 pm #

    And just where were the school personnel monitoring the coming and going of children into and out of the school? Geez….. Blame innocent people and smear their name because the gov’t education system cannot do the job they were hired to do…or better yet, they won’t; however, they can, if they wanted to.

  71. Susie June 4, 2015 at 2:01 pm #

    And just where were the school personnel monitoring the coming and going of children into and out of the school? Geez….. Blame innocent people and smear their name because the gov’t education system cannot do the job they were hired to do…or better yet, they won’t; however, they can, if they wanted to.

  72. ck June 9, 2015 at 10:45 pm #

    I came here because I had a disagreement with someone today over allowing my 6 year old daughter to walk home alone, but supervised, the 100 yards from her bus stop. And I appreciate that different parents have different tolerance levels for risk, and I’m very much the type of person that believes “to each his own”. The problem is that these people are saying everything in front of my daughter, and scaring the living daylights out of her, and making her believe that there’s monster rapists hiding everywhere, just waiting to abduct her. I tried to make a joke asking where the “bad people” would hide (as we don’t even have bushes on this street), or how they would grab her, but trying to dial her fears back to reality is seems to have only scared her further.

    Are stranger abductions impossible? No, believe it or not, I know if two in my extended circle. One was my mother’s co-worker’s daughter back in the 60s. Another was a high school associate, who was pressured into a ride by a nice elderly man who promptly ignored her directions and started to drive her to God know’s where.

  73. ck June 9, 2015 at 11:52 pm #

    …continued from above, sorry

    She fortunately had the smarts to know enough to jump from the car the first chance she got, and ran away.

    The point being; While it’s stupid to pretend that there’s a criminal hiding behind every bush, it’s even dumber to ignore the red flags that are flashing right in front of your face, because crime/abductions are “rare”, and you don’t want to be a “bother” by questioning a “nice” man or a “nice” woman.

    Things I tell my children to look out for;

    *Someone who seems more interested in helping you than you are in being helped by them. Helping should be a purely altruistic act, so why the pressure? I warn them that some people use “helping” as a cover for manipulation, that they should be suspicious if they’re being pressured into being helped. I also make it clear that the best way for a child to help an adult in trouble is to alert an authority figure, and that adults should ask other adults first for help.

    *Someone who gives unexpected gifts, particularly if they are insistent in giving you a gift that you feel uncomfortable receiving. Again, I teach that giving is supposed to be an altruistic act, so the pressure is suspicious. Gifts given under duress are usually gifts given with strings.

    *Someone who repeatedly steps out of their “role”. For example, the role of a teacher should be to teach a class and counsel students, it shouldn’t be to wash the back of an able bodied student. The role of bus driver should be to safely bring kids to and from school, it shouldn’t be to have private gripe sessions about the students home life. The role of stranger should be to respectfully maintain a polite distance, it shouldn’t be to ask personal questions, or to try to get my children alone.

    *I stress to all my children, nieces and nephews, that someone trying to wheedle them into being alone should be watched in the same manner that someone watches a coiled up rattle snake. Innocent people don’t go out of their way to be alone for their innocent activities. Actions that are “trying to get alone” includes but is not limited to; offering car rides, asking to see this cool thing in this ally, staring and following into a fringe area, etc etc)).

    *Someone who immediately justifies themself by saying “I’m not going to hurt you” should be regarded with extreme suspicion. This is probably the first thing every criminal says to his victim. An innocent person probably wouldn’t say this without being backed into a corner first, because an innocent person is wouldn’t be interested in doing something that is frightening to another person.

  74. ck June 10, 2015 at 12:13 am #

    I should point out; yes it’s normal to be alone with a stranger. It’s not normal for a stranger to try to manufacture a situation to be alone with you. This isn’t just about being abducted; this is about being robbed, raped, needled for sex, and everything else.