Readers — Another day, another dose of wacky overreaction. Luckily, this one comes pre-analyzed by a reader named Kim, who describes herself as the “mom of a 5-year-old girl who is determined to raise her to be even more Free-Range and self-confident than I was as a kid.” A noble goal — and, as you’ll see — a lovely write up of a ridiculous event. – L.
Dear Free-Range Kids: I was going to mention this article in a brief comment in response to your post about the grandfather who was falsely reported as a pedophile, but the further I read, the more I realized that there was just too much to speak on in just a few lines. So I’m sending you this link so you can read it for yourself:
I won’t rehash the article here, but I do want to point out a few things that bothered me about the story:
- This is southeastern PA, and it is the middle of January. News flash, people…it’s cold outside! The guy was wearing a sweatshirt when he went out for a jog. Kudos to him for exercising! (I’ll bet he won’t be jogging by the school again anytime soon, though.)
- Now, if the sweatshirt was one of those hoodie/zip-up mask kinds, I can understand that it might look a little freaky to a kid, but still…a third grader in our church’s Sunday School was wearing one last weekend too, and he kept zipping it up over his face. No one, as far as I’m aware, reported his presence to the police.
- The guy was JOGGING by the school, not lurking in the woods for their entire recess period, potentially scoping out victims. And he didn’t actually have a gun in the first place. Says the local police chief, “We are not sure where [the children] came up with the idea of a man carrying a gun.” Ummm…perhaps from 1) their active imaginations or 2) from hearing the adults around them constantly talking about how dangerous the world is, even in the boring old ‘burbs?
- “…parents, teachers and administrators of Souderton Area School District live with the notion daily that something tragic could happen in the district.” Yeah. Or something tragic could NOT happen in the district, just like it didn’t happen on the day in question.
- Seriously…six or seven different police and fire departments, including ambulances, EMS teams, and K9 units were called out, surrounding neighborhoods were searched, the school was put on lockdown, and everyone just shrugs it off as an unplanned practice drill? Am I the only one who thinks this kind of response might have been just a teensy bit excessive? They hadn’t reported a crime in progress, after all, just a potentially suspicious looking person in the vicinity.
I could rant on and on, but I’m sure you can do a better job of pointing out the same things that are bothering me about it. – Kim
Lenore here: No, actually, your rant pretty much covers everything that my internal rantometer was pinging on, so thank youfor our daily sanity check!
Aghhhhh!!!! Call the cops!