Stephen King Understands

Hi eitfibazzd
Friends — I haven’t read this book, so let reader Barbara Crooks explain:

Dear Free-Range Kids: I have been reading your blog for a very long time and learned from it that I was a Free-Range parent without knowing it.  I learned today just how bad it is in today’s culture for men. How did I come to this understanding you might ask. Well, I was reading a Stephen King novel.  It must be truly bad out there when one of the characters in a horror novel (who happens to be our hero) is worried about talking to a young girl in public because he might be viewed as a pervert instead of the guy trying to save her from the monsters.

From page 231:

He had told her they would have to be careful, and Abra – a child of her culture- understood at once.  They had agreed that the best thing would be to meet in the open … so stop worrying that someone will think you’re – She finished the sentence with a mental picture – a cartoon, really.  It blossomed in an instant, crude but clear.  A little girl in a dark alley was being menaced by a hulking man in a trench coat.  The little girl’s knees were knocking together, and just before the picture faded, Dan saw a word balloon form over her head: Eeek, a freak! .. He made is own picture and sent it back to her: Dan Torrance in jail stripes, being led away by two big policemen.

Lenore here: Well, no one ever said Stephen King didn’t understand horror. And one of the real horrors in America is how easily a man can end up on the sex offender registry (or even in jail) for doing something that did not hurt a child. That’s scary. 

What would Stephen King know about horror?

Thanks, Stephen! 

114 Responses to Stephen King Understands

  1. Gravy February 19, 2014 at 10:06 am #

    Lenore, Are you going to address the little 10 year old girl who was abducted by a stranger and killed in Springfield, MO? She was walking to her friends house. You and your followers claim that the risk of abductions by strangers isn’t high enough to take heed. You slam “helicopter” parents because they see the risk of abduction and murder for their children as too high. You are basically encouraging parents to make their child the one that gets abducted. I hope that we find out that her parents followed your teachings and the media slams you for encouraging parents to be neglectful.

  2. Kathy February 19, 2014 at 10:24 am #

    And then are you going to address the more than 70 million children in the US who WEREN’T abducted yesterday, even though many of them engaged in reckless behavior like “playing outside” or “being out of sight of their parent for more than 3 seconds” or even “creating something on their own” just like this little girl?

  3. SOA February 19, 2014 at 10:42 am #

    Love Stephen King. Huge fan. Have read almost all his books. This one is on my bookshelf right now waiting to be read.

    Stephen King is HUGE free range as far as his books. “IT” is all about the kids going off in the woods on their own all day long and being mostly pretty much 100% on their own when they defeat the monster because adults don’t believe them and only kids can see the monster. A lot of his stories are like that like “Stand By Me”. He writes about his childhood and that was how he grew up.

    In “IT” one of the parents of the boys is kinda a hysterical mother who lies about her son having asthma so she can try to keep him needy and keep him at home and doesn’t want him going off with his friends.

  4. SOA February 19, 2014 at 10:45 am #

    Even extremely vigilant parents have had kids get abducted or killed. So you can spend your entire existence hovering and being freaked out 24/7 and ruining your child’s childhood. Or you can use your judgement and discretion and give your kids some independence and freedom that you think they can handle and hope for the best.

  5. SKL February 19, 2014 at 10:50 am #

    I was going to bring up that 10yo girl too. But what I want to know is, what (if anything) should the family / community have done differently? Not letting a 10yo girl walk down her own street is clearly NOT the answer. But what is?

    I read that the guy drove down the street a number of times before picking the girl up. Obviously someone saw all this. What if a neighbor or two had stepped out onto their porch and made it clear they were watching – would that have made the guy change his mind?

    Was there anything about the murderer that should have been a red flag before? Was he a repeat offender, did he have documented mental issues that made him a risk?

    I know there will always be some things we just can’t control. But when this happens, it’s hard to accept it.

  6. Gravy February 19, 2014 at 10:51 am #

    Lenore makes money off of these teachings so let’s allow Lenore to explain why Hailey Owen’s parents made the right decision by allowing her the freedom to explore and “create something of her own”. Let Lenore explain why Hailey Owen’s parents were justified in allowing their 10 year old little girl to walk alone to her friends and be abducted and murdered by an old man. Let us allow Lenore to explain why her teachings are the best way. Hailey Owens is dead. I am sure if she were able to speak right now she would wish that her parents had not allowed her the freedom to walk to her friends house alone.

  7. Brenna February 19, 2014 at 10:52 am #

    Gravy, how about the 2000 kids killed in car accidents each year? How many of those parents are you going to accuse of being negligent? How long before you start saying, “you know, your kid didn’t really NEED to go to ballet class, you put her at an unacceptable risk by putting her in the car!” And don’t tell me it’s different, because it’s not. Your child is 40 times more likely to die in your car than mine is walking alone and playing outside. Why is your risk acceptable and mine not? And who in the HELL are you to judge? I happen to believe that the benefit to my child from exercise, independence and judgement is worth the risk. Research bears out, over and over, that children need independence, they need free play, for their minds to develop properly. Do some research before you call other parents neglectful. Doing the hard thing, and teaching them, not coddling them, is being a great parent.

  8. Gravy February 19, 2014 at 10:57 am #

    Free play doesn’t mean what you think it means. It means the freedom to play in an unstructured environment. It means you don’t tell them how to use their imaginations. It doesn’t mean you risk your child’s life because you subscribe to a teaching that puts your child’s life at risk.

  9. SKL February 19, 2014 at 11:07 am #

    The child would be at greater risk, statistically, as she got older. It is completely illogical to say a 10yo should not be allowed to walk on her own street, when in less than a decade she will need to walk alone on all kinds of streets, and females are much more likely to be victims after puberty than before.

    She was 5’2, which is as big as many adult women.

  10. SOA February 19, 2014 at 11:09 am #

    Are you sure you would know what that little girl would say? Maybe she loved going to visit her friend and playing with her.

    Brenna has a point. Do you point fingers at parents who kids get killed in car accidents? Or die from things like falling down the stairs because the parents did not bother to put up baby gates? Do you point fingers at parents who don’t put their baby to sleep on their back so they die of SIDS? What about parents who don’t get flu shots and their child dies of the flu?

    You can’t pick and choose what fingers you point and when you point them and who you point them at. If the parents were not being negligent which I don’t think they were with the info I have, then you really can’t blame them anymore than you would blame them for some of the deaths I mentioned above.

    I read the man worked for an elementary school for goodness sakes! So he could have taken a kid from school just as easily. Are you going to point fingers at parents who send their kids to school now too?

  11. Gravy February 19, 2014 at 11:15 am #

    I can’t have a discussion with someone who says that Hailey Owens might say that the abduction, murder, and rape (we all know they will release information about sexual assault) was all worth it because she was allowed to walk to her friends house alone and play.

  12. deltaflute February 19, 2014 at 11:27 am #

    Okay let’s be logical. Adult women are also abducted.

    If an adult woman decides to go for a jog, is abducted, and murdered do we blame her husband? He didn’t go with her and let her jog by herself. Do we blame society which says women have the freedom to go jog by herself? I mean they aren’t suggesting that a woman jog with a man for protection. I think feminists would be very upset at the suggestion that a woman needs a man to go with her everywhere. Or do we blame Leonore who would most likely say that it’s ridiculous to have a woman’s freedom held hostage over the slight possibility that she would be abducted?

    Or do we blame the perpetrator? You know the guy who actually kidnapped the woman and than later murdered her.

    It’s the same logic with responsible and well-taught children. Blame the perpetrator and stop making the young out to be victims or potential victims of crimes. If you are so concerned about their welfare put your energy into harsher punishments for criminals.

  13. Gravy February 19, 2014 at 11:36 am #

    A child is not a mini-adult. So that argument is far from logical which you claim. Comparing a woman jogging to Hailey Owens, 10 years old, walking to her friends is not at all related.

  14. Barb February 19, 2014 at 11:39 am #

    It is sad and horrible when even one child is abducted and murdered, but is that reason to punish the millions of other children in the country? If we use this abduction as a reason to keep our children inside what next? Do we make them stay inside because they might get struck by lightening? The changes of that are greater than being abducted. I believe that even though the outcome here was horrible that the girls parents did every right, this is not their fault and they were not neglectful and anyone that would suggest such a thing while those parents are grieving the lost of their precious child has a very cruel heart!

  15. SKL February 19, 2014 at 11:44 am #

    But the girl-woman comparison is relevant, because the fact is that the world contains risks. You can’t control all risks. The idea that risks are only OK for people past a certain age is just strange. How come it doesn’t apply to anything other than stranger abduction? A kid is different from an adult, so kids should not be allowed in or around cars, ever! Anyone who encourages folks to put kids in cars should be publicly raked over the coals. They should be ashamed because they are personally responsible for all the child motor vehicle deaths (and injuries) that occur. Likewise, no child should be allowed in a pool because a child is not an adult and we all know there is a risk of drowning in a pool. A child should not be allowed on a boat or plane because there could be a fatal accident.

  16. Gravy February 19, 2014 at 11:44 am #

    I am just wondering if Lenore is even going to touch this? She makes money off of telling parents to do exactly what Hailey Owens parents did. And what her parent’s allowed their daughter to do got her killed in a brutal and violent fashion. Imagine being 10 years old and dying the way we all know she died. It will never be worth the risk for me to take any advice from Lenore and her followers.

  17. Gravy February 19, 2014 at 11:47 am #

    Dying from a car crash, drowning, and any other Strawman you want to come up with will never touch the brutal and violent death that Hailey Owens endured and many other children like her because their parent’s subscribe to a flawed parenting philosophy.

  18. SKL February 19, 2014 at 11:49 am #

    “what her parent’s allowed their daughter to do got her killed”

    No. What her parents allowed is what all of us did at that age and it killed nobody. Walking down the street did not kill this child. What killed this child was a filthy sick old man.

    Many kids who are abducted by non-family members are taken right from their beds. This kid happened to be on her street, but what is the difference, really? If a sick bastard is determined to abduct a child, there isn’t much you can do as far as keeping the child out of that person’s reach. You’d have to know someone was targeting your child first.

  19. SKL February 19, 2014 at 11:52 am #

    Gravy, you do what you want with your kids.

    The way you are talking is not going to sway anyone.

  20. Gravy February 19, 2014 at 11:56 am #

    I’m not trying to sway anyone. I want Lenore to address this. I want Lenore to come out with all her facts and statistics and tell us how Hailey Owens death is not important enough for parents to take heed. But we all know that she will never actually address Hailey Owens and the fact that had her parents walked with her to her friends house that she never would have been abducted. He was looking for easy prey and he found it in a child whose parents couldn’t be bothered to walk her to her friends, which is exactly what Lenore encourages.

  21. Filioque February 19, 2014 at 11:58 am #

    Gravy–Calm down! You will never persuade the readers of this site to live their lives curled up in a fetal position in the confines of their homes because of a few well-publicized, terrible murders.

    And what is Lenore supposed to “address”? That bad things happen? That life isn’t without risk? Done and done. If you think Lenore doesn’t address these realities then you aren’t paying attention.

    When are you going to address the fact that 99% of us go through 99% of our lives without being stalked, kidnapped, maimed and murdered?

  22. BL February 19, 2014 at 12:06 pm #

    @Gravy
    “I want Lenore to come out with all her facts and statistics”

    She’s already done that.

    None of her statistics say “zero chance”. Never did.

    Nor does hiding under your bed (or your child’s bed) mean “zero chance” either.

  23. Gravy February 19, 2014 at 12:06 pm #

    Calm down? A child is dead! That is upsetting to me. I will not calm down and pretend that Lenore’s ideas have nothing to do with her death. You don’t have to crawl into the fetal position in order to offer your children more protection from pedophiles. Haileys Owens death matters to me. We all know that this and every other pervert will never receive real justice. As things are they live out their lives in a prison separated from other inmates so that they aren’t harmed. Hailey Owens wasn’t offered the same protection that this disgusting man will be offered. I am asking Lenore to defend her philosophy. No one should blindly follow an idea without asking the creator to defend it especially in times like this.

  24. Gravy February 19, 2014 at 12:07 pm #

    And instead of addressing Hailey Owens she published a story about Stephen King. That says a lot.

  25. SKL February 19, 2014 at 12:08 pm #

    Gravy, Lenore posted after Leiby Kletzky’s abduction and murder, which was similar to this case. You can find that post easily by looking in the “most commented” list at the right.

  26. Gravy February 19, 2014 at 12:17 pm #

    Thank you for guiding me to that article, but Leiby Kletzky’s is not Hailey Owens. They are two different children with two different very important stories. Hailey Owens deserves to be recognized as her own story about the risks of Lenore’s philosophy.

  27. SKL February 19, 2014 at 12:21 pm #

    Gravy, Lenore may or may not decide to address this case on HER blog. It isn’t for you to decide.

    I suppose you’d like it if she made a separate post about every one of the 100+ tragic stranger abductions that happen each year. Then she’d be using a third of her posts to focus on the worst case scenario. Leaving only the other two-thirds to discuss the tens of millions of kids who go out alone every day and come home alive and better for it. But like I said, that’s up to her.

  28. Gravy February 19, 2014 at 12:25 pm #

    SKL of course I want her to address every child as their own unique human beings who suffered at the hands of rapists and murderers. She is profiting from an idea that gets children killed. I don’t give a flying rat’s behind if this is HER blog. She should answer for her ideas that she encourages parents to align with.

  29. SOA February 19, 2014 at 12:31 pm #

    I think I heard Lenore is out of town right now as I got one of those I am out of the office emails yesterday. So she very well might address this just not at this moment. She has kids she has to care for too. So maybe she is actually doing what you suggest and caring for said kids?

    So would you blame Hailey’s parents if they walked her to her friend’s house but then had to take her baby sister and the baby sister broke free of her mom’s hand and got hit by a car? Because that type of thing happens. Maybe that is why parents sometimes make the decision to let an older capable kid walk by themselves so they don’t have to risk dragging out the younger siblings who don’t know not to run out in the street yet.

    The thing is there will always be risk and danger. You cannot stop every danger. Elizabeth Smart and Jon Benet Ramsey were taken and killed while in their own homes!

  30. SKL February 19, 2014 at 12:34 pm #

    Then Gary, to be fair, the sites that promote safety gadgets and rules and programs and general overprotectiveness should be required to post every instance of a child who went about his business alone and returned home alive.

    Do you even know if these parents have ever heard of Lenore or her site or book? What this child was allowed to do is NORMAL, 100% developmentally appropriate and always has been.

    Maybe Lenore should start posting about the futility of overprotectiveness – the cases where a child was lost despite having helicopter parents. Like the many children who were “safe at home” when abducted. Like Dylan Groene and many others.

  31. Filioque February 19, 2014 at 12:41 pm #

    Gravy, do you know for a fact that this girl’s parents were influenced by Lenore’s ideas? Or that they’d ever read her book, visited her blog, or even heard of Lenore?

    Are you friends with this family, which is now you are so certain of these facts? I’m not being combative, just genuinely curious. I had never heard of this little girl until your post today.

  32. sue February 19, 2014 at 12:53 pm #

    so gravy what you want is lenore to come out and say’ i killed this child, it’s my fault” i got news for you.. she is not responsible , the animal who killed her is. should this have happened? NO. did it happen , yes. but it happened because of a perverted and sick man, not what lenore blogs. would you be happier if she had instead been abducted from her bed, or her yard or her school? or would you be ranting about how her parents didn’t sleep with her or go to school with her or basically handcuff themselves to her. 10 year olds are pushing their independance. would you deny that to every child in the country? i’m afraid your answer would be yes. i understand how upset you are, i wonder if you are related to or a neighbor to this poor child. however your anger should be directed at the attacker, someone mentioned he worked at a school, how about ranting at the school who ,hired him where he was close to children and possible saw her there and targeted her. her parents made the decision to let her walk based on their experiance and expectations ,which i am sure is hard for them to deal with now, but it comes down you can’t prevent everything you choose what to do according to what you think is best. no matter how hard we try horrible things will still happen to good people, you can’t stop it or go about your life not doing anything for fear of what might happen. sorry to everyone about the long post but i know too many people who are too quick to blame everybody but the guilty party and want every one to adhere to restrictive paranoid overreacting behavior in response to a tragedy that happens so rarely

  33. Gravy February 19, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

    No I don’t know that they let their 10 year old daughter walk to her friends house because they believe in Lenore’s philosophy. But Lenore encourages parents to allow their children to do just as Haileys Owens parents did so they must have subscribed to a parenting philosophy that said that was ok.

    Yes, their is an element of risk in everything that you do. However, saying that you will take a risk that might allow your child to be abducted, raped, and then murdered is not the same as taking your child to her ballet class, as a previous poster suggested, and then getting into a fatal car crash.

    If you were able to witness her abduction, rape and murder would you still be saying that the risk is worth it? That’s all any of you are saying, that the risk is worth what happened to Hailey Owens.

    SKL companies that create safety devices announce recalls all the time and have to answer to parents and the world for what they produced that ended up being defective. So Lenore who encourages a defective philosophy should also have to answer to parents and the world.

    Hailey Owens death was not worth it.

  34. BL February 19, 2014 at 1:03 pm #

    @Gravy
    “However, saying that you will take a risk that might allow your child to be abducted, raped, and then murdered is not the same as taking your child to her ballet class, as a previous poster suggested, and then getting into a fatal car crash”

    One of those is far, far, more common than the other. Care to guess which is which?

    And are YOU ready to answer personally for all the children killed in car accidents each year?

  35. lollipoplover February 19, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

    Gravy-
    Hailey Owens was kidnapped by an employee of the school district who was also an athletic coach. Using your logic, all parents who sent their kids to this school and let them participate in sports (supervised) are endangering their kids, not just those who allow them to walk to friends houses. If only they homeschooled…if only they didn’t let her sign up for soccer…if only .

    Did you know this family? Are you part of the community to be so affected by this crime? We had 3 child deaths just yesterday in PA from house fires. Their names likely won’t be in the paper because they don’t have the sensational news story that a kidnapped/murdered white child has. Do you want to point fingers at surviving family members for not saving their kids in fires? If only they serviced their smoke detectors…if only they didn’t live in houses that needed heat…

    And I have a 10 year old daughter.
    She walks to her friends’ houses all the time. She also babysits. She is not helpless and we did not raise her to be *easy prey*. She could probably beat the [email protected] out of anyone who attempted to abduct her (her older brother teaches her wrestling moves)as she is 5’4 and 110 lbs. and scares opponents in sports.
    Not. Helpless.

  36. Gravy February 19, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

    Was her death worth it? That is the bottom line.

  37. Filioque February 19, 2014 at 1:10 pm #

    “However, saying that you will take a risk that might allow your child to be abducted, raped, and then murdered is not the same as taking your child to her ballet class, as a previous poster suggested, and then getting into a fatal car crash.”

    How isn’t this the same? Dead is dead, the last I heard.

  38. Gravy February 19, 2014 at 1:13 pm #

    Sensationalized? You don’t have to do much to sensationalize the rape and murder of a child. A fire? A fire is an accident. Hailey Owens died a brutal death. She wasn’t at school when she died. She was on her way to her friends alone. I don’t know the family; I live in the area and I have children her age, I’m a human being who wants to see justice served for barbarians, which we all know will not happen, she was a 10 year old darling little girl who wasn’t protected. Those are the reasons that I care so much.

  39. Gravy February 19, 2014 at 1:14 pm #

    Was her death worth it? No one wants to actually answer the question and own the fact that yes, Lenore and her followers believe her death was worth it.

  40. SKL February 19, 2014 at 1:15 pm #

    Re the ballet class comparison. Not long ago a mother took her girl (I believe 10yo) to a gym. As they were leaving, a rapist/murderer hijacked their car and the perp murdered the mother so he could get at the little girl. The girl managed to get away.

    So no, taking your kid to ballet is not somehow better.

  41. SKL February 19, 2014 at 1:23 pm #

    What really deserves outrage as far as parenting goes is child abuse. A ridiculous number of kids are murdered in their homes by their own parents. (Many of them are kept indoors so nobody can see their bruises / broken bones; they’d be better off if the community demanded the kids be allowed out!) People are so used to the idea of child abuse / neglect murders, folks just say “tut-tut” and go on with their lives. Notice how when a parent reports an alleged stranger abduction, it’s all anyone can talk about, but the story usually dies a quick death when people find out the kid was actually killed by her parent.

    And where’s the outrage over kids dying in backovers/frontovers, which happens quite often and you NEVER see it in the news (unless it happens to a celebrity’s kid)? The reason you don’t hear of it is because there wasn’t a creepy stranger involved. Not because the parents were doing everything the safest way.

    The outrage is misplaced, Gravy. This little girl died because one man was evil. That is the only reason.

  42. BL February 19, 2014 at 1:24 pm #

    @Gravy
    “Was her death worth it? That is the bottom line”

    I already asked you about the children who die in car crashes. Were their deaths worth it? That’s on you Answer or be branded a troll.

    And don’t tell me everyone *has* to ride in cars. I have neighbors called the Amish who don’t. But sometimes cars hit their buggies and kill them, children included.

  43. Donna February 19, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

    Was her death worth what? I can’t answer a question that I don’t understand.

  44. Filioque February 19, 2014 at 1:28 pm #

    Gravy, I’m concerned that your inordinate attention to this case is causing you to project anger at Lenore and her “followers” instead of where it properly belongs. Your obsession with this case, though understandable if you live in the area, is bordering on unhealthy, and I suggest seeking out someone you can talk to in person about it.

  45. sue February 19, 2014 at 1:36 pm #

    ok gravy i’ll asnswer the question. no her death was not worth it to her. no child’s death is ‘worth it”. we do not advocate that any child’s death is “worth” it. we do not encourage parents to put their kids in danger. we do encourage parents to prepare their children for possiblities. what we can not do is prevent perverts for abducting children, no matter what precautions we take ther will always be a way for them to get to a child. does it happen as often as you seem to think it does? NO. what we do is to prepare our children, watch for signs they are ready and give them their lives. we you have felt better if she had been hit by a car or a plane falling out of the sky because both of those were more likely than being abducted. her death was horrible but so is burning to death dying of a fatal disease killed by her parents[also more likely than stranger abduction]. who is not to say the coach didn’t see her at school and waited for an opening,or is that what worries you that it could have been you kids ; but then your a”better” parent apparently who can see the future and throw myour self on every danger. you can’t. mourn her death, remember her but don’t use her death as a soapbox for your parenting views…and remember porn sites also make money,as well clothing store that sell”sexy” childrens clothes…why not rant against them?

  46. SKL February 19, 2014 at 1:36 pm #

    Donna, I think what Gravy is asking is, wouldn’t it be better for every school-aged child in the world to be escorted everywhere they go (and grounded indoors when there is nobody available to escort them), in the *hope* that a few violent pedophiles are deterred from capturing their prey?

    Since this man was obviously intent on abducting a child, why assume that not seeing her alone on the street at 5pm would cause him to go home and lose his desire? Maybe he’d just keep looking until he found another victim. Or snatch someone from the school he worked at. If this girl was specifically targeted, maybe he would have attacked her escort and still abducted her (or abducted both), or found a way into her home. Both have been known to happen. And then whom would we blame?

  47. lollipoplover February 19, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

    No child’s death is worth it. You cannot put death a pendulum. The death of child is not the natural circle of life- we should outlive our kids. It was a random act of violence.
    Key word- random.

    I wish, I wish, for every parent that they never have to go through the death of a child- brutal, random murder or to complications from diabetes. May we all outlive our children and go on to see them as healthy, capable, adults who live their dreams.
    I cannot protect them from random.
    I can attempt to shadow them for the rest of their lives but it will not reduce random. Never leaving the house will not reduce random.
    And more kids are killed in household accidents (drownings, falls, poisonings) where constant supervision than kidnappings. Why, Gravy, are you not mourning these deaths when a TV falls on a toddler, crushing him? Is this death more or less preventable than letting a 10 yo walk to a friend’s house?

  48. Mark Roulo February 19, 2014 at 1:39 pm #

    “Was her death worth it? No one wants to actually answer the question and own the fact that yes, Lenore and her followers believe her death was worth it.”

    Okay, I’ll try.

    I’m pretty sure that EVERY SINGLE PERSON HERE would agree that if we knew she was going to be killed that day, then NO, IT WAS NOT WORTH IT TO HAVE HER OUR WALKING THEN.

    And I’m also pretty sure that almost EVERY SINGLE PERSON HERE would say that if the odds before she went out walking were that she would be safe 99,999,999 times out of 100,000,000 then the risk WAS worth it.

    Do you understand the difference between Ex-Post and Ex-Ante probabilities?

  49. SKL February 19, 2014 at 1:42 pm #

    I don’t own my children in any case. I have been given 17 years to get them ready for adulthood. I have no right to “protect” them from living life.

  50. ifsogirl February 19, 2014 at 1:59 pm #

    @ Gravy – I’d like to know who was to blame for all the stranger abductions/rapes/murders BEFORE Lenore started Free Range Kids? Parents let their kids play unsupervised a lot more five or ten years ago so….

  51. John February 19, 2014 at 2:17 pm #

    Gravy for goodness sakes, there is absolutely NOTHING unreasonable about a 10-year-old child walking to her friend’s house unattended. It’s not like her parents let her go sky diving or allowed her to ride her bike on the express way. I walked over to friends house all the time when I was a kid and even many 10-year-old kids today play outside by themselves. What happened to this little girl was extremely rare and you cannot predict rare events. So get off her parents’ back as they have enough to grieve about!

  52. Papilio February 19, 2014 at 2:47 pm #

    @Gravy: I’m sure there are enough other sites that will write about Hailey’s death and that of every single other child that ever in history was murdered by a stranger over and over and over again.
    I don’t understand why you harp on Lenore. Her parenting philosophy isn’t new – what is is that people like you just seem to have lost the ability to put things in perspective. You are pretending there is a 1:1 causal relationship between the child walking by herself and her death, while there is not. If there was, we would all have been dead.

    But, to hear you out, how do you suggest people raise their kids? Perhaps we could look up the chances of depression, obesity, lack of problem solving skills, clumsiness (leading to MORE danger), etc etc etc.

  53. Papilio February 19, 2014 at 2:49 pm #

    And I feel sorry for Lenore that no-one is discussing the actual post!
    I thought “a child of her culture” kind of said it all.

  54. Emily February 19, 2014 at 2:57 pm #

    @Gravy–Do you seriously think Lenore does Free Range Kids to get rich? The “child safety” industry is much, MUCH more lucrative than what Lenore is doing, and I’m sure that, if money was what she was after, she could sell her soul, abandon FRK, and start shilling baby knee pads, Owlet monitors, Smart Diapers, GPS tracking devices for older kids, and other overpriced junk aimed at overanxious and gullible parents. Alternatively, she could go back to journalism, and pitch sensationalist news stories about car crashes, child abductions, etc., and “What if it was your child?” But, Lenore doesn’t do that, because she has too much integrity about her, and that’s why we have Free Range Kids. She never once claimed that it was perfect; she doesn’t use phrases like “peace of mind,” as that could be bought and sold like so many pairs of baby knee pads. But, the Free Range Kids movement is something we need, because the alternative is a nation of sheltered, Ritalin-riddled, under-active and over-screened obese kids with no sense of self, because they’ve been kept from doing anything for themselves, “for their own safety.” Lenore’s trying to turn the tide against this, and so were Hailey Owens’ parents. Sure, Hailey’s story didn’t have a happy ending, but if her parents allowed her to traverse and engage with her world as appropriate for her age and maturity level, then there’s a good chance that Hailey got to live more in her ten short years on this Earth, than some kids get to live over the course of their entire childhoods–or even their entire lives, if their fears are so ingrained that they also limit themselves as adults.

  55. Theo February 19, 2014 at 3:03 pm #

    So Gravy touched a nerve, I see. What’s the actual analysis here? Gravy asks if the death was “worth it?” Some people answered, but I don’t understand what “it” is.

    It seems to me that everyone is engaging in some kind of balancing test, weighing some harm against some benefit, and weighting each using some kind of risk value. I would like to know what those variables and values are for Gravy, or others.

    If abduction, rape, and murder are the identified harms, what are the competing benefits? Freedom, wisdom, independence, self-reliance, socialization? And what’s the risk value that modifies the relative weights of the harms and benefits.

    If one’s not engaging in even this simplistic, low-level analysis, then what makes one’s conclusion something other than purely subjective opinion based on whim? Which is fine, but does not warrant imposition on others.

    I would like Gravy to apply whatever analysis she uses to condemn Lonore’s parenting philosophy to philosophies that allow children to be driven to ballet class more than 2 miles from home. And do, please, show your math.

  56. Theo February 19, 2014 at 3:07 pm #

    “she could go back to journalism, and pitch sensationalist news stories about car crashes, child abductions, etc., and “What if it was your child?” But, Lenore doesn’t do that, because she has too much integrity about her, and that’s why we have Free Range Kids.”

    Are you sure it’s not all just a set up for retirement? You know, “I was an advocate for free-range parenting for 20 years before I realized the error of my ways! Now I recommend all children wear Acme helmets and knee pads and implanted with NSA-quality GPS devices…”

    Could be…

  57. Lola February 19, 2014 at 3:15 pm #

    @Gravy: I truly am shocked and disgusted by Hailey Owen’s murder. But I don’t think her parents did anything wrong. I think her MURDERER did everything wrong. HE is the one fully responsible for that girl’s death.
    The discourse about how Hailey’s parents could have helped this remind me a little of the one about how raped women “had it coming” because they dressed like this or smiled like that.
    Let’s all place the blame where it belongs and leave those parents alone, shall we? I think they have enough grief as it is.

  58. Gravy February 19, 2014 at 3:24 pm #

    Lenore doesn’t advocate for automobile use. That’s not her thing. Her philosophy advocates for parents to allow their children to do what Hailey Owens parents did.

    I am not blaming the parents of Hailey Owens. Hailey Owens parents bought into the idea that “this would never happen to us”, “the statistics show this and this…”. That is what Lenore sells. Make no doubt about it, Lenore is literally selling you an idea. And once she begins profiting from an idea it is her responsibility to respond when her idea hurts someone, even one child.

    My children are not a statistic. They are not a number. They are precious human beings that I decided to bring into this world. I don’t now get to decide that the statistics say that it isn’t likely that they will be abducted, raped and murdered, so therefore I will take the risk.

    My children are offered rich and exciting lives, but you’re right they don’t get to walk down to the corner store without a responsible adult. They don’t get to walk to their friends house without a responsible adult. They don’t get to go to an event without a responsible adult. It isn’t worth it to me.

    Until murderers and pedophiles are treated like the animals they are we will continue to have cases like Hailey Owens. Until they are quaking in their boots to even look at a child the wrong way because they know they will be swiftly executed for harming a child then I will not subscribe to Lenore’s ideas or anyone else who has ideas similar to hers.

  59. Lola February 19, 2014 at 3:37 pm #

    And about the actual post, here’s another quote, also by Stephen King, from his novel “Bag of Bones”:
    “I picked the kid up and carried her over to where my car was idling, and although she seemed perfectly content to be carried and not frightened a bit, I felt like Chester the Molester the second I had my arm locked around her bottom (…). This is one of the strange midlife realities of my generation: we can’t touch a child who isn’t our own without fearing others will see something lecherous in our touching… or without thinking, way down deep in the sewers of our own psyches, that there probably is something lecherous in it.”

  60. SKL February 19, 2014 at 3:37 pm #

    Well Gravy, like I said, do what you want with your own children.

    However, don’t fool yourself into thinking that the presence of an adult or the fact of being in one’s own house makes your child risk free.

    There is no way to make your child, or any child, risk free. Frankly, to suggest otherwise is crazy talk.

  61. Beth February 19, 2014 at 3:38 pm #

    Gravy, stop spamming every thread. You can reach Lenore directly by using the Contact link at the top of the page.

  62. sue February 19, 2014 at 3:47 pm #

    gravy”her ideas or other similar ideas”.. so you noticed others hold similar ideas and”market”[write,speak,blog about etc}..so why the attack on lenore? i’m glad your kids are precious to you, they should be. how old are they? at what age will you feel “safe” letting go places by themselves? 12, 14 18? do you plan on moving into a college dorm with them? how about when they marry? after all that how will they know how to deal with life? or will they be in therapy due to anxiety agoraphobia issues? again what happened was horrific but it was an abberition, not a daily event. your kids will not magicaly know how to deal at 18[or 21 or whatever] if they don’t pratice. and don’t say hailey’s parents let her practice and look what happened. if it was as common as you trhink we would not be having this disccusion because none of us would be here.

  63. Coasterfreak February 19, 2014 at 3:50 pm #

    “Until murderers and pedophiles…are quaking in their boots to even look at a child the wrong way because they know they will be swiftly executed for harming a child…”

    See the problem is that murderers and pedophiles will not be quaking in their boots. Ever. Their sick, demented desires are not swayed by the possible repercussions if they are caught. However, millions of regular, everyday men like me often end up “quaking in our boots” over the possibility of being attacked by paranoid moms (or even dads) because we happen to be in a place where there are children around. Even if we are with our own children!

    Anybody intent on doing harm is not going to be easily dissuaded, no matter what the repercussions. Not allowing children the freedom they deserve and require to grow up into mature, responsible, self-sufficient adults punishes the children for the crimes of the sick-minded.

    Now, can’t we get this back to discussing Stephen King and how so many of the kids in his stories are free-range? Or will you just hijack the discussion again to point out that sometimes children in Stephen King stories die?

  64. Andrew February 19, 2014 at 3:50 pm #

    @Gravy You don’t need to tell everyone your opinions. The comments are supposed to be related to the article. If you aren’t going to be free range, don’t visit free-range kids.

  65. Lola February 19, 2014 at 3:52 pm #

    @Gravy: I don’t buy the idea that “this will never happen to me”. On the contrary, I think that anything could happen to me. Actually, I’m so aware of the thousands of things that could happen to me, that I have to choose which things to prepare for. And you’ll have to excuse me, but I only choose the most probable ones.

  66. Emily February 19, 2014 at 3:54 pm #

    @Gravy–How do you suppose “responsible adults” become so? You can’t expect a child to grow up to become a “responsible adult” if that child is escorted through every moment of life by a “responsible adult” until he or she reaches the age of majority. It doesn’t just magically happen, there’s no comprehensive course on adulthood (and if there was, there’d probably be parents doing all their kids’ homework for it), and honestly, eighteen years of constant supervision is a recipe for disaster. That’s how you end up with first-year university students who can’t fend for themselves when they’re not being supervised, because the university assumes them to be “responsible adults” by now.

  67. Bob Cavanaugh February 19, 2014 at 3:59 pm #

    ” Why, Gravy, are you not mourning these deaths when a TV falls on a toddler, crushing him?” I’m not Gravy, but there’s a simple answer to that question, you never hear about any of those deaths. I do think Lenore should address this issue since it is making national headlines. That is not to say though that she should address every one of these incidents though, as it is not a third of the time you hear about this kind of story. Yes there may be 100 or so a year, but only a couple make national headlines.

  68. SKL February 19, 2014 at 4:08 pm #

    Well if I were Lenore, I wouldn’t bother even if I was planning to make a post about this girl, because Gravy has already made this post about her.

    If she did make a post about it, I don’t see how it would be very different from the Leiby Kletzky post, unless there are new insights to share.

    But it’s clear that Gravy’s real motivation is to try to punish Lenore, not to actually do anything that would protect kids in the future. As noted, it’s very normal for 10yo kids to walk alone, whether their parents know about FRK or not. When I was 10, the only things I wasn’t allowed to do were drink, drive, skip school (much), and have sex.

  69. wombat94 February 19, 2014 at 4:13 pm #

    :::sigh:::

    I’m not sure why I feel compelled to do this, as it is likely to fall on deaf ears, but here goes…

    @gravy…

    Others have said it, and I will too… the blame for this murder lies not with Lenore, not with Hailey’s parents, but solely with the murderer.

    I believe your children are precious to you as you have said.

    My daughters are every bit as precious to me as yours are to you, I would say.

    That does not mean that our risk tolerance is the same. I’m not asking you to shove your kids out the door and ignore them. Please don’t ask me to feel guilty if I choose to allow my girls – at an appropriate age – to have the freedom to move about in the world without a monitoring bracelet or an adult pair of eyes on them constantly.

    Everything, EVERYTHING in life is an assessment of risks… all choices have risks. The kids are never going to be 100% safe.

    So what do we do?

    Well, the biggest thing that I believe Lenore does is try to inject a level of rationalism into the discussion of what choices should be made.

    Murders like this are horrible and horrifying, but they are news specifically because they are rare. They don’t happen every day… in any given community, they don’t even happen every year. I read one story from a local news station in MO about this, and I believe the detective in charge of the investigation said that he had NEVER in his career had to deal with a child abduction from the street like this before.

    Given that, I choose to life TRY to parent with a basic principle… that the best I can do for my children is prepare them for life in the world. That takes a LONG time and takes LOTS of reinforcement of the fact that they are capable of living a full life without unduly large fears of rare events.

    I’ve prepared them as best I can… taught them basic guidelines about appropriate interactions between adults and children – whether those adults are strangers, acquaintances, good friends or family.

    But I will NOT restrict them from living life. THAT is, in my mind, a disservice to them.

    At the age of 10, being able to go from our house to a known destination nearby is part of living life – an age-apropriate part.

    When you ask the question “Was it worth it?”, I can do nothing but think of it in terms of “Would it be worth it if this were my daughter?” and my answer would be a firm and resolute “Yes”.

    How can I be so confident? Because, as I said at the start, it was in no way my actions (or even more remotely Lenore’s writings) that would have caused her to be killed – it would be the actions of the killer. I believe I would have great grief over the loss and anger at the perpetrator, but I know I would have a clear conscience that my actions were right for my child and our lives and were in no way negligent.

    Gravy, I started this post with the intention of challenging your assumptions and beliefs about this issue, but I can’t bring myself to do that.

    You have a belief that you should watch your children more closely than the Hailey’s parents did. I doubt I will be able to sway you, but I ask that you recognize that it is just that – a “belief”.

    I ask only that you allow for the possibility that a different approach might also have merit and to recognize where the blame really lies in this case.

  70. SKL February 19, 2014 at 4:14 pm #

    Like I said on the Kleiby post, to me, the problem is that there weren’t more kids out on that street at 5pm. If the block was populated with kids playing outside, the perp would have had less of a chance of abducting someone and may not have had the nerve to try.

  71. Gravy February 19, 2014 at 4:15 pm #

    Posters keep alluding to the fact that it can only be Free Range or raise an irresponsible adult. It doesn’t have to be that way. There are responsible ways to raise children to be independent free thinkers who can succeed in the real world without doing the things we have already gone in circles about.

    SKL, that is absurd and tacky to say that I have made this post about me. I have made this post about Hailey Owens. And I don’t apologize for that.

  72. SKL February 19, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

    Gravy, Hailey Owens is a “her.” I didn’t even know your gender until you accused me of saying something I didn’t say.

  73. Gravy February 19, 2014 at 4:19 pm #

    Wombat, I appreciate your post and I respect your right to have that belief. As I have my right to my belief, but as far as I know you aren’t profiting off of that belief as I am not. Lenore has a responsibility to address Hailey Owens. And that’s all I can really say.

  74. Gravy February 19, 2014 at 4:21 pm #

    SKL, I misunderstood. My apologies.

  75. SKL February 19, 2014 at 4:22 pm #

    And I did not say you are unable to raise responsible citizens without ascribing to the FRK philosophy. It’s also possible to get from the Atlantic to the Pacific without a motorized vehicle. But it isn’t necessary. There are costs and risks to both approaches.

  76. wombat94 February 19, 2014 at 4:26 pm #

    Gravy,

    You appear to be more in touch with the details of this story that I am, so I’ll ask a question I’ve seen posed before, but for which I don’t believe I have seen an answer yet.

    Do you have any actual knowledge that Hailey Owens’ parents were adherents to Lenore’s beliefs or writings?

    If not, then I can’t understand how/why you are holding Lenore responsible in such a way that requires an explanation from her.

  77. Michael F February 19, 2014 at 4:36 pm #

    No death is worth it, but you cannot protect yourself from every conceivable situation that may cause a fatality. Risks are inherent, what is being proposed by Lenore and this site is mostly risk mitigation. You can go on and on about every unique situation where a child dies, but you cannot prevent each and every one of them. To address the uniqueness of the situation doesn’t help anyone or resolve the next unique situation.

  78. Donna February 19, 2014 at 4:36 pm #

    Gravy –

    I assume that if my child died in any way I would regret any choice that lead up to that, no matter how stupid that regret is. If she died in a car accident, I would regret getting in the car or not leaving earlier or later. If she died in an airplane crash, I would regret planning that vacation. If she got eaten by a shark, I would regret going to the beach. If she died of cancer, I would regret any possible carcinogen that ever came in contact with her. Heck, if she died while I slept, I would regret going to sleep even if it is a ridiculous regret. And, yes, if she was murdered on the way to a friend’s house, I would regret that trip. It is the nature of loosing someone that you love. I would not, however, regret the 9,000 trips she took down the same exact road where nothing happened.

    My daughter thanks me all the time for not hovering and for letting her do things for herself. She sees how restricted her friends are and she loves that I trust her to roller blade in the park, take the dog for a walk and walk to her friends’ houses. She says that she feels sorry for her friends.

    I would prefer to live for what is today, rather than live half a life now to prevent the highly remote possibility of something tragic happening in the future. To quote Julia Roberts in Steel Magnolias (watched it last night) “I would rather have 30 minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special.” I want the same thing for my daughter. I would rather she have a great life now than to have her wake up at 18 and realize that she has never lived and is afraid of the world. If that means that she is at a miniscule more risk of murder than a child who lives sheltered, sobeit. It is a risk that I am willing to take.

    And where does it end, Gravy? Do you stop loving your children when they turn 18? Do you not care if they die then? How about 20? 30? College students get tragically killed. Eve Carson lived right up the road from me and went to school with my brother. She was brutally murdered in a random robbery in college. Were her parents wrong for sending her to college? How about the law student in Macon who was dismembered by her neighbor? Should her parents have attended law school with her? Would their presence have even mattered?

    People die. Some suddenly; some young. It sucks that we are not all immortal or guaranteed life until 90, but we aren’t. Limiting someone’s else’s life so that you don’t have to experience the pain of loosing a child is pure selfishness.

  79. Donna February 19, 2014 at 4:45 pm #

    Gravy,

    Why exactly is it that you think Lenore has a responsibility to address Hailey Owens? I had no idea who Hailey Owens was prior to this conversation, but it doesn’t appear that Lenore is a suspect in her murder. I see nothing indicating that the parents of Hailey Owens only let her walk to her friend’s house because Lenore told them to. I see no evidence that her parents have ever heard of Lenore Skenazy.

    If Lenore has a responsibility to address Hailey Owens don’t all the helicopter parenting blogs (they must exist) have a responsibility to address the fact that my daughter just got home from walking the dog alone and nothing happened, just like nothing has happened the other 150 times she has done this since we got the dog. The also have the responsibility to report that she delivered Girl Scout cookies Saturday without me and nothing happened. And she walked to her friend’s house without me afterward and still nothing happened.

  80. lollipoplover February 19, 2014 at 4:49 pm #

    Favorite Stephen King book- Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption (Hope Springs Eternal)
    Favorite quote:
    “Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free.”
    ― Stephen King, Different Seasons

  81. Donna February 19, 2014 at 4:53 pm #

    “I have made this post about Hailey Owens.”

    No you haven’t. For some inexplicable reason, you have made Hailey Owen’s death about Lenore.

  82. marie February 19, 2014 at 4:57 pm #

    Lenore has a responsibility to address Hailey Owens. And that’s all I can really say.

    Clearly, that’s not true.

  83. Merrick February 19, 2014 at 6:28 pm #

    I cannot speak for Lenore. But she did respond to Leiby Kletzky’s death, under related circumstance:
    http://www.freerangekids.com/such-sadness-leiby-kletzky-r-i-p/

  84. Papilio February 19, 2014 at 6:44 pm #

    “it doesn’t appear that Lenore is a suspect in her murder”

    LOL! Just imagine the auto response for THAT! 😀

    Hi! I’m in Springfield murdering some kid and won’t be checking my email as obsessively as usual. (Wish me luck!) – Lenore

    Now THEN I could see blaming her…

  85. Donald February 19, 2014 at 7:04 pm #

    Lenore

    I hope you are having a wonderful time on your vacation. You certainly deserve a rest.

    This morning when I read your blog, I was reminded how you must be under constant attack.

    Helicopter moms are feeling the pressure that their over-protections may not be such a good thing. They then want to lash out. Their arguments don’t even have to make sense as clearly shown by one of the comments on your blog.

    The need to argue back no matter how stupid was beautify portrayed in a Steve Martin movie. Steve had a big argument with his wife.

    Her – Remember all of those orgasms that you gave me? I faked every one of them!

    Steve – So did I!

    Think about Steve whenever you receive hate mail.

  86. Emily February 19, 2014 at 7:31 pm #

    @Papilio–That’s hilarious. Off-topic, has anyone else here been getting that e-mail auto response even though you haven’t contacted Lenore in the first place? I have been, and I was wondering if that was supposed to happen or not.

  87. Filioque February 19, 2014 at 7:54 pm #

    Slightly off topic, I never thought of us readers as Lenore’s “followers,” as Gravy describes us, but I like it! What should we call ourselves? “Lenoreens?” “Skenazites”? So many possibilities!

  88. Reziac February 19, 2014 at 8:45 pm #

    deltaflute points out, “Okay let’s be logical. Adult women are also abducted.”

    How many adult women are abducted, compared to children?

    [My connection keeps timing out, or I’d try to look it up and post it myself.]

  89. ifsogirl February 19, 2014 at 10:50 pm #

    This forum happens to have some good info regarding abductions etc. Lots of links too. http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=530724

  90. Marianne February 19, 2014 at 11:03 pm #

    What Gravy is doing is standard victim blaming behavior.

    We do not blame rape victims for what they were wearing.

    We do not blame mugging victims for where they were walking.

    The child’s actions or the parents who gave her permission did not get her killed.

    The guilty party is always 100% the PERPETRATOR.

    Lenore has no responsibility here because Hailey’s and her parents DID NOT get her killed.

    Every child is precious but no more precious than any other human life. Every adult has parents too. And those parents likely did not stop considering them precious when they turned 18. So quit blaming the victims here and quit blaming Lenore.

  91. EdmondsWolf February 19, 2014 at 11:03 pm #

    I believe the case Gravy is talking about is: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/school-coach-charged-murder-missouri-girl-n33486. As tragic as this case is, there is such thing as “acceptable risk”, I cannot speak to whether Hailey’s parents follow the Free Range Philosophy or not but I can say it seems they deemed the risk acceptable. I understand Gravy may not see it that way, that is his (or her) opinion. All that said, by the time I was a little older than her (I was about 11 or 12) I was walking with my sisters (or alone) to a pool about half a block from my house. A couple years later I was biking over many parts of the downtown portion of the city I live in alone.

  92. Gravy February 19, 2014 at 11:33 pm #

    Marianne there is no victim blaming going on here. The only victim is dead.

  93. Gravy February 19, 2014 at 11:35 pm #

    If any of you feel inclined to sign and share this petition to get harsher sentences for real life monsters here is the link. Someone from my community started it.

    http://www.change.org/petitions/missouri-governor-change-the-laws-for-sexual-predators-murderers-of-minor-children

  94. Mike February 20, 2014 at 12:28 am #

    Please people…do not feed the troll. Stop responding to Gravy’s posts.

  95. hineata February 20, 2014 at 12:54 am #

    I love Stephen King, and yes, he totally gets it! Stand by Me is one of our favorite movies, and on a totally unrelated note I find it interesting now that the’fat’ kid looks sort of normal…

    Also unrelated to the OP, but following the way things seem to be going, it’s a gorgeous summer evening here and there are quite a few kids out and about, some solitary. That happens most summer evenings here. All of them this summer have returned home fine. Haven’t even been many minor cycle accidents. Let’s keep letting our kids out – no giving in to the madness of a minute handful… 🙂

  96. Donna February 20, 2014 at 1:05 am #

    “How many adult women are abducted, compared to children?”

    I don’t think adult women being abducted is where the comparison stops. This child was dead very shortly after being abducted. Adults are murdered somewhat regularly. In fact, most murder victims are adults, not children.

    And that is what the Gravy’s of the world fail to understand. It never stops being devastating to loose our children to senseless violence but we have to let them go at some point. While neither are likely, they are far less likely to be killed walking to a friend’s house at 10 than away at college. Eve Carson’s parents are as devastated by the loss of their child as Hailey Owen’s parents, despite the fact that she was murdered at 22 and not 10. In fact, more people are personally affected (as in really knew the person and not just outraged by the idea) by Eve’s senseless death because Eve’s world was bigger. It had spread beyond the few blocks on which she grew up.

    I guess I have a real problem with this mentality that a minor child’s life is so much more valuable than anyone else’s. My child’s life absolutely does not loose value to me once she turns 18. Her murder at 18, 22, 25 would be just as devastating to me if I am still alive because I am always meant to die first. While, yes, I would be happy for every additional day I got to spend with her and every additional thing she got to experience, I can’t imagine ever thinking “well it is okay because she lived until 18 before being senselessly murdered.”

  97. Donald February 20, 2014 at 2:22 am #

    Why do Free Rangers defend and not attack? Pedophiles, bullies, and creeps are most attracted to people with low/nil self esteem because they are the least likely to fight back. Therefore smothering children and discouraging them from learning to be self reliant puts them in danger. It makes them a more likely target.

    Also, the best protection for children is a community. When people know each other, pedophiles have a harder time to infiltrate. When we erode the community by spreading over the top fear and mistrust, we help the pedophiles.

    I’m amazed how gullible some people are. You wouldn’t trust a car salesman that assesses your car and tells you that it will fall apart soon and therefore you should by another from him. His opinion is obviously biased. You’d have to be very stupid not to realize this!

    However many people believe that CNN reports the truth and doesn’t embellish it to hook viewers. The NEWS uses fear the same as tobacco companies use nicotine to attract customers. The difference is that tobacco companies aren’t allowed to advertise but CNN can broadcast 24/7. The NEWS is getting to be a phony as Gerry Springer and All Star Wrestling. They do this because there are a lot of ‘drama junkies’ out their. They love to report things like, ‘Pedophiles can track your children through their Iphone’. Therefore if they have a phone with GPS on it they are in danger.

    And then we wonder when there are so many people (adults and children) with anxiety disorder.
    If you can’t figure out that this is more dangerous than the 0.000002% chance of abduction, please give me your address so that I can send you a GET WELL card.

  98. backroads February 20, 2014 at 7:06 am #

    Maybe I read a bad article, but I thought Hailey Owens was abducted from her yard… not when she was out walking.

  99. lollipoplover February 20, 2014 at 8:35 am #

    @Donald-
    I agree 100%.
    Children need more Vitamin D and not Vitamin Z (Zoloft).

    The reason my 10 year-old now babysits is that the 14 year-old on our street won’t babysit *alone* (only with a friend). She is too afraid. Her mom tells me she won’t go to bed without checking her windows to make sure they are locked tightly every night. They went to NYC last year and the crowds on the streets made her grip her mom’s hand so hard she left nail marks. She thought someone was going to grab her off the streets. The mom said it was the worst trip they ever took.

    One of the drawbacks of parenting children to think they are only safe when a parent is with them is that they will eventually be away from the parent- and then what?
    Babysitting jobs are a right of passage for most teenagers. When my 10 year-old is called to babysit, she is thrilled. And confident. And not afraid.

  100. Sally February 20, 2014 at 8:39 am #

    Gravy is trying to frame the argument in terms of “who gains” from something. Let’s explore that.

    She claims Lenore makes money from telling parents that they don’t need to be overly worried. But the parenting style Lenore advocates certainly gains nothing when a child is murdered — as Gravy is trying so hard to point out. But Gravy’s does. Clearly, she sees it as a justification for her parenting style.

    Has Gravy been waiting for an incident like this to happen? For the next child to become a victim of a murderous attack so she can lash out at someone she sees as challenging her parenting style? I hope not. But it does look that way.

    Making money or not (and my guess, like Emily’s, is not) has nothing to do with it. Lenore has an opinion, she’s free to share it, and she does. Thank goodness for that. She is not responsible for a child being brutally murdered and her parenting style most certainly does not gain “credibility” with such acts. But you seem to think yours does, Gravy. Something to think about.

  101. wombat94 February 20, 2014 at 8:41 am #

    I have but one more thing to add to the conversation with Gravy about Hailey Owens.

    One of the root reasons for the free range kids philosophy can be summed up in something my nine year old said at the dinner table last night. We had had no discussions about danger, life, Hailey Owens or anything else in relation to this…

    she brought up the old quotation – attributed to many different people – and which she probably got from Kung Fu Panda (I believe)…

    “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present.”

    The underlying meaning is: today is all you have. Live life today. For the vast majority of children who are allowed to live outside in the world, interacting with people and nature everything turns out fine. What a shame it is to shield and shelter children from LIFE!

    If my nine year old understands that and tries to live it (and she does), then I feel I’ve been doing something right in my parenting style.

    I refuse to shield her from the world, from her life because of the incredibly remote chance that some sick person might try to do her harm.

    Ted

  102. marie February 20, 2014 at 9:16 am #

    @Donald:
    I like what you said at 2:22 a.m.

    One quibble about the word “pedophile,” though. It is not a crime to be a pedophile. It is a crime to molest children. So the problem is molesters, not pedophiles. Just as the vast majority of people sexually attracted to adults are not molesters, the vast majority of pedophiles are not molesters. Plus, not every child molester is a pedophile.

    That’s another side effect of the sensationalist impulses of the news media: their misuse of the word spreads misunderstanding.

  103. SOA February 20, 2014 at 10:11 am #

    Hineata: the fat kid from Stand by Me is not only kinda normal looking. He is very attractive and was married to Rebecca Romijn which is one of the most beautiful women in the world. I think he did alright for himself.

  104. Ariel February 20, 2014 at 11:04 am #

    So I bothered to look up numbers. These are from 2008 and are murders: 5-8 74 (often parents/family), 9-14 70 (1-4 was 305, and that is usually parents/family). total population those ages greater than 40,000,000. The info did not supply the breakdown for those ages as to familial homicide. Also, the murder rate for 14 and under has been fairly steady from 1980 to now.

    If all the murders are by pedophiles and the murders and population are equal for each age, it would take 300,000 children walking alone to achieve that one death by a pedophile. The actual truth is its more likely closer to a million than 300k.

    Worst case thinking driven by fear skews perspective. I realize a lot of people would rather base their thinking on unfounded fears, and blame those that don’t for anything that happens. Letting a child explore, learn to evaluate dangers, and gain real independence isn’t neglect.

  105. ifsogirl February 20, 2014 at 12:29 pm #

    The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by King is fantastic. A 10y/o I think get’s lost in the woods while walking with her mom and brother. She uses things she remembers learning in girl scouts, or just things adults have told her about surviving in the wild. She has a terrible time of it, get’s lost even more, sick, cold, hungry, I think she hallucinates at one point. And she survives! I love this story because it’s about how determined she is to get back home.

  106. David February 20, 2014 at 2:13 pm #

    hey, guys…

    Stephen King is a great writer of fantasy, horror, and suspense. That said, he’s a bit of a perv. In ‘It’, which someone brought up, every boy slept with the girl. In Needful things, there’s a fantasy sex scene with the 14yo’s teacher. In the short story “The Library Policeman’, the protagonist has a flashback (very graphic) of himself being raped. In “The Talisman” there’s some female prostitutes who flash the 12yo boy main character.

    He’s a great writer, I’m just not sure he should be put up as an example on a board about child rearing…even Free Range child rearing.

  107. David February 20, 2014 at 2:15 pm #

    PS…”The Library Policeman”‘s protag was 8 in the flash and in ‘IT’ the characters are 12.

  108. EricS February 20, 2014 at 2:29 pm #

    @Gravy. If you follow this blog, and do your own research, you will know that abductions by strangers IS a rare occurrence in the whole picture. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. It just happens far less than abductions committed by people the child already knows, and trusts. Let’s put it this way, how many of these stories of stranger abductions do you hear in your community vs the numbers of abductions committed by someone known to the child. I can bet it’s very little. A handful of abductions by strangers in a year (as terrible as it still is), isn’t an epidemic. And certainly not worth the paranoia you bring upon yourself and your children.

    Free-range upbringing isn’t about letting your child go off and do whatever they want. THAT’s irresponsible parenting, just as much as helicopter parenting. Free-range is about TEACHING our children how to fend for themselves when they are alone, or with no adult to turn to. The best way of protecting children is teaching them to protect themselves. It’s impossible for any parent to keep an eye on their kids 24/7, every second. What are you to do when they are out of your sight? Teach them to be fearful, and panic? Because that is what your mentality will do to them. You teach them how to be confident, with self esteem, and empower them with knowledge in protecting themselves, they will surprise you. Kids can only do what they are taught. What is it that you want to teach them?

    Before this generation of “zombie-spoiled” kids, and even before the “Free-range” became a coined description, that is how every kid from past generations (the last 10000 years of human civilization) has been raised. And we went from thousands of people to 4.5 billion. Hmmm…I don’t know about you, but numbers don’t lie. And if raising children Free-Range was good enough in the past, it should be more than sufficient today. Especially since crime has steadily been going down. We have the lowest crime rate in this day and age, than any other time. Do your research before spreading non-common sense, and illogical fear driven garbage based solely on pure emotion.

    I hope that we can get back to the best way of bringing up children, the same way we got to the worse way of bringing up children. Mental conditioning of people’s minds through technology and media. Except the mental conditioning would be more positive.

  109. EricS February 20, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

    @Ariel. Well said. Gravy is just to paranoid and fearful, and probably has no idea how to handle situations like that himself/herself if it it him/her in the face. So he/she does what most fearful parents do…cower, hide, and avoid. People like him/her don’t understand the evolution of the human mind. And how it’s condition determines how the person grows up. Teach children how to protect themselves, to be mindful of their surroundings, to be able to distinguish between people with good intentions or bad, and they will use that knowledge more and more, honing it till it become second nature. So where ever they are, they have a much better chance of over coming than those children who only know what their scaredy cat parents teach them. Which is be scared of everyone. And if you go outside by yourself you will DIE. Hell, I surprised they just don’t lock up their children in the basement and never let them leave the house. But then again, worse case thinking parents…ANYTHING can happen. Including the children never waking up from sleeping. It happens. Maybe they just won’t ever let their kids go to sleep then. lol Fear…it makes people do the darnest and illogical things. If they believe the sky is pink with multi-colored polka dot clouds, no matter what statistic, expert documentation, documentaries say (the sky is blue with white clouds, sometimes grey), they will still make themselves believe the sky is pink with multi-colored polka dot clouds. Because some people on the internet say it is. lol

  110. EricS February 20, 2014 at 3:01 pm #

    Let’s also not forget, most, if not all abductions are NOT done on the whim. They are thought out. Especially by the rare stranger abductors. Except Hailey’s abductor and murderer WASN’T a total stranger. He was the janitor at her school…for years. I have no doubt he saw her, targeted her, and planned out how to nab her. In this situation, not even the most vigil parent would be able to prevent this from happening. Pretty much no one can. Except for the one being abducted. Was Hailey aware of her surroundings? Did she know how to react of ANYONE (known or unknown to her) was trying to grab her? Did she know how to protect herself? Back in my day, because our parents worked all day, most children were often on their own to go to school, and walk back. Staying at home by themselves, playing till the lights came on. And because of this, and what our parents taught us, we were forced to hone our instincts to avoid many issues we came across. At 10 years old, me and my friends were taking public transit in the middle of downtown. We used to cut through known parks, and often came across homeless people and drunks trying to grab at us for whatever reason, and we knew exactly how to deal with it. Either by running away, to an adult in a store, or people we knew who would be willing to help. There were even times when we did some kicking to shins and balls, and then running away.

    Children aren’t completely helpless, nor are they dumb. Unless we teach them to be. My kid knows what to do in situations like Hailey’s. He’s very observant for his age. He is able to discern sketchy people from harmless ones. And even people he knows, he questions when he feels they are not being honest with him. THAT is what free-range upbringing is about.

  111. John February 20, 2014 at 3:03 pm #

    Quote from Donna:

    “I guess I have a real problem with this mentality that a minor child’s life is so much more valuable than anyone else’s. My child’s life absolutely does not loose value to me once she turns 18. Her murder at 18, 22, 25 would be just as devastating to me if I am still alive because I am always meant to die first. While, yes, I would be happy for every additional day I got to spend with her and every additional thing she got to experience, I can’t imagine ever thinking ‘well it is okay because she lived until 18 before being senselessly murdered.’”

    Very eloquently said Donna and I couldn’t agree with you more! I never understood the logic behind this. Adults were once children too so was their life suddenly invalidated when they turned 18? American society doesn’t seem to care about the 19- and 20-year-olds but puts so much emphasis and prevention on the 17-year-olders and below.

    According to American society, it’s an adult’s business if they want to speed > 100 MPH down a race track on a crotch rocket without wearing a helmet but goodness, if a 14-year-old kid is going 10 MPH on his mini-bike without a helmet on? Somebody’s gonna be reported to Child Protective Services and then go to jail!

    It’s funny because in Asia, it’s not unusual at all to see mom, dad and a couple of the kids on ONE motorbike where the parents are wearing helmets and the kids are not! Primarily because they don’t make child-sized helmets. That little Thai family would never get away with that in THIS country!

  112. Papilio February 20, 2014 at 6:53 pm #

    @David: … The problem being…?

  113. Ariel February 20, 2014 at 8:38 pm #

    Eric S.,
    I think that Gravy actually believes that “Free play doesn’t mean what you think it means. It means the freedom to play in an unstructured environment. It means you don’t tell them how to use their imaginations.” can actually be acheived when parents are actually structuring that unstructured environment, and that “It doesn’t mean you risk your child’s life because you subscribe to a teaching that puts your child’s life at risk.” while ignoring that so long as a parent interacts at every step the child isn’t actually doing what she believes they are.
    I turn 60 this year. All kids were free-range when I was a kid, except those with parents that were considered stifling or neurotic. I doubt that the dangers were any less, but the perception was vastly different.

  114. SOA February 21, 2014 at 10:41 pm #

    David: I don’t see anything wrong with Stephen King writing about sex. He is writing adult novels. They are for adults. ]

    I fail to see the issue.