FASCINATING UPDATE: “Tell the Parents of a MISSING CHILD that You Believe In Letting Kids Walk to School!”


An unhappy commenter gives us this link to the picture of a missing 17 year old  — http://www.missingkids.com/poster/NCMC/1244645 sffkdkisti
 — and writes, in response to our urging the police not to arrest parents who let their kids play outside unsupervised:

tell the parents of this child. And the thousands more missing ” ITS OK TO GO ALONE TO STORE,PARK,FRIENDS, , because of your opinion, my daughter and I are arguing over not letting her kids walk alone to school, etc.  Free range is for chickens,,  not kids. Look at the missing ,all teen age girls gone, missing, trafficking is on rise, truckers are being asked to watch for these girls. Its an epidemic. When you give advice to people you must be responsible with what you say or tell them. 30 + years ago it was OK to let your kids run free, there’s even kids missing  from 1950’s .  I can’t believe you’re telling mom’s an dads let your kids run free. Have you ever voluntered for a family who’s looking for a lost one?  I suggest you think about what your spouting off about ,undermining my authority as a parent,grandparent to safety of my family.  Be ready to be sued if GOD forbid something happens.  I will be sharing your link with missing friends.

I cannot imagine anything sadder than the search for a missing child that ends tragically. I also cannot imagine anything sadder than witnessing a car accident that ends tragically, or a tumble down the stairs that ends tragically. And I cannot imagine deciding not to get into a car, not to walk up the stairs, and not to let my kids play outside all on the basis of one of these rare, tragic events. – L.

UPDATE: Here’s a note I just got — fascinating:

I saw your blog post about the woman so terrified of kidnapping that she won’t let her almost adult daughter (17) “run free.” She admonishes you about giving advice to parents using an appeal to emotion. Tell that to the parents of a missing child. It’s an epidemic.

Lenore, I run a volunteer Search and Rescue K-9 unit, called Southern Tier Search and Rescue K9s. Do you know how many children in 10 years we’ve been called to search for?


90% of all teenagers that go missing, are runaways and troubled teens.

And the only regret that’s ever been expressed to me by these parents is that they wished they had gotten a better grip on their drug habits.

I wish this lady would get a grip on her overblown fear. – Cathy 


Isn't it strange how this generation automatically associates an empty swing with a missing child who's murdered -- instead of a child who's missing because she's not allowed to go to the park?  Isn't it strange how this generation automatically associates an empty swing with a missing child who's murdered -- instead of a child who's missing because she's not allowed to go to the park?

Isn’t it strange how this generation automatically associates an empty swing with a missing child who’s murdered — instead of a child who’s missing because she’s not allowed to go to the park?


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81 Responses to FASCINATING UPDATE: “Tell the Parents of a MISSING CHILD that You Believe In Letting Kids Walk to School!”

  1. common sense March 19, 2015 at 11:06 am #

    you can’t live your life[or your childs childhood] in fear of what is a rare occurance. do some [not all who play outside] children get taken? yes but how often..not as much as the media makes it out to be. in ny ,my state, i read stories from all 50 states about”missing “children. most often taken by people close to them. but you would never know that since most reporters simply say “taken”. it makes for more drama than saying”dad disputes custody so he took kid, kid found safe”. that’s the other thing…you never hear followups on the kids found safe and sound who were never really lost to being with. is there a chance of it happening ,yes. ther is also a chance of me winning the megajackpot on the lottery. actually the chances of me winning the lottery are better.AND i have been on a team looking for a lost child[autistic] and yes it was nerve racking but child was found safe. happy endings are the norm, not tragedy.

  2. C. S. P. Schofield March 19, 2015 at 11:11 am #

    So, this idiot thinks that a seventeen-year-old should have bee supervised 24/7?

  3. tz March 19, 2015 at 11:12 am #

    I think the actual FBI crime statistics have showed a lowering in abductions (not by relatives, e.g. You can’t walk to the park because Daddy has a visitation order and might pick you up for the weekend if I let you out of the house; or simply with the “non-custodial” parent in a messy divorce).

    But I might be confusing different statistics.

    A 17 year old is a “child” and ought not be let out? Maybe we need to turn Colleges into non-coed cloisters.

    This is also a bit like the 9/11 “don’t fly” paranoia. Flying is much safer than driving. But the failures are more spectacular. Everyone was “too frightened to fly” so they took the more dangerous car for their trip. If the child has an accident at home and dies, it is a tragedy, but how many times does that occur v.s. being killed from walking to and playing at the park?

    As an adult, I’d rather die a free man, even if it is at the hands of a terrorist or from someone crashing into me on my motorcycle, than die as a frightened rabbit, cowering in my accident proofed house, worrying about the thousands of things that might hurt or kill me. The man who has become the frightened rabbit is already dead. The terrorists have won: they only destroyed the bodies of three thousand, but they destroyed the souls of millions.

    The child who never goes beyond the frightened rabbit has never lived.

    Isn’t the complaint of factory-farm chickens that they are stuck in a cage, never see the sun, never can walk around, can’t even run but just sit around and that is unspeakably cruel to do to a chicken. The chickens outside might run into a fox or coyote or hawk, but they are much healthier and it isn’t considered cruel to put them at risk of predators. Why is it not similar cruelty to keep your child in a cage, maybe a gilded cage, but a cage none the less?

  4. marie March 19, 2015 at 11:19 am #

    Look at the missing ,all teen age girls gone, missing, trafficking is on rise, truckers are being asked to watch for these girls. Its an epidemic.

    Ah, trafficking. Talk of “trafficking” is certainly on the rise and yes, there is an epidemic of news stories trying to frighten us into tuning in later for the story which is, inevitably, the same story about kids running away that we have always heard.

    Is this woman saying that a 17-yo should not walk anywhere alone?

    Great response, Lenore.

  5. Sneeje March 19, 2015 at 11:21 am #

    Tell the parents of a child that died in a car crash that you believe in letting children ride in a car.
    Tell the parents of a child that died in a public school shooting that you believe in letting children go to school.

    Any child death is a horrific thing and unless you have lost a child, you probably have no business saying or doing anything but giving those parents a hug. Nevertheless this is utterly flawed logic. Either we accept the risks of life or we don’t. But not accepting them will prevent children from ever learning to deal with them.

  6. Trey March 19, 2015 at 11:29 am #

    Given this person’s “logic,” I’d want ask them how many times they struggle with the urge to kidnap and murder a child. And could he or she perhaps point us to some of the graves of these missing girls?

  7. Warren March 19, 2015 at 11:39 am #

    When she talks about aguing with her daughter about letting her kids walk to school and such, I hope she actually means her daughter is telling her to shut up, and mind her own business.

    These types of people will never come over from the Dark Side. These are the people that

    1. Believe the crime rate as reported by the FBI is a lie or conspiracy.
    2. Will accuse you of being a predator because you are encouraging young children to be unsupervised.
    3. Believe that every Amber Alert is a kidnapping by sex traffickers.
    4. Is a member of the older generation that sees their news throught the internet, and is absolutely frightened by what she sees, because back in her parenting days, unless it happened in her home town, it didn’t make the news.
    5. Or just insane.

  8. Emily March 19, 2015 at 11:39 am #

    My mum often describes difficult situations when i was growing up as primarily being about fighting the urge to protect me from all of the world and the things that could happen. For her, being a good parent was about successfully defeating those urges and letting me grow in freedom, experience & confidence. I think she was right. Of course it’s natural for parents to worry about what *could* happen, but it’s their job to be more reasonable.

  9. Kay March 19, 2015 at 11:40 am #

    The missing child in the link was 4 months away from turning 18 and has “multiple tattoos”. I’m far more likely to believe she either ran away or got herself into a bad situation than that a stranger abducted her as she was innocently walking to school. That doesn’t make it any less tragic for the parents, but it’s not a warning against letting your kids outside alone.

  10. Mark Roulo March 19, 2015 at 11:41 am #


    This upcoming May, Serena will be 18. Which makes her a legal adult.

    Is the idea that her parents should keep her under very careful watch until she hits that age? Then what?

    The anti-free-range folks need a better poster child than a missing 17½ year old …

  11. J. Smih March 19, 2015 at 11:55 am #

    C.S.P. Schofield,

    I just want to say that this person is obviously writing from a place of fear I don’t think it helps to call her an idiot. The more levelheaded and civil the discourse, the more likely people will listen and take in the message. It’s not easy to let go of these fears, especially with the media whipping everyone into a frenzy. A little more compassion from all of us may be helpful.

  12. Wendy March 19, 2015 at 11:57 am #

    Unfortunately most teens who go missing are not abducted or sold into some form of trafficking. Most missing teens are runaways.


    Yes these young people are unquestionably at risk but the risk is different than people who are imaging then as “abducted children” are probably envisioning.

    It is scary and heartrending, as a parent, to imagine your child, or any child, in such a situation but… My son’s close friend was killed in a car accident. I did not thereafter stop my teenager from driving. Neither did his (the son who died) parents stop their other teenaged son from driving. In fact, the brother is now a firefighter. We cannot let risk take away our lives. We cannot let fear (even justified fear) stop us from living. Sheltering children can become holding them and their potential hostage to fear.

    The poster who says “let your kids run free” may not have a good understanding of free range parenting, which is focused on equipping children with life skills to tackle increasing challenges appropriate to their age and skills. It’s not about sending 4 year olds into the world, its about letting them play in the yard. Then slowly adding appropriate levels of freedom. It’s also not about sending teenagers into the world with the skills of a four year old because we kept them under 100% supervision until we handed them the car keys. It has to be an incremental growth system.

    I certainly hope a 17 year old is capable of walking to school by herself or better still with friends… Since she can drive there which is so much more dangerous. When my oldest son was 17, he joined the Air Force… He was definitely not a child. It was overwhelming as a parent to imagine the risks he was taking but not living his life, not living the dream he has had all his life… That would also have been overwhelming.

  13. Yocheved March 19, 2015 at 12:30 pm #

    When I was 16 I ran away from home, and hitch hiked across country with truckers. I was fine, and no one tried to traffic me.

    The reason I ran away? I was stifled and smothered by helicopter parents! If I’d been allowed normal freedoms, I wouldn’t have been so desperate to escape in the first place.

  14. Mandy March 19, 2015 at 12:34 pm #

    I’d like the original poster of this article to update the readers when this young lady is found.

    The chance of her being abducted by sex trafficers is slim but of course possible and horrific if true. Having worked with missing kids, it is more likely she has a new boyfriend, had an argument with a parent or is having issues at school.

    Please please let us know

  15. Shawn D. March 19, 2015 at 12:37 pm #

    The flipside to the commenter’s absurd “undermining my authority” argument is that he/she is assuming the authority to proscribe x, y, and z to others.

  16. Jessica March 19, 2015 at 12:41 pm #

    “I suggest you think about what your spouting off about ,undermining my authority as a parent,grandparent to safety of my family. Be ready to be sued if GOD forbid something happens.”

    I think this might be the saddest part of her statement. She specified in the beginning that she’s arguing with her daughter about her grandchildren walking to school, so she’s upset that her daughter has a mind of her own and has made this choice and in spite of her attempts to “scare her straight”, said daughter won’t listen. So in essence she’s saying you ought to be sued if something happens to her grandchildren because of what you wrote and her (again) grown daughter read. Anyone else feeling the whole “we shouldn’t let women read because it will give them ideas” vibe? That’s what it sounds like to me.

  17. BL March 19, 2015 at 12:42 pm #

    “I will be sharing your link with missing friends.”

    If “missing” people are checking their email or Facebook for your links, they aren’t very “missing”, are they?

  18. jb March 19, 2015 at 12:43 pm #

    That girl is 17. Seriously, you don’t have to be free-range to agree that 17-year olds can walk (or drive!) around by themselves. I don’t know the circumstances, but she may have run away intentionally. Running away from home has nothing at all to do with being abducted while walking to school.

  19. bob m March 19, 2015 at 12:45 pm #

    this writer clearly has a personal issue/agenda – note that the missing child is almost 18 and writer also cites that teen girls are ones missing.

    I was also confused by the last line about sharing this link with missing friends. How many missing children does this writer know?

  20. Shawn D. March 19, 2015 at 12:46 pm #

    “Anyone else feeling the whole ‘we shouldn’t let women read because it will give them ideas’ vibe? That’s what it sounds like to me.” — Jessica

    Well put! It also sounds as if the commenter believes women don’t develop their own thoughts.

    “If ‘missing’ people are checking their email or Facebook for your links, they aren’t very ‘missing’, are they?” — BL

    I chuckled at that one, BL!

  21. MC501 March 19, 2015 at 12:49 pm #

    Hi risk, low frequency.

    There will always be horrible realities to point to. Plane crashes. Suicide bombers. Kids bringing guns to school to kill a classmate.

    It is a choice NOT to live this (media created) jail. Risk is part of life. I ride a motorcycle (in Los Angeles). I consider myself risk averse. That is to say I understand it’s risky, but the statistics still say that I’m more likely to die of heart disease (I eat hamburgers too).

    It’s important too, to note the low frequency. I recently read a statistic about seat belts. The article (among other things) claimed the “seat belt laws” had reduced traffic fatalities by more than half (since 1978 – or 72 I can’t remember). But the amusing thing was that fatalities were reduced from like 2.6/per One-Million-Driver-Miles to 1.16/per One-Million-Driver-Miles. Okay, for me, BOTH are absurdly low rates. Not to mention improvements is vehicles over the same time period can likely take credit for a massive part of that reduction.

    Media and Government have constructed a fear-jail for people to voluntarily check themselves into to. I simply refuse to surrender.

  22. Audrey March 19, 2015 at 12:59 pm #

    Oh Man…. I just wanted to share this clip… It’s a commercial for RVing.. but I thought it summed up something that we are deeply missing in society. Allowing kids to be KIDS! Free Range is not about letting kids roam around un guided, and ignored, it is about guiding,teaching, and allowing our children to play, explore and learn by taking some risks, and learning from them.


  23. GCB March 19, 2015 at 1:04 pm #

    So is the moral of the story that no 17-year-old should walk alone to school? Precisely when does one “age out” of becoming the target of a kidnapper, rapist, human trafficker, or murderer?

    The other disturbing thing is that the blame is being placed on the 17-year-old and her parents but not the kidnapper. It reminds me of local news stories about a car thief who commits the crime, notices a sleeping baby, screeches, and leaves the car in a panic. EVERY TIME there are nasty comments toward the parent who had the baby in the car and never toward the car thief. It’s almost as if the thief gets off the hook from blame.

    Thankfully, it is no longer considered socially or legally acceptable to blame a rape survivor for “provoking” the rapist with clothing choices, alcohol consumption, etc. So why is this blame-shifting still acceptable when a parent leaves a sleeping baby for two minutes to pay for gas?

    I’m really sorry to say this, but those rare sociopaths who want to abduct and assault someone will do it, even if it means breaking into their homes. (Ask Elizabeth Smart). But there’s a much higher chance of dying from that home catching on fire. We. Can’t. Live. In. Fear.

  24. anonymous mom March 19, 2015 at 1:05 pm #

    I’ve noticed that at some point the media stopped using the term “runaway”; now teens who choose to leave home voluntarily without informing their parents of where they are going are simply “missing.” While I do understand that there might be reasons for that–“missing” teens are going to get more resources and support than “runaway” teens–I think it does confuse people, who think things have changed and now large numbers of teens are being abducted, as opposed to fewer teens actually running away but now we’re calling all of them “missing.”

    Same with “trafficking.” The cautionary tale just like 20 years ago when I was a teen was the Go Ask Alice narrative: teens getting into drugs and then running away, working as prostitutes, etc. These were presented as really bad choices that you might make if you started down the wrong path. Today, we would never talk about a teen under 18 *choosing* to be a prostitute: every prostitute under 18 is referred to as “trafficked,” period. It doesn’t matter if they entered the sex trade without anybody kidnapping and/or forcing them to. And, again, it leads to confusion. Your average person hearing about “trafficking” will think that all of a sudden teen girls are being kidnapped and forced into prostitution at unprecedented rates, not that the same (or, likely, far fewer) number of teens are working as prostitutes as in the past but we have decided to start referring to them as “victims of trafficking” rather than “teen prostitutes.”

    I also think it’s interesting how few of the high-profile kidnappings we know about–if any–involve kids walking to or from school. There’s Jaycee Duggard, but she was walking home from a bus stop. At least two of the most high profile kidnappings–Elizabeth Smart and Jaycee Duggard–involved children being taken from their homes. Should we say that parents should not allow children to sleep in their own bedrooms lest a kidnapper break in and take them?

  25. The Divine Miss O's Mom March 19, 2015 at 1:12 pm #

    SIGH. My heart breaks for the family that has lost contact with this young woman, and I’m sad for all of the likely circumstances contributing to her disappearance (abduction or foul play of any sort being the least likely).

    I am sadder still for the woman choosing to vent her own anger, fear, frustration and imagined helplessness at this website, and at anyone who would prefer to live well and FREE despite their fears and concerns; rather than finding a way to create a sense of freedom for herself. It is always a mistake to confuse ‘control’ with ‘safe’.

    I have lived in the same neighbourhood for 17 years. In that time there have been 5 instances when attempted abductions were reported by kids walking to and from school. One instance could not be confirmed one way or the other. 2 of these were made by primary school kids just wanting to see what would happen… stranger danger had been discussed at length in class and they wanted to apply what they had ‘learned’. The final two instances were legitimate attempts that were foiled by the kids themselves (one a 14 year old girl, and the other a brother and sister aged 10 & 8)… kids who were taught to trust their own instincts, who has had some practice making quick decisions, and who felt confident in navigating our neighbourhood and asking for help.

    Despite all of this (and then some… I won’t bother to detail the numerous disappearances and murders our city has seen… NONE of which involved strangers, or completely unforeseen circumstances), my 10-year-old walks to and from school, meets her friends at the park, rides her bike on a BUSY street… and learns to live well in a world that will never again be the Eden whose loss we eternally grieve.

    I think very hard and at length about everything I “spout off”: grieving and hiding and limiting ourselves won’t bring Eden back… living beyond our fears… teaching how to manage difficult circumstances with confidence and grace… raising kids who have life experience and who value freedom… THIS is how we empower all parents and grandparents in keeping their families safe, and thus make the world safer for all of us.

    Perhaps this something you can know only once you’ve chosen freedom over fear?

    It bears repeating: “I cannot imagine anything sadder than the search for a missing child that ends tragically. I also cannot imagine anything sadder than witnessing a car accident that ends tragically, or a tumble down the stairs that ends tragically. And I cannot imagine deciding not to get into a car, not to walk up the stairs, and not to let my kids play outside all on the basis of one of these rare, tragic events.”

  26. Rachel March 19, 2015 at 1:16 pm #

    Lenore, That was a great response! You are absolutely right. I’m sorry you get such angry, unfair notes.

    in a perfect world, kids would never be harmed–not from cars, illness, or violence–and it is such a tragedy when they are. But it is awful to blame parents when tragedies happen. We all do our best to make our kids and the world as safe as possible–including parents who believe kids should be granted some reasonable freedom.

    The free-range philosophy isn’t about sending your kid off to play on the highway, or to give them a loaded gun to play with in the yard. We aren’t selling our 17-year old daughters to sex traffickers. The idea is to teach our kids how to be safe, to send them off with a helmet when they ride their bikes, to make sure they are wearing their seat belts in the car, and then letting them live their lives. It’s not a radical parenting idea–it’s just a sane one that our own parents and grandparents followed.

  27. Becks March 19, 2015 at 1:20 pm #

    I couldn’t agree more with every comment here. It’s just very sad that the lady who wrote the comment Lenore referenced really is so terrified and this is her reality. A missing child doesn’t equal an abducted child. There was a story in England this year of a girl (16 yrs old I think) who went missing. Weeks went by and low and behold it turns out her stepbrother killed her with the help of his girlfriend and several other people aware of what had happened but did not help police with enquiries. I can’t think of one reported case in the UK in recent years where the abductor or murderer was a stranger.

    In Scotland we have the same problem of kids not getting enough freedom (as far as I can tell) but our media doesn’t seem to be quite as hysterical as the USA (from what I can glean from this blog).

  28. anonymous mom March 19, 2015 at 1:29 pm #

    @Becks, and on the other end, I’ve seen plenty of “missing teen” stories that end up with the teen being found completely unharmed. They had just gone somewhere and their parents didn’t know where they were.

  29. Nadine March 19, 2015 at 1:33 pm #

    A 17 year old girl is allowed to drive, could be prosecuted as an adult if she messes up. In one year she will be an adult and fully responcible for her actions. She will be expected to make her own way in life. To practice for all the responcibilities that this girl will have to face and will be judged upon, she better gets some training. Learning to keep house, do finances, buy groceries, have a healthy social life, learn to navigate traffic and all those things need years and years of practice. And she cannot practice when there is always the eyes of an adult around cause they immediately change the interaction. So besides the right to privacy that doesn’t start at 18 but is also something kids will need. Learning to rely on yourself, learning to be alone are vital to learn to create a healthy adult.

    In this a parents first role isnt to keep a child save but to raise them to be responcible and good adults. And you cant do that without stretching the limits of your own and their comfort. They are changing and so will the limits that they are claiming or they will be stunned in their growth.

    So yes, most of the people here choose to give their kids step by step, with a lot of engaging and communication, more responcibilities and freedoms. Not because of lack of caring But because they weigh the importance of self reliance, practice for future and the need off privacy and a own life against the dangers that could happen to their kid.

  30. Elisabeth March 19, 2015 at 1:33 pm #

    I like what Marie said about trafficking: same old story, different label.

    But IF youth sex trafficking is on the rise and a bigger social crisis than the ABC After-School Specials of my day made it out to be, my hypothesis is that it’s primarily a function of 2 related things: Teenage/child loneliness and alone-ness.

    Those of us over 40 — can you even remember many times that you were outside alone for long? My recollection is of hordes of us — in mixed age groups from 6-16 — roamed the streets and playgrounds TOGETHER. How often do we get to see that anymore? When I have sent my own kids outside to play, they were usually back in 10 minutes because they got so bored being by themselves. We heard rumors of other children in the neighborhood, but we only caught glimpses of any from time to time behind tinted glass of cars probably headed to music lessons or pre-arranged, supervised play-dates. People would ask if I ever got scared sending my kids outside alone. My typical response was “a little, because if they get hit by a car there probably won’t be any kids with them to go and find an adult!” And if kids do get approached by creeps — which can, of course, happen, though I’ve never heard of it actually happening to any kid I know — wouldn’t they be better off with friends in tow? Herd-effects are helpful for more than just measles. They probably help make sure that Suzy doesn’t fall for that guy offering her an audition, but mostly they just keep the jerk from approaching in the first place.

    And loneliness and feeling disconnected are fairly common problems among teens, but I can’t help wonder if, in our social-media rich age, if kids are more susceptible to falling under the influence of exploiters/abusers because they are interacting in an almost too-private environment and because they just feel more lonely and desperate for human connection. My teen argues that being on Tumblr for 4 hours helps em feel connected and less alone, but I am pretty dubious that all these “friends” ey’s never met are really providing the kind of companionship and “having-your-back”-ness that in the flesh friends provide.

    So to me, if my assertions are true, this all argues for MORE walking to school, MORE getting out and hanging out, with OTHER kids!

  31. Nicole March 19, 2015 at 1:34 pm #

    When I was in 7th grade, a girl in the next grade up went missing on her way walking to school one day. Her body was found two weeks later. It was a terrible and scary time. Do you know how many other kids have been kidnapped, tortured and murdered on their way to school in my hometown since that happened almost 30 years ago? Actually, none. Not a single one. I walked to school every day until I graduated from high school. So did all of my friends, and all their little siblings and cousins. Despite so many young, tempting targets walking around town unsupervised, despite our town and school being featured on the news to draw the attention of all the crazy, child killing perverts out there, not a single one took the bait. If I didn’t know better, I’d start to think that stranger abductions were really rare or something.

  32. everydayrose March 19, 2015 at 1:38 pm #

    I went to the library a couple of days ago and stumbled across a book written by Jaycee Dugard a year after her recovery. It was an interesting read, and one passage that stuck out to me was when she was talking about sending her own daughters to school for the first time. She talked about how scary it was for her to send them out into the world all alone, but she knew that she was a very rare case and the vast majority of children will never be in danger of experiencing what she did. She also knew that it was vital to their development and her own healing to be able to let them go.

    If Jaycee Dugard can understand that just a year after her 18 year captivity then this lady has no excuse.

    And anonymous…she wasn’t taken from her home, she was walking to the bus stop across the street by herself, in sight of her house and her stepfather.

  33. Beth March 19, 2015 at 1:38 pm #

    Add me to the confused, about this part: “I suggest you think about what your spouting off about ,undermining my authority as a parent,grandparent to safety of my family. Be ready to be sued if GOD forbid something happens.”

    So…the commenter is going to sue Lenore if something happens to the commenter’s children?

  34. anonymous mom March 19, 2015 at 1:41 pm #

    Oops, I meant Elizabeth Smart and Jessica Lunsford. But I still can’t think of many high-profile kidnappings that involved a child either walking to school alone or playing in the park alone, the two scenarios that seem to most scare parents.

  35. Warren March 19, 2015 at 1:48 pm #

    No this lady is just pissed off that her daughter is listening to Lenore, instead of her. She thinks because it is her grandchild, that she should have the final say.

    Been there done that with grandparents telling me they are not comfortable with my kids doing something. I always told them “Good thing they aren’t your kids. And when it comes to raising my kids, your comfort level isn’t even on the radar, let alone a consideration.”

  36. Papilio March 19, 2015 at 2:24 pm #

    How incredibly cruel to send a writer a letter with that many language and interpunction mistakes.
    I thought Lenore’s response is very sympathetic – there are so many weird statements I would have been tempted to myth-bust the entire thing. “Trafficking on rise”? “Epidemic”?

    More to the point: wasn’t there a parent of a missing kid in that Bullshit! episode Lenore was in, who *still* said kids should be out on their own? Perhaps Unhappy Commenter should watch that.

    @BL: “If “missing” people are checking their email or Facebook for your links, they aren’t very “missing”, are they?” That was my first thought too! I hope Unhappy Commenter has a great time catching up with his/her missing friends.

  37. lollipoplover March 19, 2015 at 2:27 pm #

    “Its an epidemic.”

    No it’s not.
    What IS an epidemic is the ignorance towards actual risks and dangers facing children.
    Obesity is epidemic.
    Not even close.

    I have so many issues with this comment and it’s tone, to blame Lenore for *spouting off* on the criminalization of childhood. Horton the Elephant said: “A person’s a person, no matter how small!”
    Children have basic rights to walk places without some crazy meemaw calling the police because she thinks they’re in danger, and it’s all Lenore’s fault. Stop clutching your pearls and go volunteer as a crossing guard to see how happy, capable kids get to school. Millions do it successfully every day.

    Trying to exert excessive control over fully capable kids is abusive.
    It’s a recipe to create runaways and conflict. Perhaps that’s why so many of her friends are “missing”.

  38. Emily Morris March 19, 2015 at 2:31 pm #

    Is there any legal possibility a lawyer let alone will judge would even listen if Commenter tries to sue Lenore? If something happened to her grandchildren, she ought to be dealing with that matter than filing frivolous lawsuits.

    Sounds like she and her daughter really need to sit down and talk things over like responsible adults.

  39. Emily Morris March 19, 2015 at 2:33 pm #

    As for the “missing friends”, I think Commenter could be in a lot of trouble when the authorities found out she was privy to their whereabouts and didn’t tell anyone.

  40. Becky March 19, 2015 at 2:54 pm #

    Dear Parents of Missing Child,

    First, please allow me to express how incredibly sorry I am that you have to experience this situation. I hope, for the love of all that’s good, that my child has never goes missing the way yours has. I hope just as much that your child is safely returned to you.

    My sympathies, however, do not change the fact that I believe you and you child are outliers. You are the victims of an extremely unlikely situation. Unlike children who die in car crashes or from the flu, your experiences are not particularly common. I choose to fear those devastating situations which have a significant chance of happening to me and my family, and I choose not to fear those that do not. So please understand if I choose to let my child live a full life. Please understand that though I may always strap my child into a seatbelt, and make her take cover during a tornado warning (we in the Midwest have a higher likelihood of such disasters), and insist that she wear a life-vest whenever she’s on a boat, I may still make the completely reasonable decision to let her walk to school once I feel she is competent.

    Is it possible that my child could disappear? Yes, but that chance will not keep me from giving her the chance to fully experience her youth. Could my child die in a plane crash? Yes, but that chance won’t keep me from giving her the chance to travel the world. Could my child disappear when she’s nearly a legal adult to goodness knows where (possibly into a human-trafficking scheme)? Yes, but I hope that by teaching her self-reliance, independence, and the ability to make good choices on her own (instead of forever relying on “authority figures” to dictate her life), that such an even will never occur.

  41. Wendy W March 19, 2015 at 3:05 pm #

    Re: the trafficking of teen prostitutes- I don’t think most runaways choose to become prostitutes. They choose to run away, and that choice leads them into a situation where they may feel that prostitution is the only choice remaining to them. We, as reasonable adults, can see that other options exist, but that doesn’t automatically mean that those girls clearly see those options as available choices. If any other person is involved in that choice- a drug dealer, a “helpful” adult who takes them in- that does qualify as trafficking. Trafficking does not always mean kidnapping. Running away is a choice, but usually an option of last resort when the situation at home is so bad that the child can’t imagine anything else being even worse. Those that steer them toward an even worse situation are taking advantage of a vulnerable person just as surely as are those who do actually kidnap a girl.

    On the other hand, my son’s best friend was once propositioned on the local (small town lake) beach by a girl who claimed she “dates for money”. It’s hard to not look at that as a “choice” but we never know what circumstances lie behind such a situation.

  42. anonymous mom March 19, 2015 at 3:27 pm #

    @Wendy, I’m not sure I believe that a 16 or 17 year old gets into prostitution for substantially different reasons than an 18 or 20 year old would. Do people completely freely choose to be sex workers? Probably not, but the same could be said of nearly any job; most people do not work because they freely and genuinely want to, but because they have to. And I’m sure some teens run away because their homes are so abusive, but I’ve known good, loving families who had teens runaway because the teen–who often was using drugs–did not want to abide by the house rules.

    I do think it’s interesting that we assume that a 16 year old who sells sex must have been pressured or manipulated into it, and so should be treated as a victim rather than a criminal, but do not assume that about teens who sell drugs. I would assume that many male teens sell drugs for the same reason that female teens sell sex–and that their choices are shaped and influenced in very similar ways–but we refer to the females as victims and the males as criminals. It’s just interesting how we seem unable to want to admit that teen girls might choose criminal behavior for the same reasons that teen guys do.

    However, I was simply saying that nothing has changed in the last 10 or 20 or 30 or 50 years, other than the terminology. Today’s “victims of sex trafficking” were yesterday’s “teen prostitutes.” Same people, same choices, same situations, but words that the public reacts to VERY differently.

  43. Sharon March 19, 2015 at 3:29 pm #

    The commenter sounds like my mother in law. My daughter who is 13 came up with a sensible plan to manage her Tuesdays. She would stay at school until 4 for play rehearsal. At 4 watch all the activity buses leave school. At 4:20 she walked five blocks to a new tutors house. She started her tutoring session at 5 pm. I met her with my car (we live 5 miles away) at 6 pm.

    My daughter was so pleased with herself. She found a friend to walk 3 of the 5 blocks and then they texted each other every minute or two until her friend was home and my daughter was at her tutors. My daughter forgot to text me but remembered to call her Dad and say she could see the house.

    Now she wants to walk more places alone and with friends. I plan to let her walk more and stay strong in Montgomery County Maryland where we live.

  44. Havva March 19, 2015 at 3:43 pm #

    I have a friend who went missing.

    Being just a wee bit older than Serena Whitehead, my friend didn’t get a poster. But rest assured her parents were every bit as frantic as any parent would be in that situation. Honestly they were probably more frantic. They had spent her whole life protecting her as best they could. When she was started trying to walk they kept her in her crib to protect her from hitting her head from falls. They kept her from the playground, the bus stop, from learning to use a knife, from walking the neighborhood, from being home alone, from any toy that ever caused an injury, and from any friend they thought might be a bad influence. When they really had to let her drive, and get a job, and go to that job on her own, they timed her to make sure she got home when she was supposed to. They kept this up even after she was legally an adult.

    And then one day, she was gone. They went to her work place, and there was her car with the cell phone they gave her locked inside. She had clocked into work, her coat was in her locker, but no one had seen her for hours. The surveillance cameras showed she left the building around her usual break time, walked off the lot, and hadn’t come back. Only her, the clothing on her back, and her purse were missing.

    Months later they would find out that she had found a man willing to help her disappear. He advised her on how to get a few hours head start. He scoped out a place to meet her where no person or camera would see. He assured her that by the time anyone found out, she was gone she would be hundreds of miles away where she would be provided with food, clothing, shelter and employment. And that no one would talk to her parents and they wouldn’t find her. His plan worked.

    And she is why I am here.

    I was a very nervous new mom. And everything I read supported that. But I felt stressed and I realized I was starting to act like this friend’s parents. When I asked how to let go, and when to let go, I saw that the most celebrated answer was to hold them close until they tore away on their own.

    That I couldn’t do. It felt at best like an abdication of my duties, and worst like abuse. I could go on at length about how her parents bruised her confidence to keep her obedient. Or how they hampered her ability to make safe choices by loading her with undifferentiated fears. Then used any error as proof that she “wasn’t ready,” though they refused to prepare her. I could tell how as a child, who could do nothing to stop them, her upbringing was painful to watch. Or as a teen how I started keeping secrets from her. But how their relationship ended is enough for now. My friend wanted freedom, as every person does, and as is her human right.

    I saw what is necessary for a person to tear themselves away from protective parents. For a person to do that means that they have to reject what their parents have taught them. (That rejection tends to be indiscriminate.) It also relies on getting the advice and assistance of people willing to keep secrets from and deceive their parents. (Do you really want your child(ren)/grandchild(ren) seeking out such people?)

    This blog offers an alternative, and I believe a more realistic approach to keeping our children safe. One where we support their need and desire for freedom. One in which by granting freedom carefully while arming our children with skills, good advice, and practice. In doing so we build confident and competent people capable of making decisions and protecting themselves. Are there risks in that? Yes. But no risk a fraction of the many risks my friend intentionally took tearing away from her parents.

    Free-range is not a radical idea. It is how I was raised. And back then people called my parents ‘strict’. But I had a good relationship with them even through my teen years. When I asked my mom how she managed that she told me: “I quit parenting you some time ago.” Then she told me that a parent has surprisingly little time to raise a child. Once the child gets large enough, and clever enough, you can’t actually stop them and they won’t listen if they don’t want to. If you teach them to make good choices, and to do the right things for themselves while they are small, you can trust them to seek your advice when they are big. But, if you wait to teach them you will run out of time.

    Grandma, your daughter is an adult. You ran out of time. Threatening to sue this blog because your adult daughter won’t obey you, isn’t going to change the fact that she is an adult, she is the parent, she has the authority now.

  45. Wendy W March 19, 2015 at 3:44 pm #

    “However, I was simply saying that nothing has changed in the last 10 or 20 or 30 or 50 years, other than the terminology. Today’s “victims of sex trafficking” were yesterday’s “teen prostitutes.” Same people, same choices, same situations, but words that the public reacts to VERY differently.”

    Very true.

    We tend to want to rescue those we see as victims, and write off those we see as living the consequences of their choices. We can’t rescue those who don’t want to be rescued, but that’s not going to stop people from trying, and from getting donations in order to support those attempts. But I’m probably being too cynical with that statement.

  46. Becks March 19, 2015 at 4:00 pm #

    @anonymous mom – absolutely! From what I know random abductions are very rare. Either missing child turns up safe – most common or they’ve been taken by someone they know (and also turn up unharmed).

    @Elizabeth – what you’re saying about kids being outside alone is so true. Mine get bored coz there is no one to play with. None of my 8 yr old sons friends are allowed further than out the front of the house and he’s desperate to go to the park or at least stray down the street. I also agree that my concern would be that if he is out alone that that in itself poses more of a danger than anything else. Say he really hurts himself falling out of a tree there would be no one to run home to get me.

    My 7yr old isn’t ready to walk to school yet without me, not even with her big brother because, I can’t trust her to behave for her brohter and to really concentrate when crossing the road. We are practicing together though and I hope once she’s 8 things might change. But roads are probably my main concern. When they get carried away playing tig the last thing she thinks about is crossing safely. Another point on that is that when they know a parent is around they don’t have to have safety at the front of their mind because the parent is there to take the slack but I believe when they are doing things independently they really focus because they know they are in charge.

  47. Wendy W March 19, 2015 at 4:15 pm #

    “However, I was simply saying that nothing has changed in the last 10 or 20 or 30 or 50 years, other than the terminology. Today’s “victims of sex trafficking” were yesterday’s “teen prostitutes.” Same people, same choices, same situations, but words that the public reacts to VERY differently.”

    Very true.

    We tend to want to rescue those we see as victims, and write off those we see as living the consequences of their choices. We can’t rescue those who don’t want to be rescued, but that’s not going to stop people from trying, and from getting donations in order to support those attempts, but I’m probably being too cynical with that statement. Girls from both categories are probably mixed together in many locations; you can’t rescue one ignore the other, and those that need rescuing still deserve our efforts.

  48. SteveS March 19, 2015 at 4:16 pm #

    “Is there any legal possibility a lawyer let alone will judge would even listen if Commenter tries to sue Lenore? If something happened to her grandchildren, she ought to be dealing with that matter than filing frivolous lawsuits.”

    Every so often I get people coming to me that want to file a law suit that has little or no merit. Most of the time they are just angry or feel slighted and want someone to pay. While I can’t promise a specific outcome, I am ethically bound to not file baseless claims. Plus, I don’t want people wasting their money on a stupid claim that is likely to fail.

    I would certainly categorize a law suit that is based on the scenario you are describing as one that is very, very unlikely to win. If it were otherwise, people would never give advice or advocate in any way.

  49. ChicagoDad March 19, 2015 at 4:42 pm #

    My grandmother lost her mom when she was young. Her dad, my great-grandfather, worked on the railroad and had to be away from home for weeks, sometimes months, at a time. It was the great depression, and it really wasn’t an option for him to just find another job. As a pre-teen girl, it was my grandmother’s responsibility to raise her siblings while her father was away working. She admits to making mistakes, and she once saw a man crushed by a ton of bricks at an open construction site near their apartment. Her siblings survived, thrived even, and her little brother even became a fighter pilot. She lost friends and love ones to war, disease and accidents. When she had children of her own, my grandmother made sure they became strong, independant and capable people. Despite (or maybe because of) the trials she endured, she allowed her children a lot of independance. I don’t know if I would be as strong, or maybe it would make me stronger, if I experienced the same things today.

    My parents’ generation sent brothers and cousins off to vietnam, lived through stag-flation and the knowledge that nuclear war could break out at any time, and they raised us with a free-range childhood.

    Maybe when the threat of war, disease, hunger and loss are so real, like it was for my mother’s and grandmother’s generation and those before, then letting your kids play outside and explore is just one of those simple, innocent joys that should be siezed when you have the chance.

  50. Eric S March 19, 2015 at 4:55 pm #

    I was going to site examples, but your update post from “Cathy” beat me to it.

    It’s as we always say, FEAR makes people do and think the most illogical things. They prevent themselves from looking at the bigger picture, and it’s a BIG picture. Only concentrating on the fear. Just to reiterate Cathy. Most of the teens that are reported missing, ARE runaways. Most of the assaults and kidnappings of children, are by family members, or people the kids already know and possibly trust. It’s only a small percentage that are kidnapped by complete strangers.

    Yes, yes, “what if this, what if that”. What if? This is the illogical mentality of these paranoid people. They will preach, freak out, hold on to dear life about things that are statistically rare. Yet, they have no reservations about the things that actually kill or injure kids far more. Like cars. It’s a fact that children die or get injured in car collisions in one year, than kidnapping and assaults. But they no thinks twice about putting their kids in the car. And I’m MOST certain, that many of these parents drive distracted while they have their kids in the car with them. ie. talking on the phone, texting, taking pics and videos etc… NO ONE will ever stop driving. Despite irrefutable proof that kids in cars are huge risk, compared to “stranger danger”.

    When people are inconvenienced, they bitch. Adults/parents like these are just selfish. Plain and simple. It’s about how they would feel. Rarely about how children would feel. Hmmmm…maybe that’s why they runaway in the first place? I think parents should take psychology courses. Give them a better understanding of how people think, why they think the way they do, and how to think. This goes for kids too. But then again, when people choose to believe what they want to, it’s almost impossible to revert them back. Fear.

  51. Emily Morris March 19, 2015 at 5:28 pm #

    To quote Suki from Gilmore Girls, when pestered by her husband about all the horrific what ifs that could happen to their child: “That would be bad.”

    Yes, those horrible things would be bad if they happened. No one denies that. But let’s instead trust to common sense, good judgment and a little bit of luck that they won’t.

  52. Michelle March 19, 2015 at 5:40 pm #

    I think the saddest part of this letter is that her daughter is an adult with children of her own, and she’s STILL trying to helicopter her. The idea that Lenore is undermining her authority is so ludicrous.

    LW, your daughter is an adult! It’s time to let go!

  53. Echo March 19, 2015 at 5:55 pm #

    wow! this is mind boggling. the girl is close to 18, the age of consent, but shouldn’t be allowed out by herself unsupervised??? or at least according to the grandmother……

    i honestly get the feeling that this grandmother who is arguing with her adult daughter is domineering and controlling. and she could be one factor in reasoning for why this grand daughter is ‘missing’.

    you simply can keep kids under guard until they reach 30 or more. at some point you have to cut the strings or at least stretch them out more and more. until the ?kid? cuts them apart. or cuts you off totally for constant interference.

    there’s almost a 100% chance that the girl ran away, ran off with a boyfriend,just going by the prominent tat of what appears to be a boys name below her throat, hiding out with a friend or…., maybe has joined and living with a gang.

    i think this woman really needs to do her own reality check.

  54. Echo March 19, 2015 at 6:24 pm #

    helicopter parents are turning out 2 kinds of kids/adults. they are either physically/emotionally stunted and as fearful as their own parents or they are turning out kids/adults and the next generation of criminals.

    how many times have you read articles of people/parents who have killed their own kids because they want to save/protect their kids from all the bad things and people of the world? or those who get into every bad situation there is because they never learned to reason or make better choices because mommy and daddy always took over and directed their every move.

    i grew up with a girl who was 2yrs older than i was and we at that time were best friends. her parents ran a strict catholic house and family. but holy smokes, at the age of 15 the girl started sneaking around and got into more bad sh*t than you could shake a stick at!! my parents weren’t near as strict. but sure there were times i would sneak out and go with her. but i asked her one time why she did all the things she did? she very calmly said that if she didn’t sneak and do something she’d never get to do anything. thankfully she never ended up getting arrested but she came dang close to it. and there were more than a few times that because i wouldn’t do something with her she would change her mind and leave with me. maybe i was chicken or maybe i knew better or just maybe i had been taught better and my parents trusted me to do the right thing in the end? i don’t know, but i wonder sometimes where she might have ended up or what might have happened to her when she was younger if i hadn’t been there those times.

    most of the time if someone hold that lease to tightly and when that lease breaks or they get loose??? it’s like uncaging a wild animal.

  55. Catkru March 19, 2015 at 7:31 pm #

    Hi, I’m (almost) a free range kid. I found this blog a couple days ago and was shocked by all the world’s “helicopter parents” . I knew that some people don’t let their kids run around in the woods for hours, but I didn’t know the extent. It’s ridiculous that the reason people don’t let their kids out is that they aren’t letting their kids out.

    This website changed my views about my parents also. They are kind of in between. They have let me do things as they think i’m ready, but it doesn’t feel fast enough. I’m 13, my ‘territory’ is my (small) neighborhood and the woods behind it,if I say I’m going out and when I’ll be back. Also if I’ve planned it beforehand and receive permission, I can go to a local park, a bestie’s, or a piano lesson.

    Sometimes it’s great, but then I watch a movie or read a book where the kids yell that they’re going to a friend’s house and then just go.

    I think my parent’s are trying to go free range,but don’t really know how. Could someone help me give them a nudge?

  56. caiti March 19, 2015 at 7:33 pm #

    Trafficking is the newest imaginary epidemic. I encourage everyone to read Melissa Gira Grants “Playing the Whore.” If I have more time later I’ll summarize.

  57. ChicagoDad March 19, 2015 at 7:48 pm #

    @Catkru Good for you for seeking out advice for how to get more independence. A lot of parents are pursuaded to give more freedoms when they see that their kids are capable of handling the responsibility. Show your parents that you ready for more independence: offer to run some errands for them on your own, ask if you can babysit or mow lawns for the neighbors, plan an overnight camping trip for you and your friends. And then, and this is important, be very responsible with that new freedom and don’t mess up. Good luck!

  58. hineata March 19, 2015 at 8:03 pm #

    I’m really surprised teen prostitution is now maybe considered trafficking. ..that might explain what sometimes seems to be a surge in fear about trafficking, which I always thought was pretty much an issue only for poverty stricken nations.

    Our town had a well-known town bike when I was a teenager, and she happened to be a teen not a lot older than me. It would have amused her to think she was ‘trafficked’ I’m sure. She had ‘issues’ like lots of people do, but she ‘sold her services’
    because she liked the money 😊.

  59. C. S. P. Schofield March 19, 2015 at 9:13 pm #

    J. Smih,

    I’m tired of treating the nannies and panic mongers with kid gloves. That person is either an idiot or in serious need of medication. The people who demand regulation of every aspect of life and then have conniptions when the minins of the State kill somebody are morons. THINK, damnit!

  60. Liz March 19, 2015 at 9:31 pm #

    This grandmother sounds like a control freak who is not being allowed to control the lives of her children and grandchildren and is looking for someone to blame. I think it’s harder for controlling parents to be grandparents, because suddenly they have no real say, let alone control, over the grandkid’s lives. I see this very struggle in this woman’s angry comment, that her daughter is now asserting herself and parenting the way she wants, so the grandmother needs someone to blame because no child she raised would ever come to think in such ways alone. I feel sorry for the grandkids, because there is no way to live up to those kinds of standards.

  61. Donald March 19, 2015 at 9:33 pm #

    17 years old is not a child. He or she is a young adult. Keeping them ‘fenced in’ for their protection is a great way to make them want to runaway.

    Try logic like that on a person that is so gripped by fear that they can’t think straight and see how far you get.

  62. Michelle March 19, 2015 at 10:44 pm #

    Catkru, here’s how my kids could get more independence from me:

    * Take care of your current responsibilities. Responsibility and independence are two sides of the same coin. If you are not getting your school work and chores done already, you’re going to have a hard time convincing your parents that you are responsible enough for more independence. Make sure you are following the rules that you have right now and – MOST IMPORTANTLY – no lying!

    * Look for ways to help out and show your parents that you can take on doing more things for yourself or to help them out. For example, going to the store for them or getting yourself to after school activities. Show your parents that more independence for you is less work for them.

    * Be calm and reasonable. Don’t whine or throw a fit, rather make your case and explain to your parents why you think you are ready for this. Also, don’t push for too much at once. Baby steps.

    * Finally, be ready to accept if your parents disagree. A mature response towards disappointment will help your case in the long run.

  63. Puzzled March 19, 2015 at 11:41 pm #

    >undermining my authority as a parent,grandparent to safety of my family.

    Oh, I get it. She wants to helicopter her adult daughter and overrule her parenting choices.

    How about this one: Tell the parents of a grown woman who disappeared (it happens you know) that women should be allowed to go to the STORE,PARK,FRIENDS without a male chaperone. How irresponsible!

  64. sexhysteria March 20, 2015 at 3:14 am #

    I’m sorry for any parents whose chiid goes missing, but they shouldn’t blame other people for what is the usual cause: family conflict not stranger abduction. In the case of older teens, the frequency of runaways is probably 99%.

  65. Angela March 20, 2015 at 8:53 am #

    anonymous mom – interesting observation.

    I decided that they were changing the definition of ‘addiction’ long ago. Since then I have seen how the meanings of other words are changed/obscured – usually to make some point – and I hate it (and sometimes piss people off when I call them out for it).

    I come from a family of addicts. Whether tobacco, alcohol or cocaine, each person in my family has had issues with drugs at some point in their life. Thing is, my naturally anti-autharitarian self refused to accept “just say no” so I took a class as a freshman in high school – AODA (Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse). Thank you, Ms Jacobsen, not for telling me anything I did was acceptable, or scaring me away from drugs, but for giving me the FACTS.

    I learned of physical and psychological dependence – they were called ‘addiction’ and ‘habit’ respectively. They are very closely linked, often both exist at the same time, but they are different and should be treated differently. Then at some point the media began discussing gambling and shopping and internet addictions. ??? I understand that some habits are as difficult to break as physical addictions but I don’t understand acting as if they are the same. At best you’ll confuse people you’re speaking with, at worst you’ll utilize a treatment strategy that is not appropriate because you’re misunderstanding the issue.

    I have watched how other words were used to sway people since then. Rights – they used to be the inherent, God-given powers that were bestowed upon every individual upon their birth. Now they’re special privileges that governments give to you – to be withheld or revoked at their pleasure (eg. – Illegal Immigrants don’t have rights because they are not Americans). Rape – used to be the act of having sex with an unwiling partner. Now it includes situations where, for one reason or another, one partner is determined to be unable to give consent even though s/he did at the time (and often disputes the rape charge themselves). Reading you’re take on sex trafficing, I’d say you’ve hit another case of this.

    I understand that all these issues are important, each side of each issue deserves attention, but conflating two different-but-similar problems as if they are the same will not help. I imagine in each case someone thought the issues weren’t getting the attention they deserved and so they linked them with other issues to get that attention. I understand; I do not agree.

  66. Gary March 20, 2015 at 9:17 am #

    “Be ready to be sued if GOD forbid ”

    “be sued if GOD forbid”

    “sued if GOD”


    If this dopey mental case put this as the first sentence I would not have wasted my time reading it, anyone who pulls this “GOD” crap is a certified nutter.

  67. Gary March 20, 2015 at 9:21 am #

    “I will be sharing your link with missing friends.”

    How can they be missing if you know where they are…

    Not to mention she cannot apparently form coherent sentences.

    “…grandparent to safety of my family…”

  68. lollipoplover March 20, 2015 at 11:49 am #

    I got the urge to put a red pen to this entire post.

    And “grandparent to safety of my family”.
    I prefer “Godfather of soul”.

  69. Cam March 20, 2015 at 12:59 pm #

    It’s practically child abuse to shelter your kids to such an extent that even when they are on the cusp of adulthood they aren’t allowed to walk to school. Your job as a parent is to raise your children, not just keep them safe. If you don’t prepare them for adult life, you are doing them a huge disservice. And when they inevitably have problems in college, in the work force, in relationships, and in life in general, there’s nobody to blame but yourself.

  70. John March 20, 2015 at 1:30 pm #

    Audrey….very interesting clip! More parents need to view this clip but it seems as if all of the data that indicates children are safe and that a far majority of “missing” children are runaways and that stranger abduction and stranger molestation is extremely rare and far less common than family members violating the kid and no matter how many times people see all of this data, they STILL insist that it’s so dangerous out there today and that children (anybody under 18) need to be watched and supervised. It’s the “every kid is 2-years-old until they turn 18” mindset we seem to have here in America…..Sigh

    On a slight off-topic note, speaking of parents who believe their children and all children (again, anybody under 18-years-old) are made out of balsa wood and therefore, need to be bubble-wrapped, this has got to be the most ridiculous form of over protection that I have ever heard of. Right when you think parents have gone off their rockers in helicoptering their kids, I read this. According to Dr. Rod Moser of WebMD:

    “Parents are now refusing vaccines more and more. Unfounded fears of autism and EVEN FEARS OF SUBJECTING THEIR KIDS TO PAIN (emphasis mine) are common reasons.”

    That’s right folks, sticking that needle into little Johnny’s arm, hip or buttocks (in an effort to guard his health from horrible diseases) is abusive and just might traumatize him for life! Yes, apparently there are parents who actually believe that. As if a 10-year-old child cannot be convinced to bear with a little bit of pain for just 3 seconds.

    What a world we live in.

  71. Donna March 20, 2015 at 2:05 pm #

    Why is it that we only consider people who make bad choices “victims” if it involves sex? Only if it involves sex do we care what the underlying situation which lead to the decision is and then completely excuse the behavior and make them victims if it is sufficient.

    Everything Wendy said is 100% true for most prostitutes, regardless of age (and the term “sex trafficking” is not limited to underage prostitutes so I am not sure why it is being used that way here). It is also 100% true for the vast majority of my clients who commit other crimes. We don’t consider a drug user or street-level dealer a victim of drug trafficking. Or a gang member a victim of gang-related activities. Or a car thief the victim of the chop shop owner.

  72. Puzzled March 20, 2015 at 2:17 pm #

    Donna – no, we just try them as adults. Perfectly logical, right? One becomes an adult by stealing a car or shooting someone, and then suddenly that act was not a victimization – despite being recruited and threatened by older gang members. The adulthood applies only to the crime, though – still can’t buy alcohol while awaiting trial. (Yeah, sure, like they get bail.) One does not become an adult by having consensual sex, nor by selling sex.

    Similarly, sex and “the demon weed” are the only exceptions to markets solving all problems.

    Hey, I think I just accidentally wrote a certain party’s platform.

  73. Warren March 20, 2015 at 3:12 pm #

    It has been that way for a long time. Women are weak and all victims.

    And it is women that make it that way. You have women’s groups calling the servers at Hooters victims. They called the Playboy Club Bunnies victims. Strippers are victims. Hell actresses and models are victims because they “have to conform to mens views on sexy”.

    I am not saying it is just women that make it this way. But for the most part it is only women that will be able to change it.

  74. Nadine March 20, 2015 at 4:49 pm #

    @ Havva,
    Briliant post!! Thank you, that really made my day.

  75. Jason March 20, 2015 at 6:31 pm #

    A drug user is not a victim of drug trafficking because he is the consumer of the trafficked item, and thus the reason for the illegal enterprise.

    The equivalent is the “john”. The prostitute is the victim because she is the “thing” being trafficked.

    Human, or sex, trafficking implies persons who control others and profit by forcing them to have sex wherever, whenever, and with whomever. It’s not an employer-employee situation or a way for a woman to make some extra money.

    To dismiss it by saying that these women/girls are runaways, illegal aliens, or whatever, and are prostitutes by choice is as ridiculous as saying that some child being molested by her father/uncle/neighbor is choosing to be in that situation just because she hasn’t reported it. “All she has to do is tell a teacher or call 9-1-1…”

  76. Donna March 20, 2015 at 6:46 pm #

    “Human, or sex, trafficking implies persons who control others and profit by forcing them to have sex wherever, whenever, and with whomever.”

    Except that that doesn’t describe most prostitution.

    Further, it is equally a description of street level drug dealing and car theft and gang activity if you take out sex and replace it was sell drugs or steal cars or shoot a rival gang member.

  77. Grandma March 20, 2015 at 7:13 pm #

    Well, to the ones on here saying I was afraid to let 17 yr old walk alone, you misunderstood, the link was to a 17 yr old that’s missing. I’m referring to younger kids, walking alone . to the ones calling me names, you don’t know me. And to Bob I think that got such a chuckle from my statement, I’m sharing with my missing friends, HAHA now use your head if you can find it, I was referring to The Missing site friends who understand the dangers.
    To the search dog k-9 comment, i be searched for
    0 kids, Great thank God, but you’re not only searcher. So statistically you’ve all been lucky. Hope you’re all happy, my daughter has taken your advice, since you all love her and her kids and statistically I don’t, were no longer talking. To the person that said I hope her daughter told her to mind own business, she is my blood, so are my grandkids. I love all of them. Out of my concern as a parent all I was doing was stating my opinion , worried as a parent, but now I’m told I don’t think she’s a good parent and I never said that. Hope your all happy and stay safe. Sorry I didn’t mean to butt in. Right Jessica?

  78. Warren March 20, 2015 at 10:01 pm #


    So you are no longer talking with your daughter? Yet she is doing what she feels is best for her child, which is against your wishes?

    That tells me you are not talking to each other, because you didn’t get your way, and are being stubborn about it.
    I have no doubt you love both your daughter, and your grandbaby. But it is your grandbaby not your child. As I told my MIL, you can ask why I do things, you can disagree with what I do, but I will not make parenting choices or life choices just to make you feel better.

    Now you can either live with how your daughter is raising HER child, and apologize, and reconnect. Or you can sulk and miss out on all sorts of wonderful times with both of them. Your choice. All thought there is really only one choice.

    A wise man once told me, “The toughest job we will ever face, as a parent, is to allow our child to do something, that scares the shit out of us.”. He actually said “dad” but parent fits just as well.
    I have a pretty good idea that your fears are deeply ingrained, and that all the data, stats and evidence will not change a thing for you. So all that is left is for you to take a deep breath, count to ten and suck it up. Your fears may seem completely rational to you, and that is fine. But you do not have the right to pass those fears on to your grandchild.

  79. Buffy March 21, 2015 at 11:04 am #

    Hey Grandma…what is your response to this earlier comment: “Tell the parents of a child that died in a car crash that you believe in letting children ride in a car. Tell the parents of a child that died in a public school shooting that you believe in letting children go to school.”

    Or is it only walking to school that you see as a problem, and other dead kids are irrelevant?

    And if you’d like us to use our heads about The Missing site, then use some capitalization or explanation. Most of us probably don’t know that site exists. Not knowing what “I will be sharing your link with missing friends” means doesn’t mean we’re brainless.

  80. Beth March 23, 2015 at 12:32 am #

    Warren, that last comment you wrote was terrific; free of the anger and vitriol that sometimes characterizes your writing. You should write like this more often – it was beautiful.

  81. Special Crazy Mom March 23, 2015 at 8:53 am #

    One of the descriptions to assist in finding her states, “has multiple tattoo’s”.
    To me, if you are old enough to get a tattoo, you are old enough to be out on your own. I get how parents and family members of missing children may see the free range mentality as irresponsible- their child is missing so how can we as responsible adults allow our “children” (this was not a child) to be out with no supervision.
    Fact is, our children are more likely to be abducted, abused and/or killed by a close family member than a stranger.
    When you are in the midst of a situation, you often can’t see outside of it.