Would Your Kids Pass the Predator Test?

“Would ykhayiftnd
Your Kids Pass the Predator Test?”
is the name of a special Headline News is presenting tomorrow. It’s not surprising that they would do a show like this — when you’re in the headline business, every day is predator day, because that’s the headline that reliably grabs people.

The problem is that when we hear about predators all the time, we start to believe that children are in danger all the time. That’s why kids are so helicoptered today: There’s the perception that no child is ever safe without direct adult supervision.

A show that “tests” whether kids can be lured to a car with the promise of a puppy — the premise of this show — makes it seem as if this is a situation kids could very likely be faced with, something on par with, “Would your kids eat a cookie if someone offered it?” What is so hard to understand is that, first of all, the vast majority of crimes against children are committed NOT be strangers they meet at the park , but by people they know. So it is bizarre to keep acting as if the park is teaming with danger.

The other part of the equation is that yes, we do want our kids to learn and use the lesson, “You can TALK with anyone, but you can never go OFF with anyone.” But seeing a show where kids go off anyway is enough to make parents think, “That’s it. I’m never sending my child out again.” It makes it feel as if parents can never trust their kids (they never learn!) or their community (it’s crawling with creeps!). We get completely comfortable looking through the lens of pessimism that distorts everyday life into a Bosch painting.

So, as always, I will mention here the idea (parroted on the Headline show, but obfuscated by its content) that since most crimes are NOT committed by strangers, teaching “stranger danger” makes no sense. Instead, teach your child the 3 r’s:

RECOGNIZE — that no one can touch the parts of your body your bathing suit covers.

RESIST — make a fuss, run, scream, kick if you are being bothered. Often, the molester will leave. Like the rest of us, they prefer it when their job is easy.

REPORT – Tell your children that even if the creep makes you promise/swear not to tell anyone, that doesn’t matter. They — your kids — should always tell you if something weird is happening and YOU WON’T BE MAD AT THEM. This helps keep the lines of communication open, gets rid of at least some of the stigma, and also takes away the predator’s greatest asset: secrecy.

These rules make children much safer than a blanket warning against “anyone you don’t know.”  And since there is no way to “childproof” the whole world, think of this as “world-proofing” your child.

Meantime, here’s a test us grownups can take: Would You Pass the Predator-Programming Test? In other words, would you refuse to go off and watch a show that is determined to make you feel the world is as awful as the headlines? Fight back! – L.

Welcome to Headline News!

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104 Responses to Would Your Kids Pass the Predator Test?

  1. Ben July 31, 2013 at 12:01 pm #

    They should show a portion of your show where Amadeo and his brother were at the pizza place.

    – They refused to lend the ipad to Chris.
    – They refused to go with him to his car.
    – And when they got annoyed they got help from the staff.

    They did everything right.

  2. QuicoT July 31, 2013 at 12:03 pm #

    I wouldn’t want to raise a kid so fearful of the world he wouldn’t stop to pet a stranger’s puppy…

  3. Emily, Mom of Independents July 31, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

    I wanted to see what my kids thought recently when someone told me my kids would get snatched:
    Kid 1: I’d scream really loud. You always tell me I’m too loud. I’ll annoy him into leaving me alone.
    Kid 2: He ain’t getting me or my bike. I’d scream and not let go.
    Kid 1: Mom, can we go play now? You said this probably will never happen.
    Kid 2: Wait? This isn’t even going to HAPPEN!? Damnit (yep, potty mouth)! I was ready to be a kung fu fighter.

  4. Gary July 31, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

    Predator only hunts in the hottest of climates and only goes after you if you are armed.

  5. Gina July 31, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

    I’ve seen this (or something similar)…I would love for them to ask the kids what they were thinking. Also, I would love to know how many kids didn’t go..ie, the percentage…and how each child has been parented. There are so many factors in play here.

  6. LisaS July 31, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

    ha! Emily, your kids sound like mine! good job!

    and I would add an R:

    Respect your intuition. If an individual or situation gives you the creeps, get away immediately, and don’t forget to tell a trusted adult (preferably Mom & Dad) about it.

    Of course, this last piece only works if you’ve taught them not to fear everything in the first place.

  7. Natalie July 31, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

    Of course they know what to do. You cover yourself with mud because the Predator can only see heat signatures. GOSH!

  8. Natalie July 31, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

    Dammit, Gary, you beat me to it.

  9. Gary July 31, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

    “Dammit, Gary, you beat me to it.”

    gotta be quick…


  10. anonymous this time July 31, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

    Ah, the premise of this show is the same I’ve seen before… [spoiler alert] they succeed in luring the kids. At least they edit the show to emphasize the kids that got lured into the vehicle.

    I’ll say it again: a clever enough predator could most definitely lure ME into a vehicle, given the perfect circumstances. I’ve said before that if that predator were dressed in uniform as law enforcement, had a chloroform rag ready, and caught me in a vulnerable moment, then bam, I’m the one in the windowless van riding to a hellish death.

    But I still go out into the world. I know that I might fall prey to someone who means me harm, the same way I know I might encounter a drunk driver who has jumped the median on the highway. I know an meteorite might fall on my head. Hey, it’s possible! And I still go out.

    Having a show where they emphasize the fact that clever predators can lure kids is, well, not newsworthy, in my opinion. You give your kids the best information you can, and then you know that there are no guarantees in life. Where is the voice of reason on these shows? Oh, I forgot, reason doesn’t sell products. Only hysteria and fear.


  11. Natalie July 31, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

    Quick, like, Kessel run in 12 parsecs, quick?

  12. Natalie July 31, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

    Very well said.
    Also, shouldn’t you change your name to anonymous-every-time by now?

  13. Papilio July 31, 2013 at 1:09 pm #

    For once I guessed the painter (‘Hey, that looks like Jeroen Bosch’) – and then I saw you put his name in the text so no one will believe I saw the picture first…

    I might be completely wrong, but I thought some child abusers tell the kid they’ll hurt/kill the kid’s parent or whatever if he/she tells? Maybe say something to eliminate that fear too?

  14. Katie July 31, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

    If I could throw out a reason a kid would fail the test I would say it is because if you are helicopter around and never given freedom why would you be interested in hearing what your parents say about these predators. If these kids were given more freedom and not carted around 2 blocks to activities in their parents gas guzzlers then they would probably pass the test. Adaptation takes reason. What the motivation when your a prisoner in your parents gas guzzler?

  15. PG July 31, 2013 at 1:16 pm #

    Trusting their instincts is huge. My daughter went to a sleepover recently, as she does fairly frequently. She called me to fetch her at 11.30pm, which she has never done although I always remind her she can beforehand. Afterwards she said the dad was making her feel uncomfortable. He was drinking a lot, and using loud foul language. She said he didn’t do anything specific, she just wasn’t comfortable. I gave her big kudos for following her gut.

  16. Natalie July 31, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

    I believe you, he was one of many Dutch painters, no? You’ve probably got his paintings on display no more than a 30 minute drive from you.

  17. Gary July 31, 2013 at 1:22 pm #

    “Quick, like, Kessel run in 12 parsecs, quick?”


  18. Natalie July 31, 2013 at 1:28 pm #


  19. Gary July 31, 2013 at 1:29 pm #

    I was looking for the other one they have but can’t find it.

  20. Natalie July 31, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

    I thought I remembered something similar on the Simpsons. Loads of Star Wars references, but none with the Falcon.

  21. Gary July 31, 2013 at 1:45 pm #

    yea in the cantina scene Family Guy did it with Han mentioning 12 parsecs and Luke going, “ummm, isn’t a parsec a unit of distance not time?” and Han was all “ut ut ut ut ut ut ut”

  22. Natalie July 31, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

    I haven’t seen that one. Seven hells!

  23. Gary July 31, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

    you haven’t seen the Family Guy Blue Harvest Star Wars yet?

    they did one for each of the three first movies.

    Star Wars = Blue Harvest

    Empire Strikes Back = Something, Something, Something Dark Side

    RotJ = It’s a Trap!

  24. Natalie July 31, 2013 at 2:02 pm #

    I saw the first one, that I remember. Blue milk!

    I didn’t know they did the other two movies as well. Something I’ll need to remedy.

    Hulu? iTunes?

  25. Natalie July 31, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

    Please tell me they kill the Ewoks in the parody.

  26. Ray July 31, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

    The other, insidious, part of predatory stranger anxiety is that it imprisons the kids who really do face predators. Since most crimes against children are committed by people they know, this paranoia can work to keep kids who are victimizes from getting help.

  27. Ray July 31, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

    @anonymous – don’t forget about the woman who ran from the ATF agents because she thought they weren’t really law enforcement.

  28. Natalie July 31, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

    Would my 6 yr old pass the predator test? Maybe? We haven’t even discussed strangers yet. I have no idea what she would do.
    Test for the adults… I haven’t watched nancy grace and the like, but I’ve seen a show that periodically satirizes her. Does that count?

  29. Gary July 31, 2013 at 2:24 pm #

    they are all on Hulu, not sure about The iTunes…

  30. Papilio July 31, 2013 at 2:37 pm #

    @Natalie: You optimist. Driving 132mph on the public road is illegal here :E (Rijksmuseum would’ve been closer, but I checked and they don’t have anything by Bosch. Phew – I’ve been there last month and it would be awkward if I didn’t even remember seeing a painting by someone I’ve actually heard of!)
    A New Yorker might succeed though – there are several of his paintings there.

  31. Gary July 31, 2013 at 2:38 pm #

    “Please tell me they kill the Ewoks in the parody.”



  32. Warren July 31, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

    I have a problem with the parameters of the test.

    1. These kids are in the park with a parent watching over them.
    2. I highly doubt an actual predator is going to walk in and try to lure an entire group of kids out to his vehicle. They will target single kids, off to the side away from the group.
    3. We tell our kids to trust their instincts, and guess what they were right, he is a nice guy that likes dogs, and not a predator.
    4. The parking lot. Of course kids will feel safe out there, with people coming and going. A predator would not use the parking lot, just too many witnesses. The last thing predators want is attention. They prefer isolation.

    The test was flawed from the start.

  33. lena fontecchio July 31, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

    I was flashed once on the way to walking over to a friend’s house. (it was two of us walking together) and some car pulled over, got out of his car and pulled his pants down, showed us his junk and then got back in his car and drove away. Yes we were traumatized and we basically ran to our friends house and told the parent of our friend and what had happened. We didn’t have a description of the vehicle or the man for that matter and of course all our parents were alarmed but they told us we did the right thing and next time heaven forbid something like that happens to run away and and tell an adult. This was back in the 80’s. I still played outside after the incident, I still walked over to my friend’s house, sometimes with a friend, sometimes alone and I still went to the bus stop alone (other kids were there as well) my parents basically just went over the rules and gave us tools on how to deal with that if it should ever happen again. (It didn’t) Probably in this day and age parents would never allow their children to ever see sunlight again if that happened and consider my parents neglectful for not doing the same thing. The world has always been crazy, I grew up during the whole Adam Walsh abduction and a little girl that lived in my neighborhood that was abducted from her front yard (never caught the preditor and found her body years later in a shallow grave 30 miles away ) and it was scary times and yes parents were more cautious and on alert but I don’t recall it being the frenzy that it would cause now.

  34. Natalie July 31, 2013 at 2:56 pm #

    i guess the Netherlands are bigger than I thought (although i was exaggerating a bit) Now that I think of it, my friend lives roughly 40 min outside of Amsterdam and she’s not on a border.
    So he’s not in the Rijksmuseum? I figured they’d have everyone. I was there back in 2000, I think I was just so impressed by everything I WAS seeing I didn’t think of anything that wasn’t.
    Beautiful country you’ve got there.
    I do remember seeing a barber shop near the museum with the sign “we cut heads” which I sent to my 8th grade English teacher.
    She always liked to collect incorrect (grammatically or translations from abroad) signs and post them in her room.

    Have you seen the movie “in Bruges”? Part of the climax centers around a Bosch painting. Good movie regardless.

  35. Natalie July 31, 2013 at 2:57 pm #

    I’ll take that as an adequate substitute.

  36. Ken Hagler July 31, 2013 at 3:07 pm #

    I’m willing to bet that this upcoming show will make absolutely no mention of what your kid should do if jumped by a mountain lion or dragged off by a pack of coyotes–that is, if your kid ever encounters any _actual predators_.

  37. Gary July 31, 2013 at 3:14 pm #

    “I’m willing to bet that this upcoming show will make absolutely no mention of what your kid should do if jumped by a mountain lion or dragged off by a pack of coyotes–that is, if your kid ever encounters any _actual predators_.”

    I have actual predators where I live, ‘yotes, fox, bears, the occasional Yautja…

    fox and ‘yotes in my yard as well as the woods, bears on my patio, looking in the house.

    I worry more about them than I do anything else.

  38. Buffy July 31, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

    Katie. Just stop.

  39. Gary July 31, 2013 at 3:17 pm #

    Katie. Just stop.


  40. Natalie July 31, 2013 at 3:24 pm #


  41. Brooks July 31, 2013 at 3:24 pm #

    Lenore – I’ve never bothered to do the homework, but if my assumptions are correct….Has the number of true stranger abductions been relatively constant since the numbers have been collected? If so, that would negate the argument for fear.

  42. Katie July 31, 2013 at 3:39 pm #

    @Brooks Stranger abductions have gone down.

    @Others stop what? You don’t like the stigma of driving around in a gas guzzler than don’t drive around in one. Oh no sticking yours kids in a giant tank with no regard to the effects of it isn’t a particularly free range thing to do.

  43. Emily July 31, 2013 at 3:39 pm #

    >>I have a problem with the parameters of the test. 1. These kids are in the park with a parent watching over them. 2. I highly doubt an actual predator is going to walk in and try to lure an entire group of kids out to his vehicle. They will target single kids, off to the side away from the group. 3. We tell our kids to trust their instincts, and guess what they were right, he is a nice guy that likes dogs, and not a predator. 4. The parking lot. Of course kids will feel safe out there, with people coming and going. A predator would not use the parking lot, just too many witnesses. The last thing predators want is attention. They prefer isolation. The test was flawed from the start.<<

    Yeah, that's what I thought too. I'm glad I'm not the only one.

  44. Gary July 31, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

    “Oh no sticking yours kids in a giant tank”

    Oh honey if I could get my hands on a Panther…

  45. Katie July 31, 2013 at 3:43 pm #


    Yeah, the ultimate flaw is the “abductor” isn’t an abductor at all, they are an actor. Not to mention I’m sure these kids are more than used to there parents jumping in when there is a problem therefore they never learn any skills on their own.

  46. Katie July 31, 2013 at 3:46 pm #


    Maybe you should become friends with Warren. He also seems to have issues with woman and would be sure to try to do something low like using the word honey.

  47. Gary July 31, 2013 at 3:47 pm #

    no issues with women here, just uppity people who have nothing better to do than try to jam their opinions down others throats…

    you can go now.

  48. marie July 31, 2013 at 3:47 pm #

    Ransom of Red Chief is a good antidote to stranger-danger panic.

  49. Gary July 31, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

    and when multiple people start telling you to shut the hole under your nose maybe you should step back and assess the situation.

  50. Katie July 31, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

    @ Gary

    I don’t really care what a bunch of wannabee gas guzzler driving wannabee diluters have to say. Nor do I carewhat some overcompensating sexist pig has to say either. Now don’t you have a wife to beat because she burned your dinner.

  51. Warren July 31, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

    I don’t have a problem with women, or any group. It is the individuals such as Katie, that I have a problem with. And out of respect for women everywhere, I wouldn’t even consider Katie a women, definitely not a lady, heck I wouldn’t even think she would make the cut as a chick.

  52. Katie July 31, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

    And yes driving your 2 kids around in a gas guzzler is a completely helicopterish thing to do as well as completely selfish. And yes I’ve heard all the same oh I don’t helicopter garbage from the suburban helicopter moms. Which is why I moved to the city where there are actually true life free rangers.

  53. Papilio July 31, 2013 at 3:55 pm #

    @Natalie: What parts have you visited, Amsterdam, Volendam etc, or have you been to more normal towns as well?
    40 minutes outside Amsterdam is not near a border (to us. For you Oudeschild would be near a border…). It would get you to the beach though, I guess that counts in a way.
    Have you heard the Rijksmuseum recently reopened after being closed for 10 years? They’ve restored the old paintings on the walls and ceiling in the main hall on the 4th floor.
    (“We cut heads” doesn’t sound like a recommendation, haha! Was there a Dutch translation?)(I do hope you’re not sending too many of my comments to your teacher!)

    Nope, In Bruges was actually broadcasted two weeks back but I missed it!

    @All of you: Would you please keep the gas guzzler discussion in that other topic? It was boring enough there without spreading it to other threads as well. Thank you!

  54. Katie July 31, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

    That’s fine because I don’t consider you a man either. More like an immature little boy who claims to have all this experience in all these fields and stuff yet has the time to sit on the internet all day.

  55. marie July 31, 2013 at 4:34 pm #

    Katie, Warren, Gary…enough, already. Don’t make me stop this car.

  56. Moro July 31, 2013 at 5:21 pm #

    Shaddup, everyone, I have something important to say!!

    The painting is by Mathias Grunewald.=p

  57. Papilio July 31, 2013 at 7:17 pm #

    Mathias Grunewald??

    *arms crossed, tapping foot on floor*
    … Lenore…?

  58. Gary July 31, 2013 at 7:45 pm #

    oh look, I found video of Katie…


  59. anonymous this time July 31, 2013 at 8:01 pm #

    Warren, exactly. I teach my kids about “spidey senses” or “creep radar,” that icky feeling you get when something is amiss. You hope the kid will tune into it BEFORE the situation would get irrevocable, but whatever.

    The guy was an actor, pretending to lure kids. Anyone heard of energetic “vibes”? They’re real. Unless this actor was doing some serious method acting where he’d spent a month or so masturbating to child porn and had nothing but overpowering those kids on his mind, well, whatevs. He was just telling them to come along to a densely populated place in the middle of a sunny afternoon to look at a dog, and they knew it.

  60. anonymous this time July 31, 2013 at 8:07 pm #

    Will add that many of the women Ted Bundy attempted to lure to his vehicle got the creep feeling and backed out. Those who didn’t were probably second-guessing themselves and afraid to offend someone, wanted to be “nice” and “polite.”

    The single most important thing all people need to do is trust themselves and the truth of their experience. Not necessarily their thinking, because we can always imagine the worst about people or situations. No, I’m talking about that deep-down icky sick feeling in your gut that you might get around a close relative, teacher, friend’s parent, or, yes, a stranger asking for help. You don’t teach kids to ASSUME everyone means them harm, but you teach them to LISTEN to that icky feeling if they get it, and otherwise, be part of the world and community.

    I think too many people are letting their imaginations guide them instead of their gut, they’re getting confused, they imagine their thinking is their instinct. It’s tragic, really.

  61. Donna July 31, 2013 at 8:37 pm #

    So a man who is NOT a predator offered to let kids pet his puppy and they did? And this is news? Why?

    Katie, really think it’s time to go back on your meds.

  62. Warren July 31, 2013 at 10:01 pm #

    Now had the test gone as planned, and the kids started screaming their heads off in the parking lot……..there is a whole bunch of ways it could have gone bad.
    1. Actor arrested by the police for attempting to lure. Let’s face it, no matter what the motive behind it, he is technically guilty of it.
    2. People hear the screams and mob the guy.
    3. Kids try to run away, in a parking lot, and get hurt.

    Between the flawed test, and the possibility of nasty outcomes, whomever came up with this idea, and planned is not the brightest bulb on the tree. This whole test thing could have really gone wrong.

  63. Natalie July 31, 2013 at 10:32 pm #

    DAYum Moro!

    Good eye! I’ve never heard of him before, and just looked him up.

  64. Natalie July 31, 2013 at 10:57 pm #


    I was in Amsterdam, The Hague, a beach town I don’t remember the name of, and if Volendam is that touristy place with windmills, cheese, tulips and a giant wooden clog you can climb into and have your picture taken, I was there too. So no normal towns I guess. Unless you count The Hague? Is that a normal town? (They have a torture museum-which was awesome)

    The first time I went to the Netherlands, I stayed with my then-boyfriend at his family’s house in Amstelvein (spelling?) which is a Jewish neighborhood I think. The second time I went I stayed with that friend (this was 2000) who lived in Amsterdam at the time. I don’t remember the name of the town she’s in now. Her apartment was located near a church and a park (I know, that really narrows it down) but I can still picture it. She decorated their apartment top to bottom with Holstein cow prints. It was a cool apartment. And she lent me her bicycle when I toured around. It was pretty cool, living and Travelling like the natives.

    The people were all so friendly. I’d love to go back.

    It sounds like I was incredibly lucky in seeing the Rijksmuseum. Closed for 10 years? Wow.

    From Amsterdam, I took the train to Bruges. Which brings me back to the movie which if you haven’t seen, I highly recommend. And not just for the location or the Bosch painting set piece (Actually Bosch this time).

    P.S. Not only is your English is better than a lot of native speakers, it’s excellent. Don’t worry! My Dutch is limited to a few choice swear words and saying “88 beautiful canals” if I want to clear the phlegm out of my throat.

  65. Natalie July 31, 2013 at 11:07 pm #

    That woman shorted out my creepy radar.

  66. Taradlion July 31, 2013 at 11:25 pm #

    I asked my son what he would do if someone asked him for help finding his puppy. I was concerned he wouldn’t want to be ride and would genuinely want to help (as he has seen me help others). I said things like, “if they were really sad” and “they had a leash and a picture of the lost puppy, I know you would want to help…” His response, “I’d say, ‘you know, my mom is really great in emergencies. Let me get her and we can both help find your dog.”

  67. Emily August 1, 2013 at 12:37 am #

    A great resource to discuss personal safety intelligently with your kids – Mia’s Secret.
    A “friend” of her Mom’s plays a game with Mia that hurts her and makes her feel bad. Although she is afraid, she finds the courage, through her teddy, to tell her Mom.
    It never goes into detail so you can approach it at a level appropriate for your kids.

  68. Natalie August 1, 2013 at 6:19 am #

    @marie and Emily
    Thanks for the recs. I think I remember reading the o. Henry short story in junior high. It sounds vaguely familiar.

  69. Natalie August 1, 2013 at 6:35 am #

    Here’s another article from the Washington Post.


    No one is advocating not wearing a helmet. People agree that helmets prevent some kinds of injuries. But some are saying that a “law” is counter productive.

    It’s an interesting discussion.

  70. Warren August 1, 2013 at 8:09 am #

    At least they are still debating it. Most places just impose it, and that’s it.

    Helmets are personal protective gear and as such, should be a personal choice, not mandatory.

    People need to look at the false sense of security that protective gear creates. They have studied it in sports and determined that the more gear and or improved protective gear an athlete wears is not as effective as the engineering believes. The athlete now being more protected takes more risks, goes harder, faster and longer. Some sports are flirting with reducing protective gear in order to reduce injuries by forcing athletes to be responsible instead of padding and straps.
    Even the best helmet won’t prevent concussions. Nascar, the NFL, the NHL, and MLB have invested god knows how much. Nascar more than anyone. They have the best helmets out there, and drivers and athletes still get concussions.

  71. Donna August 1, 2013 at 9:07 am #

    Warren, It is much like carseats. We are all so damn sure of ourselves when it comes to carseats, and yet, when the guys from Freakanomics tested them in crash tests, they found absolutely no difference in serious injuries or deaths between using a carseat and just a regular seatbelt for children over 2. But the belief is so ingrained in our culture that they couldn’t even get a crash test site to allow the test (they do make a lot of money from carseat companies). They finally got one to agree, but only if they agreed to replace the crash dummy WHEN it got destroyed in their seatbelt tests. Even the head of the crash test site was shocked by the results.

    And, no, they weren’t advocating not using safety devices for kids. They were saying that kids would actually be safer in seatbelts adjusted to fit them or in built-in booster seats than they are in 40-year-old technology built by independent manufacturers and then forced to make work in many various different cars.

  72. pentamom August 1, 2013 at 9:18 am #

    Natalie, okay, because I’m a nerd, I looked it up: The Netherlands is approx. 16,000 square miles. I was going to find a U.S. state to compare it to, but after looking at a chart, I found there’s no closely comparable state — West Virginia is 50% larger and Maryland considerably smaller. But the idea that it’s between the two, closer to WV in size might give you some idea, if you’re familiar with those states. WV is fairly sizeable and reasonably compact in shape like The Netherlands except for the two “panhandles,” and you couldn’t drive across it in an hour.

  73. pentamom August 1, 2013 at 9:23 am #

    Oops, actually closer to Maryland in size. Don’t know what I was thinking. Maryland’s hard to compare because it’s so elongated and irregular, though.

  74. Warren August 1, 2013 at 10:25 am #


    No matter what the human body is designed the way it is designed, and like anything and everything has it’s limitations.
    For example, Denny Hamlin a stockcar racer, was in an on track crash. State of the art helmet, hans device, neck collar, fitted seat, rollcage, car crush zones, impact absorbing foam, impact absorbing wall and still was out for weeks with a concussion. He was quoted “All our gear makes us feel invincible. I just got my reminder.”.

  75. EricS August 1, 2013 at 10:39 am #

    “So it is bizarre to keep acting as if the park is teaming with danger.”

    If you think about it, using most people’s mentality, that quote is quite true. Because pretty much everyone anyone meets at a park is a “stranger”. They are also parents, teachers, aunts, uncles, nannies. You know, people children would know. So it’s a double whammy. Time to crawl into a hole in the ground and forget about society. Everyone is a predator. lol

    But I forgot, many people have a selective mentality. If it’s not within their scope of comprehension, and logic, it doesn’t apply to them. Like the example of more kids get injured or killed in auto collisions, than being kidnapped by a stranger. Yet, most parents would not think twice about putting them in the car. Why? Because it would be an inconvenience for them to walk everywhere.

    Media truly does play a huge role in manipulating people’s thoughts and views. From the first printing press, to today’s internet, it’s been the way to control and sway public view. People do really need to start thinking for themselves. Only then will they realize how ignorant and cattle like they have been all this time.

    If anyone enjoys watching documentaries, here is a one that relates to media and how it has shaped society. Eye opening. Or rather mind opening. State of Mind: The Psychology of Control.

  76. EricS August 1, 2013 at 10:45 am #

    @ Donna: It’s all about profit. Corporations spend millions of dollars, so that they can get “official” documentation stating this and that about their product or idea. They spend millions more, making commercials conveying those “reports”, and getting them endorsed by “reputable” people. So when the common consumer sees it on tv or the internet, approved by David Hasselhoff, well…it must be true and a great thing. Then they tell two friends, and they tell two friends, and so on, and so on. Next thing you know, it a “common knowledge” about this product. Everyone believes in it, because everyone believes in it. You give this corporation money you probably don’t have, just so that you have this product that everyone has because it’s the best thing since slice bread…according to the media, commercials and celebrities, and the dozens of friends who got suckered just like you. A sad state of mind this world has dug itself into.

  77. pentamom August 1, 2013 at 10:56 am #

    “Yet, most parents would not think twice about putting them in the car. Why? Because it would be an inconvenience for them to walk everywhere.”

    Or, to put it more positively, because even so the risk is not that high compared to the benefit of being able to get around more easily, not to mention going places that you would not be able to go at all without the car. Our forebears thought 10 miles one way was a day trip and 20 miles was an overnight, and that’s with horses to feed and care for.

    Yet the far, far smaller risk of harm by a predator impedes us from many other positive behaviors. It’s nuts.

  78. Donna August 1, 2013 at 11:18 am #


    It is not about expecting anything to create a completely safe driving experience. It is the irrational belief that things are much safer than the are. I’m astounded at our obsession with this one particular safety item to the extent that it is considered sacrilege to even say a single negative word about it but has been shown to be no more effective than what already exists in the car.

    And, while I am not a safety maven by any stretch of the imagination, it does seem idiotic that our obsession with this one particular item is preventing us from looking into things that may actually make car accidents less dangerous for children. Not 100% safe as we can’t do that, but easy, cheap, more convenient and actually safer. Instead, we’ll just keep upping the age that kids must be in carseats to until they can drive themselves (and what exactly does your AGE have to do with your safety as a passenger in a car?).

  79. Donna August 1, 2013 at 11:34 am #

    I guess I view helmets the same way. Sure in a low-level direct impact to the head, helmet is probably better than no helmet. It is not god’s gift to bike-riding safety. You are not going to miraculously walk out of any bike accident without head injury by wearing a helmet. And how often does a low-level direct impact to the head happen in our bike riding lifetimes?

    And I do think they discourage kids from riding bikes for fun. They are uncomfortable. They are hot. I took my daughter horse riding in New Zealand and we had to wear a helmet. I couldn’t wait for the 2 hours to be over to get the damn thing off.

  80. Warren August 1, 2013 at 11:53 am #


    People in general do have a sense of expectation. Seatbelts were just fine 20 years ago, but that was twenty years ago. People expect things to improve. Actually they get quite upset if you tell them that x method is still the best way. “Are you telling me in over twenty years they haven’t been able to make it safer? I refuse to believe that.” .

    As long as the masses have their gov’t mandated illusion of safety they are content.

  81. Warren August 1, 2013 at 11:59 am #

    I just find it is getting way out of hand. Face masks are becoming required for kids and teen base/softball. Not just the catchers, but all fielders as well.

    Helmets for riding horses, per Donna’s example.

    Have heard of helmets required for skiing, ice skating, roller skating, toboganning.

    Damn lets just buy our kids a giant padded hamster ball to roll around in.

  82. Anna Gonzalez August 1, 2013 at 12:18 pm #

    Thanks for the blog about the segment. I think something that Kyra Phillips said can help provide some insight into the special Friday: “As a mom, my child’s safety is my number one concern. And my greatest fear is abduction. So not only do I take this special personally, I think every family will learn from it and it will create a really healthy discussion at home.”
    That’s what drove us to do the special. We want specific, helpful advise to have these uncomfortable discussions and real techniques for your kids.
    Hopefully y’all will think we delivered on that promise. Let us know your take as you watch on facebook.com/raisingamericahln or #raisingamerica on twitter. The whole team keeps an eye on our social accounts, so your comments will be read by someone.

  83. pentamom August 1, 2013 at 12:29 pm #

    Actually, helmets have been required for riders for a long time.

  84. pentamom August 1, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

    Not by law, I mean, but riding schools have always required it.

  85. Michael F August 1, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

    “Predator only hunts in the hottest of climates and only goes after you if you are armed”

    Except when there is a temple of Aliens under the ice.

  86. Katie August 1, 2013 at 1:22 pm #


    Thanks for your posting as well. Well how about this for a story: a story about how stranger abductions are extremely rare. A story about the negative health impacts of parents driving around kids to bus stops or to a nearby school in giant gas guzzlers t instead of encouraging the kids to walk or cycle. A story about the loss of free time so many kids are experiencing, not to mention the loss of exercise they are getting from going outside to play and the stress this over scheduling causes both the kids and the parents. Or if you want something more scandalous look at some of the stories on the side bar about ridiculous cases where CPS got involved.

    Oh and I don’t fear abduction, I do though fear my kid will grow up to be brainwashed by the corporate controlled media.

  87. Donna August 1, 2013 at 1:32 pm #

    @Warren – My brother is 29. My brother was required to be in a carseat before he could leave the hospital after birth. My daughter’s carseat was not much different from the carseat my brother first rode in 29 years ago (the adjustable one since the infant carseats that detach from the base didn’t exist 29 years ago).

    I don’t see any expectation for things to change. I see a great resistence to change. I see a lot of “we decided that this was the best way 30 years ago, still insist that it is the best way to do things today and won’t even consider suggestions to the contrary.”

  88. Papilio August 1, 2013 at 2:39 pm #

    Giant clog sounds more like de Zaanse Schans, beach town could be Scheveningen. I guess AmstelvEEn is the most normal town you’ve seen, haha! (Jewish neighborhood??) Plus, probably, the town your friend lives now. But I guess what really matters is that you’ve seen more than just the tourist bus…
    Het Rijksmuseum was closed between 2003 and 2013 – so you had some time after 2000… Anyway.
    Regarding my English: I avoid stuff I don’t know how to use 🙂
    “…clear the phlegm out of my throat” – ha! That dorsal fricative in ‘achtentachtig prachtige grachten’ comes in handy when singing the refrain of Yerushalaim (Catholic school… not what it used to be 😛 ) or pronouncing a word like chanoeka or Chassidisch… 🙂
    I’m taking your bike remarks to the other topic, in an effort to at least stay on topic within the off-topic topics…

  89. Papilio August 1, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

    Clog comment was for Natalie, of course.

    @Donna: that’s scary what you describe, that carseats are so ‘holy’, all efforts to find a better solution are not-done.

  90. James Endicott August 1, 2013 at 10:46 pm #

    Someone who gets it, who understands the true threat. Thanks!

  91. Natalie August 2, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

    Yeah, I wasn’t even going to attempt to write that out. I can barely say it!

    And I think Amstelveen has a (relatively) large Jewish population because That’s where there are a few synagogues, I think there is a Jewish school there, and it seems that a lot of the Jewish community has centered there. (At least according to what my then-boyfriend told me of the area). There might be other clusters but I’m not aware of them.

    Scheveningen (can’t you guys make these names any easier?) sounds familiar so that’s probably it. I got there by train.

  92. Natalie August 2, 2013 at 1:41 pm #

    The only reason you can’t get across WV in an hour is because they have that &)@@$)ing town where the speed limit on the highway just suddenly drops to 45 mph and the cops are just waiting, practically salivating, for people who haven’t slammed on the brakes, but prefer to slow down gradually. Not that I’ve gotten a ticket there or anything.

    But thanks for looking that up. Embrace the nerdiness!

  93. Papilio August 2, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

    @Natalie: Ah, okay, I didn’t know that about Amstelveen. I only know the Jewish neighborhood that is actually IN Amsterdam – one of the organizations there recently celebrated its 375 year existence.
    Wait – Wikipedia – oh, Amstelveen is considered part of Amsterdam, and indeed one of the four neighborhoods with large(ish) communities. My bad.
    Scheveningen has a completely regular spelling! You should complain about Zutphen or Den Bosch (which is short for ‘s-Hertogenbosch, ‘the duke’s forest’) or The Hague/Den Haag (< 's-Gravenhage, 'the count's hedge'). Getting there by train – could that have been what we call a tram? http://tinyurl.com/l2h4whb

  94. Natalie August 2, 2013 at 3:53 pm #

    Yep, probably a tram.

    Come on, you’re saying The Hague is difficult? It’s only 5 letters. My American brain can processes that. But the rest of these names that are on average 40 letters long with consonant combinations that can only mean coughing up a kidney in order to pronounce… You guys are doing it on purpose, aren’t you?

  95. Papilio August 2, 2013 at 4:53 pm #

    @Natalie: (Now I miss an emoticon with an evil grin…)
    Hey, it’s not our fault the Brits got rid of that sound!
    schip, lach, bracht = ship, laugh, brought
    Dag, oog, gister, garen, -gaard = day, eye, yesterday, yarn, yard+garden
    (Actually the Germans, and Flemish, and the Dutch south of the rivers, and several Dutch dialects north of them didn’t retain it either.)(We did all dump the th though, that makes you spray saliva all over the person you’re talking to… Enough exaggeration.)
    Fun fact: in WWII ‘Scheveningen’ was used as a password to distinguish the Dutch from the Germans, who couldn’t produce that sound either.

    Re toponyms: Yeah, I meant the unshortened form, sorry. (Eh – ‘Haag’ is 4 letters?) And you should take into consideration that Dutch writes its compounds without spaces; for us those long words fall apart in several recognizable parts, c.f. consonantcombinaties, schoolbus, babymelkpoeder. Many toponyms started as normal compounds as well, so…
    I’ll stop now – I studied linguistics and could talk about this stuff for days!

  96. Natalie August 2, 2013 at 8:02 pm #

    My sister studied linguistics before changing to nursing. It’s fascinating to see how languages developed and diverged over the years. She took a course on the history of the English language and would tell me these interesting tidbits every so often.

    So I understand your enthusiasm. Do you teach it?

  97. Natalie August 2, 2013 at 8:04 pm #

    Also, now I know why there’s 40 letter words in Dutch. I thought it was to just torture the rest of the world.

  98. pentamom August 3, 2013 at 9:54 am #

    Natalie, I hear just a touch of frustration with a particular municipal police force in WV. Of course that’s just a wild, random guess….

    But actually, other than the panhandles, it looks to me like it’s about 150 miles across the smaller way, based on eyeballing the Google map. I don’t know how YOU drive but….maybe that cop wasn’t being so unreasonable after all? 😉

  99. Papilio August 3, 2013 at 11:01 am #

    @Natalie: at this point I only teach it to Americans, LOL. There aren’t many jobs in this field, unfortunately.

    Other Germanic languages have those long compounds too – English is the exception here, due to that same weird history with large amounts of second language learners.

    I know English holds on to the 17th century spelling – now THAT’s what I consider torture to the rest of the world…!
    Also, the combination of 1) spaces in compounds, 2) the -s that’s both 3sg in verbs and pl in nouns (and the almost zero inflection in verbs in general) and 3) embedded sentences that do not require ‘that’ can be torture!
    I swear I’ve come across a sentence in a comment on this site [that] I had to read 5 times before I could figure out the nouns, verbs, subject(s) and object in this long string of words that could be both noun and verb in meaning & form, some ending on -s and some not…

  100. Donna August 4, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

    Try Polynesian languages (Samoan, Tongan, Hawaiian any way). They have a strong affinity for vowels, lots of them, all strung together. I had clients with 40 letter names, 35 of which were vowels (only a very slight exaggeration). They do, at least, tend to be very phonetic since they were first put in written form by missionaries who were simply writing what they heard.

  101. Natalie August 4, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

    I’ve seen that, and they put the apostrophe to emphasize that there’s another syllable there, sometimes with emphasis. We mainlanders tend to slur everything together, but I’ve heard how the natives pronounce Hawaii and Kauai, among other local words.

    How about French? 10 vowels strung together, and pronounced “ooh”

  102. Natalie August 4, 2013 at 12:39 pm #

    How am I supposed to properly exaggerate when you’re telling me all these facts?

  103. Papilio August 4, 2013 at 1:14 pm #

    @Donna: Examples please?


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