Not Very Smart


Something else needs to be said about the Elizabeth Smart case that—as best I can tell—is not being said. Taking events at face value, the whole episode was close to self-inflicted.

Lois Smart broke two cardinal rules of living in a modern, metropolitan area. One, never give money to panhandlers, especially ones in long flowing robes. And two, never, ever invite them to do work for you at your home. This goes double if you have young children at home. And if you have an achingly beautiful teenage daughter, well, puzzle it out.

It might seem cruel to point these facts out, but Ed Smart is on a crusade to get Congress to pass a national "Amber alert" law. Such federal action would help save kids like his daughter, he avers.

Let's just assume that is true—another federal law that makes everyone safer. OK. Heard that. The law would still be no substitute for parental awareness of the threats their kids may face. We're not talking raging paranoia, just common sense.

Is there a homeless shelter or drug treatment center nearby? A lot of construction going on in the neighborhood? Other commercial traffic or workers? Who are your kids' peers? What are their brothers and sisters and moms and dads like?

And is that street preacher in flowing robes following you home?