A Port St. Lucie, Forida, mom has been arrested and charged with child neglect for daring to let her son, 7, play in the park half a mile from home. He was happily walking there when a busybody noticed him and asked where his mommy was. Then the busybody called the cops, since apparently no child should ever be outside without a private security detail.
The police descended upon the scene of the crime and later arresting the mom for the usual charge of child neglect. What if something bad had happened?
As the mom, Nicole Gainey, told ABC Action News:
"My own bondsman said my parents would have been in jail every day," says Gainey who paid nearly $4,000 to bond out.
The officer wrote in the report that Dominic was unsupervised at the park and that "numerous sex offenders reside in the vicinity".
"He just basically kept going over that there's pedophiles and this and that and basically the park wasn't safe and he shouldn't be there alone," says Gainey.
Never mind that research has shown living on the same block as a registered sex offender does not make kids less safe. It seems the cops bought into the idea that predators are everywhere, always waiting to pounce, and simply because the worst could happen—no matter how extremely unlikely—children can never be left unsupervised in well-lit, popular public parks.
Let me reiterate here that these arrests are uncommon—that's why they make the news—and should not dissuade parents from sending their kids to play. On the contrary, the more kids running around outside again, the more normal it will seem, and perhaps these excessive fears will subside.
Or else we'll be living under a de facto policy of No Child Left Outside.