Free-Range Kids

Parents Who Left Kids in Cold Car Could Go to Jail for 10 Years

Christophe Lucas and Jennie Chang did something stupid, not abusive.

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Wine tasting
Public Domain

A couple in Washington, D.C. left their toddlers strapped into the car on Saturday afternoon for about an hour while they—the parents, obviously—attended a wine tasting. It was 35 degrees outside, and one of the young children was not wearing shoes or socks. Brrr and grrr. (It's not clear from the story whether the parents left the heat on.)

A true Good Samaritan spotted the tots and waited before concluding that it was time to alert the authorities. This person did the right thing: He kept an eye on the kids in case the parents were just running a quick errand. But when nobody came to the car after 20 minutes, he called the cops.

I agree with his decision. Leaving kids alone in the car, for a full hour, in freezing cold weather, is a bad idea.

But what happened next is also disturbing. According to The Washington Post (emphasis mine):

[The parents] were arrested and charged with two counts of attempted second-degree cruelty to children, which carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence. They spent Saturday and Sunday night in a precinct lockup until their initial appearance in court Monday afternoon. …

A D.C. Superior Court judge ordered [Christophe Lucas and Jennie Chang] released pending a hearing Feb. 18. The judge ordered them to stay away from the toddlers. Neither responded to questions from a reporter as they left the court building after the hearing.

Court files show the couple intends to hire their own lawyers. The documents say that Lucas is originally from France and works as a software engineer and that Chang is employed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The children were checked out by paramedics and were in good health, police said. They were turned over to D.C. Child and Family Services.

The parents may have behaved stupidly, but stupid is not the same thing as abusive. Abusive parents should be kept from their kids. Merely dumb parents could use some instruction, especially considering that the dad is from France, where parenting practices may be very different. These parents don't deserve to have their kids taken away, and their kids certainly don't deserve to be yanked out of their home life and dropped into a state-mandated placement. That's not better for anyone.

free-range-kids

Keep in mind that the parents had left their cell phone on in the car, giving the kids an open connection to them. This is a wacky policy, but to me it indicates that the parents at least meant to stay in touch. Teaching them that this wasn't a good idea and telling them not to do it again seems like what would make most sense, not seizing their children and acting as if they were deliberately cruel.

And then there's the tone of the Post article, which mentions the value of the family's home—$1 million—and the fact that the car was a Volvo, and the parents' good jobs, and the proximity of the wine-tasting to the Ritz Carlton. What's the point? Rich people care more about wine than about their own kids? Oh, how we love to hate the rich. (Especially wine drinkers.)

We also love to judge parents and pile on. So while most of us probably think that this was something we personally wouldn't do, I hope we also agree that these moments call for intervention, not imprisonment, separation, and foster care.

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  1. I hope we also agree that these moments call for intervention, not imprisonment, separation, and foster care.

    I am, in fact, really struggling to agree with you here.

    1. Same here. Sounds to me like this calls for minding your own fucking business.

      1. I’m saying that perhaps imprisonment, separation and foster care are warranted. From the little information presented here, or from the linked articles, how would I know?

        If this were a poor single mother who left her kids in the car for an hour while she went into Wal-Mart, would we all be giving her the benefit of the doubt?

        1. If this were a poor single mother who left her kids in the car for an hour while she went into Wal-Mart, would we all be giving her the benefit of the doubt?

          Yes. You place your kids in far more danger by driving them to the store in the first place.

        2. I’m saying that perhaps imprisonment, separation and foster care are warranted.

          The level of negligence and/or abuse inflicted by the parents/erstwhile guardians that “warrants” foster care should be rated on the level of the worst foster care abuses.

          The state should never subject kids to an environment rife with severe sexual, physical, and emotional abuse because the parents committed minor abuse or negligence.

          Foster care and orphanages should be reserved for those kids who truly have nothing better; as despicable as it is to subject any kid to such conditions, it should be unconscionably abhorrent to not even make a utilitarian calculation about these things and just subject kids willy-nilly to the system.

          1. OK. I was giving foster care the benefit of the doubt, which was na?ve. I was also assuming a better legal system than we in fact have.

          2. When people recommend that kids be taken away, I often ask what did the child do to be punished with foster care? They aren’t helping the child by placing them in the system.

            I grew up in foster care myself and I agree with your recommendation for a calculated assessment. In many cases it would be better to leave a child in a bad situation, than place them in an inherently worse situation.

          3. This is a sad truth. I actually generally fall into the category of people that think most parents are idiots and should not have reproduced. It just so happens the average child services worker or foster parent is arguably worse.

        3. If this were a poor single mother who left her kids in the car for an hour while she went into Wal-Mart, would we all be giving her the benefit of the doubt?

          Yes. If anything, I’d be giving her more benefit of the doubt. In that case she wouldn’t be leaving the kids in the car to go some frivolous crap like a wine tasting, but to buy food or other necessities. Also, these people in this story sound like they’re well off enough to afford a sitter for an hour or so while they go to their wine tasting, while it could be argued that a “poor single mother” couldn’t.

          Either way, seeing as how the kids WERE PERFECTLY FINE I’d say imprisonment for ten years and having their kids taken away from them is extreme regardless of the moron’s socio-economic status.

          1. How does it matter WHO does it, or how much money they make, or their “socio-economic” status, to what extent you agree with their rationale for doing it ??

            Seriously, this is the kind of bullshit I can’t stand. “They could afford a babysitter”, “since when is wine-tasting so important”, etc. is all irrelevant. That’s a 99%-er bullshit line of thought.

            1. Allow me to re-iterate:

              Either way, seeing as how the kids WERE PERFECTLY FINE I’d say imprisonment for ten years and having their kids taken away from them is extreme REGARDLESS OF THE MORON’S SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS. [emphasis added]

              I’m specifically saying they don’t deserve to be threatened with 10 years in prison and lose their kids, regardless of who they are. That said, a well off couple such as themselves could have either hired a sitter or not gone to their fucking wine tasting if they couldn’t fine one. Although the poor mother would also be a fucking moron considering she could take her spawn into the store with her, unlike a wine tasting where they probably don’t allow minors.

              So on second thought, she doesn’t get any more or less benefit of the doubt. In both cases the parents are clearly idiots, but neither of them deserve to be thrown in prison for 10 years and lose their children.

            2. Read the whole comment before responding, dc

          2. The real question is why couldn’t the kids come inside where it’s warm?

            1. Because letting children within 12 feet of alcohol kills them 100 % of the time. Fact: even smelling alcohol causes instant liver cancer in those under 21.

        4. YES.

          As Lenore asks, who benefits from throwing them in jail or taking the kids from them? The kids will be better off in foster care? Maybe it is deserved, because as you say, there is little information here, but the benefit of the doubt (as with the presumption of innocence) should be granted to the parents. I presume they do have a greater concern for their children’s well-being than some CPS stooge.

        5. From the little information presented here, or from the linked articles, how would I know?

          We know the kids were actually just fine, thanks.

          We know the parents were right there.

          We know that the kids were at a minimal risk of harm, at worst.

          What more do you need to know?

          1. Are we supposed to call the cops *after* the kids die of exposure?

          2. 1. Yes, they were.

            2. No, they weren’t.

            3. We DON’T know that.

            1. No, they weren’t.

              They were monitoring the kids by phone, were 400 feet away, and had been gone less than an hour. I say that’s close enough.

              We DON’T know that.

              Absent any indication that the kids were at risk, which we don’t have, and given the other facts, I’m pretty comfortable saying that they were at minimal (meaning background residual) risk of harm. What grounds are there to say otherwise?

              1. Intervention and child care information? Absolutely, with out a doubt.
                Ordered not to SEE the children? NO! That is an absurd thing to do to the children and the parents. They didn’t beat the children.
                Deliberately cruel? Probably not. However, common sense should have kicked in! Whether he is from France or Cumbucktoo, he is in the U.S.
                One million dollar home and a Volvo? Doesn’t matter your income, wrong is wrong. Morally or legally, money doesn’t mean nothing when it comes to the watchful eye of your children.
                Jail? Maybe a month just to let them think long and hard about what is not acceptable to do, or not to do, with your children. Any more than that is ludicrous.
                They could then be put on probation and see the children every day (set time if needed), but foster care & not ever getting to see them is ridiculous. IMO the kids should have been placed in another family members care, not the systems. They could also be ordered to work with the child care services with receiving help.
                The courts want, or did, to give them 10 years behind bars. WTH is that going to accomplish,except 10 years of the children being without their parents for a little stupidity on their part. There are people that have literally KILLED their children that haven’t been sent to jail for 10 years!!
                I pray this sentence is not going to happen. The judge should wake up and see what he/she would really be doing to a family. Sometimes stupidity CAN be fixed, give them that chance.
                ~God Bless~

              2. The fact there was a guy sitting there watching them, luckily for safety measures, in which could have been a guy ready to kidnap them!
                Thank God for good Samaritans!

  2. I have no problem with their parenting if they were in constant communication with their kids via cell phone and within proximity to make a run to the car in case of screaming.

    1. The girl was “hysterically crying,” according to a police report.

      1. at what point in time? When strangers started looking in the cars windows?

        1. We don’t know.

          1. Well, if the good Samaritan waited 20 minutes before calling anyone, it’s safe to assume the girl wasn’t “hysterically crying” at that point.

            1. Perceptive (and I think probably accurate).

          2. Usually the side arguing in favor of punitive action isn’t supposed to use the “we don’t know” argument.

        2. Probably, how else did cops see know the girl was hysterically crying unless they witnessed it themselves? And instead of using their tiny little brains, limited though they may be, to conclude that maythe the kid was crying because there were strangers looking in the car, they try to use that as evidence of the parents’ neglect. Fucking morons.

      2. A 3-year old was crying hysterically after waking up to find strangers breaking into the car and grabbing her? You don’t say!

        They were napping. You don’t wake a sleeping child. The dad went back to the car after hearing her screaming on the cell phone.

        1. Good thing these were proper east coast parents.

          In Texas (and Arizona), a parent who hears their toddler screaming over the cell phone might just come out with a gun in their fist.

          1. Seems a little extreme just for crying.

        2. Are you reading some other article than the one linked? (Serious question.)

          1. No. The article linked is a regurgitated police report. They were upper middle class parents. The kids were in good health. Dad said they were asleep. Alcoholics don’t go to wine tastings with a cell phone monitoring the kids.

            1. ?Alcoholics don’t go to wine tastings with a cell phone monitoring the kids.?

              Oh wow! That’s a sure-fire way to keep your kids safe. Just stick a cell phone next to them and all will be okay.
              However, no a 10 year sentence is NOT warranted. Maybe 30 days just for them to think about the idiocy. Place the children with family members not in the system. Then probation and parent counseling WITH parent/child contact.

      3. Police reports omit inconvenient facts, exaggerate convenient ones, and fill in the blanks with fiction.

        Likely the girl was “hysterically crying” after a man with a gun smashed the glass and forcefully yanked her and her brother through the window. Not to mention telling the kids that he’s going to send their terrible parents to prison and that they’ll never see them again. Smiling the whole time because there’s nothing cops enjoy more than ruining lives and making children cry.

        1. It’s very telling that you are bigoted enough to actually believe this

          Otoh, it’s heartwarming and reassuring that polling data shows your absurd bigotry is a minority position, just like the viewpoint of a similarly bigoted Stormfronter

    2. “Keep in mind that the parents had left their cell phone on in the car, giving the kids an open connection to them.”

      Yeah. It’s ridiculous that this little tidbit of data came so late in the article.

      “(It’s not clear from the story whether the parents left the heat on.)”

      Yes. We’ll say what temperature it was *outside* the car, but not *inside* the car, where the children actually were.

      The kids were in a mobile room, most likely locked, maybe a hundred yards from their parents with an open communication line.

      We’re from the Government, and we’re here to help!
      “They spent Saturday and Sunday night in a precinct lockup ”
      “The judge ordered them to stay away from the toddlers. ”
      “The children were checked out by paramedics and were in good health, police said. They were turned over to D.C. Child and Family Services.”

      Perfectly healthy kids napping in a car waiting for mom and dad, with mom and dad on an open communication line – that’s child cruelty.

      Having your parents hauled away to jail, forbidding them from coming near you, and kidnapping and imprisoning you – that’s Big Nanny Love.

      1. Have to agree. Typical case of, government solves one problem by creating a much bigger problem.

        Maybe Obamacare will cover amputating your foot for a hangnail.

  3. I wonder what US authorities would do to parents who let their kids do this.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5ihMP-I3l8

    1. Great, now I’m some sort of list…

    2. To be fair they’d were each given a couple of shots of vodka first so they really weren’t feeling the cold. This is how you build a master race.

  4. A closed car at 35 deg stays pretty freakin warm, esp if subject to sunlight, even if partially blocked by clouds.

    Plus which scandinavian country is it where they leave their kids outside in strollers when they eat inside at restaurants/coffe shops, etc?

    This behavior is only “stupid” in that they failed to understand the current state of nannyhood in this country.

    1. This. Depends on the totality of circs. Moar information is required to form an opinion.

      hth

      1. No, apparently we’re supposed to reflexively defend the parents whatever actually happened.

        1. what, like, innocent until proven guilty, that sort of reflex?

          1. That’s a legal principle. Which is, in fact, being applied, no?

            The moral principle should be to suspend judgment until you know the relevant facts–not just assume that the parents haven’t really done anything wrong.

            1. That’s a legal principle. Which is, in fact, being applied, no?

              When dealing with the CPS, that is far from a given.

              1. True. But that’s a separate problem. As is the problem of whether they’re actually going to get a fair trial.

            2. Process is the punishment. CPS already took the kids.

              1. CPS may be one of the most sadistic government agencies. Worse than the CIA. Parents have lost their kids for doing less than this couple did.

            3. I think what several us are saying is if you take the article as all the facts we are going to get, these parents either did nothing wrong or if they did it doesn’t nearly warrant 10 yrs. We’re discussing this under the umbrella of free range kids as a general societal trend, not necessarily this legal case in particular. So when I’m ‘reflexively defending these parents’, it’s because I don’t find fault in this scenario taken at face value.

              1. I totally agree with this: “these parents either did nothing wrong or if they did it doesn’t nearly warrant 10 yrs.”

                You’re all turning me into Bo today.

                1. no worries. After a round of back and forth w/ John in the vaccine post, this was downright enjoyable.

                  1. lmfao

                2. You’re all turning me into Bo today.

                  The horror… the horror. One Bo is more than enough.

            4. The kids weren’t harmed. Therefore it’s safe to assume the parents did nothing wrong.

              1. The kids weren’t harmed. Therefore it’s safe to assume the parents did nothing wrong.

                Not sure if serious.

                1. Why not? No one is asserting that they children came to any harm or were in imminent danger, therefore there are no grounds on which to prosecute the parents.

                2. OK, try this: The kids weren’t harmed. Absent any showing that the kids were harmed or there was any imminent risk of harm, its safe to assume the parents did nothing wrong.

            5. I think that in a case like this you have to consider what will be best for the kids over what the parents might deserve. Unless there is some more evidence of actual abuse and not just being a little clueless, being removed from the parents’ custody is almost certainly not in the kids’ best interest. Even if the foster system weren’t horrible and fucked up, it is still very traumatic to be taken away from your home and parents. Maybe there is some missing fact here, but so far I see no reason to think that the parents are horribly abusive or negligent. The kids weren’t injured, nor does it appear that they were in any immanent danger.

              1. I see no reason to think that the parents are horribly abusive or negligent.

                We don’t know whether they even left the heat on.

                If they did, I’m more inclined to simply call them awful parents.

                If they didn’t, I’m very much inclined to call them negligent.

                1. You can’t leave the heat on without leaving the motor running.

                  So I guarantee they didn’t do that.

                  If no heat, then the cops did the right thing? Is that where you are on this?

            6. The principle of suspending judgment until you know the facts… Unless the subject is a police officer in which the principle is assume the worst always

              Hth

        2. Like, there needs to be a victim for there to be a crime. sort of reflex?

          1. Come on. Maybe the kids were only OK because the police intervened. (No, I don’t think that’s likely.)

            1. Maybe the kids were only OK because the police intervened.

              So I guess pre-emptive arrests are the way to go here.

              And that would be pre-emptive arrests of all parents, because you never know. Those kids might get hurt someday.

    2. And if it were 70 degrees outside, the charge would be “roasting their children alive”.

    3. All of them. Toddlers usually sleep outside until it’s below 14F or -10C. Nobody will lose their kids for leaving them alone at the park either.

  5. The needle on my disinterestometer is wiggling a little bit, but not much.

  6. A couple in Washington, D.C. left their toddlers strapped into the car on Saturday afternoon for about an hour while they?the parents, obviously?attended a wine tasting.

    Wait, what? A wine-tasting? I need to know the make and model of the car so I can buttress my already-solidifying preconceptions.

    1. Saturday afternoon near the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, in the 1100 block of 23rd Street NW

      […]

      Police said the father and mother were at the restaurant Ris, about 400 feet around the corner, in the 2200 block of L Street. The father, Christopher Daniel Lucas, who also goes by Christophe,

      Oh yeah, baby, OH YEAH!

      58 minutes when officers arrived and got the children out of the gray Volvo station wagon and into a warm police car.

      OOOOOOOOOOOOH FUUUUUUUUUUUUCK YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!

      1. Holy shit! Don’t tell me. An ironic faux retro dukakis bumper sticker?

        1. Nah, Gore/ Lieberman 2000, Obama 2008 and 2012, and a “coexist” sticker.

  7. Let’s all remember that the agency now taking care of these kids is the D.C. Child and Family Services, which has been under a court appointed monitor for over 20 years (since 1991), during which time quite literally hundreds of kids have died in its “care.” (229 in the 1993-2000 period alone).

    1. Hundreds dead is worse than I expected.

      1. It was a rather contentious issue in the recent IL Governor’s election that, in 2011-2013, 95 kids that had been investigated/overseen by DCFS had died. The number 2000-2011 was widely believed to be ‘well over 200’. The exact number is contentious because there is uncertainty about the legitimacy and/or location of all the visitation records.

        I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that corruption in IL politics isn’t news.

      2. I believe they model their system on the Ceausescu regime’s foster care system in Romania.

    2. BUT IF IT SAVES EVEN ONE CHILD….!!!!!!

  8. “Free Range Kids” is an odd tag to use for a story about a three year old and a two year old strapped into a locked car for an hour.

    1. I agree. But the mean-and-potatoes of it is that a ten year sentence is totally inappropriate.

      They should be executed.

      1. The consequence the parents actually receive is a hell of a lot more likely to be probation and mandated parenting classes or something like that than ten years in prison.

        1. So because they’re only being threatened with 10 years in prison and loss of their kids in order to get them to take a plea deal for probabtion, CPS monitoring, and court ordered parenting classes, that makes it all A-OK.

          1. No, just responding to Paul. A ten year sentence hasn’t happened and will never happen.

            1. Unless they fight it. Then it will be 50 years.

      1. But not free range napping.

      2. Little slackers were SUPPOSED to be changing the fan belts.

        1. “Little slackers were SUPPOSED to be changing the fan belts.”

          Dock those twinkies a day’s pay for nappin’ on the job.

    2. …a story about a three year old and a two year old strapped into a locked car for an hour. [emp mine]

      Kurt, sounds like you’re unfamiliar with how small children are transported these days. They are mandatorily strapped into car seats. They are used to this.

      Thank goodness it was a locked car, to have left the car unlocked would be negligent. Anyone could have reached in and snatched those kids.

      I’m really on the fence about whether this was a case warranting government intervention. This was not the smartest or best thing for the parents to have done, but this particular incident under these particular circumstances is way, way different from doing that on a hot summer day.

      1. Throw in a little wine tasting…

        1. Yeah, that bit about the wine tasting was definitely fanning the flames.

      2. Nonresponsive. Whatever you want to say about this incident – criminal, stupid, perfectly fine, whatever – it has nothing to do with “free range” parenting.

        1. Oh, OK, you’re an idiot. Got it.

        2. Right, the generic term. We’re talking Free Range? the movie here.

    3. FRK is the name of Lenore Skenazy’s blog. Doing a Gish Gallop, Kurt?

      1. I don’t know. What’s a Gish Gallop?

        1. About 30 mph?

          1. Nice.

  9. They’re first class idiots, but I hope they lawyer up and lay waste.

    1. I don’t think there’s gonna be much ‘laying waste’. Hopefully they’ll get off with a warning or a fine as 10 yrs in prison is clearly cruel and unusual.

      1. I agree with Paul. Suspect that they will have to submit to “monitoring” (home inspections) and “parenting classes” (re-education).

        1. Suspect that they will have to submit to “monitoring” (home inspections) and “parenting classes” (re-education).

          I wouldn’t be surprised by regular visitations and/or court appearances for the next 1.5 decades either.

        2. Home inspections to make sure they aren’t being left alone in the car while at home.

      2. You’re probably right. If they apologize and suck a little CPS cock, they’ll just get probation and an occasional harassment visit from a social worker. If they try to fight this, holy shit, are they gonna get railroaded. They will be made an example for all the other uppity parents who think they can get away with shit just because they have money. or because their kids were “napping” aka “fighting for their little lives inside that car.”

  10. But what happened next is also disturbing.

    AND COMPLETELY UNSURPRISING.

  11. attempted second-degree cruelty to children

    Interesting, since second-degree cruelty is the intentional or criminally negligent mistreatment or neglect etc. Perhaps a better charge would be potential terrorism.

  12. They do sound like shitty parents.

    Of course, the state is a shittier parent.

    Poor kids.

    1. Yes, that’s what sucks. And one thing I find irritating about the post is that Lenore doesn’t really offer a better response. Just some vague “education”.

      1. OK, what should be done?

        Close our eyes and will a Mary Poppins into existence to take care of the kids?

        1. I don’t know. I was hoping for a better answer from someone who has spent more time thinking and writing about kids and the state.

          1. Here’s the deal, Laconic.

            In our current system, the choices are binary:

            Either leave the parents alone, or sic the jackboots on them.

            Maybe there should be a third alternative, but I honestly can’t think of anything that “we” might do that won’t be a state project. Which means jackboots.

      2. “Nothing” is a better response. “We apologize for breaking your window, the repair will come out of OfficerOfficer Dumbfuck’s next paycheck, which will be his final one since he has demonstrated that he lacks the judgment to be a decent police officer” would be better still.

    2. For all we know they are otherwise excellent parents. Seems likely that they are dipshits in other ways too, but we don’t know that.

      1. For all we know they are otherwise excellent parents

        Well, we know they are raising kids in D.C., which, I would argue, is the bigger issue here.

        a) It’s almost like they were asking for it. ‘Cause D.C. is known for one thing, and that’s telling others what to do.

        b) They’d be better off just setting up a tent in one of those drive-thru type safaris. Not all animals are created equally.

      2. For all we know they do stuff like this all the time, and worse.

        1. Perhaps. But for we know, the guy serially depositing just under $10,000 in his bank account is a drug trafficking money launderer, and the IRS should seize his assets…

  13. And then there’s the tone of the Post article, which mentions the value of the family’s home?$1 million?and the fact that the car was a Volvo, and the parents’ good jobs, and the proximity of the wine-tasting to the Ritz Carlton.

    Any excuse to get their classwar boners fully engorged. It’s the only thing that makes some people hard anymore, just like a lot of cops have to shoot dogs to get hard.

    1. Reporters love to show they did research into a story. They probably googled their names and found their address. Too bad they didn’t interview the parents.

    2. If there hadn’t been any economic markers in the article, Post commenters would have shown up by the hundreds to denounce dumb n*****s who shouldn’t be allowed to have kids in the first place.

      1. Post commenters would have shown up by the hundreds to denounce dumb n*****s who shouldn’t be allowed to have kids in the first place.

        Whereas hundreds of commenters showing up to denounce snotty upper class white morons is sooo much better.

        1. It’s a little bit better, yeah.

      2. Not likely, they mention that the father was present. 😉

        1. Why, exactly? Because it reaffirms the Law and Order: SVU view of the world where it’s affluent white people who commit the wildly disproportionate share of crimes.

  14. Seriously- what did the “good samaritan” think would happen?

    Did he have some vision of Ms Officer Friendly handing the kids, bundled in PBA fleece blankets issued for just such eventualities, to their mom with a playful, “You should oughtta know better,” and that would be the end of it?

    When you put the gun of the State to somebody’s head, you can’t pretend you didn’t want the trigger to be pulled.

    1. When you put the gun of the State to somebody’s head, you can’t pretend you didn’t want the trigger to be pulled.

      This

    2. People don’t think things through. With few exceptions, calling the cops only makes things worse. Unfortunately most people don’t learn this until they call the cops, or they just don’t care.

      1. Except polling data and survey data shows you are wrong

        There is no evidence that people who call cops report bad service

        The opposite is true

        Heck, some agencies even hand out such surveys upon every response

        The response is that most people are happy with police service

        Considering how many people who call us are repeat customers… It’s also obvious

        1. Hi slaver

          Smooches

      2. Well, what can you do? Hell, just standing outside the car suspiciously (if you’re male at least) is enough to get you arrested if someone else calls the cops and you don’t.

    3. Pretty much. The Samaritan couldn’t stand there all day, it’s not his responsibility to make sure the kids are OK, but he doesn’t know where the parents are. What do you do other than call the cops, thinking that they’re paid to handle this mundane shit and protect the kids?

      It’s naive to us, but it’s what many (most?) people think the police are there for.

      1. And in the incidents where bad shit does not happen there is no media article which is why bigots/media dupes get their false notions reinforced

        If the cops had issued a verbal warning there would not BE an article just like there is no article when we disarm a knife weirder w/o shooting (I’ve done it several times and no articles were written)

        Myopic bigots gather their opinion from outliers since that is what MAKES NEWS

        it’s mo different than a racist reading about crimes committed by a minority but not the 99% or whatever that don’t commit crime and then concludes that’s what minorities do

        This is how bigots are all the same

        They let outliers define the aggregate

        It’s how racists and anticop bigots are the same- and of course in plenty of other ways

        1. I suppose this is a valid point that when it comes to police brutality, Reason often seems to use the favored ‘progressive’ journalism method of referring to incidents and expecting us to assume they those types of incidents are ubiquitous. A la, ‘a woman was raped at X university, ergo there is a rape crisis in America.’

          It’s a big country, somewhere, someone’s getting raped write now, someone’s getting murdered, and someone’s probably getting beaten up by a cop. None of that is eo ipso significant though.

          Be nice if the generalities would be backed up by statistics instead of anecdotes for those of us more quantitatively inclined.

    4. Did he have some vision of Ms Officer Friendly handing the kids, bundled in PBA fleece blankets issued for just such eventualities, to their mom with a playful, “You should oughtta know better,” and that would be the end of it?

      That’s what I would imagine happening. But I know that’s a bit naive so I mind my own damn business.

  15. Lenore moderates her position because she is the public face of the Free Range? movement. If she moderates too much, then her position becomes no different from the status quo.

  16. “I hope we also agree that these moments call for intervention, not imprisonment, separation, and foster care.”

    Unfortunately, The only way the state can intervene, is to threaten imprisonment, separation, and foster care. I’m sure pretty much everyone would agree that these parent where stupid. But, I’m not sure that being stupid is something that should be addressed using the force of the state. And, force is really the only arrow the state has in it’s quiver. Without it, any attempt at intervention won’t work. If we all agree that moments like these call for interventions. Should the state be involved at all. Because if it is, there is always the threat of force.

    1. I suspect once all is said and done, they’ll take a plea deal to a lesser charge involving probation, court ordered “parenting classes,” and CPS monitoring where some dickhead with a clipboard comes by a few times a year for the next few years to look for any further signs of “neglect,” which they can pretty much find at anytime if the parents don’t suck their cock enough.

      IOW, the end result will be exactly what Lenore is proposing, and nothing else will happen.

  17. “The father, Christopher Daniel Lucas, who also goes by Christophe”

    Seriously?

    Anyways, seems like the public shaming of printing their names in the paper would be sufficient.

    1. Anyways, seems like the public shaming of printing their names in the paper would be sufficient.

      That’s actually the best response I’ve heard yet.

      1. I agree-they’ll never do that again.

  18. A wise friend once said to me, “Don’t leave anything in your car that you don’t want stolen.”

    Just sayin’…

  19. I disagree that any intervention was called for.

  20. especially considering that the dad is from France, where parenting practices may be very different.

    Especially when attending wine tastings.

    What ever happened to MULTICULTURALISM, people???

  21. You lost me when you mentioned the mom works for the FDA. I hope she suffers a bureaucratic nightmare of “Brazialian” proportions.

  22. Let’s just ponder the cop response a moment.

    They are at a car with kids in it.

    That car has a license plate. So they know or can find out who it belongs to.

    Which means they can get his phone number.

    Why didn’t they just call him and ask what was going on?

    No, their first response isn’t to find out what’s going on, its to break shit, terrorize people, and wreck their lives.

    1. Utter myth

      I know people who watch teevee think we have these magick databases where with a persons name we can find out their cell #

      Again, reason bigots are divorced from reality and believe what they see on teevee that reinforces it

      I can check directory assistance (which most cells are not in) and our RMS and a quick internet search

      That’s it

      I have little more resource to find out somebody’s phone # from my patrol car than the average Joe

      Reasonoid bigots are like Truthers in this respect – when it’s convenient they employ the all powerful govt myth.

      The simple truth is unless they’ve filed a report with us- and the # is current , I have no more way to find out your cell # from my patrol car (or in most cases- detective desk) than anybody else

      Example # 2424533 where reasonoid anticop bigot displays total ignorance

      1. They found out who the parents were pretty quickly because they arrested them that same night. So what’s your point?

    2. sure waste my taxes on cops being used to track down people who who shouldnt have children.

  23. “they attended a wine-tasting at an upscale restaurant ”

    Um, every wine tasting I have attended has lasted on the order of 3 hours.

    Kids don’t cry when they die of hypothermia.

    These parents are morons and deserve to suffer.

    I wish I could think of a way to punish them for being assholes (DC Residents!) without making the kids sad.

    But, fck the kids. They are going to grow up to be pretentious statist ass hats who think sucking government money is just fine.

    Send them all to foster care where they can learn the true horrors of government contracting.

  24. These parents are morons and deserve to suffer.

    Being a moron is generally its own punishment. No need to bring in the jackboots.

  25. Man, there’s a lot of “feelz” on this thread.

    It should be pretty straightforward:

    Were the kids harmed? No.

    Were the kids at imminent risk of harm? No.

    I think we’re done here, aren’t we?

    At most, the cops should have just called the parents, found out what was going on, and perhaps recommended that they call it a night and take the kids home, and been done with it.

    1. Again the MYTH that cops have a magick database of cell phone #’s

      Because bigots watch teevee

      Even South Park has made fun of this stupid idea

      1. They were able to find the parents to arrest them the same night, so it doesn’t appear that finding them to figure out what was going on would have been all that hard.

  26. I cannot believe the majority of commenters on this issue. Then again, the Reason reporter writing this up chose to omit plenty of facts known and gloss over others. Two children under 3, without proper clothing, without heat (that was established in news accounts) were left alone in a car. And why was this? Was it an emergency? Were the parents running a quick errand? Were the parents too poor to pay for care? No. The parents wanted to go taste wine in Ris, an expensive restaurant. They didn’t want to bother to hire a babysitter (they live in a $1 million house), they didn’t want to bring their children inside, they didn’t want to take turns even with the wine sampling. The people here who talk about the iPhone left with the kids don’t seem to be noticing they aren’t children old enough to use a phone. The fact that nothing happened for the long period they were left is luck. I know the neighborhood well. It’s very nice. But they took an unREASONable risk for the most selfish of reasons. Maybe they should confer with the parents of Madeleine McMann, who did much the same thing, but with tragic results and a presumed dead little girl. Should they get 10 years? No. Should they get some punishment and some monitoring/probation to get their kids back. Yes.

    1. Btw, the earlier comment about hypothermia (rare for a Reason comment) is accurate

      It’s quite common for people to just drift off and never wake up

      Hypothermia is often associated with numbness and confusion

      I have dealt with it – as an EMT and as a surfer (one of my friends literally started drifting out to sea as it set in while sitting on his surfboard – disoriented and feeling no pain)

      Reasonoids of course open on it w/o bothering to research

  27. If only there were some process in which all the relevant facts and circumstances could be presented to a group of reasonable local adults who would determine if a crime had been committed and, if so, what legal sanction would be most appropriate.

    Sadly, I don’t think this sort of process is available to the residents of DC.

  28. A $500 fine & a chewing out by the judge would be enough.

    1. I think you mean the parents should have to eat out the judge, not the other… oh, you meant something else, never mind.

  29. People like this shouldnt be allowed to have children and if nothing else, should lose the children.

  30. Seems like a questionable manner in which to handle/treat children, but then I was never in the parenting/child raising business. Didn’t think I’d do a particularly good job, so I avoided the potential problems between my chosen life style and the needs of children. Like the movie character said, “a man has to recognize his limitations”.

  31. // It was 35 degrees outside, and one of the young children was not wearing shoes or socks. Brrr and grrr.

    yeah… the whole story it really sounds like the parents don’t even want the kids.

    The good Samaritan even waited 20 minutes before calling.

    There was plenty of chance for the story to go a better way, but these parents went full-retard.

    It only sucks that foster care may be worse. But generally kids shouldn’t be raised by parents who don’t want them.

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