Civil Liberties

*Updated: Cops, Media Applaud Local Busybody for Bravely Harassing Dad Who Briefly Left Kid Alone

Maybe try minding your own business and not exaggerating the threat to kids in parked cars?



Area-man Mark Herrmann didn't choose to be a hero. No, no, he was just minding his own business when he noticed that a child's life was in mortal danger. He acted decisively—ensuring the child's safety, and guaranteeing a police investigation into the negligent parent's actions. Thanks to the video of the encounter he filmed and posted to Facebook, the whole world shall know of his bravery.

The child he saved was out of his father's sight for…uh…well, never. But still! The father did leave the child in his truck, in a carseat, with the windows down and engine running, while he got out to drop something off in front of a store. He was gone for two, possibly three minutes, walking to and from the truck.

Gracious, how could any child survive that kind of depraved neglect? Let's hear it for the Kentucky police who have decided to open an investigation into this clear case of abandonment.

As we have been told by public service announcements like this, even a moment unattended in a car is too long! No child is safe for a single, super-scary second.

Neither are parents. For in that micro-moment, hero Herrmann noticed the truck, whipped out his phone and videotaped the child, who was playing with an electronic device and indicated he was fine when Herrmann asked him about his welfare.

When the dad came back, Herrmann let him have it, pointing out that, "You know if I was a bad guy, I coulda probably drove off with this guy."

The dad pointed out, "I was right there at the door…. He wasn't out of my eyesight."

But still. "Worst-first" thinkers don't care about what is likely to happen. All that matters is what a bystander, cop, court, or CPS official imagines could happen. And since Herrmann imagined himself driving off with the kid, dad basically left his son to be kidnapped by a stranger.

And while that happens to be pretty much the rarest crime of all, it is a popular one in the minds of folks like Herrmann, and the folks who applauded him on his Facebook page. As one wrote: "You told that meth-head! Nicely done!"

For its part, the reporter for WCPO News immediately confused the issue by piling on statistics about how quickly a child in a car can die of hyperthermia.

Except not in a car with the windows open.

And not in two minutes.

The reporter added that, "606 children have died between 1998 – 2013 due to heat related circumstances," including 18 who were left in the car intentionally.

Which means that roughly one child a year dies when left intentionally in a car. Out of 20 million children under the age of 5 in America.

So yes, it makes sense to take precautions like, say, keeping the windows rolled down. Ahem. But the chances are 1 in 7,300,000,000 (20 million kids x 365 days) that hero Herrmann was witnessing anything dangerous at all.

But still. Billion-to-one odds be damned. Circumstances be damned. Reality be damned. Time for the state to investigate this dangerous dad and salute a true hero.

*Update:Police have arrested the dad, Nathaniel Galloway. He is charged with "endangering the welfare of a child." Unbelievable.