Free-Range Kids

*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.

NEXT: Jacob Sullum on the Misbegotten Metaphor That Helped Defeat Mass Surveillance

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  1. Dad should’ve gone on offense. “Why the fuck are you taking video of my kid, you fucking pederast?! I’M calling the cops on YOU!”

    1. Ha! Great minds. Or devious ones, maybe.

    2. 8-year olds, Dude.

    3. Can I pray that the locale has some statute regarding video taping (and distributing) without consent?

      Oh ! The one time I really would like that rancid law to be applied.

    4. This is the solution. Scream as loud as possible “You are some kinda pedo, arent you?! Videoing my kid and threatening to drive off wth him!” And immediatley call the cops yourself.

  2. The dad should have accused the busybody of trying to molest his kid and filed a complaint. Noting that only the fact that the kid was in his eyesight and he was able to intervene thwarted the molestation.

    1. Not to give us short shrift, WTF, but I’m gonna go with devious. 😉

    2. He should have beat the fuck out of him.

      1. ^^This

        1. why. not. BOTH!

      2. He should have slit his throat and let him bleed out. Dead men take no license plate numbers.

  3. Area-man Mark Herrmann didn’t choose to be a hero.

    “Area-man”? Really?

    1. Does Area-Man wear a cape?

      1. I *think* it supposed to be Areola-Man.

          1. You know — like leg-man, ass-man, ….

        1. Maybe Urea-Man?

          1. Aryan man?

            1. Area-man


              1. Area man beats particle man…

    2. Area Man is only one dimension away from being Volume Man.

  4. Another reason to hate WalMart! Huge parking lots that are accomplices to child murder!!!!

  5. The child was inside his father’s vehicle, which is private property. Did this Hermann guy get his father’s consent before recording his child? If not, he could be subject to a criminal charge for illegally recording someone.

    Or does that argument only work for cops being filmed on the street?

    1. Depends on the state, right? Most states don’t require both parties to consent to taping.

      1. On or in Private property they do.

        1. I don’t know if an individual in the passenger space of a truck has a reasonable expectation of privacy but even if it is illegal they won’t prosecute because it’s for the children.

    2. Only public servants in public have privacy rights.

  6. So since Mark Herrman “could have” driven off with the kid in the car, does that mean that Mark Herrman should be charged with attempted Grand Theft Auto and Attempted Kidnapping? Mark Herrman was clearly surveying for just these possibilities. Or is Mark blaming the father for some how causing Mark think these thoughts? Where is the ambulance chaser when you need one?

    1. Arrest Mark Herrman for conspiracy to commit a felony!

    2. Where is the ambulance chaser when you need one?

      *Grabs oversized blade-switch to the Bo-signal*

      Do they have to be an official ambulance chaser or just kinda close to one?

  7. If you want to see more of this, then Hillary 2016.

  8. Herrmann let him have it, pointing out that, “You know if I was a bad guy, I coulda probably drove off with this guy.”

    At this point, dad should have knocked him out, waited until he came to, and asked him “want to threaten to kidnap my boy again, asshole?”


  9. I saw this on the news this morning and the talking heads were praising this guy to high heaven. The thing that kept running through my mind was that this holier-than-thou prick deserves a good old parking lot ass whipping.

    1. ^Fucking this.

  10. Mark Herrmann, another busybody a$$hole that would be better used as fertilizer.

    Progs, you can’t reform them, can’t educate them, can’t reason with them, all you can do is make fertilizer from them. Unfortunately. Sad.

    1. Soylent Green…

    2. The bad thing is, for every few people like us who are criticizing the guy, there are a hundred giving his balls a tongue bath right now. It’s fucking pathetic.

  11. Reason number 1,021,209,393,393,328,549 I’m not having kids. Why would I want to with fucking crazies like this? Everything on facebook is a fucking debate on the right way to do shit.

    I remember in college I could post whatever the fuck I wanted to on facebook because it was only my college friends. Those were the days.

    1. ^^ This

      “Hey, I missed class on Thursday. Massive hangover. What chapters did we cover?” was considered “smart” and not “stalking.” Apparently anything beyond 48 hours is now “stalking.”

    2. Not only is everything a debate on the right way to do things but everyone thinks their opinion is important and they should get to vote to make everyone do things their way because DEMOCRACY. We really really need to oppose this fetisization of democracy. It leads the mouth breathers to believe everything that happens in this world is somehow their business.

    3. Reply to my own, but a follow up.

      I have discussions with new mothers around my office all the time and they are 100% on board with shit like this. I repeat the stats like the above and about how violence is down but media coverage of violence is up. “Well you will understand when you have kids.” What the fuck happened?

      I can guarantee you that if I become a parent that logic will not elude me. Kids these days are safer. We are all safer. For almost any violent crime, it is the people you know that commit it against you. Children get abused by family first in a very large majority. Fuck off with this fear nonsense and this busy body crap.

      I really used to want to have kids. Maybe not 100%, but I thought it was a possibility. This is no longer the case. My boss is annoying suggesting the right way to do things (male boss too), Facebook is fucking insane, and everyone around is batshit crazy and trying to be a fucking hero.


      1. Parenting has become an Olympic sport. You show that you “care” by social signaling, by supporting the “right causes” and by how many times you can use “shameful” and “smh” in your Facebook posts.

        Social networks are malaria swamps for idiocy. If you want to connect with people who share your interests and hobbies, expect the activist left to make about 1/3 of the conversation about shaming “wrongthinkers.” Gardening, Aquarium keeping, parenting, video gaming, etc. All corrupted by activists.

        1. Social networks are malaria swamps for idiocy.

          Will be stealing that in some form.

        2. “…expect the activist left to make about 1/3 of the conversation about shaming “wrongthinkers.” So true! Doesn’t matter what the topic is, you’re doing it wrong and they are shaming you for your own good. I particularly like the activist who’s only expertise is gleaned from google searches.

      2. I’ve got a newborn, and they’re right, stuff does change. Pre-baby, I’d have ignored the guy with the phone, or maybe just politely told him that everything was fine and I appreciated his concern. Now, seeing some rando with a camera talking to my kid, I’d charge over and curb stomp him until I saw brain. I wouldn’t even stop to consider shooting him.

      3. Somehow I escaped the mandatory lobotomy after giving birth, because I am still capable of understanding logic despite having kids. I’m pretty sure I’ve never uttered the words: “It’s 100% if it happens to you!” or “It might not be true, but it’s still good advice anyway!”

  12. These busybodies are out of control.

    I recently left my dog in my truck with the windows mostly down while I ate fish and chips outside about twenty five feet away. I see this woman pull up next to my truck, she sees my dog, and then worries about the ‘dog left in the truck’ to some people standing around who point out to her that a) the windows are cracked & b) the dog is fine. She gets her order, glances again at my truck, again talks to the people who remind her that the dog is fine and the windows are down, and she finally drives off.

    I felt kind of bad for not confronting her but I figured as long as she didn’t try to open the doors, it wasn’t worth it to get involved with her crazy.

    1. Had you screamed at her like a raving lunatic she might not have ever tried something like that again. Doing so would have been a public service.

    2. My gf was driving home after a visit one weekend (she lives in a different state) and had to make a pit stop. The gas station doesn’t allow dogs inside and she was traveling alone. So she cracks the windows and does her business. She returns to her car and people are giving her the nastiest looks. Thankfully, nobody did anything to the car but the point remains…


      Two minutes to take a piss is one thing. An hour in Costco is another. Whenever we travel together, we have to stagger who goes to the bathroom because people are insane enough to bash in a window without stopping to think, “Gee… It’s a gas station. They must be taking a piss. They’ll be back rather quickly.” It’s fucking scary (and a sociopathic level of egotistical) that people value being a hero over common sense.

      1. It’s fucking scary (and a sociopathic level of egotistical) that people value being a hero over common sense.

        Given the sloppy blow jobs that people like the clown in this story tend to get for being an asshole busybody, it’s not surprising. Incentives, how do they fucking work again?

      2. OMG, you leave your girlfriend alone in the car while you go to the bathroom? What if she DIES???

  13. The words “Mark Herrmann is a scumbag” should be posted on every facebook page, every website, even graffitied on walls. This kind of behavior will never stop until these assholes know they are going to be shamed and humiliated excessively. It boosts their egos to be praised by cops and media. The opposite needs to be done by us.

  14. My daughter is only 24 and in just this short amount of time they have made illegal what I used to do all the time. I would leave her in the car with the AC running in the summer and the heat in the winter when I had to run a quick errand. Doors locked, emergency brake engaged and in safe neighborhoods. WTH, is happening to us?

    1. I sure hope you don’t leave her alone any more!

      1. Yeah, she’s still a child for another 2 uears.

    2. Dont talk too much about your 24 year old daughter. Who knows what interesting things Agile Cyborg will propse doing to her.

  15. Are you kidding me. My mother would leave us kids behind in the car while shopping ALL. THE. TIME. Guess what? There were twelve of us then, THERE ARE TWELVE OF US NOW.

    Goering here should be taken out back and shot before he reproduces.

    1. I thought the whole point of having twelve is because you’re probably going to lose a few of them.

      1. Every now and then you get a statistical outlier and they all survive. Pete Singer’s trying to make it legal to kill the excess ones that make it to adulthood, but no success yet.

      2. That’s what my poverty farmer grandparents thought. So, they had fifteen!

        Or maybe, as my mother liked to say, grandma liked sex and they didn’t have birth control then.

  16. I liked the part of the video where the guy says he could have driven off with the kid and the father said “I’ll bet you would have gotten two in the back of the head, no disrespect.”

    And WTF is that caption “Country Capitivated”.

  17. “You know if I was a bad guy, I coulda probably drove off with this guy.”

    “Are you threatening to kidnap my son, because you’re sure as hell not a good guy.”

    *beats shit out of asshole busybody*

  18. These people need shamed and ridiculed in public. If I see a child or animal in a car, I do a quick glance to make sure they aren’t in distress, and I move on. Shock of shocks, they’ve never been in distress!

    Anything more than that is busybodying, and deserves scorn, lots of scorn.

  19. And now they’ve arrested the dad for child neglect, which will surely benefit this child greatly.…..e-in-truck

    1. also “arrested on an unrelated warrant.”

  20. Maybe a GoFundMe is in order to create a life-sized, realistic “eight year old suffocating in a hot vehicle” mannequin/automaton. First place it could be trialed is in Mark Hermann’s neck of the woods.

  21. Update: Apparently they just arrested the dad. Because now the child is much safer without a dad around.

  22. Insanity. So if one kid dies a year from being left in a car, how many kids get creamed walking across the parking lot by some asshole on a cell phone? I bet it’s more than one a year. What ever happened to critical thinking?

    1. Replaced by FEELZ!

    2. Emotion and being able to look down your nose at someone trump critical thinking nowadays. Also, Matt, why do you hate kids?

  23. For context, one of my ancestors was 7 years old in 1777.

    A great-grandchild, Mrs. Wm. Hawley Smith of Peoria, Ill., tells a good Revolutionary story of her great-grandmother.” After Gov. Jonas Galusha of Bennington, Vt., was stricken with paralysis and bed-ridden, his son, Jonas Jr., with his family, came to live with and care for the afflicted Governor.

    The youngest of Jonas Jr.s family was my father, O.B. Galusha, and he often described the following scene which took place in his grandfather’s room, when he was a young boy. Among those present was a visiting neighbor, my mother’s grandmother, Lucinda Mitchell Hinsdale. The conversation turned to reminiscences of the Revolutionary War, and great-grandmother Hinsdale said:

    “My father had Quaker proclivities and was conscientiously opposed to fighting, and went to Canada to avoid being conscripted in to the army. Under these circumstances he naturally gained the reputation, which he did not deserve, of being a Tory.”


    1. “I well remember when I was a little girl of seven,” she continued, “that I was at home alone for a short time while mother went to a neighbor’s, and that a squad of Federal cavalry came to raid our premises, because, as I found when I was older, my father was said to be a Tory. They started to drive away our little herd of cattle, and among them was one that had been given to me when a calf, and was my special pet and pride. When I saw her driven away with the rest, I ran to the big mortar where the rock salt was pounded to feed to the cattle, and begun to pound with all my might. The cattle became completely unmanageable and came back, expecting to be fed some salt. The soldiers came after them and scolded and stormed, and ordered me to stop, which I refused to do unless they would let me have my heifer. This they refused to do; so as soon as they were fairly started again, I began to pound, and the cattle came back as before; but still the angry soldiers refused to let me keep my heifer. The third time I waited till the cattle were in the middle of a small river that ran close to our house, and then I began to pound with might and main. The cattle wheeled in the water and swam back. By this time the captain was furious, and, pointing his gun at me, said,


      1. “If you don’t stop that pounding, I’ll shoot you,” and I said,

        “Shoot away, I won’t stop till you let me have my heifer.”

        At this point of her story, my father said the old Governor raised himself in bed, something that he had not done in years and said,

        “Were you that little ? devil I was going to say? I was that Captain; I’ve often wondered what you thought when I said I’d shoot you. What did you?”

        “Why, I just said to myself, ‘He’ll never shoot a little girl like me’, and you know you wouldn’t. You just let me pick out my heifer and then I let the rest go.”

        “You got all the herd back the next day, didn’t you?” Governor Galusha asked.

        “Yes, all but two that had been eaten,” she replied. “My mother went over to the camp the next day and explained that father was not a Tory, and the officers returned all the cattle that were left.”

        1. 7 years old, and single-handedly ran off the Feds.

          1. Today they would shoot her. That hammer made those king’s men fear for their lives.

  24. From the WCPO article:

    Police said if you see a child alone in a hot vehicle, immediately call 911 or the local emergency number.

    Police also said that discretion, common sense and judgement, like firearms, are dangerous things that should only be used by professionals like themselves.

  25. “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 ratted you out to the cops.'”

  26. Mark Herrmann should be charged with inducing motion sickness via crappy-ass camera work.

  27. I have 2 boys, ages 7 and 9. I only recently started leaving them alone in the car while I run into 7-11. I’m probably breaking the law. The only thing I would have done differently is take the keys. I have more fear of my 9 year old driving off with my car than a stranger kidnapping them.

  28. So leaving my kid chained up in the back yard while I go on vacation is a bad thing?

    1. As long as you leave plenty of water for him and have the neighbors come by often to collect his droppings, it should be okay.

  29. Not only is the government run by idiots there is a portion of the American public that are just as idiotic ..!

    1. Well, yes. You just noticed? The two phenomena, believe it or not, are linked.

    2. Well, yeah. Who do you think votes for the idiots?

    3. Much more than a portion I must say.

  30. The writer described the happening as “unbelievable”. Obviously, she was wrong. Oh by the way, such circumstances say a great deal about this country, and our society. Unfortunately none of what is said is good.

  31. Where’s the video so I can make my own judgement?

  32. my roomate’s mother makes $63 /hour on the internet . She has been fired from work for ten months but last month her paycheck was $16842 just working on the internet for a few hours. check out the post right here … ?

  33. hero Herrmann noticed the truck, whipped out his phone and videotaped the child

    Is a phone all Hermann ‘whipped out’ while engaging in his lurid thoughts as he took video of a small child?

  34. Regarding the update: The wording in your update is misleading, it implies he was arrested for the child neglect. While I think it is likely stupid to charge him with child neglect (maybe there are more facts we don’t know), he was charged with child neglect and arrested on an unrelated warrant.

  35. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ??????

  36. It’s the law in CA.

    But only a crime if it endangers the animal’s health.

    Thus, the debate begins.

  37. Cases like this abound–a woman arrested at a fair in mid-summer and hit with charges, because a police officer deemed her children, who were accompanying her, dangerously sunburned; a woman accosted by a police officer at a convenience store in winter and told that she had better put a coat on her boy; etc.–and instances like these are part of the larger societal norm of the state usurping parents’ rights. The state will determine what safety measures your child will take in any given activity, like riding a bicycle, and whether or not it will wear a helmet, for example.

    The state’s assertion of domain over children is part of the overall assertion of domain the state exercises over all human beings from birth, as reflected in the litany of laws that prohibit, control and regulate adults’ personal, victimless behavior for their own good or supposed good.
    The principle has been enshrined into law and public policy that the state and not the individual possesses this prerogative.

    Let me tell you, there simply is no greater incursion on human freedom than the existence and application of this principle of tyranny. In itself, it denies us control over our very destiny.

    Just the existence of this one premise in law and public policy demands a revolution for freedom!

    Robert Farrior
    New Jersey

  38. Tar and feathers.

  39. After the trial,Dad needs to file a lawsuit for false arrest. And publish the address etc of this wonk who is SO concerned and nosey. Good grier=f, can’t anyone think any more?

  40. Nathaniel . although Stephanie `s rep0rt is super… I just bought a top of the range Mercedes sincee geting a check for $4416 this last four weeks and would you believe, ten/k last-month . no-doubt about it, this really is the best-job I’ve ever done . I actually started seven months/ago and almost straight away started making a nice over $79.. p/h….. ??????

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