Dear police: Can you please stop telling parents to check their kids' Halloween candy for drugs?
Urging tens of millions of Americans to look for something that isn't there is completely pointless, yet every Halloween, the authorities do this.
Then again, maybe worrying about outrageously unlikely crimes is just something the government does. I once met an FBI employee whose job was to warn school bus drivers about possible terrorist hijackings. She and I were both speakers at a school bus driver convention. (The glamorous life of a thought leader.)
Every year, some police department makes it into the news cycle by warning about drugs disguised as candy. They do this without ever mentioning that if you like drugs enough to buy them, you probably don't want to give them away to someone who will not pay for them, will not appreciate them, and most likely will not even be around when they ingest them, meaning you'll miss all the fun of watching them.
Nevertheless, the Auburn, Georgia, police posted to Facebook a photo of a whole bunch of ecstasy they seized in a "traffic-related incident." Note that this was not a Halloween-related incident, yet somehow it has migrated into a parental warning.
"As you can see the ecstasy looks like candy, little frog heads in all different colors," the department wrote. "Please make sure to speak with your children and educate them about suspicious candy-like substances."
The Fox News report on this incident added, "It's unknown how the person was planning on distributing the suspected drugs." Which is code for: The person did not mention Halloween, so we will just leave the connection (which does not seem to exist) ambiguous.
The report then leaps three years back to a 2018 incident when, indeed, two kids were hospitalized after eating Halloween candy laced with meth. Which is like reminding parents that while most of the time their kids are safe at Disney World, there was that one alligator attack.
What no one has ever done, as far as we know, is kill a stranger's kid with poisoned Halloween candy. So this kind of article is not journalism, it's horror-story fan fiction disguised as a service piece.
"Thank you for being vigilant with your child's safety," wrote the Auburn police on Facebook.
But desperately hunting through your kids' candy for Ecstasy is not being vigilant. It's being gullible, goaded into worry by articles that pretend that good parents have to go through the motions of hyper vigilance to keep their kids safe.