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Cops Called on Parents Whose Autistic 5-Year-Old Son's Hair Was Too Messy

"The parents of special needs children are especially vulnerable to state intervention."

ParkNoblige / DreamstimeThis mom's story in The Washington Post will kick anyone in the gut. Texas writer May Cobb was out for a day with her mom, her husband, and their autistic 5-year-old who, miraculously, was doing great. By great, Cobb explained, she meant he had not had a single meltdown during the hour they were at a park and on the boardwalk near Lady Bird Lake in Austin. He hadn't stripped off all his clothes, and he wasn't banging his head over and over again.

Sure, his hair was messy—his sensory issues render him distraught when he gets his hair brushed. And his pants were too short—but at least he'd actually chosen a pair to wear, rather than tearing them off. So all was as right as right can be when you have a kid with autism.

But then, as the family was heading to the car, a pair of cops approached Cobb:

"Can we talk to you a second," he asked, "about your son?"

My husband called out over his shoulder, "He's autistic," and kept walking my son to the car.

The officer's face burned with embarrassment. I assumed he was getting ready to inform me that rock-throwing wasn't allowed, but he said, "We got a call about your son. The people who called were worried that because of his hair, and because of his pants, that you weren't taking good care of him."

Because strangers care so much more about kids than their own parents do.

Now my faced burned with anger and my stomach was sick with shock.

"He's autistic," I told them, "and because of his severe sensory issues, we have difficulty brushing and cutting his hair."

Both officers nodded their heads in understanding.

"You're talking about my grandson," my mother hissed.

"Yes, there's clearly nothing going on here," the red-faced officer said.

"I'm so glad you were called to investigate this instead of more serious crimes," I said, tears threatening to strangle my voice.

"It's clearly just a case of bed-head," the same officer said by way of apology. "Sorry to have bothered you."

We bid them goodbye and joined my husband and son and walked back to our car.

They were worried you weren't taking good care of him.

This happened in November but Cobb just wrote about it last week because it has taken that long for her to process the event with a modicum of serenity.

As she ticks off all the other times her family probably looked strange to outsiders, she is grateful for the many people who did not call the cops. But the fact remains that "the police were called on us because my son was having a bad hair day. What does this say about our society?"

It says that we are increasingly convinced that it is up to every onlooker to assume abuse rather than to give parents the benefit of the doubt when anything, even a child's hair, seems amiss—that this is good citizenship.

This presumes that the authorities are going to make things better, and that an outsider can really tell what's going on.

"I have to praise the common sense of the police here," Diane Redleaf, a longtime family civil rights lawyer and director of the Redleaf Family Advocacy Institute at the National Center for Housing and Child Welfare, told me. "The family had the good fortune not to have child protective services called against them. Others have not been as lucky."

She recalled one case presented to the federal court: Dupuy v. McDonald, a class action challenge to policies that banished parents from their homes when they were victims of child abuse calls. In that case, Chicago high school science teacher James Redlin had been the target of an anonymous tip to state child protection authorities after a commuter thought he'd fondled his mildly autistic 6-year-old son on the subway.

Redlin explained that he'd been tickling his boy, as therapists had encouraged. Without verifying any of the context, authorities threatened to take his son into foster care unless Redlin's wife, who uses a wheelchair, provided 24-hour supervision of any contact between her husband and their son. The case dragged on all summer, with the authorities finally determining the charges to be "unfounded."

"The parents of special needs children are especially vulnerable to state intervention," said Redleaf. "And as for anonymous calls to the authorities, this practice needs to end. It is far too easy to disrupt or even destroy a family with one quick call from a cell phone."

My friend Linda Gasten, mom of a young man with autism, has this advice for onlookers: if you see kids "making unusual noises," consider that they may have a disability, and that it's likely the parents are doing the best they can. It's abundantly less likely that they are monstrous abusers who are taking their victims out for a day of fun, in public, at the park.

Photo Credit: Noblige / Dreamstime

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  • Don't look at me.||

    So, you mean like due process?

  • Elias Fakaname||

    I actually feel kind of bad for the cops who were forced to respond to this horseshit call. They sounded embarrassed to be a part of it at all.

  • croaker||

    Because they know they'll be seen as the bad guys in this. And they deserve it.

  • Schizoidman_21||

    exactly what I thought. Apparently Robby Sauve supports nosey onlookers to call the cops and would then support DSS removing the child from the family - because hair.

  • Rod Flash||

    We need accountability. When someone calls the cops for something stupid, the person the cops were called on should get one free punch on the caller. If the cops are assholes about it, they get punched too.

  • NoVaNick||

    I say fine the person who made the call at least $5000 to be paid within 30 days, OR ELSE a SWAT team will be knocking down their door.

  • NoVaNick||

    and will shoot their pet Chihuahua

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Damn, don't shoot the Chihuahua! Sure, they tend to be miserable animals, but that's only because they know that, genetically speaking, they should be a wolf. You'd be pissed too.

  • FlameCCT||

    Chihuahuas are nothing more than large rodents not wolf. ;-)

  • Rogers1234||

    They're rodents who want to be wolves

  • jelabarre||

    You mean they're rodents who IDENTIFY as wolves...

  • BYODB||

    But that might discourage people from calling, and if it saves even one kid (even while it literally fucks over hundreds) than it must be good! Why are you for child rape and murder?!

    /sarc

    But you know it's what would be said.

  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    It's time to have a conversation about the "nanny" state. This is clearly a misogynistic patriarchal cis gendered and vicious and cruel and capitalist attack on the social contract. I recommend that all future government overreach and henpecking be referred to as "sweet justice".

  • Thomas O.||

    And it's embarrassing that this happened in Texas. I don't care if it's super-liberal Austin.

  • sarcasmic||

    I'm surprised they didn't get a beat-down for embarrassing the cop.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I'm just amazed the cop was embarrassed.

  • BYODB||

    It's Austin, TX. Those two officers probably saw at least a dozen things more bizarre on their mosey over to where this couple was in the first place. They might have been 'embarrassed' because they had to talk past three or four actually illegal activities just to get to this legal behavior.

    Honestly, I wouldn't cry if a meteor took out Austin. It's really a pretty terrible place.

  • Seamus||

    A meteor big enough to do that would probably fuck up a lot more than just Austin. Or maybe you are so steeped in despair that you were welcoming a mass extinction event.

  • Kivlor||

    I too regularly pray for Sweet Meteor of Death to save us all in the way that only it can.

  • SQRLSY One||

    Austin is the seat of Sate Government Almighty of Texas, so it's got the pro-big- Government-Almighty folks of Texas, concentrated there. That's why it's known as "The People's Republic of Austin".

    (But the outdoors around there are quite nice).

  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    The blue line is thin.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    But not the waistline.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    Give them a break, Voodoo Donuts opened a shop there.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    "their autistic 5-year-old who, miraculously, was doing great"

    Um, what the fuck is that supposed to mean?

  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    Your handle...I am cracked up.

  • croaker||

    I am puzzled. What would Madcow need with a fleshlight? One would think a vibrator would be more useful to her.

  • ||

    Yeah, the whole situation is lose-lose-lose.

    Nobody got shot or abducted by child services. Nobody tried to comb any kid's hair in a cis-normative way or shouted at anyone for not doing so. The main thing that seemed to spoil a walk in the part was Teh Feelz.

  • Hugh Akston||

    You should really try reading the rest of the article before commenting. Or at the very least, if you don't understand what a sentence means, try reading the subsequent sentence.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    The assertion that it was miraculous us the problem, but thanks for contributing nothing.

  • Hugh Akston||

    I'm sorry you were unable to communicate your meaning clearly. You'll do better next time.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    That's...kind of WHY I selectively quoted the part about miraculous.

    Let me guess, you're that guy with nothing useful to actually say about any particular subject, so you come shit on people when you don't understand the discussion. then flee when it's pointed out how snarky and worthless your input is.

    How close am I?

  • Blizardo||

    Looks dead on.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    I guess he doesn't understand how quoting works.

    But, in his defense, his family thinks his behavior today was miraculous.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Hugh has been around a long time and consistently and regularly provides us with entertaining comments. You, on the other hand, just appeared, though I suspect you've been around and just changed your handle. In either case, whether you are new or a re-boot, tread with humility and respect first, if you want to build up cred.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    I didn't ask.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Oh yes you did.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    No, I asserted.

  • Blizardo||

    CBM runs several sockpuppets, and I've long suspected he was Hugh. He runs Hihn, and Robert, and his immediate assumption that you were a sock is because he lives in his own head. You can ignore him.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    Oh ok, a troll. They seem to be legion here.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Since this Blizardo username is new, it's probably another one of your accounts. Hugh is one the West Coast, and I am on the East Coast, so it would be quite a feat for us to be the same person. As for Robert and Hihn, those are indeed the same person, but I am not him, because I am not a vampire.

    It's actually quite interesting how quickly people are outed as socks here. It seems that the propensity for socks implies some sort of inability to hide one's language patterns and pet issues.

    As for me, this is the only account I have ever used to comment here. I simply can't be bothered, even if I found it somehow to be rewarding to try to fool people I am someone else.

  • Blizardo||

    Protest more Queen Gertrude.

    It's been obvious for a while, socko.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Are you new or have you commented under a different username before?

  • Kivlor||

    I'm pretty sure that CMB isn't a Hihn sock. It would be easy to test too. Just post something about how cool Ron Paul is and how libertarian Ron Paul is. If Hihn is present he will Sperg out.

  • Blizardo||

    Save it Hihn, defending yourself is pointless.

  • Red Tony||

    Context: the kid is autistic and doesn't usually behave correctly in public as a consequence of this. The fact that the kid was behaving (comparatively) well? Miraculous. So he was doing a good job. It usually doesn't happen like that.

    I mean, that's, that's pretty clear. Unless this is AddictionMyth, in which case GO FUCK YOURSELF.

  • Zeb||

    No, addiction myth is downthread claiming that the fake diagnosis of autism leads to mass murder.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Holy fuck, I thought you were just kidding, but I scrolled down and there it is.

    *SMDH* What a tool.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    You calling someone else a tool...

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    Calling it miraculous brands his regular daily behavior negatively. That isn't positive and I would assert, unhelpful.

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    If his regular daily behavior includes ripping off his clothes in public and bashing his head against things, why would anyone consider those positive things?

  • Cynical Asshole||

    I assume because Maddow's Fleshlight likes to rip his clothes off in public and bash his head on things and therefor believes that to be totally normal behavior.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    No you're right, calling him a demonic little shit who has ruined mommy's life on the daily is the right way to go, like Cynical Asshole would.

    No wonder you seem so antisocial.

  • BYODB||

    Well, the obvious assumption is that ripping your clothes off and banging your head repeatedly into objects are both negative behaviors. What about being autistic makes them positive behaviors, one might ask.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    You would have luck getting an answer with someone who asserted they were positive. I can only give you the perspective of someone who suggested that value judgements be avoided.

  • BYODB||

    So, since we have eliminated the option of those being negative behaviors, and you're not saying they're positive behaviors, than we are now arrive at the assumption that stripping naked in public and banging your head into things are in fact neutral behaviors.

    Very interesting. Elaborate?

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    No, there is no assumption about the behaviors. You continue to both miss the point and mischaracterize what I am saying.

    It's not difficult to understand.

  • BYODB||

    If I was trying to mischaracterize what you were saying, I'd use your 'demonic little shits' comment which, notably, is far worse than the statement you're bitching endlessly about. Plus I'd use your willingness to use 'autistic' as an insult as more evidence that you're being a disingenuous little twit.

    It's not hard to understand. I'm absolutely a misanthrope, but you're an idiot.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    "you're an idiot."

    There was never any doubt while you were intentionally missing the point and mischaracterized my statements that this was your inevitable endgame, and that you were this guy.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    "Plus I'd use your willingness to use 'autistic' as an insult"

    How sad that you have to resort to straight up lying. You seem like a very sad, small person, and really, lying about something when the text is on the page is kind of pathetic.

    Why do you trolls do this, out of curiosity, instead of improving yourself? Is it because you're ashamed of how broken your decision process is?

  • croaker||

    Their day was going quite well until some cunt called the cops.

    Cops are bad news. If you don't know that, you're naive.

  • Zeb||

    I think the article makes it pretty clear. It's unusual for them to be able to take the kid out without having some kind of meltdown or other uncomfortable behavior incident. I'm not sure what you are having trouble understanding. Perhaps the fact that people sometimes use the word "miracle" when they don't actually mean that there was direct, literal divine intervention is giving you trouble?

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    Calling it miraculous brands his regular daily behavior negatively. That isn't positive

  • Zeb||

    So? Throwing tantrums and stripping off your clothes in public is negative behavior that people don't like. The parents and child are all going to be much happier on those apparently rare days when nothing like that happens.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    It can be discussed realistically without such value judgements, and when you engage in such value judgements, you never know when they'll pop up.

    I'm sorry you dont want to admit I have a point, after comitting to the idea that I was an idiot, but it's probably not the first time you didn't consider something.

  • Zeb||

    Or it could be that you are poorly articulating your point. Your initial way of making the "point" was to say "what the fuck does that mean?" Now it seems pretty clear that you knew exactly what that was supposed to mean, but didn't like the choice of words. If you want people to see your point, you might want to try articulating it more clearly in the first place.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    Thanks, I appreciate that you have admitted that you missed my point, and agree it has merit and that you erred in your aggressively dismissive tone.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    I'm sorry you dont want to admit I have a point, after comitting to the idea that I was an idiot, but it's probably not the first time you didn't consider something.

    I hope you realize that you're starting to look ridiculous.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    This is an internet comment board, I hope you know that means literally nothing.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    By the way, Spark, Zeb doesn't seem to agree with you at all.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    This is an internet comment board, I hope you know that means literally nothing.

    Of course I know that. It means literally nothing other than you should keep swinging until you're sure you've had the last word otherwise people will laugh at you ON THE INTERNET!

    By the way, Spark, Zeb doesn't seem to agree with you at all.

    Zeb doesn't agree that you're starting to look ridiculous? That's fine, Zeb and I don't agree on everything.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    Nah man, you can have the last word.

    Have a miraculous day.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    People sometimes look negatively at "self-injurious" behavior. No one is branding a scarlet letter A (for Autistic, get it?) on the kid out of sadism. They're doing what parents are supposed to do, take care of him.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    I addressed this already.

  • BYODB||

    The value judgement is going to be made anyway, and your social signaling that it's 'no ok' is a big red warning sign that you're either trolling or way, way too sensitive to be hanging out around here.

    As a matter of fact, given your user handle the odd's approach zero that you're not a troll. You have no legs to stand on for neutral behavior.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    It's not s9cial signaling, it's been proven quite conclusively that it affords better outcomes.

    Are you that weird neo-nazi in every site that sees "SJW" and screams white power when you're wrong?

    Gross.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    "You have no legs to stand on for neutral behavior."

    Well, I didn't know I had to treat you like you were suffering from autism.

  • BYODB||


    Well, I didn't know I had to treat you like you were suffering from autism.

    Thanks for proving I was right, by the way. Or is it more ok for you to make value judgments and use autism as an insult?

    LOL. 3/10 effort.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    It was serious.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    And your neo-nazi stuff is really gross, you should get a handle on that.

  • BYODB||

    If I were inclined to lean towards nationalist socialist nonsense, I'd have endorsed putting a bullet in the kid. You know, just so we have a frame of reference here.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    No, your immediate assumption that something you didn't understand, and thus like, was "social signaling" pretty clearly demonstrates that you deserve the "neo" appelation. No one suggested you were an old school gasser.

  • BYODB||

    Concern trolling is so last year, but hyperbole never goes out of style.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    Save it for your neo-brownshirt buddies.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    It's also fascinating that you're so unsophisticated that when informed outcomes are improved, you label that "concern trolling" as though it were a bad thing to be concerned about improved outcomes for children.

    Why help kids when you can complain about She's and look like a gross monster.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    SJW's

  • Microaggressor||

    You are a sad, pathetic little creature.

  • Alcibiades||

    Lucid, clear, unambiguous, to anyone but the most annoying literal-minded pedant.

  • ADDgolfer||

    Try reading the next line.
    Another one who like the caller reporting the parents, doesn't get it

  • cc2||

    "their autistic 5-year-old who, miraculously, was doing great"
    It means that normally during a similar walk in the park the kid would be screaming or tearing off his clothes. Hope that helps.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    It's possible. My neighbor's autistic kid is freaking out all the time. Getting him to board the school bus I'm the morning appears to be a quite an undertaking.

  • Tionico||

    Never been much around autistis or Downs kids, eh? They tend to DO, as "normal" many of the types of things listed as "he DID NOT do _________". So when the child does behave in a relativley "normal" manner in public, parents are VERY thankful, and will usually remember and celebrate that the child was "doing great" during that outing. Of course, in this case it all came crashing down thanks to some stupid unappointed nannie who thought ItSelf to have a more clear idea of what is "normal" than the parents who have spent some eighteen hundred days with this expert at "non normal as normal" child.

    I know such parents with such children. Thankfully I do NOT know any people sufficiently tyrannical to be making such unfounded phone calls.

  • DajjaI||

    The problem with autism is not the disease but the DIAGNOSIS. This is what turns these kids into mass murderers. Because the 'treatment' tells the kid: "You have a brain disease and are not responsible for your own behavior."

    Couple that with a lonely mother who accentuates her son's idiosyncrasies and sabotages his peer relations and smothers the child with unwanted affection, and soon enough you've created a monster. Of course, most kids will turn out fine regardless.

    The purpose of this article is to cultivate sympathy for what is really child abuse. The problem is that when this kid kills people, they will double down on 'early intervention and treatment', which is a witch hunt for kids who are deemed inadequately socialized, and diagnose them with a disease which will only repeat the cycle.

  • Zeb||

    Right. Autistic kids usually go on to be mass murderers. Makes you think.

  • DajjaI||

    Sandy Hook, Santa Barbara, Aurora. Need I go on? All the same story. There is nothing wrong with these kids other than someone once told them that 'something is wrong in your brain'.

    Again, the problem is not autism but the DIAGNOSIS.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    someone once told them that 'something is wrong in your brain'.

    I'm at work so I can't, but someone ought to call the cops immediately to prevent a mass murder committed by dingus here.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Diagnosing people with autism doesn't cause mass murder.

  • DajjaI||

    Violence by autistic people is more commonly reactive than planned—triggered, for example, by an invasion of personal space.

    Of course it does.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I don't really have time to read that "sprawling New Yorker shit", so could you direct me to the paragraph which positively identifies the "DIAGNOSIS" of Autism as causing him to commit mass murder. You know, the paragraph with citations and evidence?

  • Zeb||

    That's fucking stupid.

  • DajjaI||

    Earlier, Peter Rodger's lawyer, Alan Shifman, said that the "family believes the child was the perpetrator".

    He said Mr Rodger's son had been "diagnosed at an earlier age of being a highly functional Asperger Syndrome child"

    Need I go on?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    So, what you're saying is, Temple Grandin is a ticking timebomb? Ye gods.

  • Tionico||

    since when is asperger's synonymous with autism?

    Dig more deeply, there is a different link ALL these and many more (almost all other similar ones) have in common.

    Its the MEDS, dummie!! Many kids are diagnised ADHD, ADD, etc, then dosed with the same family of meds.. known side effects include precisely this sort of brutal behaviour. =VERY FEW of those kids doped up are actually autistic. They are dosed to make them quiet in an environment that is in opposition to what is normal and healthy for young boys, full of energy, curious, wanting to explore and learn, but stuck behind desks in school all day doing what they hate. So they get dosed. And the anger/frustration builds... for years. Take them off the meds suddenly, they tend to explode, and feed the antigun frenzy of certain very wealthy males who desire control.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    It's not the fault of aspies that you normies are so frustratingly slow, dull, and irrational.

  • BYODB||

    The problem is those kids weren't diagnosed with autism, they were on antipsychotics and the thread of similarity is how they were being dosed with those drugs. HINT: They were all in the process of changing meds which is KNOWN to be a dangerous time when psychotic breaks can occur on those meds. I'm not positive when it comes to each shooting, but if memory serves it was true of Columbine and Sandy Hook.

    Of course, not all of those shootings are even in the same category so...

  • CE||

    Huge sample size there. I can list more who aren't autistic.

  • Tionico||

    No, you wilfully missed one certain specific detail ALL these cases, and many more, have in common: It is the dosing with SSRI and related pharmaceuticals, which are KNOWN to have as an occasioinal nasty side effect, destructive, suicidal, and/or murderous behaviour.

    Further, I do not recall these individuals having been diagnosed and/or treated as "autistic". Its the meds, dummie!!!!

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    The diagnoses thing is bothersome, as I do think we are increasingly getting to a point of diagnostic tautology.

    "Of course he can't get along, he has a mental illness. Why does he have a mental illness? Well if he didn't he'd be able to get along."

    Light forms of autism have become something like ADD. A diagnoses to explain why your kid wasn't Prom King. Though, I don't really know what Dajjal is going on about up there.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    JeffGoldblumAndThereItIs.gif

  • JuanQPublic||

    Assuming you don't believe in vaccinations either.

  • ADDgolfer||

    Thank You Dr. Idiot
    What is this...the Onion?
    The comments are spoofs? You people are nuts!!!

  • Red Tony||

    Sometimes the nuts come into the comments section. Usually the tone is...well, it's a different type of insanity. Just be glad we haven't had a Hihnfection.

    On that note, welcome to the site!

  • cc2||

    While it may be true that some merely unruly kids are misdiagnosed, true autism is very difficult to deal with no matter how good the parents are. A merely unruly child does not repeatedly bang his head on the wall and need a football helmet.

  • damikesc||

    Gee, progressive utopia Austin has officious busy bodies. This is so unlike progressive utopias...

  • ||

    I said, tears threatening to strangle my voice.

    So, if I said this Mom is hyperventilating over a non-issue, is that victim blaming? Nobody was attacked and the most challenging thing that occurred was an officer saying, "Can we talk to you about your son?" followed by a bona fide apology.

    I wish I could say I'm sorry, but I get every impression that if her son weren't autistic she'd either be ratting out my kids for having short pants and unkempt hair, but not autism, or melting down about something else.

    I'd feel bad for her husband if it didn't seem like he had things so well in hand.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    It does seem a touch hysterical.

  • croaker||

    When goons with guns approach you uninvited, hysterical is a proper response.

  • NoVaNick||

    Problem again is too many cops, and too many government bureaucrats with too much time on their hands. We could easily make do with half the number of cops and still be just as safe. If this were the case, and there were no relevant authorities to investigate these stupid reports (or the relevant authorities just told these callers to fuck off) then the busybody do-gooders would have nobody to call.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Government's gonna govern, and regulators gonna regulate. The more you have the more you get.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Budget cuts would seem in order here.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    "the police were called on us because my son was having a bad hair day. What does this say about our society?"

    It says that our society (read: your neighbors) are a bunch of overly politically-active busybodies who spend way too much time reading about "trafficking" on social media.

    Government is the weapon being wielded by the douchebag in the next car over.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    "we are increasingly convinced that it is up to every onlooker to assume abuse rather than to give parents the benefit of the doubt when anything, even a child's hair, seems amiss—that this is good citizenship"

    = "Government is the weapon being wielded by the douchebag in the next car over."

    Much pithier.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    You don't have to be all pithy about it.

  • Tionico||

    well, seems he has an uncontrollable compulsion to pith on someone. Guess you were just in his line of water.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Government is the weapon being wielded by the douchebag in the next car over.

    I'm stealing this and will use it without attribution. FYI.

  • JuanQPublic||

    That was a good one indeed.

  • JuanQPublic||

    I feel assaulted by your words.

  • croaker||

    And should be fed to a woodchipper.

  • Alcibiades||

    Anonymous tip lines are basically an invitation to wreck people's lives.

  • ||

    Also, some people are just cruising around in their lives just looking for a ditch to slam it into so that they can tell people about it. If the police show up because of an anonymous tip, that only makes the story better.

  • JuanQPublic||

    Agreed. They remove all accountability from the need for paranoid do-gooders to project their hallucinations on other people, using the law.

  • JuanQPublic||

    This is just a part of a larger problem in society where reason, privacy and autonomy are being replaced by paranoia, obsession with others and self-righteousness. The public is largely bent on sticking their self-righteous noses into other people's affairs with little understanding, and increasingly using authority to do it.

  • Olga||

    As an outsider, it is hard to tell. However, two parents that look financially well off and their child has ill fitting clothes and doesn't appear to be well kept, so someone called to see if the child was doing o.k. Probably an over-reaction, but the onlooker can't know.

    On the other extreme a couple in California kept 13 children chained to a bed and failed to feed, educate and clean them. Their neighbors thought they were strange, but did not report them. They were completely unsure how many children were living there.

  • JuanQPublic||

    Probably an over-reaction, but the onlooker can't know.

    An onlooker probably can't know if the guy in front of them buying a family-size bag of Cheetoes feeds their kids that for breakfast, lunch and dinner either. Since we don't know, better call the cops.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    If you're really concerned, strike up a conversation, and you can find out pretty easily. That's what it says about society. People "care" but not enough to get their hands dirty by interacting.

  • Zeb||

    People need to mind their own business.

  • Blizardo||

    You should take your own advice there.

  • Longtobefree||

    No anonymous complaint should ever be investigated.
    Sixth amendment and all that jazz

  • croaker||

    Ring the cell phone that made the report. That will tell you who to feed to the woodchipper.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    Just say no, guys.

  • BYODB||


    "The parents of special needs children are especially vulnerable to state intervention," said Redleaf. "And as for anonymous calls to the authorities, this practice needs to end. It is far too easy to disrupt or even destroy a family with one quick call from a cell phone."


    Hmm...I think my new hobby is going to be calling these anonymous tip lines while in a park and simply reporting everyone who walks by. I mean, it's not like there is any downside whatsoever for me. I can't be held responsible in any way, shape, or form.


    But the families I could destroy without consequence might be doing something wrong, so it's really my obligation to make sure the state is in their business


    /sarc

  • Jerryskids||

    The Stasi was never the omnipresent, omniscient force they were made out to be, they just relied on the normal human instinct to be a buttinski and rat out your neighbor in a heartbeat. You don't need a vast network of informants when everybody and their brother is clamoring to screw with their neighbor any way they can. And then feel smug and self-righteous about it, to boot. Consider, God only had 10 rules and fully half of them involve not fucking with shit that ain't any of your business. God knows how people are.

  • BYODB||

    Exactly this. Plus, after your neighbor gets hauled away there's a chance the government might auction off their property for cheap. Win-Win?

  • CE||

    And then He cut it down to one rule, and these people are breaking that, treating their neighbors unlike they would want to be treated

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    I'm kind of shocked how many trolls showed up to assert the importance of negatively labeling this child's behavior.

  • Kivlor||

    You might want to take a break from your Sperg-out and see a doc about your 'Tism.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    You felt like I was talking right to you, and it bothered you.

  • Microaggressor||

    It's just that you have a creepy obsession with Lenore's accurate characterization of autistic children. Have you ever worked with autistic children? It the characterization insulting to you for one reason or another? What makes you so certain that you're right? Do you think the child is going to end up reading this article and be harmed by that word?

  • commentguy||

    I'm kind of shocked that even though there hasn't been a single person post to agree with your stance on calling a spade a spade, you're still harping on about it.

  • Kivlor||

    Both officers nodded their heads in understanding.

    "You're talking about my grandson," my mother hissed.

    "Yes, there's clearly nothing going on here," the red-faced officer said.

    "I'm so glad you were called to investigate this instead of more serious crimes," I said, tears threatening to strangle my voice.

    You had me believing your story Skenazy, all the way until we got to this gem. Everyone at Reason knows that if she'd popped her mouth off like that one of those cops would've popped a cap in her leg at a bare minimum. And then tazed and beat her for resisting arrest.

  • BYODB||

    It's Austin, so the cops are never sure if you're wearing flannel ironically and are in reality a multimillionaire or if you're just homeless. It's surprising how much that mitigates their behavior.

  • GeneralWeygand||

    I think you meant it dictates their behavior, not mitigates it.

  • croaker||

    It also helps that there's a law in Texas that says you can kill cops if they wrongly use deadly force on you. That tends to stay their hand.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Austin cops raided an acid party in the late sixties. Only when booking did they realize the kids they arrested all had the same last names as State Legislators. The town has been relatively safe since that night.

  • CE||

    The railing in the picture looks like it could give that kid splinters. call the cops.

  • vek||

    Busy bodies that do stuff like this are fucking scum. Unless you see somebody beating the shit out of their kid with a stick right in front of you, it's none of your business in the first place, but you don't know what it going on. A kid with a big scab on his face could have fallen off his bike. A bruise could be from being hit with a baseball at a baseball game.

    People like this disgust me.

  • Tionico||

    Yup, anonymous calles MUST be ended. The Constitution provides that due process, defined, includes confronting and examining your accusers. Warrants for search and/or detention MUST be based on sworn testimony establishing probable cause for the requested action. NONE of that happened in this case. Thankfully the local LE had the brains, and heart, to reassess the situation and agreed no action was necessary.

    I know a man, husband and father, in prison now because of an unfounded anynymous "tip" that caused CPS to roll to the house. The "social worker" went all hissy fit because the children were dressed in matching clothes, had "bibilcal names" (amusing side note, SO DID THE SW!!!) the house was a tad cluttered (busy large family, of COURSE the place will not look like a museum) so the social worker took the kids and had the Dad charged with abuse and neglect. Trial was a farce, family court of course.... due process? That's more of a mess than the house was. The kids have now been without their beloved Daddy for a couple years, and unless something unexpected happens, another two or three. Justice? Not at all.

  • Longtobefree||

    So are yo the one that hit a couple of wrong keys and called the cops on this loving family?

  • tbc||

    Having messy hair and too short trousers would seem to indicate the majority of rock stars are either autistic or being abused... or maybe both

  • Naje||

    Unless you actually see me beating my kid senselessly, screaming like a raging lunatic, stay the hell out of our life.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    You know who else was autistic? All of you, it turns out.

  • clarkcountycriminalcops||

    The reality is, this could have gone much differently. It takes very little to inspire a cop to escalate a peaceful situation into a deadly one.
    Whenever anyone thinks calling the police is a good idea, they need to ask themselves:
    "Am I okay with someone dying as a result of my call?

  • Hank Phillips||

    Hell, look at the kid's eyes! He's got autistic libertarian written all over him. I'll bet he even pays for merchandise!

  • Brian Whittle||

    I'm surprised nobody got shot. Somebody don't follow do you call the cops flow chart (it usually falls on don't call).

    Man being a pain in the ass handing in a cat, don't call
    There is a brown man walking down the street, don't call
    Your son with mental problems is playing up, call someone but be explicit in they shouldn't pass it on to the cops.

  • commentguy||

    If May Cobb ended up in a months-long meltdown, unable to "process" the horrifying ordeal of a police officer speaking to her for about 30 seconds before apologizing to her, I wonder how she will cope if something worse happens to her. Hopefully her husband and mother are more psychologically resilient.

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