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Menace To Society…

May 28, 2012

(I figure by now, about 7:30 PM EDT on Memorial Day, you have had your fill of Facebook statuses lauding the efforts of our soldiers by people who will now spend the next 364 not giving a shit about world events.  So I want to give you something else to chew on for a while…)

I will readily admit that, every once in a while, it’s a little difficult to find inspiration for a new post around here.  Sometimes there just isn’t that much going on.  Other times, however, a subject almost literally falls into my lap.  This is one of those times.

Let me start by giving you a little background on how this subject came to my attention.  If you are a parent, you should be, no, fuck that, NEED to be following Lenore Skenazy.  Lenore is a syndicated columnist and the HNIC (Look up the acronym at Urban Dictionary if you never saw “Lean On Me”) over at the Free Range Kids movement, which promotes raising children by giving them enough space and opportunity to make mistakes and learn from them, even if it means (Gasp!) incurring some pain and heartache along the way.   Needless to say to anyone who has spent anytime reading my parenting rants, I am a huge supporter of this philosophy.  So anyway, yesterday on Twitter, Lenore (@Freerangekids) tweeted (Does anyone else get the douche chills saying the word “Tweeted”? No?  Just me?  OK…) a link to a blog post written by a mom on a blog site called “Mamapedia”.   The link is here.  I posted a link so that you can read the whole thing.  This way, I can’t be accused of taking things out of context by just pasting specific quotes from the post. Also, I am about to eviscerate this idiot, so I figure I could at least pump up her views a bit.   Go ahead and read.   I’ll wait here…

You back?  OK, good.  Let’s roll…

What a complete fucking menace this woman is.  I have so many issues with the horror show that is the author that I want to take them step by step:

as I played with my toddlers in the sandbox, the man continued to sit there with kids playing all around him. It dawned on me something might be off when I realized I hadn’t seen anyone engage him the entire time we were there – no child, no adult. Usually at a playground you can match kid with parent/nanny/ responsible adult fairly quickly, right?

First of all, supermom, stop pretending you were engaged in your kids activities.  You weren’t. You were too busy checking out the scene.  You were too interested in matching up each kid with a guardian to be paying any attention to what your kids were doing.  You were ignoring your kids.  It’s OK, I ignore my kids at the playground all the time.  But be honest about it.

When not playing with our children, we are sitting nearby on benches with snacks and sippy cups and only occasionally checking our phones…

Anyone else’s bullshit detector go ape shit  when she says she was “only occasionally” checking her phone?

What was he doing here? Did he suffer from Alzheimer’s? Dementia? Or worse?

Here’s your answer, sweetheart:  NONE OF YOUR FUCKING BUSINESS!  He’s a guy sitting on a bench in a park.  He’s not engaging your kids, not staring at your kids, not blowing sweet kisses to your kids, not trying to persuade your kids to jingle the change in his pants pocket.   He is sitting on a bench.  Get over it.

Maybe he did have Alzheimer’s and needed someone’s help. Or maybe it was something creepier and I could have called the police.

Stop pretending you had any concern at all for this guys well-being.  Like you gave the slightest hint of a shit whether or not he had Alzheimer’s.  This, like I imagine everything else in your life, was all about YOU.  And call the police?  And say what?  That a guy is sitting on a bench in a park and didn’t take the time to justify his presence to you?  That’s some God complex you’re waddling around with.

She then goes on to tell us of another situation, later on, where she did actually approach an imaginary pedophile…

He sat at the far end of the playground, on a bench, and looked down at his cell phone the entire time. No kids came near him.

Great.  Now a guy in Minneapolis can’t sit outside playing a little Angry Birds without being confronted by this retard.

I walked over to the man and asked him which kids were his. He was immediately defensive and essentially told me it was none of my business.

Lady, this was best case scenario for you.  “Essentially” told you to mind your own business?  You are exceptionally lucky that the stranger you approached wasn’t a guy like me, cause I would have verbally assaulted you in such a horrifying way that you would have been left a whimpering pile of tears and phlegm on the rubberized playground floor…

He finally got up and walked me over to the other side of the playground where his what looked to be 12- and 13-year-old son and daughter were playing. They saw us and looked up quizzically as we approached. “Dad?” they said.

To which I would have replied ” Kids, listen up.  I’m sure by now you have heard the word “Cunt”, but probably aren’t old enough to know what it really means.  Now, I don’t ever want to hear you say this word, but you should know that this (points at woman), this is a cunt.  You may now return to your tether-ball game.”

All of this leads to the defining grand finale:

What did I learn? You know, I honestly would do it again.

Of course.  Just when you think this may be a cautionary tale of a mom learning not to be  judgmental and paranoid to the point of mania, she assures you that she learned nothing. Not a goddamn thing.   And that she, and many others like her, are lurking in a park near you.

This woman is a menace to society.  This is exactly the kind of parenting that has led to a generation of over-indulged, obnoxious little assholes with an undeserved sense of entitlement.  This woman is causing  far more damage to her children than any stranger in any park, regardless of his background or his intentions.  What her kids learned that day is that they have the right to question anyone, even if that potential predator is simply an old man on a bench, who is not posing any threat to them at all.  They learned that their right to be fucking nosy far outweighs anyone else’s right to be left alone.  Wow, what pieces of shit they are bound to grow into.

I wish I knew this woman personally.  I would love to follow her around and constantly question who she is and what she is doing.  Maybe she walks into a Home Depot and is walking down the aisle where grill supplies are sold.  Maybe I could loudly question why a woman is alone in an aisle that sells items that are generally used by men.  Is she there for a lighter?  Is she there for a lighter so she can light neighborhood dogs on fire?  As a dog owner, don’t I have the right to know what she is doing looking at grill supplies?

You know who this woman is?  She is this woman. (Cue flashback)

And this woman:

Below the post, in the comments section, someone posted something interesting in response.  I can’t seem to find it now to paste and give credit to the person who researched it, so I have to paraphrase.  The research this guy quoted stated that something like 70% of stranger abductions were committed by women.  So this jackass lady doesn’t even know how to profile correctly.

Look, I have no problem being completely aware of your surroundings when out with your kids.  In fact, a woman should be aware of her surroundings whenever she is out, kids or not.  But to feel entitled to question a perfect stranger because of your ill-conceived judgements and small-mindedness is so arrogant, even this arrogantSOB is stunned.  What exactly are you protecting the worlds children from ?  A miniscule abduction rate, one that is inflated by a fear mongering media?  Were either of the gentleman you victimized gonna try to fingerbang your little angel right in front of you in the sandbox?  No.  So let’s call this what it is:  A busybody bitch feeling compelled to get involved in someone else’s business.  Someone creeping you at at the park?  Take your kids and go home.  Unless someone is in imminent danger, which was not the case here, that is your only reasonable option.

And if a well dressed older man on a bench in a park talking to no one should have warranted a call to the cops, who do you think she would call if a young black guy was on her block not hanging off the back of a garbage truck?  The Marines?  Interpol? George Zimmerman?

And I love how she pats herself on the back for looking after, not only her own, but all children.  Lady, I would sooner let my kids spend an unsupervised week at Neverland Ranch (Well, especially now that he’s dead) than spend a half-hour playdate with you.  God knows what toxic fear and bigotry you would poison them with.

Oh and her tagline at the bottom of her post?

Helen Smolinski is a mother and once sat behind Madonna at a movie.

Shit, where’s John Wilkes Booth when you really need him?  Could have solved two problems in one theater…

P.S. Freerangekids.com is Lenore Skenazy’s  website and has loads of great information and posts.  Check it out…

21 Comments
  1. Awesome. Just awesome. A douche (female) in the comments said that men are used to being questioned by nervous moms and they understand. Wtf. If any paranoid nut ever treats my husband, brother, dad, or sons like this, I will drop kick her into next week.

  2. How about the fact that most molestation is done by adults that the kid knows, not some random hanging in a public place. And that most rapes are done by someone known to the victim. That lady gives mothers, and women, such a bag image. She needs a punch in the throat.

    • Niki permalink

      Send her to Jen! Im sure she’ll punch her a 2nd time but I think SOB did a fine job! Lol

  3. Niki permalink

    LMAO! Thanks for such a great laugh! I needed that! 🙂

  4. mollie permalink

    Hope this link works. It’s the exact same sentiment, except this lady was in a cafe.

    http://www.circleofmoms.com/article/how-spot-child-predator-03536?trk=digest_editorial_3536&email_enc=nsOhzdyYotvYx9bL06bCoqVixafY&email_src=1336224613c3dd6493d04ef6504b5e9754f5ef468b&template_name=digest_weekly_2&subject_id=a958b8cb98ed3e79a62583d6dc4359f9%3A0&has_fb=1#

    If I muffed the link, it’s a Circle of Moms article called “How to Spot a Child Predator.”

    Some excerpts of I wrote to the (editor? Non-existent moderator?):

    I found that this article, “How to Spot a Predator,” written by Ms Silver, a regular contributor, presented her personal impressions and “gut feelings” as safety advice for parents. She implies that any “stranger” who strikes up a friendly conversation in a public place with a child they’ve never met before ought to be viewed as a “potential predator” who is likely “grooming” them for sexual molestation, and by chasing someone off from a conversation with a child, we are doing a that child a service.

    The editor closed the comments to this article and referenced a link explaining “grooming,” and going by that referenced article’s information, what was observed by Ms Silver did not in any way qualify. “Grooming” takes place over time, usually involves both the children and the parents, and the hallmark is the incremental and gradual increase in pressure on the child to do things the child would not ordinarily do. Answering basic conversational questions in a public place does not constitute “grooming,” and yet Ms Silver insists that it does. To suggest that it does is to unravel the very fabric of community. Talking to someone you’ve just met is one thing. Accepting favours, rides, treats, alcohol, pornography, and touching where the bathing suit covers is quite another. Perhaps they all start with “Hello, what’s your name?” but that doesn’t make “Hello, what’s your name?” a red flag. “Would you like to go to the amusement park? Don’t tell your parents, we can go in my car” —now that’s a red flag, but Ms Silver didn’t distinguish this.

    Your site plays a very important role in forming the cultural norms of North American society. This is a major responsibility, and affects communities throughout the continent, and beyond. Ms Silver’s article, and the comments that were allowed to stand afterward, suggest that we are better off assuming that strangers who speak to our children all mean our children harm. This is a slippery slope of paranoia, mistrust, and diminishing safety, not increasing safety.

    There is a happy medium between the “old days,” when male authority figures who molested children had impunity and molestation was something too shameful to discuss, and the hysterical assumptions we’ve got today that any man who speaks to a child he just met wants to hurt them somehow, simply because he is a man.

    • Yeah, I love how she decided what questions a child molester asks, with no reference to any qualifications that would lead you to believe she has any real idea what she’s talking about. And she arrogantly entitles the post “How to spot a child predator” as if she’s discovered a fool proof formula…

    • That is a TREMENDOUS letter you wrote, and perfectly stated. What happened to “It takes a village”? How are we supporting that idea when our children are never allowed to be anywhere near the villagers?

    • Oh and Circle of Moms is a disgrace, by the way. I don’t really care that they published the article. Websites like that are supposed to be forums for open discussion. But to close down a comments section because so many people disagreed with the author? What a fucking joke that is…You guys should all abandon that sight immediately. There are too many other quality sights that invite open discussion and frank exchanges of ideas…

  5. I had a different take on the Circle of Moms article. I think the author overstepped by declaring “these kids are being groomed” as if it was fact. However, the list of questions she heard goes well beyond friendly small-talk. Friendly small-talk is the kind of questions you ask of someone you’re sitting next to on a bus or airplane. “Who do you want to marry?” is not really a friendly small-talk kind of question.

    I’m not saying this was necessarily a predator grooming the kids. It probably wasn’t. However, it was an adult with poor personal boundaries. He wasn’t having a conversation, he was firing a lot of unrelated questions at them. One of the kids had gone silent, which is a pretty strong “I’m uncomfortable” signal. Yet the adult didn’t notice and he didn’t back off.

    This is not the kind of situation that a kid should have to deal with alone. Think about the last time you tried to disengage from an invasive chatterbox at a party. It’s hard. It’s uncomfortable. What you want to say is “please shut up and go away now”, but the person hasn’t done anything *quite* rude enough to warrant something that harsh.

    Kids in this kind of situation are usually grateful for a rescue. Heck, adults in this kind of situation are usually grateful for a rescue. The author of this article was clumsy and obnoxious in how she chose to intervene, but the situation did call for intervention. A stranger intervened (much more gracefully) in a similar situation for one of my kids on a city bus. He was feeling trapped and intimidated and was *really* grateful for the rescue. I made sure to teach him some more skills and tricks on how to enforce personal boundaries!

    Incidentally, I’ve had this issue with people of all ages, genders, sizes, races, etc, etc. Although I have to say, little old white ladies tend to be the biggest offenders!

    • I have no issue with your take on this. While I have spent years perfecting my “Leave me the fuck alone” aura, my wife is a magnet for random strangers who want to chat. (Apparently, her “Come talk to me” aura outshines my repellent one.) We are constantly engaged by annoying strangers with boundary issues. But let’s draw a distinction between a chatty stranger with boundary issues and a “child predator.” What subjects do you take in school” and “What grade are you in” probably are questions a child molester asks a kid. THey are also questions a retired school teacher may ask a kid. Or a family friend. The bottom line is there are a thousand reasons this guy would be chatting up those kids and only a handful are sinister. SO to make definitive statements like “These are the questions predators ask” and “This is how to spot a child predator” is paranoid and irresponsible. She also points out at the beginning that the she could hear this guy yelling over the crowd noise at the cafe. Doesnt sound like he really gave a shit about being discreet, which I would assume would be priority number one with someone with the intention of abducting or violating a kid. I get the guy was probably a little “off” and I have no problem with someone keeping a tab on the situation, but to make the jump to this guy being a predator based on the facts she gives in the article is pretty ridiculous…

  6. I agree that she was absurd to assume that he was a predator. However, your assumption that predators try to be discreet does not match with my research and experience. The whole grooming process relies on manipulation, not stealth. One aspect of that manipulation can be “hiding in plain sight.” This is why predators are so attracted to positions like being a teacher or coach. They get to be overt and loud about spending lots of time with kids, so no one questions them.

    This is a great article on the subject: http://www.parentmap.com/article/keeping-kids-safe-when-coaches-prey-on-young-kids

    Another aspect is that the most dangerous and persistent predators (I can’t speak as to percentages) do not believe that they are doing harm. So why should they hide? They just feel like they’re providing a caring adult mentoring relationship, which also involves sex. Some of them think it is a fair “price” for what they offer. Some of them think it is part of what they offer, an initiation into sexuality. Even some of these folks in prison will reflect “I think I did more good than harm.”

    Unfortunately, there is a lot of mainstream attitudes that help reinforce this kind of thinking. Mary Kay Letournou noticed “something special” about her victim when he was ELEVEN. This case continues to be treated as a love story, where society just didn’t understand. And then you’ve got the movie “The Graduate”. Watch that movie and reverse the genders. She took all her clothes off and cornered him in a room so he couldn’t run. This is assault. Yet, it’s treated as a funny story where an older woman generously helps a young man understand his sexuality. Yick. And then you’ve got the Hollywood trope of the “romantic” stalker who wins the heart of the target by invading every aspect of his/her life. Eek.

    So predators are not necessarily quiet or secretive about the non-sexual aspects of their relationship with their targets.

    An unfortunate aspect of human behavior is that people often do the right things for the wrong reasons and the wrong things for the right reasons.

    My favorite example of this is cholera.

    In the early 19th century, NYC was regularly stricken with cholera. One of the responses was to ban the fresh fruit and vegetable stands. This did reduce the rates of cholera. Without clean water to wash them, fresh fruits and vegetables were a significant vector for cholera, especially ground-growing veggies like cucumbers. It worked.

    But the reason that fruit and veggie stands were banned was horribly racist. The reasoning was that only filthy foreigners (Italians) with their bad and ungodly ways (like eating fresh food) were causing the city to be cursed with cholera. They needed to be FORCED into behaving like decent Englishmen, who cooked everything. I’ve read some of the news editorials at the time. They drip with so much vitriol, it makes me cringe.

    A virulently racist policy actually improved public health. Sigh.

    Same disease, different city. London. Cholera was believed to be an airborne disease, caused by bad smells. A lot of very well-intentioned people made a enormous effort to protect the poor of the city from the piles of excrement all over the city by installing a sewer system. They dumped all the sewage into the Thames…..which was the source of drinking water for the city.

    The first organized public health action, implemented with the best of intentions, killed 15,000 people.

    The Mamapedia author was concerned for the safety of children and acted on that concern. Her intent was good. Some of the commentators believe that her intent was all that matters. I disagree. She did wrong. Her intent is not very relevant to me.

    The Circle of Moms author observed something “off” about an interaction between a child and adult. Further down in the comments, she noted that she usually feels fine about adults talking to kids, but this guy was firing off a lot of overly personal questions. She was incorrect about leaping to the assumption that “this is a predator grooming kids for sexual assault”. But she was correct that the adult was behaving inappropriately and the kids needed help. She did right to intervene. Her conclusions were flawed. But once again, intent is less relevant to me than results.

    Ideally, I’d love to see more high quality thinking followed by correct action. But I’ll take low-quality thinking followed by correct action in a pinch. 🙂

    • Exceptional response. And I agree with a vast majority of it. You may be absolutely right that to assume a predator would value more discretion is inaccurate. That was just some random speculation on my part and what you have to say on it is logical and sound. The guy may have been the next John Wayne Gacy for all I know, and like I said before, I have no issue with paying a bit of attention to a situation that seems odd. Thats fine. I also have no problem with the woman at the cafe informing a staff member of what she had seen. My problem is that she, in her own words, did it as loudly as she possibly could. This is where this crosses the line. These kids were NOT in immediate danger. Grooming doesnt happen in the three minutes she was standing there. She could have discreetly alerted someone and if the situation escalated, someone would have been watching. There was no need to make a scene at that point. And again to definitly declare that this was a child predator is ridiculous.
      You and I are in lock-step on the intent issue. Hitler had good intentions, in his own mind. Good intentions has been the reasoning behind just about every act of madness and evil the world has known. Intentions dont give you a free pass to behave anyway you see fit. THere is a way to protect yourself, your children, and even other peoples children without accosting everyone person you deem “strange” and demanding they justify their existence to you. Again though, thanks for an extremely interesting comment. DOn’t be a stranger. Conversations like this are exactly why I started this blog…

    • Hey Mon! permalink

      This is an wonderful analysis. I also credit ArrogantSOB for engaging in the dialog instead of shutting down someone who disagrees. So cool and one of the few times that a blog enlightens me. I love it when this happens!

  7. Cathy J. permalink

    I love you Arrogant SOB. Soooooooo much! I am CRYING laughing at this blog post! I agree with you 100% that this lady is a menace to society and to her poor family. I hope her poor kids don’t get infected with her paranoia, fear and absolute crazy town lunacy. Her self-righteousness irritates the SHIT out of me. If I saw her in a park, I’d call the cops on her! Someone needs to be SCHOOLED and right quick! I hope some of the feedback she is receiving helps her see she needs to get some MUCH NEEDED psychiatric assistance. If not for her, then to give her family a break from putting up with this dingbat! In the meantime, you are so much awesomeness. Thank you for spotlighting and calling this crazy ass biaatch out on her destructive and venomous behavior!

  8. Liz at FunnyPregnantLady permalink

    I am SO GLAD I found you! I wish I had half of your talent for writing. I love this post and I’m sure I’ll like more.

    • Glad you found me too. Just be prepared: I am not really a parenting blog, so expect the unexpected. The rules around here are simple. 1. Take almost nothing seriously. 2. No subject is too serious to be made fun of. If you can live with that, we’ll get along just fine. Welcome aboard…

    • Oh and the reason I feel compelled to warn people is simple. Many parents (moms) have found me through something I post that has to do with parenting, only to be horrified at what I tend to find humorous in other posts, like the Chaos in Theory series. So now I give fair warning…

    • Yeah I saw that story. There have been a few of them lately. Saw one this afternoon about a guy approached by cops at a public beach because he was taking pictures of his kids, and it was making moms in the area uncomfortable. It makes me want to hang out in parks alone just to invite some idiot to have something to say about it…

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