Despite the fact that crime levels in America in general have been declining for over 20 years - and in fact, the last time serious crime rates were at the current levels, gasoline cost 29 cents a gallon - most Americans seem terrified at the thought of letting kids be kids.
Many Americans believe kids as old as 12 need adult supervision if they're going to play in public places, indoors or outside, according to a new poll that found a high number of people would support laws making it illegal to allow a 9-year-old to play unsupervised at the park.
The polls come as news outlets like U.S. News and World Reports are noting an uptick in parents arrested for letting their children do things without supervision.
Granted, if you happen to live on the South Side of Chicago, it's probably not a good idea to let your ten year-old walk alone to the park to play (although Rahm Emanuel (D-Nile) takes exception to any characterization of his city as the nation's murder capital), the fact is that most people don't live on the South Side. And people who get their information from broadcast media, in particular, are especially conditioned:
Turn on cable TV, 'and all you have to do is watch how they take a handful of terrible crimes against children and repeat that same handful over and over,' he said. 'And then they repeat the trial over and over, and so we're conditioned to live in a state of fear.'
Just look at local news: stations like KGW (Portland) air at 4, 4:30, 5, and 5:30 - and each of those half-hour segments is virtually identical; they air the same stories at 5:30 that they hammered on at 4. That didn't happen when you were growing up, building forts, playing in the dirt, climbing trees, out until dinner. Of course, back then, all of your neighbors knew each other, which is all too often not the case today. That's not really an excuse, however; kids are a lot more capable than they're credited with being, and keeping them in a bubble does them no favors.
When our daughter was in middle school, she left something there one day, and promptly turned around and hiked a mile down the hill to retrieve it. And the idiots responding to the polls would have had us jailed for allowing that. The wussification of this country continues.