Bad Parenting or Nosy Good Samaritan?
As I was reading through my bookmarks, as I do every day, I came across an article about a parent that got arrested and their children were taken away for something that shocked me. So, I found some articles from the Washington Post and will share some amazing reasons that parents were considered bad and on “bad behavior”.
The first case comes from South Carolina where a mother, Debra, allowed her daughter to play at the park near where she worked at McDonalds. She gave her a cellphone for emergencies and noticed that at any one given time, there were usually near 40 children playing in the park at a time. It was the second day when an adult asked her where her mom was. When the girl told her that her mom was working, the adults called the cops and was arrested for “abandonment” of a child.
Another story involves a mother named Kim that went to the store. As she left home, her four-year old child insisted on going with her for the quick errand. When they arrived the child refused to go into the store. Since it was a mild and overcast day of near 50 degrees, the mother allowed the child to stay in the vehicle. Another adult saw her leave the child and recorded it all on a cell phone and called the police and she was arrested.
We all know of stories that have turned out poorly and this appears to be on the mind of the “good Samaritans” that phone the police. But do they know the whole story? Did the parents do irresponsible things? Are they guilty of bad behavior as parents?
Bradley Balko of the Washington Post writes about:
“increasing criminalization of just about everything and the use of the criminal justice system to address problems that were once (and better) handled by families, friends, communities and other institutions.”
In the book called The Quest for Community by Robert Nisbet, he states that a society without private associations will find the state taking their place. He wrote:
“It is hard to overlook the fact that the State and politics have become suffused by qualities formerly inherent only in the family or the church.”
In this world, the term “nanny state” takes on a very literal meaning.
A father named Jeffrey from Ohio had the police show up at his front door and arrested him in front of this entire family because one of his sons skipped church. He now faces six months in jail.
Here is the story:
The local Woodville Baptist Church sends a van to his neighborhood twice a week to offer free transportation to those interested in attending services. Williamson’s children ride the van regularly on Wednesdays and Sundays. This morning was no different, as his eight-year-old son Justin and siblings said goodbye to their father and left their house to board the van. One problem: Justin skipped church and went to play instead. The young boy stayed in the neighborhood to play with friends and then later ended up at the local Family Dollar store down the road. After police officers were called to the store by a customer who recognized Justin, they took him back to his neighborhood where they proceeded to arrest his father for child endangerment.
We now see the breakdown in modern American community—without a sense of communal closeness or responsibility, we act as bystanders rather than as stewards. We warn kids of “stranger danger”, we put guidance system on them, and we lock our doors because the neighborhood is not as safe as it once was.
What is sad in this is that parents are no longer supported by their community. What ever happened to calling the parent first or walking to the McDonalds and checking out the story. Possibly, not sticking our nose into someone’s business with our cellphone video.
Society today wants to be police, judge and jury from their seat and not truly be the Good Samaritan of the olden days.
Remember the “it takes a village” cry? Now it seems to be “every man for himself”.
The opinions in this blog are those of Tom Knuppel