But Wait! Fox News! Do You Really Believe —

Hi Readers — First of all, thanks for all the help on the post before this one, when I asked for ideas and zingers. I printed out your responses and they really helped. Alas, as anyone who chanced upon my 3-nanosecond appearance on Fox & Friends this morning knows, the event did not go quite as well as I’d hoped.

The topic was whether or not parents should track their kids via a new GPS device, the Big Brother. Oh wait. Sorry. It’s actually called the “Little Buddy.”

While I think I managed to stammer out the fact that Free-Range Kids believes in training our children to be self-reliant rather than keeping them on a leash (electronic or otherwise), I don’t think I managed to get across my other big point: that the whole push behind a product like this — and so many other new “safety” products — is fearmongering. The underlying message is that the world is suddenly so dangerous, our kids’ very survival is threatened on a daily basis.

And oh how I would love to have had more time and presence of mind when the host, Gretchen, mentioned that extra surveillance sounded good to her because just the other day her 4-year-old opened the door and there was the UPS man!

My “debate” partner — a guy who sells another kiddie GPS device — sympathized with her terror and they both paused to dwell on the “fact” this child could have been gone in just a second. And how lucky that didn’t happen! And then it was my turn.

It is always my turn when folks talk about how quickly a child could be snatched up and disappear forever.

This image –the snatched child — is as American as apple pie. It is as common as Christmas cards. It is accepted as just the way life is, and to try to stand there (on Fox News, no less) and say, “Wait! Before we thank our lucky stars that somehow your child was NOT kidnapped from your front door, in broad daylight, in 2 seconds, while you were home, by the UPS man, let’s think how unlikely that scenario is!” sometimes feels like saying, “Wait! Can’t we all agree you’ve been BRAINWASHED by your own SENSATIONALIZED NEWS SHOWS to the point where you have a COMPLETELY WARPED, HORROR-MOVIE VIEW OF REALITY that you then COMPOUND with stories like THIS?”

In other words, it doesn’t feel like I’m delivering a message that is going to be embraced with a grateful, “Wow! Come to think of it — you’re right!”

And, in fact, embraced I was not. I was reminded by the hostess at the end of the segment that abductions happen all the time, many with unhappy endings.

And so the cycle begins a anew: Children in peril. Be afraid! After all, we are! Details, right after this commercial. — Lenore

117 Responses

  1. Ok, we had seen in this segment a salesman endorsing the product vs. you. TV host was not neutral. She on the same page with the salesman. What kind of reporting is this?

  2. This was not a debate. Also the fair and balanced Gretchen already had her opinion and was rude and dismissive with “We report on abductions all the time”. I think you did well with the little amount of time you had. My fav though is the look on your face when she first says “My 4 year old could have been gone.”

    Just thought of a new tack. “OK you are right everyone is scary. Let me call the cops and have you arrested because clearly you, Gretchen, are a stranger and therefor a danger to my kids. NOBODY LET GRETCHEN NEAR YOUR KIDS! After all she COULD be an child abducting murderess. I have no proof, but she COULD be.”

    The people who always talk about community and the good old days are the ones making the the new days crappy. It’s not that things were safer is that people were not so skittish.

    NAnyway. Good job with a bad situation. I hope you get time to actually talk about this. What was even the point of having you two there? Not to be rude, it was great to see you on TV, but whoever put the segment together needs to go back to school.

  3. Years ago I was taught the technique to bring up a subject early when giving a presentation where you hear the same question raised over and over. This removes the objection before most people have had a chance to stop listening to what one has to say. Also include relating to others that you are or once were just like them. This is complicated because you are often brought on to rebut some fear based belief after they have already planted that idiotic idea. This technique can be explained with this phrase:
    “I used to believe (that my child was about to be grabbed by a stranger), but have found out that (the few incidents that have happen are repeated over and over on the news)” Or maybe rephrased in nicer terms to avoid putting the host on the defensive.
    Most people gloss over when confronted with facts, so retelling the UPS guy story as a different story of what is most likely was perfect.

  4. I didn’t watch the segment, but completely sympathize with your predicament. It sounds as if they invited you along just to berate you. They were obviously hawking this new product. Next time you’re invited to go on a show, make sure you’re guaranteed a certain amount of time to present the facts nad maybe, even go on by yourself!

  5. Basically, Fox News and others are creating the market for this device and internet targeted ads will appear on the pages reporting child abductions. then they do a piece like this, which is basically an advertisement disguised as reporting, with their token opposing view person just to prove they are ‘fair and balanced’.

    News is a big industry these days. I do read Fox News online, just to get a different angle on the news, Their format is highly sensationalistic, heavy on the popups ads that somehow override my firefox browser.

  6. My kids were kidnapped. They were missing for 4 days. They were taken by someone that I know. It CAN happen to anyone, at any time and it is the most frightening thing I have ever experienced in my life.

    Do people over worry? Probably? Is it something to be concerned about? Hell yes.

  7. Has there ever been a case of a UPS driver abducting a child?

  8. People are really afraid to allow their 4 year olds to answer the door while they are at home? I’ve never heard about that. Just wondering, I always thought it was cute when the kids answered the door.

  9. Once when I was a kid I opened the door and there was the UPS guy. While I was yelling for my mom to come to the door to sign for ithe package, our in-heat cat zipped out the door and into the bushes to meet the neighbor’s black Tom cat. The kittens were real cute.

  10. suzannerevy: I googled UPS Driver Abduction and got several hits. The first hit described how a UPS driver *foiled* an abduction.

    So if *I* am ever on Fox News (which Fox itself acknowledges is mostly not news) I’ll be sure to point out that UPS drivers save kids from kidnappings, so I’d be glad to see him.
    🙂

  11. This is Fox News (aka Faux News). Is anyone surprised?

  12. That was….amazing. “He could have been gone.” Yes, if absolutely everything about the situation was different, he could have been. IN which case, he could have been gone if he was playing quietly in the living room under your eye and Basque terrorists had broken in and grabbed him, too, which means everyone should have a Spanish law enforcement officer living with them, I guess. The fact that he disobeyed by answering the doorbell did NOT put him in any danger SINCE the UPS guy was the guy at the door, and the UPS guy intended no harm.

    I want to know if there has EVER been a case of a child abducted by a stranger who rang the doorbell in broad daylight and the parent was not selling drugs or something that could make the family more vulnerable than normal.

  13. I think everyone who’s blaming this on it being Fox News might want to reconsider. This is the thinking that is “out there,” not limited to one news organization.

  14. Kris, that sounds horrible. And you are pointing out what is wrong with the beliefs of people who have NOT been through your terrible ordeal. Gretchen, although unintentionally, makes it sounds as if the UPS driver could have taken her child: Unreal fear mongering belief. What you went through was real.
    I am glad it was only 4 days for you.

  15. People like to bash Fox News, but they are no more slanted than most news organizations. They have their strong points and weak points.

    I read BBC online and they have just as much of a slant as Fox. At least they don’t have ads though.

    Fox is first and foremost a money making company. Yes, they have a target audience and market niche.

  16. @nor-cal you ask “What kind of reporting is this?” Um, Fox News reporting, that’s what kind.

    I didn’t see the clip, Lenore, but am sorry you feel you couldn’t foil the machine. Still, it’s a bit like stranger abduction, no? What were the odds?

  17. Did anyone manage to get this on video? YouTube link?

  18. Isn’t “Fox News” an oxymoron?

    In hindsight it was pretty pointless to talk to them, given that they are the key ones creating the problem in the first place.

  19. Lenore-

    Can I recommend that you not go back on Fox “News”. You’re just feeding the beast that way.

  20. Sorry it didn’t go better. Not surprised, particularly, but sorry.

    I have an anecdote, too🙂 A couple of weeks ago we visited friends who live on a quiet cul-de-sac in a quiet outer suburb of our (that is, Canada’) national capital, and who have a two-year-old son who is potty training. Like many two-year-olds, he likes taking off his clothes but doesn’t particularly like putting them back on again😉. During the less than 48 hours we spent at their house, he opened the door in his birthday suit three times: once to a pizza guy (who laughed so hard he almost dropped the pizza), once to a neighbour dropping something off, and once (we weren’t there for this one) to a roving Jehovah’s Witness. And he does this all the time. He gets to the door first most of the time these days, because his mother is almost nine months pregnant and can’t move very fast😉.

    Needless to say, nobody has ever abducted him, or done anything to him apart from laughing really hard. Nor are his parents even remotely concerned that this might be a possibility.

    And then there’s someone else know who doesn’t use her son’s real name in public places, because someone might use it to abduct him. The director of our after-school program advised me against writing my daughter’s name on the outside of her snow boots, for the same reason. I said “Wow, that would never in a million years have occurred to me,” and carried on writing. But another mum who was picking up her kids at the same time said something like “Oh! Yes, that makes sense!”

    Trying to convince other parents that it’s safe to let their kids out of their sight is like standing alone against the forces of the Dark Side, armed only with a dead rainbow trout. It gets so discouraging after a while.

  21. @Kris – I don’t mean to discount what you went through, but there is a big difference between “my kids were abducted by someone I know” and “my kids were abducted by the UPS driver”. The first happens relatively often; the second, almost never. (I would say never, but I can’t prove that no UPS driver has ever abducted a child, so I guess I’ll stick in the ‘almost’…)

  22. i’ve been in the same position in interviews – i really sympathize. in the past, it’s been me and some other security person, except they’re using emotional arguments, and i’m trying to have a facts-based discussion.

    why deal with reality when you can have some drama?

  23. Heck, we living in Wyoming. My mail carrier, who we know by name and say hi to every time we see him, just opened our storm door and brought in our mail and a big package (without seeing us or saying hello or anything).

    RE: Fox News, it’s popular to bash one news organization if you happen to lean one way politically, but they’re no different than any of the others.

  24. So if I’m looking to kidnap a kid, the first thing I am going to do is ditch the backpack and coat so that the GPS device is left behind. Good thing the parents armed the kid with street smarts, I mean technology.

  25. I’m sure the UPS driver could be found, considering his truck is being tracked with GPS to ensure he is properly deliver the packages.

    According to the UPS Career site, drivers do indeed go through a background check and the delivery driver has to have courteous manners dealing with the public.

    These are exactly the men and women I want my children to seek out if they were ever in any danger.

    Maybe you shouldn’t go on TV during the ‘mommy hours’.

  26. UPS drivers are the new milkmen for lonely housewives though…😉

  27. Why we should be afraid of UPS Drivers, they might call the authorities, a comment from Free-Range just last month.

    https://freerangekids.wordpress.com/2009/10/09/a-mom-worries-am-i-bad-friends-family-say-yes/#comment-16387

    “Even then, last year a UPS man almost called the police on me. I had my then-12, 9, and almost 4-year-old in the car with me, when the 9-year-old suddenly felt sick to her stomach, just a few stoplights from home (home, literally in the middle of cornfields and woods). There was a fastfood place close by, so I quickly pulled in and walked her to the bathroom, which was just inside the glass front door, which I was parked right in front of. I was in the bathroom with her for all of 30 seconds, checking to see that she made it ok.
    When I came back out, planning to stand in front of the door where I could see both the car and the restroom, the UPS driver confronted me and said “I should call CPS on you! You left a preschooler unattended in the car!” He apparently didn’t see my son–short kid in a large car. I said “I just had to take my other child to have diarrhea [I was scared enough I just blurted it out] in the bathroom. My son’s in the car and he’s 12. All I did was make sure she made it into the stall.” Another guy broke in “But that was so dangerous! You should never do that!” My daughter came out then, and we rushed to the car and left, lest they actually call. I was in a cold sweat all the way home.
    I think the UPS driver thought that my 4-year-old was alone in the car and that I’d gone into the restroom by myself to use it, and left her in there with the car running (it was cold out), thinking I might have been in there for several minutes. Which I would never, ever do, and would never happen anyhow, because we homeschool and I usually have at least one of the older kids with me.”

  28. If opening the door for the UPS guy is the most dangerous situation a person has every encountered, I think they have been pretty lucky. 🙂

    Paranoia is running rampant in the U.S. It makes as much sense as a person in Manhattan terrified to take out the garbage for fear he would be attacked by a bear.

  29. I would say FOX news is different than other news organizations. They are much more hateful in their language and the way they “report”. I do, however, feel that most news organizations do a pretty bad job, especially with whoever writes their scripts. But being incompetent is different than being incompetent and hateful.

    Lenore, If you do something like this again, maybe if Gretchen or whoever says “My 4 year old could have been gone” don’t wait for it to come back to you. Immediately ask “Why do you think that?” No need to point out she’s wrong, but rather find out why she thinks the way she does. In Gretchen’s case it would do nothing to change her mind, but it might help any viewers out there.

  30. Re:RE: Fox News, it’s popular to bash one news organization if you happen to lean one way politically, but they’re no different than any of the others.

    You have to be kidding me. Seriously, “no different? Fox News is different by several orders of magnitude. I can’t come close to imagining a “liberal” equivalent to the right wing noise fest that is Fox news. False equivalency is one of the battles we are fighting here.

  31. I didn’t get the feeling they thought the UPS guy would take the kid – just that their kid answered the door despite being told not to and it could have been an abductor there. Of course this means they think the way abductors work is by going around knocking on doors and then whisking away any child who happens to open one. Which is not exactly a well known modus operandi even for stranger abductions.

    I guess you have to go where they story is Lenore. This was kind of predictable for pretty much any of the main stream TV news shows like this, but presumably you knew that! I thought you did well given the situation. Nice to see you pushing the other side, at least there was a voice of reason there.

  32. I have never been a fan of the news, but that little segment just convinced me how warped reporters have become. I have just started reading your website and have instantly sent it to all my friends. Thanks for being such a breath of fresh air. I finally exhaled!

  33. Next time you’re on FoxNews maybe avoid Gretchen who makes so many shows about abductions. I bet other shows like Bill O’Reilly’s would have been better and more open to self-reliance and independence.

    I have a couple of free range stories we’ve been putting into action. After I blog them this week I’ll tweet them so you can see if you want. I have photo evidence.🙂

    And I’m ready to write the book review of your book too, but we’re sick here…

  34. Marion said:
    ‘Paranoia is running rampant in the U.S. It makes as much sense as a person in Manhattan terrified to take out the garbage for fear he would be attacked by a bear.’

    Have you seen the size of the bears in Manhattan? Only last week one snatched a child who opened the door thinking it was a UPS delivery…

  35. When I was young my favorite musical was “The Music Man”. When I was 13, I even got to see it on the stage in Chicago with Dick Van Dyke playing the lead (that has nothing to do with my story, but I tell people that whenever I get the chance-it was that exciting to me!).

    A few weeks ago I came across it in the library and decided to check it out to show it to my own children. When we were watching it that night it struck my how FRK it was even though it was written in 1947. Here is a salesman who comes into town and tells everyone how their children are bound to be led astray if they don’t buy band equipment from him. There are a few doubters, but they are easily overcome by the fear the town starts to feel over the well-being of their children. A fear they did not feel until the salesman came into their town.

    You, Lenore, were Marian the Librarian and you were up against two Music Men-the one trying to sell the GPS device and the one trying to sell sensational news stories. I hope you didn’t fall in love with one of them in the end and rip up the proof you had that they were hucksters.

  36. I am continued to be shocked about people’s thought processes in reading these Comments. One of the biggest MO’s (Mode of Operation) of bad guys is to misrepresent themselves as service people and tradesman. The crime statistics are full of people in uniform being let into homes only to commit crimes. Apparently you don’t know how many UPS uniforms are in unauthorized possesion of non-UPS employees, as well as other uniforms for many companies. Wake up, people. And do you know how many personnel are discharged each year by employers like UPS because they are found to falsefy applications or got into trouble after being hired, for hundreds and hundreds of companies and thousands of employees. People, get out of your shells and wake up. As a 23 year old law enforcement officer, I see it almost on a daily basis and you deny it exists and deny that it is going to happen to you. Well, thats what most of the people thought until yesterday and today, when I am am sure the past year’s daily average for the USA of 738 crimes like this occured once again in the past 24 hours. Welcome to reality!!!!!

  37. So would her 4 year old have been wearing the “Little Buddy” 24/7, even when she’s safe inside her house?

    Given all the emailed warnings I’ve gotten about how the pedophiles lurking around every corner carry spare outfits and hair dye to change the kids’ appearance, why don’t the paranoid parents understand that the GPS trackers are easily to remove or block?

  38. Oh brother. I hate these sorts of conversations on TV, where they just use someone as a contrast point, to make themselves look more right.

    Next time someone says to me, “Abductions happen ALL the TIME!”
    I’m going to say, “Interesting. Where do you live?”
    They might say, “I live in East Blah de Blah.”
    And I’ll say, “Oh, how awful for you. In *my* town, there hasn’t been an abduction since at 1842, and that was a horse. Maybe you should move?”
    “Of course not, my town’s incredibly safe! There haven’t been any abductions in my town at all…”
    “Then what are you so afraid of?”

    I think child abductors have become a sort of new superhero for today’s culture – I guess people expect that this handful of evil people can just put on their capes and CIRCLE THE USA relentlessly, at the speed of light, in order to pose a danger to the
    307,851,755 people who live here! Give me a break!

  39. Reality finally caught up with her. Selling books and columns is her day job, and the best way for some, due to lack of creative ability, is to write about something that can become emotional. Well, it failed. The free spot on Fox backfired and showed a person who lacks a convincing argument and the ability to counter a moderator example of real life situations. If the issue was so convincingly correct, why could she not counter it. She had the opportunity but instead, said we should trust anyone dressed in a UPS uniform.If she knew her stuff, or if the correct stuff existed, a good counter on her part would have immediately occurred. But instead, she shows lack of responsibility to advocate parents to expose their children in harms way.

  40. Lenore’s clip:

    http://www.foxnews.com/video2/video08.html?maven_referralObject=11256710

    A previous “debate”:

    http://video.foxnews.com/11130576/trusting-or-tracking

    1) What makes him an expert as opposed to a businessman with an idea? I can’t find any useful information on his site that would cause me to trust him or his business.

    2) I’m not paying $$$$ for the next 19 years to some tech company that is not secure (McAfee is better-known for antivirus software, not security) to store information about my child, that I would then have to remember to update regularly, if the site/company even still exists in 5 years. I don’t even keep my social networking, journals, resumes, etc up-to-date. Sometimes I can’t remember my password.

    3) Predators can be tech savvy- why assume they would not be? For all we know, some are excellent hackers & can hack into these databases, or even have access to these databases, so why give them that info? Besides, there’s lots of ways to find information (I’m a writer, so I know how to do research). And if I know your email address & can guess (or know) your password, do you think I couldn’t get the information easily enough?

    4) Do we implant RFID tags or GPS tags, because really, how could the child lose that? Are they our pets? Don’t we love our children as much if not more than our pets? Where does it end?

    5) As stated before- often times the kidnapper knows the child, and may therefore then know about the device. (SPOILER: Anyone see Castle, Season 1, Episode 9?)

    Okay, I’m rambling now.

    Re: not using names in public- I had a feminist college professor who wouldn’t use her married name so people wouldn’t come after her husband & children. I actually gave strangers a different name if I felt unsafe. (I’m not telling.)

  41. Josh, please provide a link for your claim that people use company uniforms to commit crimes 738 times a day. That sounds like utter nonsense, so I’d love to see the source of the stats that prove it.

  42. Josh Hamlin your vitriol while you post suggests that you’re not dealing with facts, just ranting to rant. Good job being a troll.

  43. Josh, also please provide the number of children who are lured and abducted at their doorsteps by people wearing company uniforms. Thanks!

  44. I saw you on the clip on Fox. Seemed interesting, so checked out both organizations represented. Started reading your info., but you lost me when you started whining and berating Fox News. Seems to be have become a popular new hobby of those who have no compelling argument and nothing else to do…at least they gave you the free publicity and airtime…even if it left you looking empty headed.

  45. Josh-In what town and state are you a law enforcement officer? It sounds scary.

  46. Sandra, so fearing that the UPS man will steal a child doesn’t seem “empty headed” to you? A news show which claims that kids are getting taken by strangers “all the time,” when they’re not, doesn’t deserve some berating?

  47. Reporters are the worst people to go to for unbiased views. Not because they’re incompetent (although some are), but because, like cops, they see the worst of humanity. A friend of mine used to be a crime reporter and is completely over the top about child safety.

  48. Josh —

    NISMART’s statistics say you’re watching too much Law and Order.

    http://www.missingkids.com/en_US/documents/nismart2_nonfamily.pdf

    There are approximately 115 “stereotypical kidnappings” in a given year. That is, a stranger kidnapping a child and taking them more than 50 miles away, holding them overnight, holding them for ransom, intending to keep the child permanently, or killing the child.

    Even if you go with the 58,000 number given for non-family abductions (ie – all non-family perpetrators, including stranger abductions, and crimes involving less force or detention listed above), that still divides out to about 150 kids per day, and most of them are teenagers abducted for sex crimes.

    And if that 58,000 number scares you, remember that there are over 70 million kids in the US at any given point in time. That is a .083% chance that your kid will be the one abducted in any given year (most likely by someone you know). You’re more likely to lose a child to a miscarriage, SIDS, a car accident, or war.

  49. Well done on the show, Lenore. You managed to cut in to get your point across. Of course, the host obviously didn’t want to listen because FOX is in the business of scare mongering to help companies like Little Buddy sell more products. The opinions of FOX viewers are predetermined by the network executives.
    Devices like these are eroding our privacy and our trust in ourselves. Eventually, they could become so ubiquitous that generations of children could grow up never feeling secure unless their whereabouts are constantly monitored – even when they become adults. Eventually, the freedom of parents to make decisions could be lost to corporations with our “best interest” at heart.

  50. Ah, real statistics, thanks, Dragonwolf.

    Josh, I hope this helps you appreciate the pitfalls of overconfidence in subjective perspectives, so that you can become a better cop. Good luck!

  51. To everyone living in constant FEAR…

    Go look in your mirror – notice how EXPOSED and sensitive to injury your EYEBALLS are! Do you really think your eyelids are real protection from serious injury? Your eyes are right there all the time begging to be poked out from the next tree branch you didn’t see.

    Be Afraid! BE VERY AFRAID!!!!!

    Do you wear protective goggles at every moment of every day? Why not? Are you tempting fate?

    Do you secretly like the idea of going blind? Forget statistics. Stats don’t matter to people living in fear. Fear is a way of life for the paranoid. Live it and Love it.

  52. I posted the link in the comments of the previous post, but here it is again for anyone who missed it: http://www.foxnews.com/video2/video08.html?maven_referralObject=11256710

    Make sure to watch Lenore at the :58 mark. Priceless.

  53. Oh, and how does one become a ‘child safety expert’ anyway?

  54. For those who want to see the clip, go to Foxnews.com, click “video” at the top of the page, go to “Fox and Friends” (lower left) and you’ll get a choice of clips, one of which will say “Little Buddy.”

  55. Yes, I’m sure people show up in fake service uniforms to scam people, case houses for future burglary, commit grab and run type robberies, and very occasionally even rape. The idea of someone ringing random doorbells hoping a child small enough to grab right from under someone’s nose will answer is bizarre, though. Just because people misuse uniforms to commit SOME kinds of crime does not make it reasonable that everyone wearing a uniform “might have been” someone who would grab a child off a doorstep, when no one has yet been able to provide an example of that actually ever happening. Everyone I drive past on the road “might have been” a random shooter of other motorists by that logic, but I do not structure my life as though that is a reality worth incorporating into my routine.

    Those of us deriding Gretchen for saying “He might have been gone” are not saying it is theoretically or even practically impossible that such a thing could ever happen, just that it is a ridiculous, paranoid, and actually false way to regard the ordinary incident of someone coming to the door.

  56. Wait Mr. UPS guy, I have to get my backpack with my Little Buddy Child Tracker ™. My mom doesn’t let me leave the house without it.

  57. Lenore, reading Sandra’s comment reminds me about the thing that is really important: YOU ARE REACHING PEOPLE. Sandra saw your spot on Fox News, and checked out your Web site.

    So, she turned out to be unsympathetic. Maybe a thousand other people checked it out and some of them were actually sympathetic. The point is, there are a lot of people out there who can hear what you have to say–the hard part is getting in front of them–and you are doing a GREAT job of that. How eloquent you came across on that particular interview is incidental. (And I didn’t see it, so I can’t judge one way or the other.)

    Over time, you will accumulate more zingers. “My child was outside in the open air the other day. Suddenly I realized that a meteor could come down and bury him in the ground, and he was COMPLETELY UNPROTECTED….I mean, it could happen, right? Does that mean I have to do something about it? Or is there something, anything, so incredibly unlikely that I don’t need to avoid it, even if it is possible?” That kind of thing, it seems to me, is the easy part. The hard part, the part I could never even begin to figure out, is how one goes about getting on Fox News, and The View, and Cracked and Mad magazines, and a book published, and all that amazing stuff that you have done in your life.

    You’re selling a great product. Keep putting it in front of people, and they’ll see.

  58. @–“People are really afraid to allow their 4 year olds to answer the door while they are at home? I’ve never heard about that. Just wondering, I always thought it was cute when the kids answered the door.”–

    I’ve actually talked to grown adult women online that are afraid to open their doors while at home unless their husbands are in the house. I was shocked. I can’t imagine living with that much fear.

    Our front door is almost never locked and in the warmer months it is always wide open along with our front windows. Our screen door doesn’t even lock any more. We’ve lived here for 20 years and I don’t ever remember a time when I felt afraid to leave my front door open (I live in Chicago, a few blocks from Midway Airport).

    Heck my kids run out the door as soon as they see the mailman or the UPS guy show up so they can chat with them. I’ve never even considered them a threat.

  59. “Kris, on November 4th, 2009 at 3:21 am Said:

    My kids were kidnapped. They were missing for 4 days. They were taken by someone that I know. It CAN happen to anyone, at any time and it is the most frightening thing I have ever experienced in my life.

    Do people over worry? Probably? Is it something to be concerned about? Hell yes.”

    @Kris: Did you see that you wrote “taken by someone that I know.” No one said that couldn’t happen… we’ve all actually said that IS the most common way it happens. What everyone here has also said is that letting your kids outside around strangers is NOT the most common kidnapping method – and is – in fact – less likely to happen than being struck by lightning.

    If anything, you shouldn’t leave your kids around family and friends – they’re in more danger there than having fun in your neighborhood.

    @Josh: Seriously, dude. If you’re going to quote statistics, go get the actual stats and not spout of what you think is going on based on your deluded view of reality. I’m going to trust the justice departments stats more than I am the ones you’re pulling from your rear end. Sorry.

  60. I never have to worry about my kids opening the door for the UPS man. They’re usually riding their bikes in the driveway when he shows up. My 4yo son has a play UPS dress-up outfit because they are here so much…wonder if that makes him a PIT (pedophile in training)

  61. Sorry, folks, but the people who have pointed out that Fox News is all about entertainment and propaganda are correct — and, yes, there is a very real difference in accuracy. It is not just about political leanings. That said, on matters such as this, all news organizations are guilty.

  62. Can you imagine what that UPS guy is thinking now? It is fear mogering, they do the same thing with taxis in China. When I just arrived, I heard so many horror stories about abductions by taxi who would than sell your organs!! I have no lived here for almost 3 years and so far have only met nice taxi drivers who wouldn’t hurt a fly.

  63. I have a friend who, as a child, aspired to marry a UPS driver one day because they always brought her presents.

  64. Thanks for what you do. Truth will eventually win the day. The number of Free Range Parents is growing. Don’t lose heart sanity will win the day.

  65. I wrote it in the previous comments but figured it pertinent here. I would assume that the worry on the part of the reporter would not be if the UPS man was the one at the door. A kid often can’t see who is at the door, or they are too trusting and open it to anyone whether Mom is available or not.

    My young kids (2, 4, 6yo) once opened the door while I was in the shower. I heard a strange man’s voice, got dressed fast and ran downstairs to find them entertaining a drunk con man. My teen beat me to the door, thankfully. I didn’t think the kids were at risk of being kidnapped, but certainly did think we were at risk of having a crime committed against us given the man’s behavior that followed. We do live in an area where drunk/high people wander about and do occasionally come to our door, so we certainly do have a no young child answer the door policy. And yes, they did get quite the talking to for breaking the rule!

    Where the news show lost me was in emphasizing this as a kidnapping method where the GPS product would have any application. HUH? Maybe if it was a chip implanted in the child’s leg … cough cough.

    The Fox News bashing in the comments is getting old. I know many Free Range parents who are diehard Fox News fans. They boo and hiss over the ridiculous stuff just like any other station specific fan does and love what they love about it too.

  66. @angeline: LMAO!!!

  67. I keep waiting to hear/read about the first person to chip their kids like they chip their dogs!! We are only steps away.

  68. Hey people, get your butts out of your head. I did not state that the statistics I provided are just crimes in misrepresented uniforms, nor is it just a specific crime such as abductions. It is all crimes involving children reported by all law enforcement agencies coalated by the US Justice Department, for the entire country. Look it up!!!!
    And for those who think this is a bunch of bunk, go ahead, take all the locks off your doors, have your house and car alarms removed, open your windows, and tell your kids how safe the world is and that all of us who protect our children are nuts. Ask your schools to stop all security measures, and have a tea and open house for all of the registered sex offenders in your state. Sure makes me feel warm and fuzzy!!! Then let’s do a head count in 30 days to see who is left standing.

  69. Why does it seem that some people LOVE to give dire warnings and predictions of disaster? Do they somehow get a rush out of terrifying people, or does it give them a feeling of control?

    My mother has OCD. Her compulsions to over-protect and over-react came from a mental illness. She also hoarded toilet paper. None of it was very logical, but at least she has a legitimate excuse.

  70. Josh, you are out of line. The answer to one extreme is not another extreme. It is all about sensible risk management. Yes, it is possible that there are bad men in disguise out there knocking at doors to find their next victim. How probable is that, though? And what age is the appropriate age to open a door? Maybe we need to let our kids all get self defense training. But to never answer a door? If you are willing to take the zero-risk approach, you have to face the consequences. The consequences in this case are difficult to grasp: I am short, I am a woman, and I am fairly skinny. Most man will have it easy to fight me if they desire. Should I now always wait for my husband to open the door?

  71. I haven’t read through the comments, but did want to give our experience w/ the UPS guy.

    We had been letting our then 7 yo let himself into the house w/ his key after school if we were out running errands. One day, he comes home to find that the UPS guy is unloading boxes in front of our door. He goes inside, calls me and asks if the UPS guy can put the boxes inside. I say yes and stay on the phone w/ him during that time. The UPS guy leaves and then we hang up. I was hom 10 mins later. All was good and we didn’t have the carry the boxes inside.

  72. I thought Lenore did a great job especially since they barely let her finish a sentence. I wish she’d been given the chance to rebut Gretchen’s last statement that they report on child abductions all the time and they don’t turn out so well. Just because they report on them all the time doesn’t mean they happen all the time.

  73. Also, what happens when that GPS system is hacked into. Not only to they have your child’s whereabouts, but could also have a picture and description of your child.

  74. I’d like to see Gretchen interview her UPS delivery man on the show.

  75. I just watched your segment… News anchors always want to sensationalize things. That’s why Gretchen was obviously supporting the other guy. You did a great job of getting your point across. Gretchen said, “We do reports on missing kids all the time.” Well, they used to do reports on shark attacks all the time too… and it had nothing to do with how many shark attacks were happening. I know anytime a child goes missing it is a tragedy. But let’s be realistic, there are over 60 million children in this country and something like 100 are taken by people they do not know in the kind of way way that might make the news. Putting a tracking device in their back pack is pretty ridiculous.

    Now, when they’re teenagers I wouldn’t mind having one on their car with out them knowing so I can know if they are lying to me about where they’ve been!🙂

  76. @Josh – unless I’m asleep or in the shower, my doors are always unlocked, as is my car. And I (gasp) let my 4 1/2 year play outside BY HIMSELF.

    My biggest question is this: when did the world change from the “Walton’s” philosophy of a stranger is just a friend I haven’t met, to trust no one, all people I don’t know are bad? I will take my chances rather than turn my kids into fearful adults who can’t bring themselves to meet new people.

  77. Josh, seriously, you have to stop. In the spirit of someone who tells you your fly is open, you sound like a junior high school student. You won’t take responsibility for your poor arguments and then you misrepresent the arguments of others (who here is against protecting children?).

    You’re making a fool of yourself.

  78. I missed your TV appearance cause we don’t exactly have TV here.

    But I did watch some TV the other day. While I was waiting in the airport, I watched a few minutes of CNN. They reported seven stories in a row about young, white girls being kidnapped, raped and/or murdered. I started thinking this was some kind of special report about violence against children, but it was just a standard news headline segment.

    No wonder so many parents in America are so afraid.

  79. Josh–Wow. You really don’t get it, do you? Of course we understand that there are crimes against children that happen. Most of us just believe that being helicopter parents hovering nervously over our children 24/7 isn’t the solution to keeping our kids safe. Life has risks. We do what we can to mitigate those risks. Personally, my habits are very different now living in a surburban area of a city on the west coast vs when I lived next door to a drug-dealer in the South Bronx vs. when I visit my parents and brother in rural Minnesota. FRK is understanding the statistics, preparing our children as much as possible for possible events that could happen without making them into certified nervous wrecks, and then living our lives. Most of us realize that the most dangerous thing we do every day is get in our cars (minivans) and drive. But we, like the vast majority of the nation–and probably you too–don’t freak out about it. And similarly, we don’t freak out about letting our kids play outside, walk a few blocks on their own, answer the door, etc.

    You see the worst of life. I get that. But understand that what you see is NOT a typical scenario for most of us. And that the things you seem to think are common occurences are exceedingly rare.

  80. About the segment:

    I never watch Fox “News” and had never seen Gretchen before, but that end shot, “Maybe. But we report on child abductions ALL THE TIME.” Wow. What a dingbat! She sounded almost like she was bragging about it–I can just imagine a spoiled teen using that exact same tone of voice, “Oh, my family goes on expensive ski or beach vacations ALL THE TIME.” This is reporting??

    Lenore–all things considered? You did great.

  81. Oh, Josh. I was going to give you the benefit of the doubt, and then you jumped the shark. Bummer.

  82. It’s pretty amusing to see the words “look it up” there, given that many of us have looked this information up before. (In my case, I’ve been doing it on a near-weekly basis for the past three or four years. Unsurprisingly, the leading causes of death for children under the age of 15 are car accidents and other accidents, followed by cancer and genetic illness. The leading cause of violence against kids is primarily the parents. Fox newscaster’s son was safer with the UPS guy than with her!) Good job trolling

  83. Aw, Josh. I live in the barrio of a major U.S. city. My doors are unlocked most of the time. I don’t lock my car because if they want the stereo, it’s cheaper to just replace the stereo than to replace the stereo and the broken window. Who pays attention to car alarms anyway? I went to a school without “security”. I can’t even imagine going to a “lock down” school. Us kids knew who the pervs were in the ‘hood. We were told by our parents who they were and how to handle ourselves when we were around them.

    Sign me,

    Still Standing

  84. I’ve been reading for a few months now, first time commenting.
    From all the comments I was apprehensive to watch the segment. Lenore, I think you did a GREAT job. It was obvious to any (thinking) viewer that you had plenty more to say and were simply cut off. I think you handled the UPS story very well. (and I agree with pp, your expression at :58 mark was priceless!!)

  85. My kids were both very friendly when they were toddlers, and I tried to keep close watch on them at the mall because I figured they’d wander off with someone! We used to joke about how nice it’d be to be able to track them “wherever,” but never once has it occurred to me that this would be a GOOD thing to do. Parents like us have to stand together against parents “like that” so we can temper one another….

  86. Ughhh! I missed it. For some reason I thought it was on one of the big 3 morning shows and kept looking for you! Oh well….I actually often watch Fox and Friends and even tend to agree with the commentators from time to time (gasp!) but Gretchen is not my favorite. It’s unfortunate your interview was with her. Imo, she’s a bit of a flake.

    I’ll have to u-tube it so I can see it.

    Also, Nor-Cal, I’d like to point out that this is a morning news/commentary show so I wouldn’t consider it hard-hitting news program. The hosts are supposed to insert their own thoughts and opinions…..that’s sort of the point. The other 3 morning shows do the same thing.

  87. ARRGH. This is what happens when the media has a story they want to tell. You’re right, the object is causing fear. Fear sells products.

    But you haven’t lived till you’ve been called a “pornographer” on national media for suggesting that parents taking pictures of their children in the bathtub is a cute family memory, rather than exploiting children.

  88. Ugh- FOX News (and actually, every other “news” agancy on TV) is EXACTLY why I don’t miss having cable! It’s just like the women’s magazines I used to read (though I’m sure it’s not just Cosmo etc.): Every time you read an article, you have to look across the page to check the advertising; 9 times out of 10, you’re going to be looking at something the facing article supports or promotes, either explicitly or implicitly. The thing is, so many people take magazine articles and TV news stories at face value, and they don’t realize they’re just being sold something… a product, or the fear that will get them to buy a product in the future…

  89. RE: little ones answering the door.

    Halloween was 4-8pm at our house. The last two hours are very light, usually older kids. The doorbell rang at 7:55. I was not within view of the door yet and exclaimed “It’s a procrastinator” ! My six year old was already there and countered ” No dad, it’s a monkey”. ( a kid in a gorilla suit”.

  90. I missed it Lenore, sorry it did not go so well. I am not surprised though. Again, it is a case of : whatever product out there will help ME feel like my child will be safer, I will buy it. That way, I am way ahead of everyone else in my neighborhood! You are totally right about fearmongering: it helps sell more guns, alarms, etc.etc. I am reminded of Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine where he discusses how the murder rate dropped in such and such years, but the coverage of murders on local TV news increased 600%! Its the part where he is in LA talking to a professor I think?? I think getting the actual statistics out is the most important thing, then people can’t turn things around and say we are just “lazy” or “uncommitted” parents!

  91. It sounds like they were doing an infomercial on this dreck, and unfortunately, you were the bad guy. Sad, but that’s what FoxNews is all about…

  92. Hah! My three year old answered the postman’s knock the other day. He was perfectly cordial and asked my daughter to fetch a parent. No worries at all. I heard the whole thing from my office, and my daughter came running in moments later to tell me there was a man at the door.

    To say I am unconcerned about the possibility of a stranger randomly ringing my doorbell and snatching my child is an understatement. I’d say a kidnapper or pedophile would have to be pretty desperate to try a stunt like that. I mean, there’s three kids in my house. There’s 300 kids at the school at the end of the block. Let’s consider the odds: 2 adults to 3 kids in my house at any given moment is a pretty good supervisory ratio. At worst, it’s 1 to 3. The school doesn’t have nearly that, even including custodial and lunchroom staff. Just from a straight odds point of view, the chances of finding an unsupervised child at the school is much higher.

    Which is not to say I think our school is cavalier about student safety. Quite the opposite, in my experience. But my kids are safe at home, even answering the door when a stranger is there.

    I guess it’s rough being a reporter on Fox News, living in a house 18 times bigger than you actually need, having to trust the servants to watch the kids because your home office is so isolated from the rest of home that you’re not even in audible range of your kids when a perfectly safe stranger rings the bell to deliver a package. Hell, I’m surprised your kids even knew how to unlock the arcane series of dead bolts and demonic locking mechanisms you use to secure the dread portal to your secluded aerie. Oh, wait, you didn’t leave the door unlocked, did you?

  93. I love your blog but don’t understand why you’re blaming FOX. The hype about perceived childhood dangers is not limited to one news outlet. If FOX is responsible for the ‘ruin of childhood’ you should be blogging about their irresponsibility. But you’re not – you cover all sources of this craziness. Please don’t damage your credibility by targeting one outlet where you had a frustrating interview. Btw, I thought you did great.

  94. FOX’s Gretchen Carlson is a victim of perceived childhood dangers just like we all were before we came to our senses. She’s just not there yet. Of course, she’s going to defend her position on national TV! Instead of viewing her as the enemy, reach out to her, educate her. Show her how to be an advocate for parental sanity. She reaches a lot of women and could be a very influential fan of yours.

  95. This news woman is neurotic in my opinion. She freaks out because her 4 yr old answered the door? She probably makes a huge salary and lives in an upscale neighborhood. Is she worried about Fox News hating terrorists?😉

    Maybe we can get Michael Moore and his bullhorn to camp outside her home…😆 I’ll bet he hates Fox News!

  96. Josh, you seem to think FreeRange means careless. That is not a correct evaluation. Please read what FreeRange is about and then return for discussion.
    Thanks for your inout.

  97. Meant “input” not “inout”, whatever that is.

  98. Amy – Lenore targeted this interview in this posting, when she’s been on other outlets she’s done the same with them. It’s not an anti-Fox thing.

    I would like to think you’re right about approaching Gretchen as an influential person to woo over to the good side rather than some sort of enemy. But a journalist *ought* to be able to research a topic to at least know the facts before doing a segment on it. So I’m not sure if she’s actually a victim of perceived childhood dangers or a journalist who is prepared to broadcast whatever she thinks serves her purpose best.

    I’d also like to point out that not everyone here is a “convert” to free-ranging, many people have never been in the thrall of the fear-mongers.

  99. Just discovered your site….very interesting……and I have read that a UNESCO research report says that children are no more likely to be abducted by strangers today,than they were 40 years ago……the media has just made us all paranoid.

  100. I personally see nothing wrong with using the GPS to keep track of your kid. Its not just because of fear of kidnapping where it can come in handy, but also just to keep track of your kid.
    The kid doesn’t need to know they’re being monitored. This would allow them the independence but with the safety line.
    I have to agree with the mother who had her kids kidnapped. It does happen, mostly from people they know. A GPS could track them quickly and easily.
    Isn’t every cell phone a type of GPS tracker? I mean Big Brother could find you by the cell phone right?

  101. Just follow the money. Scaring people to death is a big moneymaker. If I remember correctly, one of our esteemed congressmen, Senator Orrin Hatch, has a vested monetary interest in some GPS system for tracking offenders. Folow the money!

  102. Yes, frootbat31, cell phones can be used to track people.

  103. Gretchen should have taught her five-year-old not to answer the door. Another reason not to watch Fox!

  104. It seems to me the biggest problem that Gretchen did was she overstepped her bounds. I was under the impression that she was the mediator of the debate, short as it was. She poses the questions or issues and her two guests respond. That’s how it seems this is supposed to work. By inserting herself into the debate, she was skewing the odds instead of leaving it balanced, which was completely inappropriate. Journalists are going to have biases. All of them do. She did wrong to her stated profession (as well as the title of her segment) trying to get the last word in with the “we report abductions all the time”) instead of leaving the viewer to draw their own conclusions.

    And I’m not under the impression for a second that this is unique to Fox. The only reason, I believe, that Fox gets singled out is that most of the other many national news companies lean liberal. This fear-mongering about children is so universal in the political spectrum right now that I’m sure Lenore would have gotten similar treatment no matter what news station she appeared on.

    But bravo for her appearing. I thought she did great getting her points in.

  105. FWIW, I don’t have a problem with Gretchen teaching her 4 year old not to open the door. That’s not a terrible rule, if you exercise some sense about it (i.e., not continuing to enforce it when the kid is 17.) I don’t think it’s necessary if you live in the kind of neighborhood she probably lives in, but it’s not a big, restrictive deal if applied moderately.

    But it’s the connection between “he violated this minor safety rule that I’ve instituted” with “therefore it was likely that the worst case scenario could have happened” is ridiculous. It’s like forgetting to put your turn signal on on a quiet country road, and then having a panic attack because you “could have been killed” if another car hadn’t realized you were going to turn. No, you couldn’t have been, because no car was coming. No, Gretchen’s son couldn’t “have been gone” because it was actually the UPS guy at the door. Teaching your kids safety rules does not entail the idea that every violation puts them inches from mortal danger — it just teaches them best practice.

  106. Hey, Frootbat… the government could monitor you, too, and you wouldn’t need to know it. Does that make it ok to you?

    Did you know that they’ve been including devices akin to black boxes in the manufacture of cars for a while now? They’ve used them in cases to prove someone was lying when they claimed not to be speeding. Does that make it ok to you?

    GPS can be lost – we can put microchips in people just like kids. We could chip murderers, rapists, thieves, sketchy looking guys, hostile women, graffiti artists, teens that go to the mall in groups of 5, teens that look like they might get into trouble, teens, pre-teens that look like they might turn into teens that cause trouble, kids with single moms, kids with single dads, kids with a parent in jail, anyone that lives in a poor neighborhood, people that live in the suburbs, anyone that takes on a government service job, anyone that takes on a job dealing with children, parents (since they’re most likely to kidnap a child after a divorce and our divorce rate is over 50% now), children of said parents… well, we may as well put a microchip in everyone at birth. I bet you’ll be the first to line up… after all… you don’t know when someone will be watching you and that’s perfectly fine. Right? I mean, safety at the cost of freedom is still safety!

    If you seriously believe that it’s ok to monitor someone just because they’re unable to know you’re monitoring them – you don’t deserve the freedom that you’re given in this country because you’re ready to throw it right out the window. We do that crap to pets and convicts – NOT our children.

  107. OH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! Really?? Her poor 4-year old could have been snatched by the scary UPS man?? I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw the dumbfounded look on your face when she said that, Lenore. Rest assured that my own expression mirrored yours in that moment.

  108. Oh, and another thing…..what are the odds that a random stranger, disguised as a service person, would stop by a home with a small child (and parent present, mind you), ring the doorbell just on the off-chance that it would be the small child answering the door unsupervised, so he/she could steal them away into the bright light of day? Honestly, there was no intelligence or logic in that fear.

  109. I’m 11, and my mom (the account owner) is Lenore’s new neighbor (hi! from Martha), not to mention an avid Free-Ranger.
    For the past few days, my middle school has been bombarded with notices on an abduction attempt several blocks from the school. Apparently, the 7-year-old was smart enough to run away screaming for help. THIS is the stuff Fox never reports.
    An actual transcript from a notice on the 30th:
    “As tomorrow is Halloween, we advise that parents be especially cautious. MAKE SURE YOUR CHILD CAN SEE OUT OF HIS OR HER COSTUME.”
    I don’t think anything needs to be added.

  110. profholl, you should really be more careful. You’re far too young to be posting things on the internet. It’s dangerous and scary, and a bad person might somehow track you down (the internet is like a series of tubes you know) in some way I can’t begin to understand.

    Now go play a video game while we adults dream up ways to make you more safe.

  111. You listen to Rich, you go an play Zoo Tycoon and quit lurking on this dangerous site!

  112. Rich, Jan…..be careful, or the FBI will be knocking on your door for enticing a minor! LOL

  113. Hmmm… wonder how UPS feels about the suggestion by a Fox personality that its workers are pedophiles just waiting for the opportunity to snatch children opening doors…

  114. […] But Wait! Fox News! Do You Really Believe – Hi Readers — First of all, thanks for all the help on the post before this one, when I asked for ideas and […] […]

  115. LOL Jen!😆

  116. My friend’s eldest was kidnapped. By her child’s father. The cops refused to give the child back even though they knew the location of @$$$073 because there wasn’t a custody agreement. She was told that he could take off with the child and there was nothing she could do about it to stop him.

    Once there was a custody agreement in place, he stopped seeing his daughter. Outright refused. After all, he was no longer able to do as he pleased with his child. My friend was pretty sure if there wasn’t that agreement, he would have taken off with the child again.

    That is the only abduction attempt in my nearly 40 years within my extensive circle of friends. No strangers. No “lost puppies”. Not even Clifford Olson and I live where he prowled. A baby daddy hurting his baby momma the only way he knew how.

  117. I was actually kidnapped by my mother when I was 4. As my mom put it, there was no custody agreement. She actually got the Sheriff to help her. I remember some parts of it vividly, but I’m not sure how she managed that. My dad told me many years later that there was an agreement in place, and she wasn’t supposed to take me out of the state. She took me out of the country. He didn’t have the financial means to do much about it.

    I now have a closer relationship with my dad than with my mom. Not really because of this in particular, but the mental state that lead her to thinking it was a good thing to take me from my dad is the same mental state that makes it impossible to have more than rare very short visits with her.

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