“Crazies Are Out to Kidnap Your Cutie!”

Hi Readers — This is just an odd one: Some parents made postage stamps with their young daughter’s picture on them to stick on invites to her birthday party. Then the parents had some of the stamps left over, so they used them to mail  their bills. Some nut saw one of the stamps, noted the family’s return address and dropped the parents a letter saying that by putting their kid’s picture on a letter, they were ASKING SOME CRAZY PERSON to do “GOD KNOWS WHAT.”

Seems to me they were asking a crazy person to drop them a crazy note. Anyway, here’s the story, as it appears on the wonderful site, passiveaggressivenotes.com . Read it and creep (out). — Lenore

40 Responses

  1. Yep, don’t let anyone know you have a kid in your house. Because if someone wants to kidnap a kid, surely he won’t find any on his street, in his neighborhood, or at a bus stop in the neighboring town. He’ll look at his postage stamps, pack his bags, and travel cross-country to your address to steal your particular kid. Yep. Doesn’t everyone do that?

  2. Seems like a lot of the commenters took this with a grain of salt – they certainly seem to be have a lot of fun with it…

    IMO – as always – the person who dropped off the note is the creepy one. Quite weird and really disturbing.

  3. I want to know how they had the stamps made. It looks alike a cute idea.

  4. What better way to convince people there are crazies out there than act like one?

    Getting custom stamps: http://www.usps.com/postagesolutions/stampexpressions.htm

  5. Under the category, ‘you can’t make this up’, we have reality being funnier than any snarky comments or fiction.

  6. ANYTHING you do to acknowledge your child’s presence can be perceived as ‘exposing your child to predators’, or so the worrywarts want you to think. My mom does not understand why I post pics of my child on the Internet (on Facebook, which we web-savvy folk know is password controlled and settings limited to those you know ). Very hard to explain the Internet to those who don’t really use it — and I think I am relatively ‘safe’ in terms of what I may post/do there. Haven’t done personalized stamps but have seen them.

    However, I was flabbergasted last week when my daughter and I took a tour of our local fire department. Does anyone remember the “Tot Finder” stickers you used to put on the windows of a room where children were? Apparently, people are not doing that much anymore, out of fear of attracting the attention of pedophiles. The same for a new law (in NJ) where underage (17-19) new drivers should have a special sticker on their cars (supposedly for safety reasons) — apparently, parents are scared that their children will be easy targets for pedophiles.

  7. I fear fire waaaaaay more than I fear pedophiles. I’ll put stickers all over my house if it means my child gets out of a fire alive.

  8. I love PANotes, probably my second favorite Web site besides this one of course. I saw the note a couple weeks back and it’s probably still on (lost) to do list somewhere to send it to you.

  9. Yeah, no one would ever guess we had kids in the house from the bikes, scooters, and other random toys in the yard, the pictures of trains in the windows, etc. Please. What are we supposed to do, raise our kids in bunkers in the dark to avoid having anyone see them?

  10. @sean: 19yro as pedophile targets. Heh “kids” are getting older these days.😉

    Note sender = creeper.

  11. It reminds me of the emails I get where people freak out that Google can reverse look-up your address using your phone #. Amazingly someone brings all that info right to my front door at least once a year. It’s called the phone book! Paranoid is the word for it and people feed on it.

  12. BMS@ Good idea! If we go to our local congressmen and get alaw pass for this post haste. All we have o do is say it’s for the children.; who would want to vote against it. Acually, that’s a good idea. We should arrest anyone who votes against it. Who would benifit from children being in danger? Predators

  13. I wonder how many of those people freaking out have those stickers of the stick figures of each family member on the back of their cars/minivans.

  14. That’s a great example of craziness up there, about the “tot finder” stickers. I’m with Kelly: FIRE BAD!

    So we have people who are MORE freaked out about break-in and kidnapping, than they are of their child DYING IN A DAMN FIRE! Compare the numbers for fires vs. abductions, and I’m pretty sure I can guess which is going to turn out to be more common.

    This is just like that one from the other day about doing background checks on anyone who gets anywhere near one’s family: it does more harm than good. By focusing only on the intended consequence, advocates see an obvious good thing: reducing the risk of abduction. But they don’t pay attention to the negative effects; the stuff their precautions make them miss out on. Like, um, sanity.
    Hm. What an odd application of the Broken Window fallacy…
    http://www.econlib.org/library/Bastiat/basEss1.html

  15. 4 years ago, we had return address labels made with our son’s photo on them for his use when he sent out thank yous and birthday invitations, etc. several family members completely.freaked.out because “kidnappers and child molesters” would see them and come and get our kid because we did that. husband and i were like, um, WHAT?! seriously? you think that someone is going to do that because of an address label? who thinks like that?? evidently, a growing number of folks who are afraid of everything…including some family members we never thought would land up in that category. sigh.

  16. It seems there are two kinds of crazy people:
    1) those that are crazy
    2) those that get crazy about those that are crazy

    @Clint – good point. I still don’t understand the purpose of those stickers, but I’d never thought of them as folks in my group 2 might. Of course, I honestly never understood the “Baby on Board” signs until I read something on this blog, so it is might just be me. I assume the family dog isn’t always riding in the car…

  17. So….some guy working at the phone company opening letters gets one of these bills, and goes, “Oh! So THAT”S what a kid looks like! And look, they live 400 miles away in our billing center’s service area! I’d better take a couple of days off to go find her, because there are no kids around here, or at least, I haven’t been able to recognize any of them as being kids, because I never saw a picture of one!!!!!”

  18. Not wanting a random person to have a _picture_ of your child, I can see. But thinking that this translates into an actual, physical danger for the actual _child_? Weird.

  19. There are a lot of crooked people out there. It’s one thing letting your child explore their area on their own. But it’s another thing to “advertise” your child intentionally (especially one so young). It’s crazy how fast things spread on the internet. You’d be surprised what one can accomplish if they put a lot of effort into it. That’s why I try to not be in random pics with people I don’t know. Now some may think this is paranoia. In reality, it’s fact. It just takes one person to see a pic, and make something of it. Re-post it online, and if another person thinks it’s funny or interesting, they’ll do their own version. Next thing you know, your the new viral sensation of the week. You can’t control what people do, but you can control what you put yourself through. Just be smart.

    Look at it this way, it’s ok to tell your child about the cliff, what can happen if you play too close, or even sit at the edge of the cliff, and let them decide for themselves if they want to go there. But it’s a totally different thing to take your child and dangle him over the cliff. And really, IMO, those stamps weren’t for the benefit of the child, but rather for the parent to show off their cute kid. That’s self gratification and a bit selfish in my eyes. I personally don’t care what people think of me because of my child. But I do care about what people think of my child and how he’s treated. So I would never do anything that would cause him to get chastised, embarassed, or shunned.

  20. Eric? Really? You’re serious?

    So, putting your kid’s face on a stamp is like making a youtube video of them and broadcasting it to the entire world with your address as the last frame? ‘It takes just one person to see a pic..?’ No. That’s ludicrous.

    I was for some reason reminded of the famous case of Genie. She was a feral child, kept tied to a chair by her crazy parents until she was 12, rarely spoken to, never let outside. As a result, she never really gained language and was permanently mentally disabled. But I am sure she was perfectly safe from all those nasty strangers who would surely be lined up around the block if, God forbid, someone somewhere saw her picture.

  21. Yay, PAN is the best! For anyone who is not already familiar with this website: put an entire afternoon aside to read all of the archives. You will be guaranteed to laugh until you have tears in your eyes.

    I commented on this particular post. One of the commenters mentioned that when he was a kid, he harassed by some weirdos after he appeared on the TV news, where they stupidly included his home address. His point was that this stamp falls into the same category. I pointed out that being on TV is naturally going to attract the handful of creeps in the viewing area that could include millions of viewers. The stamp is going to be seen by dozens of people, tops. The chances of one of those people being a child molester who is really into 1 year olds has got to be one in a billion odds. And as we all know, most child molesters go for the convenient targets: family members.

  22. Rana, exactly. I can understand the creeped out thing, though I’d argue it’s not really rational. But that’s okay — non-rational impulses have their place too. But this does not pose ANY imaginable danger.

    And it’s somehow wrongly “selfish” to want to show off the cuteness of your kid? Okay, I’d say that I wouldn’t be terribly motivated to do that myself in that way. But how, exactly, is this different from taking pictures of your kid? Granted there is no cosmically world-changing purpose to showing off your kid a bit, but is it really “selfish” in the sense that it benefits you at the actual expense of someone else?

    Calling this comparable to dangling your kid over a cliff because if this happened and then this happened and then this other thing happened, none of which are likely in the real world, reminds me of a passage from a Jane Austen book. A spoiled young child got scratched by a pin in her mother’s dress, and some of the ladies were rushing around trying to sooth the poor child from the terrible injury. One of them remarked that “it could have been a sad accident,” but one of the more sensible ladies present said she didn’t know how that could be, unless the circumstances had been entirely different. So yes, if sticking a little sticker with your child’s face on a letter with a return address that was going to some big impersonal company that probably shreds the envelopes immediately after opening them ACTUALLY WAS like putting out a YouTube video to all and sundry with all your identifying information, it would be a terrible danger. But it’s NOT.

  23. If this is a danger, then you should never ever ever ever put a return address label on any mail that is going to a company that primarily sells goods or services to people with children. After all, the pedophiles who get jobs in the mailroom just so they can find out the addresses of children hundreds of miles away will clearly know that you have kids, if you do business with this company.

    But what happens when you pay your bill to Highlights magazine, and your name and address is RIGHT ON YOUR BILL???

  24. Eric,

    Can you supply a link to the study that shows “there are a lot of crooked people out there? I haven’t seen any good “crooked people” stats in years.

    Also, can you explain what harm comes for a person seeing a picture and “making something of it” online? I have no idea what that even means. Do you mean photoshop a penis or boobs on the photo? Post it to a NAMBLA forum? Even if someone did one of these tasteless things how does that affect you or your child?

    Do you share pictures of your children with family and friends? We do on our family blog. Family and friends all over the globe enjoy updates. If some “crooked” person takes them it’s no skin off our back. But I don’t know why they would use our crappy home pictures when there are boatloads of professional pictures of adorable children on clothing/photography/daycare/etc. sites.

  25. Now I have to read ALL the postings on passiveagressivenotes.com. Ah, another way to waste time at work!

  26. Yeah, you’re in for a treat if you’re just checking out PAN for the first time. Love that site. I immediately thought of FRK when I saw that post, but didn’t think to send the link to Lenore.🙂

  27. Pretty clear who the crazy is. I have to agree with everyone who says that the odds of a pedophile seeing a particular stamp is pretty small.

    I also have to say that I don’t get the stick figure pictures with everyone’s names that some people put on their vehicles. Those have long stuck me as too much information. Most likely nothing would happen, but I don’t need to be sharing my and my kids’ names with everyone I drive past.

  28. In the spirit of the letter, kids should wear hoods when entering and exiting their homes. God forbid anyone sees the address. And speaking of address, paint over the address on any house with a child. On second thought, it would be safer if kids never left the house, so no one will know where they live.

  29. Ok, so I haven’t read the comments here yet, but I was reading some of the comments on the actual story and was shocked to read this one:

    “Actually, I don’t find it paranoid at all. There was a case where a pedophile used the “family” stickers on the back of someone’s truck to find out the little girl’s name, and followed the truck when they went to pick up the little girl from school. Now knowing where she went to school, and what her and her parents names are, went to her school the next day and told her that her parents had sent him to get her as there had been an accident, got her in his vehicle and ultimately raped and killed her.
    Seems to me a little so-called paranoia can be beneficial”

    Seriously??? Even if this is a true story (which seems to be extremely convenient for story telling purposes), isn’t the true value of this that parents should teach their children not to go with people they don’t know even if they know their names? It’s as silly as not labeling your child back pack with their name because then someone could get them.

    On that note, so what if some stranger knows that the little girl lives at that return address? Plenty of people I don’t know drive by while I walk inside my house with my daughter or play in our front yard every day. Those people know a child lives here too – Aahhh…that’s it I’m moving!

    Utter Stupidity!!!

  30. Most accidents occur within 5 miles of home…so we moved🙂

  31. I have youtube videos of my kids too. Big deal. This whole outrage is ridiculous.

  32. I went to the post office today to buy some stamps, all they had were Bob Hope stamps….My kid looks JUST like him! What am I going to do now? I bought a roll of ONE HUNDRED!!

  33. Gotta LOVE the anonymous, typed letter from a “do-gooder.” What a wimp. If the neighbor was so concerned, why not initiate an actual conversation with the “tenant” – maybe they might learn each others’ names, maybe exchange viewpoints in a non-volatile manner . . . maybe?

    Yeah, I’m thinking maybe not.

  34. I will say that I don’t go out of my way to plaster my kids’ faces everywhere. They are cute, but so is every other kid; it benefits nobody to have them “out there.”

    It’s not that I think some random person will see my kid’s face and suddenly become obsessed with her. It’s more that if someone who knew of me or my kids decided to do some research, I don’t need our personal stuff out there. (I dated a weirdo so yes, I do feel a little paranoid.) I also don’t feel right publicizing them when they are unable to give mature permission. I make limited exceptions, but as a rule, I keep my photos within our inner circle.

    I am not horrified by the postage stamp idea, but at the same time, I wouldn’t personally do it.

  35. Yeah. I’d think I’d like some proof of that story. Like, oh, a press article or something. TIA.

  36. “One of the commenters mentioned that when he was a kid, he harassed by some weirdos after he appeared on the TV news, where they stupidly included his home address.”

    When I was a kid, I won second in a local newspaper design competition that featured everybody’s photos in a special section. Someone tracked down my name and called my house and asked for me. When I came to the phone, he said, “I want to f* you, baby…” whereupon I immediately hung up, having been taught what to do about harassing phone calls by my parents.

    I think I was all of eleven. Wasn’t the first time I’d dealt with a sexual phone call, either— by that point, I just knew to put a finger on the cradle, shrug, and tell my parents that some jerk had made a call.

  37. Even if this stamp did fall into the hands of a pedo, why would he travel several hundred miles to find the child? Are there no children where he lives?

  38. Lenore suggested I post the passage from Jane Austen that I referenced above, so thanks to pemberley.com:

    But unfortunatelyl, in bestowing these embraces, a pin in her ladyship’s head-dress slightly scratching the child’s neck, produced from this pattern of gentleness such violent screams as could hardly be outdone by any creature professedly noisy. The mother’s consternation was excessive; but it could not surpass the alarm of the Miss Steeles, and everything was done by all three, in so critical an emergency, which affection could suggest as likely to assuage the agonies of the little sufferer. She was seated in her mother’s lap, covered with kisses, her wound bathed with lavender-water, by one of the Miss Steeles, who was on her knees to attend her, and her mouth stuffed with sugar-plums by the other. With such a reward for her tears, the child was too wise to cease crying. She still screamed and sobbed lustily, kicked her two brothers for offering to touch her, and all their united soothings were ineffectual till Lady Middleton luckily remembering that in a scene of similar distress, last week, some apricot marmalade had been successfully applied for a bruised temple, the same remedy was eagerly proposed for this unfortunate scratch, and a slight intermission of screams in the young lady on hearing it, gave them reason to hope that it would not be rejected. She was carried out of the room therefore in her mother’s arms, in quest of this medicine, and as the two boys chose to follow, though earnestly entreated by their mother to stay behind, the four young ladies were left in a quietness which the room had not known for many hours.

    “Poor little creature!” said Miss Steele, as soon as they were gone. “It might have been a very sad accident.”

    “Yet I hardly know how,” cried Marianne, “unless it had been under totally different circumstances. But this is the usual way of heightening alarm, where there is nothing to be alarmed at in reality.”

    ——————————
    Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

  39. damn…guess my dog is in grave danger, then.

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