Zingers Needed

Hi Folks! I know, I know — I should have a million by now: Stunning repostes with which to parry fearmongers, who always have “rigtheousness” on their side, as if THEY care and WE don’t. (E.g., “But even if we save ONE LIFE isn’t it worth it?” — a very hard line to respond to without sounding heartless.) Anyway, the fact is: I could always use some more.

Over the weekend I was being interviewed by a radio talk show host who brought up Jaycee Dugard (of course). I said I hoped that parents would not use this incredibly sad but a literally once-in-18-years story to determine how much independence they give their children, and that it doesn’t make sense to try to make a very unlikely event very unlikely because it already is!

The host cut me off, saying, “We hear about abductions EVERY DAY! Don’t tell me they’re not happening more than ever!” And my statistics — which I am endlessly quoting here — simply fell on deaf ears. Like the fact that a child is 40 times more likely to be killed as a car passenger than by a kidnapper — but we still put them in cars. Like the fact there was more crime against adults and kids in the 70s and 80s than there is today (according to actual Bureau of Justice statistics). Like the fact that even the head of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children said, as I quote him in my book, “Our message to parents is you don’t have to feel you have to lock your children in a room.” Kids who make their way in the world are more CONFIDENT and confident kids are SAFER! They stand up for themselves!

Anyway, as I said, those didn’t get me very far, or at least not as far as I’d like. So — any other zingers you can come up with to explain why ferrying our children down the driveway to wait in the car for the school bus doesn’t really make them any safer, and, in fact, turns them into timid kids without much common sense? Any arguments that make people realize raising a Free-Range Kid isn’t, “La-di-dah,” parenting but in fact, as someone here once put it, “Independence training”? Love to hear ’em! Love to use ’em! Thanks very much. — Lenore