Monday, April 21, 2014

Police Beat -- A Dilemma in Mom Jeans (or perhaps something a little more provocative)

Saturday's Democrat-Gazette reported the arrest of the 34 year-old mother of four (ages 8, 9, 13, and 14) on Friday morning. It seems she had sent the 9 year-old from the Motel 6 where they were staying on an errand  to the grocery store, "unsupervised."

The young man was picked up by police as he crossed at a busy intersection about a half-mile from the motel.

The mother was charged with "second-degree endangering the welfare of a minor." She told police that she "didn't realize [she] couldn't send her 9-year-old to Kroger by himself."

Okay. I may sound a little harsh here, but, I didn't realize you couldn't do that either. I know times were different when I was a kid, but we walked all over God's green Earth at that age.  Heck, Pepper was even hunting by himself at that age. With loaded firearms! (Of course, he lived out in the country then, so hunting/discharging a weapon was okay, and he was "supervised" by his trusty beagle.)

How about if you send your kid to the neighborhood pool or playground on foot? Could you wind up in the pokey for that? How about letting him walk to school? Is it the purpose of the trip or the distance from Mom that criminalizes the dispatching of a youngster without supervision? Does it really matter? Should it?

And, yes, I certainly understand that there are bad people out there who would harm a wandering kid. That's why you teach children about stranger-danger and have a "safe word." And one has to wonder why mom-of-the-year chose the 9 year-old rather than the 13 or 14-year-old.  But . . .

I'm really not liking these times in which we are living.

(Of course, the facts that the mother was wanted on outstanding warrants for unpaid fines and contempt, and that she lived in an "interesting" part of North Little Rock in a motel, might have contributed to her arrest, so I'll cut the NLRPD a little slack. Nonetheless, we now have four more kids in "the system," one more single parent behind bars, and a very slippery precedent. It's genuinely complicated.)

I'm shaking my head, both in agreement and WTF.


  1. I would think that a nine year old was very much able to walk to the grocery store by himself. And yet there are some that could not. But shouldn't a parent be able to make that call? I'm not doing very well with the times we are living in either. I tried to read through the news this morning, but was just disgusted and down-heartened.

  2. It's just downright scary, Lou. And very, very sad. You're right -- the parent knows her child and should be the one to make the call.

  3. Like you, I'm less than impressed with our times. My mother would have been put in the stocks if she sent me out for cigarettes today, like she used to do when I was about 13 or 14... as would the guy who sold them to me. That's the first thing that came to my mind but I'm certain there are other things, too... like running all over Paris at age 11.

  4. Yep, Buck.I also came home from school to an empty house and proceeded to cook myself a snack. Before microwaves. Poor kids today.