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.)