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Mark Atwood
"Stranger Danger" idiocy.

that 11 year old Boy Scout in Utah who was rescued yesterday (after 4 days lost in the woods) has illustrated perfectly the end result of the mass hysteria that seems to have gripped parents in the USA. There has been a massive search effort to find the boy... and it took as long to find him as it did because he, incredibly, hid from his rescuers. Yes, he spotted rescuers multiple times and actively avoided them.

Why would he do such a clearly stupid and self-destructive thing? His parents had drilled into his head that he should avoid strangers at all costs because they might steal him. That is the reason the kid gave; This boy, alone, cold, lost, hungry and dehydrated, was more afraid of strangers than of death. He almost died because of a dumb, hysterical reaction to a few cases of stranger child abductions.

I hope this knocks some sense into parents. But I doubt it will; the parents were actually praising him for following their instructions. Yes, they thought it was a good thing that he avoid strangers trying to save him from an agonizing, slow death.


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9 comments or Leave a comment
sinanju From: sinanju Date: June 23rd, 2005 08:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow. That's...just...

Wow. There are no words.
tupelo From: tupelo Date: June 23rd, 2005 08:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think the parents are in some sad and serious denial about their son. As the story unfolded and reporters started to ask questions about how an 11-year-old could not have the common sense to respond to searchers, they seemed to get very defensive, making statements about how he was premature (WTF) and "isn't as socially mature as other boys his age."
wyckhurst From: wyckhurst Date: June 24th, 2005 03:43 am (UTC) (Link)
I could see Sam doing this. Don't blame the parents, even when you give correct instructions kids often misinterpret or follow them in odd ways in real life.
tupelo From: tupelo Date: June 24th, 2005 03:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I'm not blaming them at all -- I'm saying I think they are choosing not to see that their son may not be, I know there's a pc term for it I am forgetting, but you know, neurologically average. I think they seem very defensive and eager to minimize the oddness of hiding from the rescuers.

I had a kid in daycare and all he would/could do was repeat phrases from commercials at you. Constantly. In response to everything. And his mother, bless her heart, would tell you "Oh, he's such a little actor." *sigh*
jezel From: jezel Date: June 24th, 2005 03:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yep. I watched a developmental assessment where the parents were asked what kinds of things their three-year-old liked to play with. "Oh, he loves his trucks," the mom said, "he can just sit and watch the wheels spin for hours." Um, ok...
From: pvaneynd Date: June 23rd, 2005 09:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think I would praise him too. He did as he was told, which was good. At 11 I would however start a 'independent thought' project, but obeying is still good IMHO at that age.

I would also kick myself until the end of time for not specifying the 'avoid strangers' order with an exception.

We're drilling our son to never accept any food from a stranger, or even a known person. Only from us or the teachers (who got clear instructions and after the last incident will obey them). All of this to avoid potentially strong allergic reaction. Note that there is no 'if you are starving, it is ok' clause, and there won't be any because almost starving and going to the hospital is preferable to eating random stuff. He does know he can ask for water and that his 'milk' isn't so dehydration should not be a problem.
alanesq From: alanesq Date: June 23rd, 2005 10:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, they thought it was a good thing that he avoid strangers trying to save him from an agonizing, slow death.

Wait a second, I thought that someone dying of dehydration and starvation experiences euphoria.
From: j5nn5r Date: June 24th, 2005 04:01 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm so with you on this. I believe Gavin DeBecker, in his book, The Gift of Fear, addresses this very thing.

raynbow_kitty From: raynbow_kitty Date: June 26th, 2005 07:23 am (UTC) (Link)
9 comments or Leave a comment