Stranger Danger

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Above is a picture of Cherish Lilly Periwinkle of Jacksonville, FL.

She was 8 years old, when she, her mother and 2 younger sisters were shopping at Walmart. Her mom didn’t notice she had vanished, and within hours was found dead. 

{Read the Article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/22/charish-lilly-perriwinkle-body-found-dead-donald-james-smith_n_3483380.html#slide=321829}

I’m gonna take a minute here to vent. 

Now, I’m not judging anyone here. But we’ve all been at Walmart and seen how people there “keep an eye on their kids”. Yeah, right. 

Just the other day, actually, I was checking out some cheap tops and shorts ($3.88 each!!!!) and I heard giggling. I look up, and theres two little girls, one about 5 and one 8ish. The younger was hiding in a clothing rack, and the 8 year old was looking for her sister. Cute, right?

Where’s their mother? 

Okay fine, we’re all like:

Dude seriously watch your f*ckin kids, they’re running around everywhere all obnoxious and shit.

Either way..even people who don’t have kids think this at least once in Walmart, and can detect a parenting flaw here.

And of course, no parents in sight. OH WAIT! There’s a lady who’s kind of the same features. On her cell phone, about 30 yards away, rounding a corner walking away from her kids.

It’s women like these that I don’t feel bad for when their kids go missing.

Don’t misread me, I feel saddened, and it breaks my heart that this happened. The poor little girl must’ve been so scared, and didn’t understand why this man was doing what he was doing to her. She probably cried for her mommy. 

Believe me, it doesn’t take me to be a mother for my heart to break.

On the flip side of things, I’m trying to feel bad for the mom. I read about 10 other articles about this and the mother’s story has changed 3 times.

“Oh she was going to get a cheeseburger..”

“OH! She was going to look at dresses….”

“No no, this guy came up and I didn’t even realize she left with him….”

Uh..if my 4 year old is out of my sight for T MINUS three seconds, I panic. Apparently her child was gone for a solid 25 minutes before she even notified store clerks.

She might be a totally normal, super good mom who had a terrible accident. 

OR she’s just like any of the other mothers I’ve seen at Walmart. Totally oblivious to what their children are doing, and much too lazy to actually watch them.

You mean I have to be a parent? And put my iPhone down, and lose this stage of Candy Crush? But why?? I’m sure my 8 year old is fine wandering around on her own. It is a store, someone will watch her for me….right?

Wrong. It’s your job to keep that kid safe. A common misconception is that a child will scream if a stranger comes up to them or tries to take them.

Well let me bore you with another anecdote from my life, to further educate you on how important it is to watch your child:

I lived in West Haven growing up, and our Elementary School teamed up with the local news to run a “Stranger Danger” related program for children.

It was a one hour ‘class’, if you will, educating kids the dangers of going with people they don’t know. 

The classroom they videotaped housed about 15 kids, ages 6-8. 

In the class, the children were told not to go with anyone they didn’t know, no matter what. Even if the strangers offered to buy them something nice, take them somewhere fun, or even take them per their parents request.

15 kids were then brought to the town playground and let loose to play. After about 15 minutes, one at a time, a “Stranger” (local news crew member) approached each child, one by one. 

13 out of 15 children voluntarily went with the stranger.

Why??

Well to help you understand the basic psychology of a child, children don’t see the danger in helping a nice old man look for his lost puppy down the street. The word stranger is probably drowned out by the word ‘puppy’.

You’re better off simply handing your kids over to criminals if you really, truly believe that they are safe to say no, make judgement calls on who to go with or not go with, or to fend for themselves in such situations.

Moral of the story: Parent your child. You’re the only one who can protect them.

Expecting them to make the right decision in that type of situation is a stupid, negligent,  dangerous Russian Roulette to play with your childrens’ lives.

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By Micayla

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