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Dave Ross

Arresting parents for what could have happened

Two moms who recently let their kids spend a warm day in a public park unaccompanied were arrested. Other parents had called the cops on them. (AP Photo/File)

Two weeks ago, it happened in South Carolina:

Debra Harrell, 46, confessed to leaving her 9-year-old daughter alone in the park while she went to work.

Last Saturday, it happened in Florida:

Nicole Gainey gave her son, Dominic, permission to walk from their house to sportsman park.

Two moms let their kids spend a warm day in a public park, unaccompanied. At which point other parents called the cops. And the mothers were arrested.

“Honestly didn’t think I was doing anything wrong, I was letting him go play,” said Gainey.

In Gainey’s case, she let her son Dominic take a walk by himself – he says he ran to the park because he was frightened by the concerned parents.

Both moms were arrested not for what did happen because nothing happened. They were arrested for what could have happened, as other moms were quick to point out.

“What if a man had come and just snatched him?” asked one woman.

“You can’t leave your child alone in another place, especially, at this day and time,” said another woman.

But at a web site called Free-Range Kids, writer and mother Lenore Skenazy is pushing back. She points out that crime rates have dropped dramatically, and that the nation has been needlessly traumatized by the constant drumbeat of missing children stories.

“I had a woman write to my site that said she was on the lawn with her kids but she was reading a book,” said Skenazy. “A lady came by and said, ‘Put down that book! Don’t you realize your children could be snatched at any minute?'”

It’s the day and time we live in, when parents are arrested for not being sufficiently paranoid.

Dave Ross on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM

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About the Author

Dave Ross

Dave Ross hosts the Morning News on KIRO Radio weekdays from 5-9 a.m. Dave has won the national Edward R. Murrow Award for writing five times since he started at KIRO Radio in 1978.


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