Wednesday, November 5, 2014


   The danger of Halloween.
   It's like the danger of voter fraud. 
   Please look this up:
    In almost every urban area in the United States crime is lower than it was 30 years ago, 40 years ago.  Name it: Violent crime, crimes against children, abductions, abuse, murder, theft. By a factor of 40%. 
   And yet we treat the world like it's a mine field of perversion. Children are monitored to within an inch of their interior lives. They have next to no public memory of what it is to be unobserved, to be allowed decisions unmediated by adults, to move amongst themselves and build their own brief childhoods , their worlds, not one designed by their parents, makers of the Disney childhood, a walled psychic suburban community (which could be anywhere) with adults trying to legislate behavior with codicils, restrictions, requirements and security patrols. 
  Halloween. 1982. Several hundred children walking around a small town together. Big brothers and sisters. Police driving down the street.  HS seniors patrolling as well.  Lights on. Folks watching out their windows. An agreement: this is a community action. So….what actually were the chances that one of your neighbors was going to abduct your kids?
  How much stranger danger is there?
  What actually are the odds?
  This is where the coin drops- the crime rates that haven't gone down? The child abuse and sexual violence that still happens?…..happens in the home. Between people who know each other, are related, should be a family.
  So what's the issue?
  What we fear most in the house we project onto the stranger, the creeper, the bum, the poor guy, the "gang banger" (go ahead and read black or brown there). And of course onto that figure of universal dislike - the guy a couple house down who doesn't mow his lawn enough.
  Racism and reputation. 
  It's either about blaming somebody else for the demons we fear in ourselves, in our homes, in our bedrooms, or it's about reputation. Keeping up with the Joneses.
  "I maintainence as well as they do. I hover just as much. I've taken this precaution, that insurance policy, these new helmets, that new allergy medicine." What it boils down to is fear. Not "oh the kids are gonna get grabbed by Rapey the Clown" but "oh the neighbors'll find me out- the bad parent. I'll get sued. I won't keep up." I'm just as GOOD. 
  We monitor each other like survivors in the Walking Dead, "Wait, are YOU going to take everything from me!!" like Black Water operatives casing anyone not wearing the uniform, anyone who's NOT carrying the weapons of suspicion. What else are the packs of the fleece clad half smiling parents standing at the foot of your driveway making sure Jimmy doesn't get too close, doesn't step indoors, doesn't get leered at, but vigilantes? You used to go trick or treating with your big brother now you go with the latte toting minions of Big Brother. 
   It's not just being practical. It's nuts. You're not embracing your kids, you're smothering them, you're not covering all the bases, you're quite simply, trying to stop the game. And the truth is folks, you can't. 
   When it comes to "freedom"- the real F bomb in our American narrative- we're penny wise and pound foolish. Enable kids to get a vaccine for cancers that effect 60% of women born in America? "You're limiting my freedom!" But pass legislation that a man can't sit by himself in a park if kids play in it? You're defending the children! Try and put some brakes to an industry that shortens life expectancy in an area the size of Texas, the slightest limits, and you're impractical, you're waging a war on coal or some other extractive behemoth casting itself as a victim. Mention we might as well just let the kids go out and play, by themselves….and you're Adrian Peterson. 
  Let Yer freakin kids go outside. Eat dirt. Break things. Get in fights. Scream at something other than your paranoia. You've got bigger problems, by far.
   Let them walk alone at night for the first time in their lives in the cool of a Fall and think - this place is mine. And when they climb the stairs to someone's door, somebody they've never met, across a lawn they could never normally cross, up to old folks who mostly never smile at them or young toughs who don't give them a nod, let them knock and those people, those strangers will emerge…. and give them candy. A gift. Like what happens 90% of the time you run into someone you don't know and need a hand. Most of the time, they'll give it. An affirmation that this is our town and we will help each other out. 
   Let the rough democracy of childhood return. Let it live. 


  1. Hi David:

    I wonder if you’d be interested in talking to us.
    We just ran a grassroots campaign against Bill Shuster in PA District 9,
    one of the most corrupt US Congressman (and still champion),
    were outspent by about $3.5 million (no, I’m not kidding), and lost.

    We are a social movement for decency and honesty in politics,
    and service to OUR people, not the rich and powerful.
    OUR work is just beginning.

    If you feel as strongly about being a Pennsylvanian,
    as you feel about being a Pittsburgher, please join us.

    Our Facebook page is still called
    but we are so much more.

    Rosemarie Benintend

  2. J'admire ta facon d'écrire.N'hésite pas à visiter ma page.Merci

  3. This is the first year I let my kid roam the neighborhood without any parental supervision. The rules: stay in the 'hood, say "thank you," and do not take any toilet paper with you when you go.

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