Nanny state of the week: Busybodies, cops crack down on parents for letting kids be kids

MINNEAPOLIS — In this space each week, we try to zero in on a single politician, lawmaker or governing body using its power to limit individual freedom and choice in some way.

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Photo Credit: Togethercounts.com

But, for this week, there is no singular entity or individual to blame. Instead, we highlight one of the more disturbing trends to emerge this summer — no, not Iggy Azalea songs — the widespread practice of arresting parents, usually moms, for letting their children play outdoors unattended.

LOCK EM UP: Hey, kids, where are your parents. We’ve got some new bracelets for them to wear. And that see-saw doesn’t look safe either, so we’re going to have to take that, too.

How widespread? A complete survey of news stories would be too long for this space, but here’s a few prime examples.

In mid-July, Deborah Harrell of South Carolina was arrested and charged with unlawful conduct after she confessed to letting her 9-year-old daughter play at a park for an hour.

“The little girl is fine tonight, but some say an area the mother thought was safe could have turned dangerous,” intoned Deon Guillory, the reporter for ABC-6 news who first reported the story — slathering on the fear of the unknown as only local news can.

Harrell was fired from her job at McDonald’s after her arrest. The bright side of the story is that she’ll be able to go to the park with her daughter now, though the whole being-unemployed thing is probably a bit of a bummer.

But that was only the beginning.

Nicole Gainey, of Florida, was arrested on July 29 after letting her 7-year-old son walk to a nearby park by himself. The kid even had a cell phone to call for help, if it was needed.

Gainey told NBC’s Today she was “totally dumbfounded” by the incident.

“I honestly don’t think I was doing anything wrong. I was letting him go play,” she told the news program.

Gainey now faces up to five years in jail for child neglect, according to KTLA.

Read more from Watchdog.org

By Eric Boehm | Watchdog.org

 

Joe Saunders

Joe Saunders, a 25-year newspaper veteran, is a staff writer and editor for BizPac Review who lives in Tallahassee and covers capital and Florida politics. Email Joe at [email protected].

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