The whole incident got me thinking (again) about how more and more parents are shielding their kids from, well... everything. The reader comments for this story proved to me that parents today are much different than mine and that my peers are afraid of the world and are transferring that fear to their children.
"What the hell is a 9 year-old girl doing with an Uzi?!"
"I wouldn't let my kids within 20 miles of a gun range!"
"Another reason to ban guns..."
"Those parents should be tried for murder!"
The first two comments are echoed over and over and have more to do with the social atitude of protecting our children from everything we can think of. The last two, in my opinion, are geared more towards gun control.
I noticed something about the park across the street that I have lived next to for over 7 years. The only time I really see if full of people is when there is a birthday party. There are kids, off and on, who play there but the ones who do are usually teens. Rarely do I see 6 to 10 year-olds there by themselves, and I think that is a shame.
"But, TK, you can't have little kids like that playing by themselves!!", say the critics.
Yes, yes. I have heard all the snap judgments and paranoid reasons for not allowing kids to be kids these days. Here is the short list in order of frequency:
- Better safe than sorry (literally the #1 answer)
- It's a different world than when you were a kid
- It is too dangerous now to leave kids unattended
- Too many weirdos and pedophiles out there
- You never know...
The number one reason is the one that gets to me the most, because it means that person is too chicken shit to live life and enjoy the things that mold kids into what they will become as adults. And I'm talking about reasonable expectations, not the idiotic retorts that suggest I will let my kids just run around shooting guns and playing in the middle of a busy intersection. Pull the corn cob out, for crying out loud.
Kids are anxious, scared, dependent, devoid of common sense.
We are more safe these days than when I was a kid.