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55 minutes ago, ktgrok said:

Can you explain that to my mother so she stops sending me facebook memes about it? Sigh. 

I've tried explaining it to half a dozen little old ladies from my hometown, but they don't believe me, even the ones who are married to retired sheriffs.  When even their husbands shake their heads it's time to give up.

It might be easier to convince Gavin De Becker to write another book on calming the fears of grandparents with nothing to do but doom scroll.  "Here Mom, this is a must-read book on child safety.  You should know this for when the kids visit you."

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I didn't open many of your videos, but I did see that there's one about the decades-old Satanic Panic that made me think it wasn't worth opening the other links since debunked scare tactics don't help

(Deleted personal details)... she let men abuse her child in exchange for drugs, food, and housing.  That is sadly common. Exploiting runaways, illegal immigrants, and alienated teens, manipulati

My personal opinion is that people latch onto these theories because the truth of child trafficking is too horrible to consider. We all know that it’s real and it’s a terrible problem.  However....it’

2 hours ago, Sneezyone said:

Ya can’t thwart or eliminate every threat/risk but you can certainly make yourself less of an easy target

But this is not always possible everywhere in the world.  One of the things I am incredibly grateful in America is the ability to craft the life I want.

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4 minutes ago, Dreamergal said:

But this is not always possible everywhere in the world.  One of the things I am incredibly grateful in America is the ability to craft the life I want.

No, it’s not possible everywhere, but we don’t live everywhere else in the world either. We largely live, work, and visit places where the rampant, public assault of women and girls isn’t tolerated. Thats not to say that it isn’t an issue but that the threat doesn’t come primarily from powerful, political, Hollywood types. It’s much closer to home.

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How child trafficking looks around the world. 

 So many young girls are married young and often to older men. I am talking girls as young as 13. It is a reality even today especially during the pandemic. 

https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/11/05/931274119/child-marriages-are-up-in-the-pandemic-heres-how-india-tries-to-stop-them

You would think it would not happen in the UK. Apparently you can marry at 16 in the UK with parental consent. 

https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/payzee-mahmod-child-marriage-survivor-uk-britain/

This is one of the ways young boys are trafficked. Young boys as camel jockeys.

https://www.voanews.com/archive/thousands-boys-trapped-camel-jockeys-middle-east

This is a wonderful way that has hopefully made it better.

https://restofworld.org/2020/qatar-camel-racing-robots/

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23 minutes ago, Katy said:

I've tried explaining it to half a dozen little old ladies from my hometown, but they don't believe me, even the ones who are married to retired sheriffs.  When even their husbands shake their heads it's time to give up.

It might be easier to convince Gavin De Becker to write another book on calming the fears of grandparents with nothing to do but doom scroll.  "Here Mom, this is a must-read book on child safety.  You should know this for when the kids visit you."

This is genius!!!!! 

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Just now, Sneezyone said:

No, it’s not possible everywhere, but we don’t live everywhere else in the world either. We largely live, work, and visit places where the rampant, public assault of women and girls isn’t tolerated.

There are hidden ways like Female Genital Mutilation and Child Marriage even in the West.

https://www.voanews.com/usa/female-genital-mutilation-occurs-united-states

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/child-marriage-united-states-donna-pollard/

That is the overarching thing for me. There are atrocities everywhere in the world. 

Just now, Sneezyone said:

 

Thats not to say that it isn’t an issue but that the threat doesn’t come primarily from powerful political, Hollywood types. It’s much closer to home.

 I 100% agree about the political, powerful and Hollywood types not being the threat. That is a conspiracy theory used to exploit the empathy of people for a twisted political agenda.

 

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It's interesting to explore your own biases. I realised that I was subconsciously worrying less about my daughter as she grew up, because she can talk, she can say what's happening. But there's been a lot of things on the news lately about teens and young women who are assaulted (on the news because it's by policitians). These are educated, clever, strong young women. It's not their fault, and while I can bring her up to be as strong and knowledgable as I can, it still takes a society where assault is completely unacceptable for her to be safe. 

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17 minutes ago, Dreamergal said:

There are hidden ways like Female Genital Mutilation and Child Marriage even in the West.

https://www.voanews.com/usa/female-genital-mutilation-occurs-united-states

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/child-marriage-united-states-donna-pollard/

That is the overarching thing for me. There are atrocities everywhere in the world. 

 I 100% agree about the political, powerful and Hollywood types not being the threat. That is a conspiracy theory used to exploit the empathy of people for a twisted political agenda.

 

Of course there are! Underage marriages to abusers are a problem. FGM wasn’t LEGALLY practiced here until that 2019 ruling tho and is still, largely, frowned upon. How one defines ‘at risk’, as in the article, is unknown to me and even the original 2012 report was based on estimates. Hopefully, we’ll get a better handle on/understanding of that in the years to come. The actual data is very old at this point.

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11 minutes ago, bookbard said:

It's interesting to explore your own biases. I realised that I was subconsciously worrying less about my daughter as she grew up, because she can talk, she can say what's happening. But there's been a lot of things on the news lately about teens and young women who are assaulted (on the news because it's by policitians). These are educated, clever, strong young women. It's not their fault, and while I can bring her up to be as strong and knowledgable as I can, it still takes a society where assault is completely unacceptable for her to be safe. 

Which teens have been assaulted by politicians lately? Where did you see these credible reports? Have I been living under a rock? 

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One of the other things I wonder about is 

- Are child abductions more rare because now there are not many people running around wanting to abduct children?

- or are they rare because in general adults are more protective and there’s less opportunity to abduct children?

For a similar example house break ins go down when people install private alarms.  Car theft goes down with more secure cars.  I don’t think those statistics reflect a general improvement in the moral worth of the population.  They reflect an improvement in overall security and the chance of someone being caught.  If this is also true in relation to child safety - there’s less abductions now because there’s less kids unsupervised, supervising my kids less than the average parent out there increases their risk of being a target.  (Note all of this is separate from the Qanon stuff.  I’m just talking general risk from the random pervert stuff).  
 

I don’t get it about the risks of being overprotective to be honest.  I never walked or biked to school alone.  I figured out the public transport system ok at 16 and got myself to college and work.  I don’t think it hurt.  I’m also extremely glad my parents were over protective about sleepovers etc because at least one house I could have gone to turned out to be a definite risk.

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6 minutes ago, Sneezyone said:

Which teens have been assaulted by politicians lately? Where did you see these credible reports? Have I been living under a rock? 

High profile news in Australia at the moment.

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25 minutes ago, Ausmumof3 said:

One of the other things I wonder about is 

- Are child abductions more rare because now there are not many people running around wanting to abduct children?

- or are they rare because in general adults are more protective and there’s less opportunity to abduct children?

For a similar example house break ins go down when people install private alarms.  Car theft goes down with more secure cars.  I don’t think those statistics reflect a general improvement in the moral worth of the population.  They reflect an improvement in overall security and the chance of someone being caught.  If this is also true in relation to child safety - there’s less abductions now because there’s less kids unsupervised, supervising my kids less than the average parent out there increases their risk of being a target.  (Note all of this is separate from the Qanon stuff.  I’m just talking general risk from the random pervert stuff).  
 

I don’t get it about the risks of being overprotective to be honest.  I never walked or biked to school alone.  I figured out the public transport system ok at 16 and got myself to college and work.  I don’t think it hurt.  I’m also extremely glad my parents were over protective about sleepovers etc because at least one house I could have gone to turned out to be a definite risk.

In the states, if you live in a rural or suburban area, you can EASILY graduate from high school/college and never use public transit, especially now with Uber which isn’t necessarily more secure. I think of it as missing life skills. If I fell into poverty, could I make do (sew), meal plan (and cook), for example? One of my students told me yesterday (when discussing geography) that’s she could bring her phone to the desert and call emergency services for help. Now, maybe that is true, the world’s deserts may be covered in cell towers today, but maybe it’s not. I’d not be relying on tech as my only means of contacting the outside world or getting help.

I do agree with you tho that forensic science advances, the increasing prevalence of location monitoring software, and surveillance cameras have probably contributed to the decrease in kidnappings. I don’t think those impulses have gone away.

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15 minutes ago, Ausmumof3 said:

 

One of the other things I wonder about is 

- Are child abductions more rare because now there are not many people running around wanting to abduct children?

- or are they rare because in general adults are more protective and there’s less opportunity to abduct children?

 

Crime overall is down in pretty much every category across the board (in the US).  There are all kinds of theories as to why, taking lead out of gasoline and paint is my personal favorite but I’ve also seen better early childhood education and better Child Protective Services and a ton of other ideas tossed around.  I tend to think less crime is because we are raising fewer criminals.    

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29 minutes ago, Sneezyone said:

Which teens have been assaulted by politicians lately? Where did you see these credible reports? Have I been living under a rock?

Never mind, already answered. I think the point was these highly articulate, clever, assertive young women still can't individually control what happens to them in a toxic environment.

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2 minutes ago, Cnew02 said:

Crime overall is down in pretty much every category across the board (in the US).  There are all kinds of theories as to why, taking lead out of gasoline and paint is my personal favorite but I’ve also seen better early childhood education and better Child Protective Services and a ton of other ideas tossed around.  I tend to think less crime is because we are raising fewer criminals.    

I think it’s because they’re more likely to be caught. Crime science is a lot more sophisticated and criminals know that too.

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4 minutes ago, Sneezyone said:

In the states, if you live in a rural or suburban area, you can EASILY graduate from high school/college and never use public transit, especially now with Uber which isn’t necessarily more secure. I think of it as missing life skills. If I fell into poverty, could I make do (sew), meal plan (and cook), for example. One of my students told me yesterday (when discussing geography) that’s she could bring her phone to the desert and call emergency services for help. Now, maybe that is true, the world’s deserts may be covered in cell towers, but maybe it’s not. I’d not be relying on tech as my only means of contacting the outside world or getting help.

I do agree with you tho that forensic science advances, the increasing prevalence of location monitoring software, and surveillance cameras have probably contributed to the decrease in kidnappings. I don’t think those impulses have gone away.

She wouldn’t want to be relying on her cellphone in the middle of Australia that’s for sure.  I guess it is a case of different countries, different risks, and I don’t have direct experience with the US to know what overprotective looks like there. 

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7 minutes ago, Cnew02 said:

Crime overall is down in pretty much every category across the board (in the US).  There are all kinds of theories as to why, taking lead out of gasoline and paint is my personal favorite but I’ve also seen better early childhood education and better Child Protective Services and a ton of other ideas tossed around.  I tend to think less crime is because we are raising fewer criminals.    

Wow well that would be nice.  I had just assumed we’d got better at protecting ourselves from them.

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40 minutes ago, Sneezyone said:

Of course there are! Underage marriages to abusers are a problem. FGM wasn’t LEGALLY practiced here until that 2019 ruling tho and is still, largely, frowned upon. How one defines ‘at risk’, as in the article, is unknown to me and even the original 2012 report was based on estimates. Hopefully, we’ll get a better handle on/understanding of that in the years to come. The actual data is very old at this point.

I have not kept up with FGM. But What I know about FGM is some judge ruled the federal level law was unconstitutional and it was to be a state level law. :angry:. Trouble is not all states had laws , I think only 27 at that time prohibiting it and the rest were supposed to catch up. Last I remember 500k were at risk.

That is the thing that makes me most of all mad about this conspiracy. Trafficking is real, abuse is real and most of us will do our bit to take a stand for it. They are exploiting the most vulnerable and the empathy of people for political gain. It is breathtakingly monstrous.  

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16 minutes ago, Cnew02 said:

Crime overall is down in pretty much every category across the board (in the US).  There are all kinds of theories as to why, taking lead out of gasoline and paint is my personal favorite but I’ve also seen better early childhood education and better Child Protective Services and a ton of other ideas tossed around.  I tend to think less crime is because we are raising fewer criminals.    

Me too! DH introduced me to this theory, and it totally scans as a good theory to me. 

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14 minutes ago, Ausmumof3 said:

She wouldn’t want to be relying on her cellphone in the middle of Australia that’s for sure.  I guess it is a case of different countries, different risks, and I don’t have direct experience with the US to know what overprotective looks like there. 

Overprotective here looks like middle school kids who can’t ride their bikes 15 minutes away through an upper middle class suburban neighborhood to go to the store alone. Elementary kids who can’t play in our (single entry, dumbbell-shaped) cul de sac without supervision. Kids who get cars at 16/17 (horrible drivers BTW) so they’re safely transported to school vs riding the (objectively safer) bus. They use GPS (with parental tracking) on their phones to navigate EVERYWHERE, even in their own neighborhoods. Any creeper who snatched up one of these kids at random could be located pretty quickly. These kids are not vulnerable to randos so much as people they already know. This is largely why DH and I have approached safety as we have. They are most vulnerable with those they trust. ‘Strangers’ wouldn't get the time of day.

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5 minutes ago, Sneezyone said:

Overprotective here looks like middle school kids who can’t ride their bikes 15 minutes away through a upper middle class suburban neighborhood to go to the store alone. Elementary kids who can’t play in our (single entry, dumbbell-shaped) cul de sac without supervision. Kids who get cars at 16/17 (horrible drivers BTW) so they’re safely transported to school vs riding the (objectively safer) bus. They use GPS (with parental tracking) on their phones to navigate EVERYWHERE, even in their own neighborhoods. Any creeper who snatched up one of these kids at random could be located pretty quickly. These kids are not vulnerable to randos so much as people they already know.

I live in an area with great public transportation.  It is not uncommon for me to meet a kid who is given a car at 16, having never navigated anywhere by themselves.  They've never ridden their bikes to school, or taken the bus to Starbucks, or been allowed to go off to explore a museum and come back and meet up at an assigned time.   I get that these aren't options for kids in all parts of the country, but they absolutely are for kids around here.  

I feel like learning to navigate and to drive at the same time has to be a lot of stress, and increase the likelihood of an accident.  

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27 minutes ago, Melissa Louise said:

Never mind, already answered. I think the point was these highly articulate, clever, assertive young women still can't individually control what happens to them in a toxic environment.

I’ll be honest with you tho. I’ve worked in highly stressful political environs in three states and I saw a lot of young men and women that, upon first meeting, however intelligent they were, immediately struck me as potential roadkill. Toxic environments, toxic situations, narcissistic people are common in the trade. When fresh-faced idealists showed up with newly minted credentials and tons of enthusiasm it always made me wince a little.

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2 hours ago, Xahm said:

My husband has been a police officer in our major metro area for right at ten years. He's helped find numerous missing juveniles, uncovered child prostitution, dealt with runaways, abusive parents, step parents, uncles, foster parents, etc. In all that time, there has been one case of a stranger abducting a child under 12. (I don't know whether there were any teen abductions). In the same time, I've seen several dozen "reports" of close calls on Facebook. They are mostly "I got a creepy feeling because an immigrant man/woman was being very friendly, so we ran away fast!" People who believe that all those "close calls" are really close calls are getting a very skewed view of reality. I still pray sometimes for the one little girl who was taken. My husband found her, living but understandably not talking, dumped in a parking lot not far from the run down apartment complex from which she was taken. She hadn't yet been reported missing. She was covered in injuries, most of which predated her kidnapping. The evil man who took her had not planned and stalked the prettiest child he could find; he had taken the most vulnerable child. False narratives can lead us to fear the most vulnerable rather than protecting them, which is why they stir me to anger.

Thanks for the firsthand report. Much appreciated. 

Has he seen many child deaths? (Sorry, that's kind of a morbid question.) 

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4 minutes ago, Sneezyone said:

I’ll be honest with you tho. I’ve worked in highly stressful political environs in three states and I saw a lot of young men and women that, upon first meeting, however intelligent they were, immediately struck me as potential roadkill. Toxic environments, toxic situations, narcissistic people are common in the trade. When fresh-faced idealists showed up with newly minted credentials and tons of enthusiasm it always made me wince a little.

I haven't worked in politics, but even in academia, it really HELPED to have a nose for the scum. It really helped that I was very aware of the sleazy harasser and didn't just ignore the bad vibes because he was famous and well-regarded and no one warned me about him. I made sure to basically never be alone with him. I also told every female around me who would listen to never be alone with him. It was a good idea, as it turns out. 

(I didn't know that I had been right until 10 years later! For a long time, I had wondered how sleazy he'd been to other women, because I didn't KNOW anything myself. I wasn't sure he'd ever actually seriously harassed anyone. As it turns out.. yes, yes he had.) 

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6 hours ago, Selkie said:

While abductions are rare, I think many of us had unsettling encounters with adult male strangers when we were kids. I know I did, many times - lewd comments, gestures, following, that kind of thing. And yes, this was when I was a young child - although it certainly continued throughout my teen years, too.

For those of us who've experienced that, the concept of stranger danger doesn't seem all that far-fetched and ridiculous.

Maybe the people who are adamant about stranger danger not being a concern were fortunate enough to never have that happen, and therefore think it is unlikely to happen to anyone else. 

Not necessarily. When I was walking home from school in third grade a stranger tried to lure me into their car at the only spot on the walk home that a crossing guard couldn't see me. It didn't work because I just kept running(I was running for fun prior to them stopping their car. So, not cause I was scared.) I also was assaulted by a stranger in a club full of my friends.

Stranger danger the way it was taught when I was a kid is certainly not something I'm a proponent of. I teach my kids that there is nothing wrong with talking to someone they don't know. But they shouldn't give personal info to them and they certainly should never go with anyone even if they know them without permission. 

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7 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

I haven't worked in politics, but even in academia, it really HELPED to have a nose for the scum. It really helped that I was very aware of the sleazy harasser and didn't just ignore the bad vibes because he was famous and well-regarded and no one warned me about him. I made sure to basically never be alone with him. I also told every female around me who would listen to never be alone with him. It was a good idea, as it turns out. 

(I didn't know that I had been right until 10 years later! For a long time, I had wondered how sleazy he'd been to other women, because I didn't KNOW anything myself. I wasn't sure he'd ever actually seriously harassed anyone. As it turns out.. yes, yes he had.) 

Many people find my sarcasm and wit off-putting but it’s a well-honed defense mechanism and skill developed from gut instinct WRT people I’ve met. I’ve tried to explicitly teach my most at-risk/naive child how to harness that instinct. Only time will tell whether it works. I’ve seen some encouraging developments tho. The vicious set downs delivered to people who slide into DMs on ‘the gram’ give me hope. 🤣

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It’s the exploitation of normal, reasonable empathy for political gain that’s galling, to me.  We all care about kids and vulnerable people, that’s obvious here.
 

But the implication in some of the links posted in that first post is that if we don’t believe X, we don’t really care about protecting vulnerable people, we are morally less-than.  Sharing these links is so important that if we choose not to do so, we aren’t right with God.
 

What I’m hearing here, is that most of us care deeply about kids and vulnerable people.  Most of us don’t believe in X, with X being that there is a massive international cabal, run by one political party, that traffics kids and cannibalizes them, is involved in satanic rituals, a certain politician who is fighting against the dangerous pedophiles, and so on and so on.  


But attaching a topic that most people do care about to theories that are so nonsensical, it makes a conversation almost impossible.  It’s hard to disavow the conspiracy theories, when they are wrapped up in a topic that people care about, isn’t it?  I can’t say, “This is nonsense!” without coming across as someone who doesn’t care about the vulnerable.  And I do care.  Of course I do, but I don’t think sharing convoluted, conspiracy laden posts and videos will do anything to protect them. I think there are concrete, real actions we can take, and my DH and I have taken the ones we can.
 

Not to sound conspiracy-minded, but this thread feels almost engineered.  We were set up to go round and round about this, with the implication that if we don’t take the bait (yes, of course we are concerned about trafficking!) we don’t really care.  And also, we must pass this stuff on, to be right with God, to be morally good.  


I am grateful that those links were taken down.  I wouldn’t want to see them spread further through being posted here. I was sad to see them posted here, and concerned for the OP.

 

On a personal note, I have more than one set of neighbors who have fallen far, far into these conspiracy theories.  It started with these same types of videos, “they say...” and “I’ve heard...” statements, sharing memes.  I honestly have begun to think YouTube is a breeding ground for radicalization that should be avoided at all costs.  But, back to my neighbors ... we have always been close.  Our cul de sac was tight, and we usually gathered on my porch for drinks and watching kids play.  We feed each other’s kids, and watch out for each other.  Lots of impromptu dinners and barbecues, and parties.  Shared babysitting, study groups, huge kickball games. Now my family is the only family to wear masks, and there is a decided chilly tone, somewhat hostile. The dads don’t even wave anymore when we drive past. Two moms and I make an effort to text and chat.  It’s so unbelievable to me, that these people who were our friends, whose kids spent hours and hours at our house ... they now can think that because we are of the suspected party, we are satanic cannibals who abuse kids??  That we don’t love our kids, care about other kids, or our country?  How can they think that about other humans?  Their friends?  It’s hurtful, to be honest.  
 

I am absolutely mind-boggled that a large portion of the population can believe that, what, basically half of the population is involved in this crazy, horrific stuff?  ... at first I thought the conspiracies were only about politicians and Hollywood types.  But then I started reading more and realized that as they go farther and farther down that hole, it extends to every day people. To neighbors and former friends.  This nonsense is dividing neighborhoods, friendships, families.  It has to stop.

 

ETA:  I tried not to be political, not sure it worked.  

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9 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

Thanks for the firsthand report. Much appreciated. 

Has he seen many child deaths? (Sorry, that's kind of a morbid question.) 

I'm not sure how many exactly because he doesn't tell me about car crash stuff (to ease my own anxiety) and waits for appropriate times when the child is close to our children's ages (unless he needs to talk right away). There have been a few infant suffocations when a baby falls down beside the bed or similar and everyone thinks someone else has the baby. A couple medically fragile children whose parents spoke another language so police were sent instead of paramedics. Pedestrian fatalities. If you include teens the number goes up a lot because shootings and drugs and other risky behaviors start to be the main factor. 

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1 hour ago, Ausmumof3 said:

 

I don’t get it about the risks of being overprotective to be honest.  I never walked or biked to school alone.  I figured out the public transport system ok at 16 and got myself to college and work.  I don’t think it hurt.  I’m also extremely glad my parents were over protective about sleepovers etc because at least one house I could have gone to turned out to be a definite risk.

Here, overprotective would mean not letting a 16 yr old use public transport. Or even have a job. My son was 16 and at the mall watching a movie with a homeschool group. A few parents always stayed, I did not. No need. I was coming to pick him up, they knew that, he had a cell phone, and was going to walk across the mall parking lot to the fast food place (they share a parking lot) to grab a burger while waiting for me. It was DAYLIGHT. The other parents freaked out and wouldn't let him go, and called me to tell on him. THAT is overprotective. 

I let him walk or ride his bike to school in 3rd grade - it was not quite 1/3 mile away, one street to cross with a crossing guard. Tons of kids out all going the same place. MULTIPLE people said I was crazy and it was too dangerous for him to walk there without me. That's insane. 

31 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

Me too! DH introduced me to this theory, and it totally scans as a good theory to me. 

Me too. So many times people talk about "those people, in those neighborhoods" and I wonder if they realize the medical issues effecting "those people" such as lead poisoning, prenatal drug exposure, etc. 

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2 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

I haven't worked in politics, but even in academia, it really HELPED to have a nose for the scum. It really helped that I was very aware of the sleazy harasser and didn't just ignore the bad vibes because he was famous and well-regarded and no one warned me about him. I made sure to basically never be alone with him. I also told every female around me who would listen to never be alone with him. It was a good idea, as it turns out. 

(I didn't know that I had been right until 10 years later! For a long time, I had wondered how sleazy he'd been to other women, because I didn't KNOW anything myself. I wasn't sure he'd ever actually seriously harassed anyone. As it turns out.. yes, yes he had.) 

Ugh, my time in academia was filled with scumbags. One instance: A fellow grad student used the sign-up list for participating in research as a dating service, When we told his advisor, it was all "boys will be boys" with a little "you must have a crush on him" thrown in. He had no concern over how this guy was putting our entire research program at risk. Lots of other ick in that particular program. The next one had a professor who was found to be stalking a former student, a guy who was going through a divorce and accused every woman in the department of only wanting to have babies (including my own advisor who never got married nor had any desire for kids), and just this one grad student...just the worst I don't even know where to start. 

I don't know if reporting options have changed as it's been about 15 years since I left, but in my departments we were generally encouraged to keep our heads down and not make trouble. 

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I don’t know how many of you read Freakonomics but one of the interesting assertions in that book is that decreases in crime directly correlate with abortions 15-20 years prior. Less children treated as unwanted burdens = less criminals later. 

Also,  DNA has meant catching more serial offenders. And despite huge inequalities in which criminals get prosecuted, the 3 strikes laws kept people in prison that would commit more violence.

Those laws should be amended to be redefined from felonies to violent crimes in my somewhat uneducated opinion. I don’t see how nonviolent drug offenders have much to do with protecting society other than perhaps requiring long term birth control for users so children aren’t damaged. 

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My first full time job out of college sent me to the Big State U to help get a grant back on track. I was on loan. I hated that place, especially the paper tiger PhDs who were clueless about anything other than their area of expertise. My boss told me by way of explanation, and I never forgot it, “When the stakes are low, the knives come out.”  I’ve found this to be true in most cases. People will fight tooth and nail over the smallest morsel and ignore the giant bacchanalian feast happening behind the curtain. This conspiracy theory epidemic feels like it was culled from the same toxic heifer. Forget the big stuff while you enjoy the illusion. Bread and circuses.

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1 hour ago, BaseballandHockey said:

I live in an area with great public transportation.  It is not uncommon for me to meet a kid who is given a car at 16, having never navigated anywhere by themselves.  They've never ridden their bikes to school, or taken the bus to Starbucks, or been allowed to go off to explore a museum and come back and meet up at an assigned time.   I get that these aren't options for kids in all parts of the country, but they absolutely are for kids around here.  

I feel like learning to navigate and to drive at the same time has to be a lot of stress, and increase the likelihood of an accident.  

Yes for sure!  I’d be far more worried about a sixteen year old driving than on public transport.

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I know there’s all these theories about Q being that tech guy who is on the run from American police in the Philippines, but 4chan’s original purpose was trolling. I still think we’re going to eventually find out an unemployed middle aged single man who lives in his mom’s basement and has never had more than an entry level job but who’s read a few thriller novels is behind the whole thing. It’s so ridiculous it’s incredible that anyone believes it at all. I bet “Q” thinks that too.  

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1 hour ago, Sneezyone said:

My first full time job out of college sent me to the Big State U to help get a grant back on track. I was on loan. I hated that place, especially the paper tiger PhDs who were clueless about anything other than their area of expertise. My boss told me by way of explanation, and I never forgot it, “When the stakes are low, the knives come out.”  I’ve found this to be true in most cases. People will fight tooth and nail over the smallest morsel and ignore the giant bacchanalian feast happening behind the curtain. This conspiracy theory epidemic feels like it was culled from the same toxic heifer. Forget the big stuff while you enjoy the illusion. Bread and circuses.

I always feel like Cassandra, because I always point at the feast while people are busy fighting over the crumbs 😉 . As it turns out, people don't like it when you do that. 

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1 hour ago, Katy said:

I don’t know how many of you read Freakonomics but one of the interesting assertions in that book is that decreases in crime directly correlate with abortions 15-20 years prior. Less children treated as unwanted burdens = less criminals later. 

We own Freakonomics and I *think* I've read it but it's been a long time. 😉

It is an interesting assertion, but one that has been challenged by subsequent studies. See, for example, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legalized_abortion_and_crime_effect.

In any case, I would argue that violence against anyone is never the answer to societal problems. (Not that you said it is--but that could be extrapolated by some, I think.)

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2 hours ago, BaseballandHockey said:

I live in an area with great public transportation.  It is not uncommon for me to meet a kid who is given a car at 16, having never navigated anywhere by themselves.  They've never ridden their bikes to school, or taken the bus to Starbucks, or been allowed to go off to explore a museum and come back and meet up at an assigned time.   I get that these aren't options for kids in all parts of the country, but they absolutely are for kids around here.  

I feel like learning to navigate and to drive at the same time has to be a lot of stress, and increase the likelihood of an accident.  

I chaperoned a group of high school freshmen women for a field trip a few years back, and they didn't even have the sense to stay out of the (40MPH signage, 50 actual) traffic lanes.  I was horrified. I was kind of embarrassed for them, too much so to want to tell them to get back on the sidewalk, so I physically ran interference.  It was ridiculous.

None of them had ever been on a bus.  My DD, who is considered very sheltered by almost everyone we know, was considered very citified in this school for being allowed to take the bus by herself, let alone knowing how to do so.  She was so urban that she taught everyone else, LOL.  

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One thing that bothers about this thread is a bit of an attitude (by a few posters, not all) of acting like people are irrational or stupid if their personal experience doesn't agree with statistics on a particular issue.  Someone's close-to-home experiences, whether actual personal experience or geographically close or circle of friends/aquaintances, is generally going to have more weight in their mind than any statistic, and that's natural and shouldn't be cause for someone to be talked down to or criticized.  

Personally I'm aware that there are very few stranger abductions in the US.  However, when I was in law enforcement before I got married, we had a case where a girl of about 9 was abducted by a stranger who climbed through her bedroom window, kidnapped her, shot her up with meth, raped her, and released her by the side of the road.  All my knowledge of how rare stranger kidnappings are didn't make me not be always a little bit uneasy about the window location when we lived in a house where my daughter's bedroom window was at ground level (daylight basement).  I also had odd experiences a couple years ago with my boys involving an older guy at my gym.  One day I was getting them all out of my van to go into the gym, and a well-dressed, jovial guy about 60 years old came up and started talking to them and wanting to give them all high 5s.  It was slightly weird but IME random older people are occasionally quite interested in a larger family of boys, so I wouldn't have really considered it unusual, until I realized that the guy had been driving through the gym parking lot and literally stopped his car in the middle of the lot to get out and come talk to my kids.  We saw the same guy a month or so later at the gym--he walked out of the gym and stopped to joke with a delivery driver out front.  We walked by them and the guy literally followed us back into the gym talking to my kids and trying to get one of them to shake his hand.  I just kept on walking and he stopped after a few seconds.  It was creepy.  Now I don't really think he was trying to abduct one of my kids--I don't really know what he was trying to accomplish, but I'm convinced he was a pedophile.  Those experiences have made me more leery of random strangers and a bit more uneasy about my kids going to parks etc without me than I'd otherwise be.

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5 minutes ago, caedmyn said:

One thing that bothers about this thread is a bit of an attitude (by a few posters, not all) of acting like people are irrational or stupid if their personal experience doesn't agree with statistics on a particular issue.  Someone's close-to-home experiences, whether actual personal experience or geographically close or circle of friends/aquaintances, is generally going to have more weight in their mind than any statistic, and that's natural and shouldn't be cause for someone to be talked down to or criticized.  

Personal experience should have greater weight than statistics if the personal experience means that you're in some way different from the average. So, if you live in a crime-ridden area, then your personal experiences should be very relevant in deciding how to act. National averages are no help at all when they aren't applicable. (Now, crime statistics for your specific neighborhood WOULD be relevant. But maybe they wouldn't be available.) 

However, if your personal experience is not related to your current life, then no, your personal experiences should not inform your opinions more than statistics. 

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3 hours ago, ktgrok said:

Here, overprotective would mean not letting a 16 yr old use public transport. Or even have a job. My son was 16 and at the mall watching a movie with a homeschool group. A few parents always stayed, I did not. No need. I was coming to pick him up, they knew that, he had a cell phone, and was going to walk across the mall parking lot to the fast food place (they share a parking lot) to grab a burger while waiting for me. It was DAYLIGHT. The other parents freaked out and wouldn't let him go, and called me to tell on him. THAT is overprotective. 

I let him walk or ride his bike to school in 3rd grade - it was not quite 1/3 mile away, one street to cross with a crossing guard. Tons of kids out all going the same place. MULTIPLE people said I was crazy and it was too dangerous for him to walk there without me. That's insane. 

Me too. So many times people talk about "those people, in those neighborhoods" and I wonder if they realize the medical issues effecting "those people" such as lead poisoning, prenatal drug exposure, etc. 

Having lived in one of *those* neighborhoods...NO ONE MESSED WITH ME. EVER. Maybe it was because my Dad/family was well known. Maybe it was because I didn't do much besides ride my bike and take the bus all over but NO ONE MESSED WITH ME. It's not like I was some unattractive kid either. I just never felt insecure b/c my block was populated by people who watched over me. I knew not to go to certain places after dark (I was in bed anyway) and not to involve myself with certain people b/c DIRTBAGS but I was never afraid of random acts of violence. At the time, even now, I don't know what kinds of environmental pollutants existed nearby. What I *did* have was a two-parent household and a strong support system that made me confident and secure. I had no enemies. No one targeted me. Everyone who ALSO grew up in that neighborhood with me (save my brother which is a different, longer story) is also still living life, raising kids, being productive. *Those* neighborhoods aren't always what people think they are. The people hanging out in the crack park 200 yards from my house, prostituting themselves, weren't little kids like me. They were mothers, sisters and aunts hooked on the pipe. I was NEVER offered drugs of any kind until I moved to Arkansas. Go figure. I'd never smelled it, seen anything but detritus, or whatevs until moving to a rural area. Maybe it's lead. Maybe it's poverty. Maybe it's just plain hopelessness. That doesn't mean it's turned OUTWARD. In my experience, it's turned INWARD.

The suppositions about who is bad/good/a threat are almost always based on appearances and not actions. One of the BIGGEST takeaways from my childhood was not to judge a book by its cover b/c people others thought were BAD were often better, much better, than those they thought were good. Many of the young people I met as a college grad/professional seemed to make that mistake all too easily. Anyone who checked the boxes...right church, right political bent, right look, right family photos, right education, right speech patterns, right sense of humor...were all good. They were often wrong. Being in that environment as a kid taught me to look past the outward stuff and see people for who they really are. I mean, seriously...who is worse? The jerks who catcalled as I passed by on my way to school or the school 'counselor' who did not (without saying so) write a required letter of recommendation because my mother verbally cleaned his clock? I can't pass those experiences on to my kids but I can STRONGLY encourage them to look beyond what they see on the surface to the core of the people they interact with every day. How do they treat the least of these? What do they say when they think no one is listening? WHAT DO THEY WANT FROM YOU? These insights and lessons are, I think, an important prelude to being better able to perceive the same traits in strangers.

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13 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

Personal experience should have greater weight than statistics if the personal experience means that you're in some way different from the average. So, if you live in a crime-ridden area, then your personal experiences should be very relevant in deciding how to act. National averages are no help at all when they aren't applicable. (Now, crime statistics for your specific neighborhood WOULD be relevant. But maybe they wouldn't be available.) 

However, if your personal experience is not related to your current life, then no, your personal experiences should not inform your opinions more than statistics. 

My point was that personal experiences are naturally going to tend to affect feelings and behavior more than statistics, and that doesn’t make someone ignorant or stupid or worthy of contempt.  I can acknowledge the rarity of stranger abductions yet still feel uneasy or extra cautious about some situations EVEN THOUGH I know stranger abduction is extremely unlikely, because of my personal experiences.

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7 minutes ago, caedmyn said:

My point was that personal experiences are naturally going to tend to affect feelings and behavior more than statistics, and that doesn’t make someone ignorant or stupid or worthy of contempt.  I can acknowledge the rarity of stranger abductions yet still feel uneasy or extra cautious about some situations EVEN THOUGH I know stranger abduction is extremely unlikely, because of my personal experiences.

Feelings, yes. But behavior, no. Not necessarily. 

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21 minutes ago, Sneezyone said:

Anyone who checked the boxes...right church, right political bent, right look, right family photos, right education, right speech patterns, right sense of humor...were all good.

Yeah. People have the awful tendency to go by the stuff that's easy to tell as opposed to actually using their judgement. 

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1 minute ago, Spryte said:

@Not_a_Number Well, you’ve given yourself away if you ever need to change your username for some reason.  We’ll know it’s you if a new Cassandra appears suddenly, pointing at feasts!

Excellent. I'm sure it won't be the "female mathematician who works at AoPS" thing, no sirree. 

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