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1 hour 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.  

Yes, contempt for those who disagree is really quite inappropriate to civil discourse and unfortunately all too common.

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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’

1 minute ago, Carol in Cal. said:

Yes, contempt for those who disagree is really quite inappropriate to civil discourse and unfortunately all too common.

I don't think it's contemptuous to say that it's a good idea to use quantitative reasoning where appropriate. 

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5 minutes ago, Spryte said:

Has Pen checked in lately?  I hope she’s ok.  

She was last here at 2:00 yesterday, and hasn't posted since starting this thread.

One of the most dangerous aspects of these kinds of conspiracy theories is that it basically becomes a cult, so when people try to tell someone that they are getting sucked into things that are false and dangerous, the tendency is to double down and see the "naysayers" as proof of how widespread denial and suppression of the "truth" really are. So it becomes a self-reinforcing downward spiral, deeper and deeper into the hole, and eventually it turns into a martyr complex — others may mock and ostracize me for telling the truth, but I will sacrifice myself for the good of the children. Hence the posts saying that those who don't buy into the theories are not "right with God," and comparing herself to the Germans who tried to warn others of Nazi atrocities, while those of us who ignore the QAnon "truth" are "morally complicit with evil."  It's really sad. I hope her son is OK. 😞 

 

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Gymnastic coach John Geddert committed suicide today after criminal charges were released. I am well aware of his awfulness and have little doubt he was aware of Dr. Nassau’s activities. It did take me a minute to think about the charges against him of human trafficking. It wasn’t one of the charges I expected due to my preconceived thoughts.

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15 minutes ago, Corraleno said:

She was last here at 2:00 yesterday, and hasn't posted since starting this thread.

One of the most dangerous aspects of these kinds of conspiracy theories is that it basically becomes a cult, so when people try to tell someone that they are getting sucked into things that are false and dangerous, the tendency is to double down and see the "naysayers" as proof of how widespread denial and suppression of the "truth" really are. So it becomes a self-reinforcing downward spiral, deeper and deeper into the hole, and eventually it turns into a martyr complex — others may mock and ostracize me for telling the truth, but I will sacrifice myself for the good of the children. Hence the posts saying that those who don't buy into the theories are not "right with God," and comparing herself to the Germans who tried to warn others of Nazi atrocities, while those of us who ignore the QAnon "truth" are "morally complicit with evil."  It's really sad. I hope her son is OK. 😞 

I'm really not OK with that comparison, I have to say. If you read something from that era, it wasn't a conspiracy. Everyone knew something was up. It was done in plain sight. 

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10 minutes ago, Acorn said:

Gymnastic coach John Geddert committed suicide today after criminal charges were released. I am well aware of his awfulness and have little doubt he was aware of Dr. Nassau’s activities. It did take me a minute to think about the charges against him of human trafficking. It wasn’t one of the charges I expected due to my preconceived thoughts.

The trafficking charges were for "forced labor" and "forced labor resulting in injury," due to the gymnasts being "repeatedly forced to perform even when injured." 
https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/25/us/john-geddert-usa-gymnastics-coach-charged/index.html

Edited by Corraleno
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On 2/24/2021 at 9:26 AM, Tanaqui said:

Your children are not at risk from walking down the street or taking their bikes, because stranger danger isn't really real.

I completely agree that children are at the greatest risk from people within your lives if they are at risk. 
 

That said, we cannot make sweeping generalizations like children aren’t at risk rising their bikes around. Stranger danger is real. Very unfortunately, there are real cases of children disappearing. I grew up less than ten miles from where the Evansdale, Iowa cousins were abducted. It was a heart wrenching, awful thing, and they never caught the person, but I think most parents from the area are all too aware that horrible things can and do happen.  

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2 minutes ago, BlsdMama said:

It was a heart wrenching, awful thing, and they never caught the person, but I think most parents from the area are all too aware that horrible things can and do happen.  

Yes, but they happen much less often than kids drinking chemical cleaning agents and dying from that. And people talk about that MUCH less often. 

Edited by Not_a_Number
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I don’t know if there’s been sufficient thread drift to talk about this unrelated personal experience vs. analytical thought, but here goes. I was very close to dying in a terrorist attack.  If we hadn’t stopped to get croissants for my friend, I’d almost certainly be dead. That is, rationally speaking, a very unusual way to die. Now when I’m at airports, I’m anxious because of the trauma. But, I try to remind myself the statistics. And I tell myself that I’ve had my turn at terrorism and lightening doesn’t strike in the same place twice. Even though I know that isn’t entirely rational either. 

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Just now, lauraw4321 said:

I don’t know if there’s been sufficient thread drift to talk about this unrelated personal experience vs. analytical thought, but here goes. I was very close to dying in a terrorist attack.  If we hadn’t stopped to get croissants for my friend, I’d almost certainly be dead. That is, rationally speaking, a very unusual way to die. Now when I’m at airports, I’m anxious because of the trauma. But, I try to remind myself the statistics. And I tell myself that I’ve had my turn at terrorism and lightening doesn’t strike in the same place twice. Even though I know that isn’t entirely rational either. 

I do think that reactions to trauma are fundamentally irrational and there's just nothing we can do about them other than try to reassure ourselves. 

Also, how scary for you. 

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3 minutes ago, Thatboyofmine said:

Yes, but this thread was specifically about kidnapping, not all the other things that can happen to kids.  

This thread was about conspiracy theories, to be clear. And people have been discussing whether the level of concern about child abduction is out of proportion with the actual risk for a while now. 

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1 hour ago, Not_a_Number said:

I'm really not OK with that comparison, I have to say. If you read something from that era, it wasn't a conspiracy. Everyone knew something was up. It was done in plain sight. 

And it's even more offensive when you consider how much anti-Semitism there is within the Qanon movement, from accusations against Soros and the Rothschilds, to the Capitol rioters wearing shirts saying "Camp Auschwitz" and "6 Million Wasn't Enough," to the whole "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" nonsense, and blatantly antisemitic statements by "Q" himself. The people pushing those theories don't get to call other people Nazi apologists.

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16 hours ago, MercyA said:

Next up, robots in place of the camels, I hope! 😉 

When I was a little girl we had traveling circuses that had animals like elephants, tigers, lions, camels as part of the show. They would visit every year and it was one of the highlights of the year. We had a zoo, but the animals were in cages. There used to be an animal trainer who would make lions and tigers do tricks. It always filled me with awe when I was a child, but I remember animals that looked thin with bones showing, the lions mane matted.

I remember thin horses with carts that carried so many people. 

The zoo moved to an open acreage were animals were still kept in captivity but they are not in cages and had space to roam. 

I've been privileged to see lions and tigers in the wild in a sanctuary. The difference is startling even when they are in an open space with fresh air and space to roam instead of a cage. 

Horse racing is a culture started by the British and even now parallels the British racing season. I will say it is not as common as before because we would go to horse races like we would go for cricket matches. Cricket has exploded while horse races have become niche. 

All that has vanished or changed  because people worked so hard for it and now there are standards in treatment for animals when before there was none. There was so much opposition especially to the ending of use of wild animals in the circus. Most of these changes happened because people especially children were exploited.

This is a form of bull fighting/racing which has been practiced for centuries.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jallikattu

This is banned now and there is heavy opposition against it because it is considered an attack on culture as it has been going on for centuries.

 All to say, within the space of 20 years or 30 years this happened.

So the bad news is, it may never go away but the good news is, it will get better because people care for the welfare of others be it humans or animals. 

16 hours ago, MercyA said:

Thanks so much for your contributions to this thread, Dreamergal.

Thank you.

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On 2/25/2021 at 6:01 AM, Laura Corin said:

Feelings of control or its lack factor in too. People underestimate the risk of driving and overestimate that of flying, because they feel in control behind the wheel. Perhaps similarly people feel in control of their home environment vs. the strange outdoors and thus mistake the relative risks.

Humans are notoriously bad at personal risk assessment. 

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On 2/25/2021 at 9:34 PM, lauraw4321 said:

I don’t know if there’s been sufficient thread drift to talk about this unrelated personal experience vs. analytical thought, but here goes. I was very close to dying in a terrorist attack.  If we hadn’t stopped to get croissants for my friend, I’d almost certainly be dead. That is, rationally speaking, a very unusual way to die. Now when I’m at airports, I’m anxious because of the trauma. But, I try to remind myself the statistics. And I tell myself that I’ve had my turn at terrorism and lightening doesn’t strike in the same place twice. Even though I know that isn’t entirely rational either. 

I understand this. After my baby died due to placental abruption - which is not a common event in healthy women and death is a small percentage of those - I felt like - What do statistics even mean ? When it happens to you, it happens 100%. In the pregnancy that followed the loss, I (psychologically) couldn’t allow myself to be certain the baby would live. I just couldn’t even think about it and I largely “ignored”, in a way, the fact that I was pregnant. Even the moment my son was born alive, I had my eyes shut tight. The nurse actually had to command me to open my eyes. “Look at your son! You have a little boy!” I simply have not been able to readjust my beliefs about pregnancy dangers back to the view supported by statistics - that healthy babies born to healthy mothers in developed countries rarely die. 

 

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2 hours ago, Quill said:

I understand this. After my baby died due to placental abruption - which is not a common event in healthy women and death is a small percentage of those - I felt like - What do statistics even mean ? When it happens to you, it happens 100%. In the pregnancy that followed the loss, I (psychologically) couldn’t allow myself to be certain the baby would live. I just couldn’t even think about it and I largely “ignored”, in a way, the fact that I was pregnant. Even the moment my son was born alive, I had my eyes shut tight. The nurse actually had to command me to open my eyes. “Look at your son! You have a little boy!” I simply have not been able to readjust my beliefs about pregnancy dangers back to the view supported by statistics - that healthy babies born to healthy mothers in developed countries rarely die. 

 

Me, too. My perinatologist commented that I should have played a slot machine, because my odds of having HELLP syndrome that severely that early in the pregnancy were about that of being hit by lightning while winning a super jackpot.  In the next pregnancy, my odds were 50/50, and while I hit the bad side of them, ended up with a positive outcome, but was anxious the entire time. (I still suspect that one reason why my perinatologist prescribed phenobarbital for seizure prevention wasn't just that it has been used longer and the possible fetal effects are less, but because it's an effective tranquilizer!)  I find myself very anxious when anyone around me gets pregnant, or even on TV shows (I'm watching Bewitched right now, in Black and White, on DVD, and I STILL found myself getting anxious over Samantha's pregnancy with Tabitha...sigh).  I am rather relieved that my child has no plans of having biological offspring. My whole view of statistics changed in a flash. 

 

Having said that, I was pretty much jumping for joy at getting my COVID vaccine. 

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6 hours ago, Quill said:

I felt like - What do statistics even mean ? When it happens to you, it happens 100%. 

I think this is a typical and understandable response to trauma. Because we love thread drift, we've moved on to lots of new topics and sub-topics, and how we respond to things personally, but the original discussion was about organized child trafficking and responses to that. 

We all have our personal responses to it, and I do think it can be harmful to restrict your kids and make them fearful about an extremely low risk. I was not a free-range parent by any means, but I did try to recognize that, as my kids got bigger, their world needed to get bigger as well. It's a balancing act on the personal level. 

But, again going back to the original post, I think what most people are saying is that organized child trafficking is not a major threat to typical kids. People only have so much time and energy; if they aim it all towards a phantom menace, then actual problems and issues do not get addressed. Please note that I am not saying that child trafficking does not exist, but that I consider a worldwide cabal routinely ordering certain children to be kidnapped to be the phantom menace. 

Keeping so much focus on something that happens rarely means there is less focus on the boring tragedy that happens every day: the large number of kids who are under-fed, under-educated, and under-served in general. 

Again, child sexual abuse exists. Pedophilia rings exist. 

I also find it hard to believe that there is a massive conspiracy to keep pulling these videos down, because they always seem available for people to forward. 

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59 minutes ago, katilac said:

But, again going back to the original post, I think what most people are saying is that organized child trafficking is not a major threat to typical kids. People only have so much time and energy; if they aim it all towards a phantom menace, then actual problems and issues do not get addressed. Please note that I am not saying that child trafficking does not exist, but that I consider a worldwide cabal routinely ordering certain children to be kidnapped to be the phantom menace.

No argument from me there. 

Re: an earlier point where people were saying their elderly relatives are excessively worried about things that rarely or never happen:

I made the mistake of telling my mom that my son - a legal adult who is over 6’ tall, not an easy target by most measures - is a dog walker on a dog-care app. Her response: “That’s very dangerous!” And something about Lady Gaga’s French Bulldogs being kidnapped. 🙄 I’m not saying nothing bad could ever happen in his dog-walking job but...geez. I don’t think there are many jobs where something couldn’t go wrong. Guess I won’t tell her about the deranged ex of one of my attorney’s clients, who threatened to bomb the law firm. 

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2 hours ago, katilac said:

 

I also find it hard to believe that there is a massive conspiracy to keep pulling these videos down, because they always seem available for people to forward. 

Exactly.  I keep seeing this forwards of "Facebook removed (or banned) this so please forward"......ON FB.....

A dear friend of mine once challenged people to do good in their own community.  That is where you can make the biggest difference......your local foster care, schools, church ministries, women's shelters, homeless shelters, community gardens and on and on.

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1 hour ago, Quill said:

And something about Lady Gaga’s French Bulldogs being kidnapped. 🙄 

So, I'm firmly on team "it's silly to worry about things that happen rarely," but the story about Lady Gaga's French bulldogs actually is horrifying.  The dog walker was shot (survived, but in the hospital and had to have surgery) and both dogs were kidnapped.  

Bizarre and horrifying.

I'm quite sure they were targeted because they were Lady Gaga's.  She's offered a super high reward for their return.  Maybe $50,000?  It was a lot.  

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Just now, Terabith said:

So, I'm firmly on team "it's silly to worry about things that happen rarely," but the story about Lady Gaga's French bulldogs actually is horrifying.  The dog walker was shot (survived, but in the hospital and had to have surgery) and both dogs were kidnapped.  

Bizarre and horrifying.

I'm quite sure they were targeted because they were Lady Gaga's.  She's offered a super high reward for their return.  Maybe $50,000?  It was a lot.  

Yeah, it's definitely awful. Very sad story 😞

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18 minutes ago, Terabith said:

So, I'm firmly on team "it's silly to worry about things that happen rarely," but the story about Lady Gaga's French bulldogs actually is horrifying.  The dog walker was shot (survived, but in the hospital and had to have surgery) and both dogs were kidnapped.  

Bizarre and horrifying.

I'm quite sure they were targeted because they were Lady Gaga's.  She's offered a super high reward for their return.  Maybe $50,000?  It was a lot.  

The reward she offered was $500,000. They did get returned, thank goodness.

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Just now, Selkie said:

The reward she offered was $500,000. They did get returned, thank goodness.

Wow.  I missed a zero.  I love my pets, but.....I can't imagine.  That's a lot.  Glad she has them back.  

The whole story was super weird.  

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19 minutes ago, Selkie said:

The reward she offered was $500,000. They did get returned, thank goodness.

I'm puzzled and concerned because everything I've read about this case, there seems to be relatively little concern expressed for the poor dogwalker.  

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On 2/25/2021 at 5:28 PM, Not_a_Number said:

I don't think it's contemptuous to say that it's a good idea to use quantitative reasoning where appropriate. 

Because science?

Look, we are a bit countercultural here for homeschooling in the first place.  We do our own research and we don’t accept ‘the experts’ on education much unless they prove their cases well.  We also research other things like that.  It is not contemptuous to advocate for quantitative reasoning, but there are other arguments to be made as well, some of them quantitative but more localized.  

For instance, have you ever actually met someone who was trafficked?  I have, several times.  It’s easier to hide where I live than in a lot of other places, and the anonymity of life here makes it easier as well.

A 14 year old boy who lived within walking distance of me was beaten to death around the corner from my house in broad daylight for being perceived to be in the wrong gang.  My daughter volunteered at a school downtown and was waiting out front for me to pick her up one evening when there was a shooting no more than 20 feet away—guys in a car shooting at a couple of pedestrians.  This was so unremarkable that it didn’t even hit the newspapers.  Two little girls who were less supervised and hence more ‘available’ and vulnerable than most were kidnapped by the same stranger in this area and raped and killed a little while before that.

These incidents informed my decision making around how free range I could raise my own kid.  The fact was, she would have been very conspicuous if she had walked to school by herself at age 5, even though the elementary school was just a few blocks away and walking was not unreasonable.  That conspicuousness made her vulnerable, and likely to be targeted.  She was also very small for her age and also very attractive.  Those would have also made her stand out.  I took those things into account when I was raising her, and I was absolutely right to do so.

I didn’t plan to homeschool, and found a parent participation elementary program that I liked.  When I was making the final decision about it, I realized that the kids were let out into a huge open field with a lot of cover, which would have been great if the adults had been scattered throughout, but actually they congregated in a little circle near the entrance, conversing with each other and not really even watching the kids.  Also, the big play area was wide open with many exits, and since there were two schools and a rotating set of parents on campus, there was no way to know which adults should or should not be there watching over the kids.  This would have been fine for middle school, but for K it was a definite no for my particular child.  Two years later the parents of no less than 4 children of friends of ours who went into that program found out to their horror that their children had been sexually molested at recess time repeatedly over a long time by an older student.  Another friend of mine thought there was something fishy about how her son’s violin teacher was treating him, and went to the police station and found his picture in the sex offender album.  He had been grooming her 4 year old son for ‘later’.  He was arrested that night.

Yet people in this thread have argued that worrying about danger from non-family members in terms of molestation and kidnapping is statistically foolish.  I would argue that it is called for statistically in my specific area, unfortunately.  If in my limited circles I have seen all of these examples around me while I was raising kids, there must be far more.  And if I make that argument, it’s not because of QAnon, but because the QAnon thing is so political at this point, it would inevitably be blamed on that, even though it far predates QAnon.  

Circling back to the first paragraph, it is fine to argue statistics in ways that make sense to you.  But there are often other ways to look at the data that are more accurate or more appropriate, and hence putting a fine polish of contempt into an argument is not only unneighborly but darned foolish.  

Pen has been extremely helpful in digging up information about non-standard nutritional ways to prevent illness, and that requires looking at countercultural data but is wildly appreciated here, even though it’s not ‘scientific’ by all standards.  Whether or not you agree with her about the OP, she deserves our respect and care rather than condescension.  

And in general, as the saying goes, You have not converted a person when you have only silenced them.
 

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8 minutes ago, Carol in Cal. said:

Because science?

Because quantitative reasoning is a good idea, yes. 

 

Quote

Look, we are a bit countercultural here for homeschooling in the first place.  We do our own research and we don’t accept ‘the experts’ on education much unless they prove their cases well.  We also research other things like that.  It is not contemptuous to advocate for quantitative reasoning, but there are other arguments to be made as well, some of them quantitative but more localized.  

For instance, have you ever actually met someone who was trafficked?  I have, several times.  It’s easier to hide where I live than in a lot of other places, and the anonymity of life here makes it easier as well.

A 14 year old boy who lived within walking distance of me was beaten to death around the corner from my house in broad daylight for being perceived to be in the wrong gang.  My daughter volunteered at a school downtown and was waiting out front for me to pick her up one evening when there was a shooting no more than 20 feet away—guys in a car shooting at a couple of pedestrians.  This was so unremarkable that it didn’t even hit the newspapers.  Two little girls who were less supervised and hence more ‘available’ and vulnerable than most were kidnapped by the same stranger in this area and raped and killed a little while before that.

These incidents informed my decision making around how free range I could raise my own kid.  The fact was, she would have been very conspicuous if she had walked to school by herself at age 5, even though the elementary school was just a few blocks away and walking was not unreasonable.  That conspicuousness made her vulnerable, and likely to be targeted.  She was also very small for her age and also very attractive.  Those would have also made her stand out.  I took those things into account when I was raising her, and I was absolutely right to do so.

I already said that it doesn't make sense to apply averages when you're outside the average. If you're close to the mean, the statistics for the whole nation make sense. If you're not, then you need different statistics. 

 

Quote

I didn’t plan to homeschool, and found a parent participation elementary program that I liked.  When I was making the final decision about it, I realized that the kids were let out into a huge open field with a lot of cover, which would have been great if the adults had been scattered throughout, but actually they congregated in a little circle near the entrance, conversing with each other and not really even watching the kids.  Also, the big play area was wide open with many exits, and since there were two schools and a rotating set of parents on campus, there was no way to know which adults should or should not be there watching over the kids.  This would have been fine for middle school, but for K it was a definite no for my particular child.  Two years later the parents of no less than 4 children of friends of ours who went into that program found out to their horror that their children had been sexually molested at recess time repeatedly over a long time by an older student.  Another friend of mine thought there was something fishy about how her son’s violin teacher was treating him, and went to the police station and found his picture in the sex offender album.  He had been grooming her 4 year old son for ‘later’.  He was arrested that night.

Yet people in this thread have argued that worrying about danger from non-family members in terms of molestation and kidnapping is statistically foolish.

No, they didn't. They said it's rarely a stranger. The example of "people you know" has been given many times. 

I wasn't groped by a family member. It was a friend of the family. Most of the time, these things happen in exactly the set up you describe: in a situation where people feel like they are safe. It's not usually someone snatching your kid at a Target. 

 

Quote

 I would argue that it is called for statistically in my specific area, unfortunately.  If in my limited circles I have seen all of these examples around me while I was raising kids, there must be far more.  And if I make that argument, it’s not because of QAnon, but because the QAnon thing is so political at this point, it would inevitably be blamed on that, even though it far predates QAnon.  

Circling back to the first paragraph, it is fine to argue statistics in ways that make sense to you.  But there are often other ways to look at the data that are more accurate or more appropriate, and hence putting a fine polish of contempt into an argument is not only unneighborly but darned foolish.  

What in the world does statistics mean to you if it's not looking at data? No one has said that national statistics need to be applied to specific neighborhoods and specific situations. I already said that two pages back. 

 

Quote

Pen has been extremely helpful in digging up information about non-standard nutritional ways to prevent illness, and that requires looking at countercultural data but is wildly appreciated here, even though it’s not ‘scientific’ by all standards.  Whether or not you agree with her about the OP, she deserves our respect and care rather than condescension.  

Nothing you've said here relates to the conspiracy theories in the OP. 

 

Quote

And in general, as the saying goes, You have not converted a person when you have only silenced them.

And yet you're the only one calling names. You've called me foolish and unneighborly. You've been extremely contemptuous in this post. And all I've done is argued that we need to pay attention to numbers. I didn't say any of the things you're being so scathing about in this post. I have no idea what I've done to earn your ire. 

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Just now, Not_a_Number said:

Because quantitative reasoning is a good idea, yes. 

 

I already said that it doesn't make sense to apply averages when you're outside the average. If you're close to the mean, the statistics for the whole nation make sense. If you're not, then you need different statistics. 

 

 

No, they didn't. They said it's rarely a stranger. The example of "people you know" has been given many times. 

I wasn't groped by a family member. It was a friend of the family. Most of the time, these things happen in exactly the set up you describe: in a situation where people feel like they are safe. It's not usually someone snatching your kid at a Target. 

 

What in the world does statistics mean to you if it's not looking at data? No one has said that national statistics need to be applied to specific neighborhoods and specific situations. I already said that two pages back. 

 

Nothing you've said here relates to the conspiracy theories in the OP. 

 

And yet you're the only one calling names. You've called me foolish and unneighborly. You've been extremely contemptuous in this post. And all I've done is argued that we need to pay attention to numbers. I didn't say any of the things you're being so scathing about in this post. I have no idea what I've done to earn your ire. 

There are ways and ways to do that.  It’s not necessary to be contemptuous because of disagreement.  It’s not effective to be contemptuous or condescending or sarcastic when trying to persuade someone of something.  Furthermore, I have not called you foolish and unneighborly.  I’ve call the line of argument I cited foolish and unneighborly.  If that doesn’t apply to you, great.  While the post I made was in reply to yours, it was in response a much broader variety of arguments in this thread, which I described.

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Just now, Carol in Cal. said:

There are ways and ways to do that.  It’s not necessary to be contemptuous because of disagreement.  It’s not effective to be contemptuous or condescending or sarcastic when trying to persuade someone of something.

I haven't been contemptuous of anyone who's willing to engage with me. I just don't DO that. 

But, for what it's worth, I don't think there exist effective ways to disabuse someone of conspiracy theories over the Internet. It can't be done. 

 

Just now, Carol in Cal. said:

Furthermore, I have not called you foolish and unneighborly.  I’ve call the line of argument I cited foolish and unneighborly.  If that doesn’t apply to you, great.  While the post I made was in reply to yours, it was in response a much broader variety of arguments in this thread, which I described.

I don't think you described genuine arguments I've seen on this thread. I don't think anyone was arguing that taking one's situation into account was a bad idea. The only thing people said is that they didn't believe in the conspiracy theories in the OP and that stranger abduction was extremely rare. 

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1 minute ago, Not_a_Number said:

I haven't been contemptuous of anyone who's willing to engage with me. I just don't DO that. 

But, for what it's worth, I don't think there exist effective ways to disabuse someone of conspiracy theories over the Internet. It can't be done. 

 

I don't think you described genuine arguments I've seen on this thread. I don't think anyone was arguing that taking one's situation into account was a bad idea. The only thing people said is that they didn't believe in the conspiracy theories in the OP and that stranger abduction was extremely rare. 

It was argued that stranger danger should not be considered in making child raising decisions and that doing so is harmful.  

Also just in general, people who believe nonstandard stuff do so for a reason, often from internet information.  There is ample evidence right on these boards of people getting more well rounded information and some changing their minds about things from civil discussion.  If the internet can make people believe in hoaxes, it can certainly also debunk them.  We are here for conversation, which is pointless if you believe that no one responds to it—then why bother at all?

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Just now, Carol in Cal. said:

It was argued that stranger danger should not be considered in making child raising decisions and that doing so is harmful.  

No, not exactly. Just that overfocusing on it can lead to bad decisions. Your example with the molestation wouldn't be considered stranger danger. 

 

Just now, Carol in Cal. said:

Also just in general, people who believe nonstandard stuff do so for a reason, often from internet information.  There is ample evidence right on these boards of people getting more well rounded information and some changing their minds about things from civil discussion.  If the internet can make people believe in hoaxes, it can certainly also debunk them.  We are here for conversation, which is pointless if you believe that no one responds to it—then why bother at all?

I don't think NO ONE responds to it. I think people who've gotten deep enough into conspiracy theories don't respond to it. 

Frankly, I'm not here to convince people who don't want to be convinced. That doesn't work even outside of conspiracy theories. I'm here to learn from other people's perspectives and to share information and knowledge with people who are interested in that information. That's not the whole forum, but there's a far greater proportion of people on this forum that fulfill this profile than in other places (like, say, locally.) 

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This is way late.  I know the thread has moved on, but I swear I spend days trying to get something organized in my head to express it and then I finally figure it out and I want to post!  So, apologies for that.  

 

I wanted to come back because I was one of the people who says I think that stranger danger as a concept is problematic, but I don't think that other people mean what I mean by that. 

I think it is very natural that we are scared of the things that either seem the most random, or that have happened to us or someone close to us.  I don't think that anyone is immune to being more scared of some things than other things, and to judge someone for that is basically judging them for being human.  

But I do think that we need to be aware of when our skewed level of fear leads to choices that are harmful.  

I'll give two examples from me.  

When I was the mother of young babies, I found SIDS terrifying.  The idea that your child might be there one moment and gone the next?  I couldn't even imagine.  And so when my kids were babies I tried very hard to follow safe sleep suggestions.  My oldest pretty much insisted on co sleeping, and i worked hard to arrange that bed so there was no chance that a pillow or blanket would touch him, and I continued that practice for years.  One day, I went to visit my father in law, and I put my boys down for a nap.  My FIL peeked in and saw my typical healthy 4 year old sleeping on a bed in the guest room, with all the pillows carefully removed and placed beside the bed.  He asked me about it and I explained that you shouldn't let your baby sleep with pillows because of SIDS, and he gently pointed out to me that 4 year olds are not babies, and that there's a reason they don't call it Sudden Preschooler Death Syndrome.  And while he was right, I also think I wasn't really wrong.  Taking the pillows off the bed was silly, but it was harmless.  It took a second, my kid slept fine without them.  

My middle kid's illness started with mysterious fevers, and every time it came back, fevers were a part of that.  Fever for him was always a terrifying sign, whether of an infection he couldn't fight, or a resurgence of his auto-inflammatory disease.  Even though his condition was incredibly rare, and since he was adopted my other kids are not at any increased risk for it, I will probably never feel safe when one of my kids or future grandchildren has a fever.  

But unlike the pillows, I can't let that fear run free, because it would be very easy to let it lead to things that could harm my children, whether it's keeping them away from all germs (e.g. neither kid has had a fever since we went on lockdown in 12/2019 to protect their brother from flu.  If we lock down forever they might never get one!) or over medicating them and causing liver damage.  I need to figure out a way to manage my fear, without harming them.  I might take some steps.  I imagine there are lots of cool compresses, and peeking in their room at midnight to listen to their breathing, and calls to the pediatrician in their future, but I'll also need to draw a line.  

Similarly, I think it's natural that we are terrified of stranger abduction.  It's terrifying.  It pushes every button for scary things for me.  Randomness, violence, being separated from my child when they need me the most.  Yes, stranger abduction is terrifying.  I spend way more time thinking about how horrible it would be to have my kid abducted by a stranger than I do about other more common things.  I don't think that's because I misunderstand statistics.  I think it's because I'm human.

And there are things that I do, or will do, because of that fear that I think are as harmless as putting pillows on the floor.  Next year, if my kids and I go to in person school, will probably be the first year that I have a kid going to school alone.  My boys have always gone to the same school before this.  But next year, my youngest's school will start during a time when his older brother is in school, I've left for work (assuming it's not virtual) and DH hasn't come back from work.  I can already tell you that he's getting a smart phone for his birthday so I can install tracking software that will let me check that he made it to school.  Because I am that mom.  And you know what?  That's fine.  Some tracking software never hurt an 11 year old.  

I do other things because of my fear of abduction.  I check out the window when my kids play in the yard.  I put them in bright colors when we went places like the zoo. . . . All things I think are harmless.  And I'm not ashamed of those things at all!

But I also know that it would be easy for me to do things that are harmful because of my fear. For example, if I taught my kids to never talk to strangers, that could lead to them not being able to ask for help in an emergency.  In my experience the specific "stranger danger" language is problematic, because of that kind of situation.  That doesn't mean that being aware of abuse as a possibility in all settings is problematic.  We just need to be careful that we use that awareness to make our kids more safe, or at least, like in my pillow example, in neutral ways. 

 

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13 minutes ago, Carol in Cal. said:

Because science?

Look, we are a bit countercultural here for homeschooling in the first place.  We do our own research and we don’t accept ‘the experts’ on education much unless they prove their cases well.  We also research other things like that.  It is not contemptuous to advocate for quantitative reasoning, but there are other arguments to be made as well, some of them quantitative but more localized.  

For instance, have you ever actually met someone who was trafficked?  I have, several times.  It’s easier to hide where I live than in a lot of other places, and the anonymity of life here makes it easier as well.

A 14 year old boy who lived within walking distance of me was beaten to death around the corner from my house in broad daylight for being perceived to be in the wrong gang.  My daughter volunteered at a school downtown and was waiting out front for me to pick her up one evening when there was a shooting no more than 20 feet away—guys in a car shooting at a couple of pedestrians.  This was so unremarkable that it didn’t even hit the newspapers.  Two little girls who were less supervised and hence more ‘available’ and vulnerable than most were kidnapped by the same stranger in this area and raped and killed a little while before that.

These incidents informed my decision making around how free range I could raise my own kid.  The fact was, she would have been very conspicuous if she had walked to school by herself at age 5, even though the elementary school was just a few blocks away and walking was not unreasonable.  That conspicuousness made her vulnerable, and likely to be targeted.  She was also very small for her age and also very attractive.  Those would have also made her stand out.  I took those things into account when I was raising her, and I was absolutely right to do so.

I didn’t plan to homeschool, and found a parent participation elementary program that I liked.  When I was making the final decision about it, I realized that the kids were let out into a huge open field with a lot of cover, which would have been great if the adults had been scattered throughout, but actually they congregated in a little circle near the entrance, conversing with each other and not really even watching the kids.  Also, the big play area was wide open with many exits, and since there were two schools and a rotating set of parents on campus, there was no way to know which adults should or should not be there watching over the kids.  This would have been fine for middle school, but for K it was a definite no for my particular child.  Two years later the parents of no less than 4 children of friends of ours who went into that program found out to their horror that their children had been sexually molested at recess time repeatedly over a long time by an older student.  Another friend of mine thought there was something fishy about how her son’s violin teacher was treating him, and went to the police station and found his picture in the sex offender album.  He had been grooming her 4 year old son for ‘later’.  He was arrested that night.

Yet people in this thread have argued that worrying about danger from non-family members in terms of molestation and kidnapping is statistically foolish.  I would argue that it is called for statistically in my specific area, unfortunately.  If in my limited circles I have seen all of these examples around me while I was raising kids, there must be far more.  And if I make that argument, it’s not because of QAnon, but because the QAnon thing is so political at this point, it would inevitably be blamed on that, even though it far predates QAnon.  

Circling back to the first paragraph, it is fine to argue statistics in ways that make sense to you.  But there are often other ways to look at the data that are more accurate or more appropriate, and hence putting a fine polish of contempt into an argument is not only unneighborly but darned foolish.  

Pen has been extremely helpful in digging up information about non-standard nutritional ways to prevent illness, and that requires looking at countercultural data but is wildly appreciated here, even though it’s not ‘scientific’ by all standards.  Whether or not you agree with her about the OP, she deserves our respect and care rather than condescension.  

And in general, as the saying goes, You have not converted a person when you have only silenced them.
 

Of course there is trafficking in gang areas where children are afraid of police. But these are girls being seduced into it, not sold into a mythical sex slavery ring where ALL democrats are pedophiles who ritualistically rape, murder, and eat children. 

Also, what you’re describing isn’t an example of children being kidnapped and sold and ritualistically abused.  You’re describing standard child sexual abuse by standard predators. They get to know children.  They get the trust of their parents. They groom and seduce and manipulate them. Gangs may be only in certain neighborhoods but child sexual abuse happens in many places in exactly the sorts of scenarios you just described. Just because it happens and happens so frequently it’s common does not mean this particular conspiracy theory has anything to do with reality AT ALL. 

Sooner of later Pen will get out of whatever circle of hell she’s been inhabiting on the internet, look into the history and lies and 100% failure rate of q-anon predictions, and see it for what it is: complete and utter bullshit.  And then maybe she’ll join the real fight to protect children from things that are real risks- like actually being abused by their music teacher, uncle, father, or stepfather.

We all love Pen. We all hate this ridiculous white supremacist idea that Trump is a savior of children. The same Trump who actually assaulted underage pageant contestants and who was photographed with Epstein on many occasions, and who publicly cracked jokes about having sex with his own daughter. But he’s God’s answer to be the one to save children from ritualistic abuse that isn’t happening and to restore the Republic to have ethics? Trump is going to have this Storm on March 6th, magically overthrow the illegal corporate government, show evidence against all democrats, and put them all in prison?  That isn’t thinking outside the box. It’s a cult that started as a joke by a troll and was manipulated into a source of political power and money by evil white supremacists jerks who equate Christ and Trump and made Trump’s PAC millions by claiming non-existant election fraud. 
 

This isn’t political and it isn’t about saving children. It’s about manipulating people with fear and lies for money and power. 

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Also the stranger danger thing being silly came from the Gavin de Becker books - The Gift of Fear and Protecting the Gift. Of course SOME strangers are dangerous. But teaching kids all strangers are bad can be incredibly counterproductive in trying to keep them safe from real predators. It sounds ridiculous unless you’ve read the books. I imagine Mr deBecker would highly approve of your decisions to homeschool and protect your child. 

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4 minutes ago, Katy said:

Also the stranger danger thing being silly came from the Gavin de Becker books - The Gift of Fear and Protecting the Gift. Of course SOME strangers are dangerous. But teaching kids all strangers are bad can be incredibly counterproductive in trying to keep them safe from real predators. It sounds ridiculous unless you’ve read the books. I imagine Mr deBecker would highly approve of your decisions to homeschool and protect your child. 

I haven't read his books, but I know that many people who work in positions where abuse prevention is part of our job, have been talking about how the language of stranger danger is problematic since before his first book came out.  

He may have popularized the idea.

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17 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

I haven't read his books, but I know that many people who work in positions where abuse prevention is part of our job, have been talking about how the language of stranger danger is problematic since before his first book came out.  

He may have popularized the idea.

He may have quoted who came up with it in the book, but I do think he popularized the idea.

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Just now, Katy said:

He may have quoted who came up with it in the book, but I do think he popularized the idea.

I agree.  I would say that I can't think of something that I read before 2010 that was aimed at a wider audience, rather than a professional one.  

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54 minutes ago, Katy said:

Of course SOME strangers are dangerous. But teaching kids all strangers are bad can be incredibly counterproductive in trying to keep them safe from real predators. 

This is one of my pet topics, so I'll help the thread keep drifting: Callahan Walsh (brother of abducted and murdered Adam Walsh) participated in an experiment that asked a small group of kids what they would do if they got lost in the store. Among the people available to help them were listed a mom with kids, a store clerk, and a security guard. What would they do and who would they ask for help? 

Some of the kids were insistent that they wouldn't ask any of them for help, because all of them were strangers and they shouldn't talk to strangers. Perhaps not ideal, but the scariest answer was this (bolding by me): 

James, also 9, told ABC News that he would not ask the mother with kids for help either, but added, "If I can't find them and it takes a long time," then he said would leave the store and look for his parents at the car.

He's learned the stranger danger lesson so thoroughly that he would leave the relative safety of the store and wander the parking lot, looking much more obviously alone and lost, and making it much easier to be taken if an abductor was indeed at the store. Because he was only taught 'don't talk to strangers,' he thought that the almost risk-free option of talking to a store worker was more dangerous than wandering out of the store on his own. 

Rethinking Stranger Danger

Edited by katilac
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On 2/25/2021 at 3:35 AM, Harpymom said:

@PenYou showed considerable courage to post your original thoughts because from your words you knew you would receive backlash in this forum filled with opinionated parents.  Homeschooling also takes a decent amount of bravery to buck the status quo.  From these two elements I can tell you are a courageous person.  It will take true grit to even consider stepping away from the internet and into real life to give time and money to organizations that work against trafficking, but I'm pretty sure you have that.  


yes. Thank you. I have been doing that.

 

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wtf is the point of posting those pictures of those children. we know gross shit happens. 2 pictures is not evidence of the craziness you are posting.  As for the video, we all know what that sick man did, am I missing something?

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1 minute ago, Thatboyofmine said:

This is horrific.  Delete that crap now. 

I reported it and hope everyone else does soon. @Rosie_0801 you still a moderator?  Can you remove that crap. I don't know who the other moderators are to tag

 

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1 minute ago, Thatboyofmine said:

I am so fucking angry right now.  My heart is racing.  You should be ashamed of yourself.     This crap your peddling is garbage.   And despite many sane people here, people who are like-minded Christians, too, telling you that you have been sucked into a freaking cult, you have the audacity to post pictures?  And I’m sorry, but just so you know, I could make any of my pictures look like that.  It’s called amateur photoshop.   

do you know who the other moderators are so they can be tagged to remove that

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Yes, I’ve seen children who looked just like those pictures. In real life. Sometimes in my arms.

Two died in car accidents where they either were not buckled and being held on someone’s lap, or the mom was high on drugs and wrecked the car while speeding.

One was beaten to death by a parent.  One by her mother’s drug dealer.

I’ve seen murdered, assaulted, and abused children. Way too many.  None were trafficked by strangers in a cult or certain political stripe.

I don’t believe any of that is photoshop. It’s too real and too true to what I’ve seen. But it’s easy enough for anyone to find pictures and attach them to a website or YouTube video and claim they’re something they aren’t.  Also, the pictures of those kids show a phenomonon called raccoons eyes.  It’s definitely not from being sodomized as the captions from the websites state; it’s generally a signs of a basilar skull fracture.  So right there, that automatically makes me suspect of the information. 

Edited by Mrs Tiggywinkle
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You don't need a mob to report. 

There are two reasons for reports to remain uncorrected:

1. The mods don't see it as necessary.

2. They aren't online at the moment. We're not always here because this isn't a paid job.

(Ethel Mertz isn't a mod anymore. She sensibly retired. 😛 )

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I am not a moderator.  I do administrative work on the forums, like helping with forgotten passwords or deleting accounts at a member's request, or helping with technical troubleshooting....but not moderation. 

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