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Quick? What's the number for 911?

The other day I followed a link to a blog where the author was talking about her reactions to a neighbour calling the police due to her child's cries. I'm not going to list the link here because,

1-she received a lot of negative comments from it and
2-it's only relevant as the trigger for my thoughts.

It all ended well, with the policeman even calling his wife for some colic tips (how cool is that!) but the Mom was pretty upset, and I would imagine embarrassed that someone, likely a man or woman she would see on a daily basis, thought she was hurting her child.

Then a few days later, I'm coming home, and see a little boy, maybe 3 or 4, standing alone at the bus stop near the local low rentals, where the driver obviously told him to run along home. He walked, ran, walked, and generally didn't look like her belonged at first. Then he bolted into the interior of the complex, where most of the kids would usually be.

I stood staring at the little boy for awhile, thinking "I should call someone" It didn't seem right, there was something odd about the little guy running around alone. But the other half of me thought "his mother is right there, somewhere, or his father is, and they can see him"

But it weirded me out.

And I got to thinking-how many cases of child abuse aren't reported because we're afraid of offending someone, afraid to offend, afraid that someone will think we're bad people for wondering, for playing it safe, for saying "just in case"?

I feel for the woman who was upset on her weblog, I really do. I would be mortified if I received a visit, and frankly, considering the volume some nights, I'm surprised we never had. But I don't know if I would necessarily be offended. I think (and it's just theory, since it hasn't happened to me) that after I was over the initial shock of it all, I would be glad that someone took the time to say "just in case". Because really, what's the harm if nothing is wrong?

Her reaction made me think of how I would react, and if I would call in a situation that demanded it a little more than that little boy did. We're all so quick to turn away and not get involved, and we're applauded for that. But maybe instead of knowing exactly how many pounds Nicole Richie weighs, we should be busybodies a bit more when it comes to children.

I'd just hate to think that I could have saved a life, and yet I didn't.

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This is reminiscent of Mimi Smartypants "Festival of Bad Parenting Bus."

I guess some people's lives just suck; and then they pass it on to their kids and make their lives suck.

Pretty disgusting circle.

I always feel guilty when I see something and don't say anything about it. It sucks though, because even if I do say something, I can't even give a physical description. All I can say is what I heard.

Carin Jebbus. I never even thought of it like that. That would SUCK.

Missy I cannot stand parents like that, and decided that if I DO see that, i WILL interfere. Lord knows what happens at home. I swat on the butt is one thing-taking OFF your belt and whipping a child in public?!?! I know that there are some cultural associations with certain types of child rearing (or lack thereof) and that likely keeps many people from saying something, but I'm sick of it. Ick. People like that shouldn't be allowed to breed. I wish there was some non facist way to implement that. :P

Happy Birthday!! :)

I probably would have asked the little guy if he was ok. 3 or 4 seems really, really young to be hanging out at a bus stop alone. If an adult did not show up, I would call the police.

Now just for yelling or a baby crying, I would not interfere. I yell sometimes, and my son cries sometimes. Often both are loud enough that it could seem that something was wrong. Anyway, I;d have to overhear something really, really bad before I would consider intervening. And even then, I;d be cautious. I totally remember screaming dramtic stuff at my poor mom like "Don't kill me. Please don't kill me!" when nothing of the sort was actually happening. I was just being a shit. :)

The one time I saw a kid running haphazardly around in the lobby of the apartment building, he wouldn't speak to me. He had been trained well. Don't talk to strangers. Then he ran out into the parking lot, andI ran for the super! She couldn't speak English very well, and all she keept saying after she went out side was, everything is fine. fine fine fine. go inside. everything is fine. Nothing like feeling like a raving lune.

Had one of those moments this morning, too, but a little different--

I was following an old Saturn sedan up the main road through our neighborhood. There were three adults, and a little girl, maybe a year older than Baby A. She was sitting in the lap of man in the back seat. She was not restrained, nor was he. She was facing my car, smiling, laughing, arching her back and playing. The passengers all looked elderly...from the generation before carseats.

All I could think was...

If they had an accident, even at low speeds...that man's body will fly forward...and crush that little girl into the back of the driver's seat...I would KILL anyone who drove with Baby A in their lap.

But I didn't call 911, and that car turned left at the next light, with the little girl smiling at me the whole time. My stomach was in knots.

I wondered what 911 would have thought. Would they send a patrol car? If the adults had gotten an expensive ticket, would the little girl have had to go without preschool, shoes, a winter coat? Would that be worth her safety?

Ugh. So would you all have called?

- L

L, I don't know. It's a hard call, especially because many of us still remember lounging around in the back WINDOW as children, so we "know" we didn't get hurt, and yeah, what if it costs money?

Of course, I'm also living somewhere where a 2 year old fell out of the window of the car as his father took a corner quickly.

It's hard-we all toss and turn with the thought of making something worse. I wish there was an easy answer.

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