Someone is having fun with us over anxious parents and our stressed out kids this week. What kind of asshole says “How about I dress up like a scary clown and wander around near kids like I’m a child abductor? Won’t that be funny?”
Yesterday’s Strib– “A 15-year-old girl seized on the national “scary clown” craze and posted on Facebook a violent threat to residents of many Twin Cities communities, and police in one of those cities said they have arrested the juvenile.”
But she’s not the only one. This is a new thing. And mostly it works because we don’t know how to assess a threat anymore. We don’t know what we are supposed to be worried about.
I am glad that the 15 year old girl is being held accountable… seriously, she needs some help but what about all the other professional fear mongers we are facing every day? It feels like the 24 hour news cycle should be held accountable too. What about the endless articles talking about what’s wrong with kids/moms/schools/families today? There is He Who Must Not Be Named whose whole campaign is based on convincing people with privilege that their world is crashing down.
NEWS BREAK- You heard it here first. The world is NOT going to hell in a hand basket. We, like every generation before us, are facing uncomfortable changes and the uncovering of hidden injustices.
In the 80s, everyone in therapy was revealing sexual abuse, rape and incest. It certainly felt like the world was a horrible place to be a kid. In fact, we were revealing what had always lived in the shadows. By revealing the darkness of sexual assault, we changed the world. The risk is still there but DAMN is it better today.
Today we are uncovering a lot of racism and sexism that has been there forever. If you’re black, racism is not worse today. If you are white, consider that you were just ignorant…because you got to be. If talking about male privilege is hard for you, consider that you made it this far with blinders on and ripping your blinders off didn’t change the world, just enlarged the scope of your vision.
Did you know that our kids today are safer than ever? Seriously. You can argue with me…here’s a list. (Sources are here.)
Crime is back to the level it was when gas cost 29 cents a gallon.
Crime is back to the level it was before color TV.
2013 gun crime rate back to level of early 1960s.
2014 violent crime rate down another 4.4%
Pedestrian, bicyclist and car deaths ALSO at lowest rate in decades
This-There is approximately one child abduction murder for every 10,000 reports of a missing child about 90 percent of abductees return home within 24 hours and the vast majority are teenage runaways.
But wait. What about the internet? At least back in the olden days when I was a kid, I didn’t have to deal with online dangers. Even I fell for this one. Know what the researchers are saying?
But in light of the falling rates of crimes against children, the idea that the Internet amplifies danger is suspect. In fact, it may have contributed to the decline in missing children. For one thing, the Web has changed the way young people take risks: They do it more often at home. Instead of going to the unchaperoned open house or the keg party at the quarry, young people these days socialize and experiment online. Although they can meet people with bad intentions, the physical distance means that more time and thinking elapse between an encounter and a crime.
Take a deep breath. Tell your kids that the clown thing is a hoax. If they are old enough to read better teach them about Snopes. Bookmark it. Please let them go to the park and ride their bikes and trick or treat. We can’t let the scary clowns steal more of our kids childhood.
Tell them to never go anywhere without talking to you. Tell them that there are bad people that might want to hurt them but that they are rare.
In this world that is supposedly going to hell in a hand basket my kids do have to know about child molesters and school shootings and and global warming and racist cops and ugly political races and refugees and terrorism. They are also safe touch and Black Lives Matter and they have been to Pride and they have protested at the Capital and they care about recycling and they see Bald Eagles so often they don’t think they’re cool anymore.
I’m not giving up on happy clowns. The scary ones can’t win. The scary clowns want us to hide, to stay inside. The scary clowns want us to believe that people suck. As Mr Rogers taught us- Always look for the good people. The world is messy, just like it always has been but I’m not throwing in the towel… I know some pretty good kids who have some plans for it.