Our local sheriff’s office issued a crime alert this week due to some suspicious activity in a nearby town. A juvenile was followed by an approximately 60 year-old white male with gray/white hair and a beard. He was driving a silver car and stopped and chased the kid down the street.
Barry and I took the opportunity to reiterate to David and Cameron the importance of staying with friends, never going with someone, and always telling us where they are. We didn’t give them any more information that what the sheriff had released because we didn’t want to panic them.
Tonight at Cameron’s baseball game, Barry, David and I were sitting along the sidelines with a friend and her daughter. The third base coach, who is from the town where the incident took place, began talking about it, and adding more information. The same car was seen three times in other neighborhoods. A man fitting the description was parked outside of an elementary school for two hours. A guy was walking in the woods across from his house where his kids sometimes walk their dog. Now his kids won’t sleep in their own beds.
It’s always so frustrating when adults don’t exercise discretion. I am a critical enough thinker that I can separate unsubstantiated rumors from verified facts. Our kids cannot. Of course both of them sat there, glued to every statement, imaginations likely running wild. Before the conversation was even over, David was visibly shaken and eyeing every silver car with suspicion.
Once the coach was gone, it did open up a productive discussion between the five of us, but I wish it could have been on our own terms. Something that frustrates me to no end is the speculation that is rampant in television news. Air time has to be filled, even if there are no new facts to report, so let’s report on information from questionable sources and unverified rumors. I know this gentleman meant well, but there was no way to know whether his information had any validity or not, but now the kids will be repeating everything to their friends as the absolute truth. It’s so unproductive.
© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2011