Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My, What Big Teeth You Have

Lakewood, CA

Now, I'm not one to condone not listening to police. After all, they tend to have guns. But we have a problem, and have always had this sort of problem, when someone can say they're a cop, shine a flashlight and rape a 14-year-old girl.

Two girls were confronted by a man who identified himself as a police officer in Lakewood last night. When they stopped he shined a flashlight in their eyes, punched one of them in the face and grabbed the other. Threw her in the car, drove away and raped her. He dropped her off a few blocks away when he was done.

And to make this scene a little more bleak, if that's even possible, this was right outside an elementary school.

The man is described as white, 20 to 30 years old, bald, about 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighing 200 pounds. He was driving a white, four-door older sport utility vehicle with tinted rear windows.

Any information is more than welcomed by the LASD Special Victims Bureau at (866) 247-5877.

This is going to scare the shit out of a lot of parents, whether in the area or not. Rightly so. This was next to a school surrounded by homes. It happened before 9:00pm.

So what do you do? How do you protect your children? You can't roll them up in bubble wrap. You can't lock them up after dark. Giving them guns to defend themselves is... well, a generally bad idea. In some neighborhoods they're all packing anyway and worse things happen.

They need to be protected, yes, but educated at the same time. Knee-jerk reactions have occurred for less. I'm sorry, but more wrong headed mistakes have been made "for the children" than are usually taken care of by the solutions.

And the guy said he was a cop. What, were the kids going to run? Did they even have time to run?

In a speech Phillip K. Dick gave he asked about television's link to reality.
"What about the cop shows? Cars are continually swerving out of control, crashing, and catching fire. The police are always good and they always win. Do not ignore that point: The police always win. What a lesson that is. You should not fight authority, and even if you do, you will lose. The message here is, Be passive. And—cooperate. If Officer Baretta asks you for information, give it to him, because Officer Beratta is a good man and to be trusted. He loves you, and you should love him."
Now, I know that there have been more than a few kidnap stories by kids recently that have turned out to be made up. But we can't ignore any of them. We have to assume they're true. Because what if we don't and we're wrong?

On the flip side, what if we do and we're wrong? Innocent people have had their lives destroyed on a child's accusation. It happens more often than you might think.

Constant escorts? Trusted friends? How many of those have turned out wrong? You can't rule your children's lives or they'll grow to resent you and everything you've tried to teach them. Hold them too close and you'll push them away.

And that's the problem, really. You can't always be there, yet you always have to be there. It's a missionaries and cannibals problem with no solution.

So police your neighborhood, I guess. And watch your kids when you can. Try not to be too paranoid. Be ready and teach them well. Walk that fine balancing act between too much and too little. Don't call for security cameras or armed guards. That's the road to Hell right there.

And hope that the big bad wolf doesn't eat your kids.


Toni McGee Causey said...

I'd add a few more to that list:

1) talk to the police about what their standard operating procedure is when approaching teens, specifically girls. Educate your children on this--stepping out of the dark and shining a flashlight in their eyes is not SOP.

2) teach children self defense maneuvers-including the most important: how to be aware of your surroundings, even when you think you're in a "safe" place. It's typically the "safe" place that allows us to let our guard down and, subsequently, it's those very "safe" places where we're most vulnerable

3) have 911 on speed dial, and even if the kids are too young for a regular cell phone, if possible, give them one where they can at least call 911, particularly if they're going to be out after dark

Gerard said...

Doesn't that Bishop fella (part-time author, part-time blogger, full time music fan) work for the Special Victims Unit for the LAPD? I suppose I could just look it up myself.

Gerard said...

Never mind. Bishop runs an LAPD Sexual Assault Detail but I just noticed the article linked to the Sheriff's Department.

Kerry said...

good post.

Excellent advice - awareness and preparation is the key. There will always be bad things happening, but we can mitigate our exposure to and impact from such by being aware.

My daughter just turned 12 - I really felt this story.