Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mama Bean can't shake the fear from her heart

At our MOPS group a few weeks back, when discussing prayers we repeatedly send up for our children, my friend N said that, as the mother of a daughter, she especially prays for her little girl's safety. Because girls, in particular, seem so vulnerable and targeted. Because television makes us afraid.

We agreed that Criminal Minds is the worst.

That show is seriously like a sociopath home invasion four times in every episode nightmare.

I. can't. stop. watching.

Even though it gives me nightmares. Even though I don't feel safe after watching it. Even though. It's ridiculous. But I have bought in. I have fallen for the Culture of Fear, since childhood, I'm sure. I'm not even all that inclined to snap out of it.

Because just when I think I'm being unreasonable and start to talk myself back from the Ledge of Hysterics, I find out a violent repeat sex offender, who preys on little boys, who targets homes based on toys in the yards and in rooms he peeps into, who attacked these children while their families slept, this beast of a dare-I-say-human (except I choke on it) is being released into my city.

He has served his time, and now he gets to go free.

He is very likely to re-offend. It's in the media release. Although he has received treatment while in custody, he is very likely to re-offend. And even if it wasn't in the media release, we already know this. Of course he's likely to re-offend.

And I just... internally collapse.

The media release advises, "This information is provided to enable members of the public to take suitable measures to protect themselves. Any form of vigilante activity or other unreasonable conduct directed at [the offender] will not be tolerated."

What are suitable measures? Hide all evidence of children in our residence at all times and never let them outside evereveragain?? Never let my child away from physical contact from me evereveragain??? Never sleep and always keep watch and generally stand guard over their tiny bodies foreverandeveramen???? Because that's what feels suitable here, that's what feels reasonable, in the sheer terror of finding out this guy could be my newest neighbour. Seriously.

Look, I read FreeRangeKids, I know crime is down, I know violent assaults are very rare, I practice what I feel are genuinely reasonable risk-reduction strategies, I know most people are fundamentally nice and safe and wonderful and lovely.

I know it with my head.

But today? Today I do not feel it in my heart.

Talk me down from the Ledge, folks. Tell me how to feel safe again.


  1. I notice no one has attempted to calm the fear and talk you (us) down. I have no idea how anyone would.
    I hate to think of parenting as a calculated risk, but it is. Ugh.

  2. Thank-you, K. In those calculations, things like this make the odds feel woefully stacked against us. I suppose therein lies a space for faith to squeeze in...

  3. You know what's a suitable measure to protect people? Uh, not releasing a predator who has been deemed high-risk. I do not even remotely understand why these people are released. Instead of keeping one man behind bars, it is expected that thousands of parents will need to protect their children from him. There is no logic there whatsoever. Thanks for writing this - you hit the nail on the head