Beware of Mom
by Hardly Waite, Gazette Senior News Analyst
Sept. 3, 2002
By the Gazette's informal reckoning, American parents spend at least 37.46% of their time cautioning their children to beware of strangers. Perhaps it's as high as 41%.
By authentic and reputable non-Gazette statistics, there are fewer than 100 American children abducted and killed by strangers each year. In Great Britain, the average is five kids per year killed by strangers.
Actually, talking to a dreaded "stranger," so feared by American parents and consequently by American children, is statistically one of the safest things a kid can do. Far more children are killed by people they know, including relatives, than by strangers. In fact, in brutal, unvarnished fact, the most dangerous person a child can associate with is his mom or his dad. Almost 2/3 of the kids murdered are killed by one of their parents. And the number of children killed each year while traveling in an automobile with their mother is astronomical in comparison to the number abducted and killed by strangers. In Great Britain, the Sunday Times says that an average of five children per year are murdered by strangers, compared to 7,525 per year "killed or seriously injured" in road accidents.
With this in mind, it's obvious that if we were a realistic race rather than a bunch of neurotic nervous nellies, we would tell our kids: "If your mom tries to get you to ride with her in a car, run away from her as fast as you can. If she offers you candy or tries to pull you into her car, run away fast and try to find a stranger to protect you."
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