Sunday, May 17, 2009

In an insane world

What do a lemon drop, teaspoon and a soccer game all having in common?

"It's most likely a mix-up with the bar codes," offered the manager of an Asda chain store in Halifax, West Yorkshire, England. A shopper had purchased a set of teaspoons and, when rung up, the register ordered the clerk to check the buyer's identification to ensure she was at least 18 years old."Why?" asked the shopper. The clerk informed the woman that someone had once been murdered with a teaspoon, and therefore identification was now required. "I'm not aware of an age restriction for spoons," the manager said. (London Telegraph) ...When teaspoons are outlawed, only outlaws will have teaspoons.

In our politically correct world where even an innocuous teaspoon is regulated and students researching the Constitution about guns are reported to the police for contemplating how to conceal a gun, freedom goes by the wayside. The name of the game is zero tolerance, but it is one more step along the road to fascism and the police state where all freedoms are outlawed or rationed by the same people who keep telling us that it is possible to pick up manure by the clean end and it is disrespectful to call a sanitation engineer a janitor. It doesn't stop there.

A little boy was eating lemon drops on the playground when one of his friends came up. Being a polite and well mannered child, he offered his friend a lemon drop and the friend took it. A teacher watching the exchange reported the boys to the principal and they were both suspended for possession of drugs. A lemon drop. The box, which came from a local healthy food store, was unfamiliar to the teacher, but zero tolerance means no tolerance and, obviously, no intelligence. A lemon drop. In what sane world does a lemon drop look anything like illegal or illicit drugs?

A woman's children were taken from her by social services when someone reported her for negligence. What happened? Mom let her son walk to the soccer field 2-1/2 blocks from their house and on the same side of the street. The boy was 12 years old. Mom planned to meet him at the soccer field in 30 minutes. The police picked Mom up at home and held her until social services arrived. The reasoning for this situation was that the boy could have been kidnapped or molested in his 2-1/2 block walk. Zero tolerance. No intelligence and no common sense. This is what our world is devolving into, and it makes no sense because children are snatched from their fenced and gated back yards and from their beds in the middle of the night. What's next? Parents arrested and their children taken to foster homes because they were asleep when their children were sleeping? It sounds ludicrous, but this is where we're headed.

There are moments when a nosy neighbor is handy, like when you're on vacation and a moving van pulls up to your house and steals everything. That's when a nosy neighbor is a good neighbor. When neighbors are worried that you allowed your child to walk 2-1/2 blocks to the soccer field alone while you got your toddler fed and changed tells me that the neighbors have too much time on their hands and their nose stuck way too far into your business.

I'm a dinosaur. I grew up at a time when I walked over two miles to school every day in all weather after my parents both left for work. I came home to an empty house every day after another two-mile walk from school and started dinner, did my homework and watched my younger brother and sister until my parents returned home several hours later. I took a bus once a week five miles away to my piano lesson and in the fall and winter came and went in the darkness alone. On weekends, I played in the school yard or walked over to friends' homes to play for hours at a time. I wasn't much older than the 12-year-old soccer player who now lives with foster parents. I stayed after school for play practice and special events and came home in the dark alone and I did the same thing for plays, choir and other events, few of which my parents attended, and I didn't feel deprived or overlooked or neglected. I was trusted and given a measure of independence suitable to my age and maturity.

As a small child of 7 and 8, I walked all over the military base where we lived, miles and miles, going to ballroom dancing and ceramics classes, the movies, the swimming pool and sometimes to watch the Green Beret practice jumps and run the obstacle course. I played for hours in the jungle where a chain link fence I could climb separated me from the Panamanian natives. I climbed trees and fell and ripped open the back of my left arm when my parents were at the commissary and I was playing in the jungle with friends. One of them ran to a neighbor's house and he called the ambulance while he helped stanch the bleeding with his best bathroom towels. My parents met us at the hospital and no one called social services or had them arrested for neglect. Why would they? Kids play. Kids get hurt. Parents aren't always there. Shit happens.

When I got out of the hospital and had to go for physical therapy, I walked there and came home alone. No one worried that anything would happen to me because I knew what to do and we lived on a base. No, a military base isn't the same thing as a city neighborhood, especially not nowadays, but it would have been no different if it had been in a residential neighborhood.

When did parents begin chauffeuring their children everywhere instead of allowing them to walk a few blocks or a couple of miles to soccer practice or dance lessons, etc.? Was it because one over protective parent refused to let her children out of her sight or was it during the '60s when everyone went into therapy and decided that they were psychological messes because their parents didn't see them hitting the winning run in a crucial ball game or watch them in the fifth performance of Death of a Salesman in high school? What happened to teaching children independence and allowing them to mature? How do we expect children to be able to handle themselves in social situations if the only situations they are allowed happen at school or under parental supervision?

Some mothers refuse to allow their children out of their own yards and sleepovers are only allowed if the other child comes to their home, even when the child is a teenager. What does that say about the parent that allows their child to sleep over at the friend's house? Does that mean they are negligent and taking chances with their child's life? Does social services need to be involved, or the police? No wonder some children never leave home and others prefer to return home after college and fail to launch. The umbilical cord doesn't stretch that far.

Don't kid yourselves. Living this way is fascism. When a parent can no longer correct their children in public for fear of being arrested and their children put in foster homes or allow a child to walk a couple of blocks without being chauffeured or when an adult must prove they are old enough to buy teaspoons, the world has gone insane. Living a life in fear of what the neighbors or a stranger will say or do is no way to live. That is not freedom. That is fascism. Freedom is dying a slow and painful death, leaching away into the sands of corruption and the black hole of public opinion. Each day we lose a little more, but people are adaptable. They keep pace with the current trends and social expectations without realizing that what is at stake is life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It's the trickle down effect. The government sticks their fingers and laws into every part of life for our own good, but it isn't a cookie that could spoil dinner they're regulating, it's our basic freedoms. In such a world, terror and fear rule and the masters of terror and fear gain more and more control until we end up as prisoners in our own homes. It was the state of things in Germany when the Nazis came to power and it is the unstable world ruled by Islam, and now it is here in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Don't blink. Fascism is getting closer and freedom is strangling to death.

You blinked.

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