Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Be a parent, go to jail?

Should it be normal for parents to get arrested for making normal parental decisions — just because someone else believes it’s a mistake?

I’m not talking about demonstrable child abuse. I’m talking about the kind of decisions Radley Balko cites in a column on “the criminalization of parenthood.”

In one case, a South Carolina working mom was jailed for “unlawful conduct toward a child” — for letting her nine-year-old play in a well-attended park while she worked at McDonald’s. Social services took the child.

In another case, an Ohio father faces six months in jail because, unbeknownst to him, his eight-year-old son skipped church to play with friends in the neighborhood.

In a third, an Illinois woman was arrested for leaving a stubborn eight-year-old in her car for a few minutes while she dashed into a store.

We may disagree with what the parents did here (to the extent they could have done anything different). But arrest? Jail?

For six months?

One minute?

In the world that these incidents prefigure, the only way for parents to be “safe” in using our judgment will be to stop using it.

This would be life under the tyranny of “experts” and busybodies: to always project what the most skittish and punitive “authority” would require — and to do that instead of what we ourselves consider appropriate given all relevant, sometimes difficult circumstances.

Final question: What lesson does this brave new regime teach the children?

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. JFB says:

    Sadly, it is only a matter of time before the nanny state attempts to fully assume its role.
    I can also envision an advertised hot line where children, neighbors and others “concerned” persons, including ex-spouses in custody will be encouraged to anonymously call to report any “abuse” by parents.
    The next progression will be that all children should be housed and educated by the state. as Ms. Clinton pointed out her belief that it takes a village, and, of course, procreation will have to be limited or rationed in order not to overburden the system and taxpayers.
    The road to hell is well paved with good intentions, commonly bastardized by those who really understand their ultimate goals.

  2. Drik says:

    No trial. No possibility of dissent. The collective central authority cannot survive if it allows the public to disagree.
    Jury nullification is far too dangerous for the government to risk it.

  3. James says:

    When liberty is given to those who use it to do wickedness, expect the state to grow like an avalanche and fall indiscriminately on those who use liberty to do good.

    When advocating for liberty, use wisdom and prudence: Not every adult is grown-up enough to bear the responsibility. And though liberty is “right”, in the real world widespread irresponsibilty has consequences – consequences that often fall on the responsible.

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