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The PJ Tatler

by
Scott Ott

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July 14, 2014 - 8:28 am
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Big Mother is watching, thank goodness.

Here are the facts: Debra Harrell works at McDonald’s in North Augusta, South Carolina. For most of the summer, her daughter had stayed there with her, playing on a laptop that Harrell had scrounged up the money to purchase. (McDonald’s has free WiFi.) Sadly, the Harrell home was robbed and the laptop stolen, so the girl asked her mother if she could be dropped off at the park to play instead.

I’m sure you see the problem already. Apparently Ms. Harrell couldn’t afford a helicopter drone with live video to her smartphone, so her nine-year-old daughter ran the risk of having fun outdoors without parental witness.

Fortunately, a concerned parent at the playground intervened, interviewed the girl, and then notified the authorities who arrested the Mom.

To fully appreciate the seriousness of this situation, you have to watch the local news report. Face it, any crime that would force professional TV journalists to express this degree of shock and dismay must be egregious. It’s so bad, that the journalists actually gave contact information for government-run childcare so that other parents could avoid legal jeopardy and rapidly get their kids under government supervision.

Of course, we all know it would have been far better for the Mom to forego employment entirely and to get herself in some government programs. That way, she could have squatted on a park bench and noodled on her ObamaPhone while her darling played on the monkey bars (and tried to avoid contact with strangers). Better yet, she could have used some of her government allowance to buy another laptop so that her daughter didn’t have to risk the outdoors at all.

But this is all hindsight.

This alarming story makes me regret the countless thousands of hours that I, and my brothers, spent unsupervised somewhere in the hundreds of acres of woods and fields near my childhood home. In those less morally-evolved times, we’d disappear for hours after breakfast, lunch or dinner. We’d walk or bike or ride horses miles away from the security of my Nan’s watch-care. In case of emergency — like when somebody shot my finger with the BB-gun, or when Troy and I caught a groundhog and the varmint latched onto my brother’s thumb and wouldn’t let go — anyway, in case of emergency our only car was with Pop at work an hour away. Nan never had a driver’s license anyway. Our only phone was screwed to the wall in the kitchen.

We’d swim in creek, pond or canal. We played tackle football without helmets or pads. We’d cross fields where menacing cattle grazed, and climb the highest trees we could. We built dams, panned for “gold,” caught salamanders, snakes, turtles, crayfish and eels. We cracked spherical rocks searching in vain for geodes. Sometimes, in our early teens, we’d carry firearms, but way before that we always carried weapons — bows, spears, cudgels, rocks and slings that we fashioned from natural materials.  Often we reenacted Robin Hood’s cudgel fight with Little John on a log over a stream. For a few years, we tended a trap-line before school in the morning, toting a .22 caliber rifle in the dark and facing some very annoyed raccoons and possums.

We’d swing from vines, engage in brutal snowball fights, toboggan through a stand of trees and bail out just before the barbed-wire fence. A pack of us would skate the unreliable ice of a farmer’s pond — when the farmer wasn’t looking — slapping frozen hockey pucks at the unpadded goalie who trembled between the boots that formed the goal.

These activities could involve children as young as six — often accompanied by our neighbor Jim and his little sisters, and all shockingly unsupervised by adults.

Top Rated Comments   
A six, I rowed my boat out a mile or so, weather permitting, and went fishing. By nine, I could legally get an outboard, so I did. Salt water, not a lake.
If my Mom saw you inside on a nice day, She would ask if you didn't have anything to do, because if you didn't She'd find you something. I don't think I ever heard Her say the word "something" after the first time.
But, as She was fond of saying,"I have seven kids. Kids are pretty tough things. It's not as easy to lose them or kill them as I originally thought." Every relative of mine came from 7 to 13 kid families. The rule was,"You must leave with EXACTLY the same number you came with. It's not really important which ones, but the quantity MUST be the same."
Yes. These little Gestapo agents definitely have too much to say about this. I wonder if they care this much about snipping up a child before it voluntarily exits the womb?
I guess not.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
LMAO!! Wonderful!

The only thing I'd add to this is that those of us who knew such untrammeled freedom as children may need to be rounded up and off’d as a preventive measure, on the likelihood we’re silent carriers of the “right to be left alone virus,” that certainly needs to be exterminated once and for all to make way for the coming U. S. of Utopia.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
Your parents and mine, only mine would have been resuscitated and executed again. I grew up in Houston just outside the 5th ward and regularly played there. Better Homes & Gardens it ain't and wasn't. Junk yards were our own little Disney Worlds and train tracks were our straight and narrow. We played stick ball with rocks too.

My brother and our friends would only go home for meals and bedtime during the summer, and I wouldn't trade that for the world. My kids? They don't have it as good. They're being raised in a rural setting and don't have near as much freedom.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (55)
All Comments   (55)
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So, now I have the tittle of a perfect book for you to write: 'Childhood Lost'.
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
?
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
so the parents of the influx of illegal alien kids should face the same prosecution
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
I had a key to my house when I was five. We lived in the Bronx and my father was dead so my mother worked. We rode our bicycles where we wanted, played football, baseball, softball, stickball, Johnny ride the pony, as well as having snowball fights and the occasional rock fight. We bought and exploded fireworks. We climbed trees, poles and fences. I lied and my mother did too so I could get a paper route when I was nine. We always went where we didn't belong and it was all unsupervised.

Once, America was a simpler place, but that was before people like Barry and his minions fixed it for us.
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh, and we played on the train tracks too, the ones that run through New Rochelle and the Bronx into Manhattan.
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
We played with Lawn Darts (real ones with brass tips); my brother got the standard BB gun and then a .22 rifle at age twelve -- rite of passage; we biked all over the countryside, played in the woods, swung on whatever vines we saw hanging around (horrors! they weren't vetted by Government Numpties for strength! shhheeeeiit); and had to be home by dark, like all y'all.

It was heaven, really. And summers stretched before us like an endless horizon of bliss.

Wonder what the kids today make of The Little Rascals? (the ones Bill Cosby hasn't embargoed, that is....). They were always out and about in a pack, nary an adult in sight.
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
You all sound like a bunch of Americans who love your freedom because you used to have it.

Well, folks, like the man said, you're just gonna have to git your minds right. Whether you like it or not.

All that freedom stuff? our Insect Overlords ain't havin' it, not by a long chalk. Don't get uppity, or they'll toss your rear end into the hoosegow and ship you off to a Leftist Re-education Camp. Where You. Will. Be. Absorbed.

[sigh]

My old Girl Scout camp, in North Carolina, had to close a couple of years ago. Was in business from 1950 on. The problem? Well, when I went there, in the 1960s, I was thrilled to bits to be sleeping in a big old Army tent in the woods with my friends and a kerosene lantern; we didn't even use transistor radios! the idea was to live like Daniel Boone, folks!

BUT the girls of the last several years can't be pried away from their dadburn "smart"phones with a crowbar, so they didn't want to go camping; the campground tried the overnight and day-camping only, but soon they couldn't even make a go of That. The girls aren't being taught woodcraft and cool stuff any more, they're being drilled in pinko indoctrination and "One World" bilge.

Not one of them could survive for more than twelve hours if the power went out. They're pathetic little drones. So the wonderful old camp closed.

I have to say, though, that their PARENTS are to blame: they grew up free themselves, and they should have had the stones to insist that their children do so also; also that they not be on the bloody internet 24 hours a day.
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
We used to have trails and creeks by our house. My neighbors and I would ride our bikes out there and spend an entire day playing war with plastic guns. Nowadays not only would my parents be arrested for letting us out in the woods unsupervised, I'd be detained for unlawfully carrying a "potentially threatening" firearm.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
Loving the responses. I too grew up with a Mom and Dad who INSISTED we, at least, check-in by dusk. My G.F. has a coronary if her daughter is out of phone contact...
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
Amazing, Scott. The entire society needs to be reformed. Poverty is being made illegal. I foresee the day when it will be considered child abuse to have tow children in the same room.

This is your breakout column.

PS - With that background, how did you become a Liberal in your earlier life?

(Also note, this book on the topic: http://www.amazon.com/When-Was-This-Free-Country/dp/B00C01KIOK)
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sorry, two.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
Amazing, Scott. The entire society needs to be reformed. Poverty is being made illegal. I foresee the day when it will be considered child abuse to have tow children in the same room.

This is your breakout column.

PS - With that background, how did you become a Liberal in your earlier life?

(Also note, this book on the topic: http://www.amazon.com/When-Was-This-Free-Country/dp/B00C01KIOK)
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sorry, this system is really hard on the computers I work on.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
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