The Criminalization of All The Things

Radley Balko highlights this charming story from South Carolina, among others.

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.

Harrell said yes. She gave her daughter a cell phone. The girl went to the park—a place so popular that at any given time there are about 40 kids frolicking—two days in a row. There were swings, a “splash pad,” and shade. On her third day at the park, an adult asked the girl where her mother was. At work, the daughter replied.

The shocked adult called the cops. Authorities declared the girl “abandoned” and proceeded to arrest the mother.

The state has taken the nine-year-old girl away from her mother. Which is abusive, if you ask me.

So if you let your kid play unsupervised at a park for any length of time, you're subject to arrest by the minions of the state now?

Can we really describe ourselves as the "land of the free" anymore?