at what age she would allow her son to bicycle around the block by
"I don't think I would ever do that," she replied. "The world is
a very different place now than it was when we were growing up."
Did she really think the number of child molesters and kidnappers
in the world had increased in the last 20 or 30 years, I asked?
"Oh, yes, I think it is increasing. Because of the Internet."
At a PTA meeting, during a discussion of traffic problems around the
school campus, I asked what we could do to encourage families to walk
or bike to school. Other parents looked at me as if I'd suggested we
stuff the children into barrels and roll them into the nearest active
volcano. One teacher looked at me in shock. "I wouldn't let my
children walk to school alone ... would you?"
"Haven't you heard about all of the predators in this area?" asked
"No, I haven't," I said. "I think this is a pretty safe
"You'd be surprised," he replied, lowering his eyebrows. "You should
read the Megan's Law website." He continued: "You know how to solve
the traffic problem around this school? Get rid of all the predators.
Then you won't have any more traffic."