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15 April, 2008

Anti-lightning shield

In the New York Sun, a parent explains why she allowed her nine-year-old son to travel across Manhattan alone, using the subway and bus to get home.  She also responds to those who criticised her for it.

The key part is that though she acknowledges that the horror stories her critics threw at her could have happened and the consequences could have been awful, the chances of anything actually happening were infinitesimally small. One can't live according to improbable worst-case scenarios.

As if keeping kids under lock and key and helmet and cell phone and nanny and surveillance is the right way to rear kids. It's not. It's debilitating – for us and for them.
The problem with this everything-is-dangerous outlook is that over-protectiveness is a danger in and of itself. A child who thinks he can't do anything on his own eventually can't.
And in a follow-up posting elsewhere:
But here's what I've learned from all the folks who don't want to give their kids a longer leash, and send bile-filled notes instead: For some reason we live in a society that sees little difference between letting a child frolic in the front yard and letting a child frolic in front of a firing squad. It's impossible for people to calculate the difference between real and remote risks.
I'd agree entirely, and suggest that the same argument applies to air travel: a terrorist could destroy a plane with an 'improvised' liquid explosive, but that's insufficient reason to ban all liquids from every commercial flight on the planet. It may suit a company's or government's 'due diligence' policy and need to be seen to be taking precautions, but it's no way for individuals to live, or to run a society.

[Via BoingBoing.]

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