Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Was it a mistake? Magic 8 Ball isn't so sure ...

teen beat, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

“If you don’t stop fighting this instant, I’m going to pull the car over and put you both out!”

Well, a well-heeled Scarsdale mother gave those usually empty words teeth earlier this week when she pulled her vehicle over in a White Plains business district, three miles from home, and ordered her bickering children (10- and 12-year-old girls) to exit the car and then drove off.

It would seem almost comical to me — a person who throughout her own formative years heard that same threat enough to ignore it without even batting an eye — except that the mother was subsequently arrested and issued a restraining order requiring she have no contact with the kids, who were unharmed by the event.

And then parents, who were asked to comment for follow-up news stories, came out in droves to say what a different world it is today; and how, even though they empathize with the mom's frustrations, they themselves could never actually drive away.

It’s impossible to glean details from published reports as to where the girls were left — along a highway or in a strip mall — or whether the mother came back to get them. Some broadcast reports have the 12-year-old running after the car and being allowed back in, while the 10 year-old was found crying by strangers, who contacted police. Regardless, I just can’t understand how anyone would waste the court’s time with such a case.

This is where I launch into the bit about when I was 10 years old I was riding my bike, helmetless, five miles along narrow, winding roads to a friend’s house and back.

(I’ll spare you the tale of it being uphill both ways.)

I realize there are SO MANY PEOPLE who think things are different these days; and that people are different and can’t be trusted. And that cars are different, and too big. And that drivers have really bad peripheral vision and virtually no spot in the back window that isn’t blind, not to mention that they are always on their cell phones … or texting anyway; doing anything, but paying attention to the road.

Let's not forget about about the abandonment issues.

These poor, sad children ... with their ipods and cell phones, living in tony neighborhoods ... with a frazzled and ineffective mother.

To have their mother drive away is just cruel proof she doesn’t love them.

Yes. It’s probably best she was arrested and that a restraining order was issued and that she was barred from seeing them until the matter can be sorted out by one of the more underworked case managers in the system.

Unless, of course, the kids had had a cell phone …

and could have called their dad. …

Or a cab.

Or if they didn't, (gasp) maybe they could have stuck together ...

and looked out for one another.

I forgot. We don't do that anymore.


Xdm said...

I sort of liked this story. My mother not only threatened to stop the car, she used to jam on the brakes sending our seatbeltless asses flying into the front seats. One time, she actually DID make my brother get out and walk. We were only about a mile or so from home. Seeing him walking along the side of the road, hunched over, hands in pockets as a pissed off teen is one of my favorite memories. Me and my sister scrambled over the backseats to the jumper seat of the wagon to wave and make faces at him as we drove away. He of course kicked our asses 20 minutes later when he walked in the door all sweaty.

supa said...

Oh my. What I am hearing: A frazzled mom, fed up with her tween-age bickering children, taught them a lesson Erma Bombeck probably taught hers. The children were old enough, as you say, to call someone, or walk. The mother, from the evidence, acted out of frustration, not malice.

As you said, we don't have all the facts ... but this sounds like somebody took a deflated ball and ran with it. I think a restraining order is over the top.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the world were a safer place when we were growing up.
Maybe the country was not in a paranoia that the whole world is after them
Maybe then the neighbors were part of the big village that were raising the children

Maybe the restraining order is over the top
Maybe we do not have all the facts
Maybe all our mothers did the same thing or similar to that and guess what we survived
Maybe these kids had iphone and cell phone and so on
Maybe we should not waste the court's time
and then all you mothers close your eyes and imagine for one second: WHAT IF?????

Will we risk for that less than one percent chance…will you risk it for your children? Will I?

I wonder....

P.S.: As always, fantastic post dear stranger

Anonymous said...

Not to rain on this parade...but!
Leslie Mahaffy was a 14 year old girl who was a bit unruley, always conning in later than her curfue. On June 15, 1991, her mother would teache her a lesson and locked her out of the house when she did not return on time.
While wondering around her block looking for a place to sleep she ran into Paul Bernardo...and that was the last time anyone seen her alive.

These people are out there!

Later, Kcoz

toyfoto said...

I understand there are truly psychopathic people out there ... look at the accused "Craigslist Killer."

@kcoz: What if she had met her killer in the hours after her curfew before she had tried to come home? What if she met him after school in the daytime? What if you forgot to secure the lap belt on the carseat and then were in crash?

My heart goes out to people who make mistakes they can't take back ... or make mistakes out of frustration. But the village seemed to work in this situation: the little girl got ice cream from strangers and they called the police.

My concern isn't that the woman was right to put the kids out of the car ... my concern is that SHE shouldn't be in the criminal system for it.

Kcoz said...

"My concern isn't that the woman was right to put the kids out of the car ... my concern is that SHE shouldn't be in the criminal system for it."

I agree with this...there are more serious issues that need the courts to resolve and this is not one of them.

Later, Kcoz

Anonymous said...

"there are more serious issues that need the courts to resolve and this is not one of them."

Well it depends who is judging???
I mean after all it is all about the perceptions that each and every one of us have about realities of life and world....
for some people, the ones that have deep wound in these issues, this case is precisely what should get the attention of all the legal system....
So back to my Q...who is the judge to decide which case deserves which type of treatment?

toyfoto said...

Thanks for your question, Anonymous.

I don't believe it's about perceptions at all. I think that's the problem we have as a society. Just because we feel we are abused doesn't necessarily mean we are.

That also means that we don't always know when abuse is occurring. That's why there are laws for folks like teachers and medical professionals who are obligated to report their suspicions.

I believe in this case, however, the judge will throw out the charges.In the meantime, social workers sent to investigate a bad parenting moment were taken away from cases of real neglect and abuse.

Can you imagine if we had a justice system that punished everyone for making their kids feel bad? Every chip on every shoulder would be a punishable offense. There's not a parent on Earth who wouldn't face charges.

Mrs. Chicken said...

Brilliant post. Seriously, brilliant. And true, too.