March 31, 2009
I grew up in the 1950''s 2-1/2 miles West of Brooksville, and everybody around, black and white, knew every other family''s children, aunts, etc. Even the families who lived in the town here felt a sense of security concerning public safety. Children were allowed to go anywhere in the towns they wanted. Their parents always knew where they were and what they were doing. If we got into mischief our parents knew it before we got home, and appropriate punishment often awaited us. Respect for and fear of the law was much greater in the days of "Leave it to Beaver" and "Andy Griffith"
Now days predators prey upon innocent and defenseless children without any qualms about getting caught.
It is the responsibility of individual parents to rear their children according to the parents'' values and the children''s'' maturity. Some children mature faster than others, and can responsibly handle walking alone a few blocks today.
More parents (and grandparents) need to realize that the biggest favor they can do for children is to help them develop the skills necessary to make responsible decisions at an early age. We aren''t going to be here forever to "take care" of our little loved ones. Retarding a child''s development to bolster our own feelings of importance does no favors for the children.
When I was a child, if I had gone walking down the road toward town or in another direction, my parents would have gotten calls from neighbors letting them know what was happening, where I was, etc., and I would have been in no danger. The few neighbors we had knew my parents well enough to know what I was likely to be doing if I had been walking somewhere. Today, few neighbors know others like we did back then.
Mrs. Pierce''s concerned neighbors might have asked her son what was going on, in a nice, friendly manner, and then called her to let her know where her son was instead of calling 911. There was no emergency.
Today is vastly different. Brooksville is the locale where two different men were wrongly convicted, and later exonerated, of raping and murdering two different 3-year-old girls a few years ago. Watching out for children, anybody''s and everybody''s children, is natural for parents.
I''m glad her neighbors were concerned enough to take an active interest, but it would have been better if they would have taken a slightly different tack. Neighbors, get to know one another well. It''s worth it in more ways than one.
Cameron Triplett Sr., Brooksville