Lunaya Pravda

05 April 2006

Wendy McElroy's latest

Wendy McElroy's latest column is spot-on.

On Nov. 28, 2002, 2-year-old Abigail Rae died by drowning in a village pond in England. Her death is currently stirring debate because the ongoing inquest revealed an explosive fact. A man passing by was afraid to guide the lost child to safety because he feared being labeled "a pervert."

In the article "Day of the dad: paedophilia hysteria leaves men afraid to help," The Telegraph raises a question that applies equally to North America. Have high profile cases of pedophilia created such public hysteria that the average decent human being, especially a man, is now reluctant to approach a child in need?

Consider what happened to Abby. The toddler wandered from her nursery school, Ready Teddy Go, through a door left open. A bricklayer named Clive Peachey drove past her in his truck. At the inquest, he stated, "I kept thinking I should go back. The reason I didn't was because I thought people might think I was trying to abduct her."

What a "rock and a hard place" dilemma. Stop and help, and risk being labeled a pedophile, or continue on while worrying, knowing something else might happen to the child. Given today's child protection fanatacism, I don't blame the guy one bit for his choice.

In my college years, I was a lifeguard. During training, it was always heavily stressed that we assess risks to ourselves first - before intervening. While at the time, that training referred to personal safety, in today's litigious, police-filled society, it's appropriate that legal consequences be included in assessing risk. And with that training now in mind, there is no fault in this guy's logic.

Labels: ,