Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Back to Stupid!

Today's lack of intelligence should no longer surprise me but, for some reason, it does!

How many of you have read in the paper or seen on the news the story about a woman who's just finished buckling her young child into his car seat and turns to climb into the driver's seat only to find herself facing a wild-eyed man intent on car-jacking her vehicle, child and all? Show of hands?

With that in mind, how many of you would willingly leave your child, untended, in a running (supposedly locked) vehicle while you run into the store (or wherever)... just for a minute!? Show of hands?

I reeeeeally hope none of you raised your hand.

This last couple of weeks, I've seen two different women who've left their YOUNG kids, untended, in a running vehicle. That is SO stupid on SO MANY levels!!! Let's start with the obvious one I've already mentioned, car jacking.

Mom goes into the grocery store, reassuring her 5 year old that she'll only be gone a minute (she's parked on the SIDE of the building, by the way, where NO ONE can see the SUV!) and asking him to watch his baby brother. She'll leave the car running so it won't get too hot inside this black painted Suburban (it's 98 in the shade, today) and be riiiiiiight back! But, Mom doesn't count on the long lines inside.... or maybe it's a broken register.... or maybe they're training a new cashier and she's slower than molasses in January.... oooooor, well, you've got the point. Best laid plans and all that.

Now, put yourself in the place of a desperate man, running from the law, who sees a running vehicle (actually, running from the law or not, a car thief is gonna go for the running vehicle). You hurry over only to find the doors locked. No prob! YOU have SKILLS! Not ones Mother Theresa would approve of, to be sure, but you know how to pop that lock in no time flat! But, what's this? Kids? A 5 year old and a baby? Eh, so what? They certainly won't get in the way of you "borrowing" the vehicle. Really, what can they do besides cry? So, while Mom's dealing with unexpected delays inside, you take off with the car - AND kids - outside. Whole operation takes something less than two minutes.

And, my, isn't Mom surprised to find her vehicle and kids gone? Oh! WHAT to DO? Call the police, sure. Now, explain "But, I only left them for a minute, officer! I was coming right back out and the doors were locked!"

Ok, but, that so seldom happens. Really, what are the odds, you say? Well, I'll admit, I don't have the statistics on that, and, yeah, I was left in the car on occasion as a kid, but here's the difference; crime wasn't as bad as it is today and I wasn't five years old! I was a pre-teen or teen! My parents never left me alone in a vehicle when I was a child. Well, not after my Dad turned his back on me as a toddler (when they didn't have seat belt laws). Which brings me to another reason - albeit less scary one - for not leaving your kids alone in a running vehicle. My Dad was parked in a driveway, and had stepped out of the car to talk to someone. He shut the door to keep me in because I was known for running off and getting into things. Apparently, shutting me in the car only kept me from running off, not from getting into things. I figured out in short order how to get that car out of park and into gear. Never did that again! Nossir!

Leaving your kids alone in a car is just *stupid*, folks! Car jackings aside, kids play around with things. Even (maybe especially) with things they're not supposed to. They've watched Mom & Dad drive, they've seen them move that stick from one place to another, they want to try it. True, car companies have made it more difficult to move a car from park into gear by fixing it so you have to have a foot on the brake before it will move, but that doesn't mean it can't be done. A bump at the right - or wrong - angle and it can happen. Are people so lazy (and stupid, don't forget stupid) that they'd really rather risk a child's life than worry about having to unbuckle them from a car seat, hold their hand or carrier, or set up a stroller (depending on age) all because it'll make their "short trip" to the store too long? If that's the case, leave the kid at home with the other parent - or a sitter - while you run your errands. Your childs' life is NOT worth the gamble you're taking!