Sunday, December 20, 2009

Hear no, See no, Speak no

Usually, I have pretty clear cut opinions on just about everything. From the Copenhagen summit (don't start) to the perfect flavour combination for my gelato (macadamia and honey, natch). But today, I heard about a situation, and I really don't know what the right thing to do is.

My mother lives in a sort of rural/suburban area, lots of acreage blocks, friendly neighbours, quite a community feel about the place. And yesterday, she witnessed something that really disturbed her. Made her blood run cold actually. There's a family in the area that are a bit infamous for letting their 4 young children play on their ride-on lawnmower, sometimes with the mower blades engaged, actually mowing the lawn, sometimes with them not engaged, just tooling around the house block (and the street!!). Okay, not my cup of tea, but it's obviously their decision to let them, no good letting the villagers and their pitchforks go forth just yet.

But yesterday, while the boy, probably around 8, was driving (read:hooning) around on the lawnmower, completely unsupervised, his young sister, maybe 3 or 4 was HANGING OFF THE FRONT OF IT BY HER HANDS, UPSET AND SCREAMING TO GET OFF. Mower blades engaged or not, had her hands slipped, the is no doubt she would have been run over. 4 or 5 young girls riding their horses past had stopped and were staring in confusion and shock. It wasn't til a car driving past stopped and beeped their horn, yelling for the boy to stop, that the boy did in fact stop, and let his terrified sister off.

While this incident was bad enough, others in the neighbourhood have noticed the same boy chasing his sister down the road, her on her bike, wobbly as hell after just having her training wheels removed, him not even looking as he chased her down on the mower, more concerned with yelling at his other brother.

The young girl has also been spotted riding her scooter down the middle of the road (steep hill and all), no adult or sibling in sight, about 200 metres from her home. This is a pretty isolated area, and apart from being smeared all over the road by one of the hoons who careen around the area, God knows what else could have happened to her: snakebite, abduction, indoctrination into the Liberal party...

Now, my immediate urge after hearing about this was to go visit this family, kick in the door, and bash the parents heads together until they saw fit to actually do something towards increasing their children's life expectancy, instead of apparently actively encouraging Darwinian theory.

Generally, I believe that the safety of all children is the business of everyone. It takes a village and all that. What's that quote? It is a greater sin to witness evil (or child endangerment) and do nothing, than do to the evil (or the endangering).

But when my Mum asked for advice as to whether she should say something to this family or not, I wavered. What would it actually achieve? A word from her, and they change their whole parenting style? She has to live in this neighbourhood, what if it started some sort of feudal retribution? Ths is my Mum, my sweet beautiful Mum, who is lovely and nuturing and caring and what if this dipshit parent starts screaming at her? Maybe I should go with her? Maybe we should send an anonymous letter? Call DOCS? Call Today Tonight? Call Jerry Springer?

I really am torn - what would you do?



  1. Wow!!!! That is just down right scary!!! Me, being the person that I am I would have to say something!!!I would have walked right over to the neighbors and tell them what is going on. And Kindly inform them of how extremely dangerous that situation is. And if they kept doing it- some authorities would have to be called.

  2. Those kids are innocent, even the demon brother. They aren't going to know better, unless they're taught better. Now, bad manners, booger picking, no shoes, that's something you shouldn't worry too much about. But, you're right. It's a greater sin to witness evil. When their safety is concerned, I'd step in. If you & team Mom doesn't strike something in the deadbeat Mom & the police department. When you call 911, let them know that there COULD POSSIBLY be injuries. They'll dispatch the Fire department. State law in Texas is different than other places. The FD here HAS to report child neglect to CPS. Whether CPS does anything, well...who knows. It's a crap shoot. This might be one of those situations that the parent's just need a friendly, "Hey, dear; we're concerned. Look at your kids!?!" Me? I would have jerked the little boy off the mower, and pulled him up to the house by his ear. lol

  3. i think you should do something. Too many of these situations continue because nobody wanted to stick their noses into somebody elses business - but it is everybody's business if something terrible happened to these children and it is outside of their home in the community where it is happening.
    Not sure what though... keep us posted. Maybe anon to protect your mama

  4. I would report it to authorities as well. Where I live this would be considered child endangerment which is against the law. Allowing a child to drive a lawn mower on public streets/rightofways or even sidewalks is illegal. I've seen stories of people being arrested for riding their lawnmowers drunk so surely someone would at least sternly warn the parents.

  5. This question gets posed FAR too often for my liking! Simple answer - ANONYMOUS LETTER!

    Or at least, that's where you start. Sign it as a neighbour, but mail it so its not known who your mum is. Try and leave out specific incidences, so as not to give away who you are, just mention the mower and the bike and the scooter etc.

    Shame the feral *****s of so called parents into at least PRETENDING to raise their children. At least in public.

    Contacting the authorites sadly will get you nowhere, and the abysmal truth is that the anonymous call rarely stays anonymous. Authorities will need specific details in order to act, and these must be told to the offender, so your neighbour will know straight away who is causing them the trouble.

  6. Oh also, as to the telling the authorities - the Dad's a cop. Sigh.

  7. Dads a pathetic is that?

    I always freak out when I see children to young to be left alone (under 8) wandering around by themselves or even walking home from school. Even worse if they're doing something reckless.

    I have no problem telling other people's children off if I think they are doing something stupid. Their own parents don't care so someone has to. As to telling the parents? Anonymous letter.


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