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Free Range Chicken vs. Free Range Kids

Free Range Kids - Seattle Criminal Lawyer Blog

Or….  Enough About Police Brutality Already; Let’s Talk about Something Really Controversial:  Parenting!

Free Range Chicken is a good thing right? We all know that the more “free” things are the better they are. To eat, at least. Even Eric Holder is in on the being free movement, proclaiming his new-found freedom now that Loretta Lynch is finally the Attorney General.

But seriously, what gives? It is just so ironic that some of the same people who insist on having all things roam free and be devoid of giant corporate controls are the same folks who shudder to think about the idea that actual people, children no less, might be better off that way too.

I’m not talking necessarily about the Nanny State, although that is part of the issue now that they are getting involved in this. I am talking about Nanny Parents.

The ones who drive their kids everywhere, scheduling them out to the max, never allowing them a spare moment to think or do anything for themselves, making sure that they are protected from the world, unable to find out anything for themselves.

And thus unable to learn and grow and develop in the same way that most of us did; following mindlessly along from Soccer practice to cello lessons to college prep classes. All when they are five. It’s ridiculous.


When I was a kid we got to roam freely. Nobody had ever heard of free range anything, unless it was where the deer and the antelope roamed. Good grief. When I was three I would head out of the house first thing in the morning, with our without my ancient sisters, aged 8 and 11, practically grown ups and almost out on their own by then.

We ran in a pack, just like kids all over the world. Go to Bali. They are roaming freely. And they are smiling. And laughing. And playing.

I went to an exhibit about Leonardo da Vinci several years ago, at the Seattle Art Museum. They had a display all about how Leonardo had become Leonardo. It was fascinating; he didn’t sit at a desk and study how to become a genius.

No. He ran wild in the woods, observing nature and the physics of running water first hand, and in so doing he gained an understanding and appreciation for the physical world that led to everything from invention of the first helicopter to painting the slyly smiling Mona Lisa.

The issue has come to national attention in the form of a Nanny State case and a viral video. The case was about a Silver Spring, Maryland couple, Danielle and Alexander Meitiv, who had the audacity to allow their kids, a six year old daughter accompanied by her ten year old brother, to actually walk home from school alone together. Heaven forbid.

But, they were wrong to be so trusting, because on the way home the kids were actually abducted and held prisoner for hours. By the POLICE.

You see some concerned citizen apparently called 911 at the horrific sight of children walking down a street minding their own business… without a helicopter parent on hand. I wonder how Leo would have processed that? Not sure he had that in mind when he invented the first chopper.

But, as always in legal matters, there are two sides to this issue: on the side of the Meitivs we have a growing national movement called Free Range Kids, led by another concerned parent, Lenore Skenazy, who believes that we have all become so overprotective we are denying our kids the sort of upbringing most of us had, the kind I had.

Last Saturday she spearheaded a child abuse event called, Leave Your Kids at the Park Day.

All of this wild irresponsible abandonment led one YouTube dude to lead the bull by the horns and go out and abduct him some kids his own self. What a guy! He proceeded to randomly cruise parks to pretend to abduct young children. I guess he wants to establish “Go To the Park and Scare the Crap Out of Kids Day!”

But this is where it gets confusing.  You see he was successful at abducting the kids he tempted with tales of puppies waiting for them to go pet if they would only come with him.

Fortunately he had the common sense to check in with their parents first to get permission to pull this prank. Otherwise he would be sitting in jail looking for my number right now.

Of course after listening to him on NPR, I was thinking he’d better make that phone call lickety split. That’s because he was saying some incredibly stupid things, like

“There were only three of them that I attempted to “abduct” and those are the three you see in the video. In between filming some scenes, groups of kids would actually run up to me to pet the puppy. I wanted to try the experiment on those kids, but I didn’t see their parents around, so I didn’t do it because I didn’t want to get in trouble. But I could have easily abducted even more.”

YouTube Dude, Please Note:  That statement constitutes probable cause to arrest you for attempted Kidnapping. You have a right to remain silent. And a right not to be so creepy.

He also revealed some very sloppy research, admitting that his claim that “700 kids are abducted a day” was based on a two second Google search and that the actual number is way lower. But, of course, that doesn’t stop some Mainstream Media outlets from blasting it all over the place.

Still, he has a point. A very disturbing point. These kids were extremely gullible and naïve.

Lenore Skenazy, the Free Range Mom, was quick to weigh in, talking about how he is scaring parents into forcing their kids to hide inside and never be free to just “go outside and play”. Like Leonardo did. Back when rapists and murderers roamed freely.

She also argues that crime rates are down. Much lower than they were when we were ALL free range kids. So, where’s the fire?

To be honest, the whole thing baffles me. I just don’t know what to think. I admit we were overprotective parents ourselves, and I worry that our kids, while successful and independent fine young adults, thankfully – might lean on us more than we did on our parents. But I am not sure that is a bad thing. As always I am confused.

Which is why I invite you to comment on this post. Maybe we can work this one out together. At least the cops didn’t shoot anyone this time.


If you would like Craig Platt’s help with a legal issue, you can find his contact information here or fill out a confidential, easy form about your case.