Friday, 9 January 2009

Someone always has to be charged, eh?

The parents of a six year old had been charged with criminal neglect in the USA because the child tried to drive the family car to school when he thought he was getting late. AF believed that the only ‘crime’ the mother had committed was oversleeping.
Exactly. It seems there are two kinds of madness concerned with risk: western risk aversion and eastern risk blindness. Never mind for a moment that in Gringoland the right to bear arms (because of the ‘need’ for a militia which doesn't exist any more) means that kids can pick up their parents' arsenal and blast the hell out of their school mates.
I remember the same thing happened to us – one morning S went missing and we frantically raised the alarm and searched everywhere for him. Eventually he was found by some other passengers on the top deck of the bus that was going to his nursery. He had got up early and was worried that he was getting late. I've forgotten how old he was but he must have been younger than this kid because he wasn't old enough for school. We all breathed a huge sign of relief but no one ever thought of blaming us. Kids, especially boys, are just plain adventurous and that's the way it is. But times have changed. People get arrested for taking photos of their own children playing with their rubber ducks in the bath or for taking videos of the school play. Schools don't go on trips anymore because the insurance premiums are too high.
In Indonesia the situation is the exact opposite. Kids of about eight or nine ride motorbikes with their friends. Families of five including suckling babes merrily ride around on motorbikes and no one takes any notice of the awful mortality statistics. It is the will of Allah. The driver of the bike, sometimes, wears a crash helmet. His life is important because he earns the family rice.
It was big news in Australia when a bloke drove his car with a barrel of beer securely strapped to the rear seat but his young child un-strapped on the seat next to him. Here it would be no news at all – people often ride along on motorbikes with incredible loads and with young kids standing on the seat so they can get a better view.
Is there any country which is sane and well-balanced? If quos deus vult perdere prius dementat[1] then we must be due a huge global conflict. Madness has never been so extensive nor so intense.