Every Parent’s Nightmare

This is a horrible story about an 11-year-old girl who was kidnapped and spent 18 years in some private enclave, where she has borne two children fathered by her kidnapper, who just happens to be a registered sex offender.  It is impossible to imagine how the victim, now a 29-year-old woman, has been traumatized and twisted by such an unbearably awful experience.

This kind of story is every parent’s nightmare.  When your children are of tender age, you try to watch them as best you can — while at the same time avoiding the “helicopter syndrome,” where you are hovering around wherever they are and whatever they are doing.  In this particular case, the young girl was kidnapped as she walked home from the school bus stop, in full view of her stepfather.

Parenting involves making everyday judgments about what is best for your child and your family.  Every parent makes thousands of decisions about whether their child should attend a party, spend the night at a friend’s house, go on a camping trip, stay after school for a club meeting, or engage in hundreds of other activities.  You do the best you can to be sure that your child is safe and secure, and then you read this kind of story about what can happen despite your best efforts.  My guess is that, after reading this story, some parents will hover a bit closer.

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Lies, Damn Lies, and Unemployment Statistics (Cont.)

I’ve written before on the dubious validity of the official unemployment statistics because of issues concerning how “unemployment” is counted.  A high-ranking official with the Federal Reserve has now spoken publicly of this phenomenon and estimated that, if the statistical contrivances are taken into account, the “real” unemployment rate is not the official 9.4 percent rate, but rather 16 percent.  That reality indicates that it is going to take much longer for the economy to dig its way out of the recession than many are forecasting.

All of which leads to a simple question:  if the “real” unemployment rate is 16 percent, why isn’t that the rate the federal government is reporting to its citizens?  Does our government really think that we are so brittle that we cannot bear to hear the truth, or that we are so divorced from reality that chronic undercounting by the government will convince us that things are better than our personal experiences demonstrate they are?