Whoso causes terror is himself more fearful. – Claudian
Whenever a tragedy involving children is publicized, the vultures are never long in arriving. Within minutes of the Sandy Hook murders on December 14th, they started to descend in flocks, control freaks trampling on the bodies of dead children so as to position themselves to best advantage for promoting their agenda to disarm everyone but the police and criminals. But they aren’t the only ones; no matter what the species of busybody, no matter what particular flavor of control-freakishness they subscribe to, you can bet the farm that any time anybody under the Age of Shazam is killed or seriously injured they’ll be there, bathing themselves in blood and insisting that the only way to prevent another such tragedy is to enact more controls on everyone who didn’t hurt any kids or adolescents. If a child is raped, legislators immediately propose new ways to torture people who urinated in public or had sex while they were teenagers. If a teenager dies in an automobile accident, police-state “checkpoints” to harass all drivers will suddenly pop up like mushrooms. A depressed teen committed suicide? Ban Dungeons and Dragons, heavy metal music, computer games, “sexting” or whatever else he enjoyed that older people are unfamiliar with. “Human rights are less important than the lives of INNOCENT CHILDREN!!!!!” they shout, whine, write, post or tweet, and the scary part is they actually mean it. And because they do, tyrants can always use “For the children!” as an effective excuse for stripping away human rights or even committing the most horrific atrocities on other people’s children.
The saddest part about this is that these measures, far from helping children, usually inflict great harm upon them. As I’ve pointed out before, American adolescents are subjected to twice as many restrictions as incarcerated felons, and nearly all of what we consider “the problems of adolescence” are due to these restrictions, many of which now carry severe criminal penalties. Worse still is the grievous psychological, emotional, cognitive and developmental harm inflicted upon prepubescent children by keeping them trapped inside like hamsters in a plastic habitat, controlled and monitored every minute of their lives and “protected” from imaginary harms until they are completely unable to cope with reality. Furthermore, society itself is damaged by the burgeoning nanny-state, and that damage in turn inflicts harm on those who live in it…including the former children all the nanny-laws were supposedly intended to “protect”. Just a few days before the Sandy Hook massacre, Wendy McElroy had this to say about the way politicians use children as an excuse for growing the state and undermining individual liberty:
For decades, the government has deliberately crusaded to send society into a panic over child molesters, abusive parents, kidnappers, sex traffickers, and now bullies. The…campaign…is a raging success. The elderly woman who bakes cookies for neighborhood children, the man who sits beside a girl in the only subway seat left, the parent whose son has bruises from a fall, anyone who volunteers to supervise kids — all of them are now suspected as child abusers. Many need to go through a police check, complete with fingerprinting, before they can access the privilege of volunteering to work with children. Men especially are presumed guilty until proven innocent.
…In the name of protecting children, state agencies break down the door that separates the private and public spheres. Every family is currently vulnerable to intrusion by Child Protective Services (CPS) acting on an anonymous tip; refusal to co-operate with them is seen as an indication of guilt. Pervasive monitoring of our personal communication is justified by the omnipresent possibility of child pornography…A lucrative and politically powerful “child-abuse industry” has arisen. It includes psychotherapists, social workers, lawyers, expert witnesses, foster parents, media pundits, researchers, bureaucrats, police, and politicians…[and] operates with little transparency or accountability. Vague and elastic definitions of child abuse are used to justify its actions. The public view of child abuse is a battered, bleeding infant; the legal view is much broader, including any physical or emotional mistreatment or neglect of a child.
…abuse hysteria actually endangers children. Although it purports to make children safer, the constant warnings only fill them with a suspicion and alarm that separate them from their surest defense against danger. The average person on the street feels a natural protectiveness toward a child in distress and would go out of their way to help them…[but] with the current hysteria, people who would otherwise help a kid might keep walking by. The child in need has become a dangerous stranger toward whom it is legally imprudent to extend a helping hand — let alone a hand that touches. [Furthermore]…while proclaiming itself the protector of children, the state has become a massive child abuser. TSA agents routinely perform body searches that would be called child molestation if done by anyone out of uniform. CPS is notorious for removing children from families on flimsy grounds and then placing them in foster homes or institutions where they are harmed or worse. Public schools are starting to tag students with the same RFID chips used to monitor cattle. The juvenile courts spill over with minor drug offenders and other victimless criminals…In a sense, the state is correct. There is an epidemic of child abuse, but the state is causing it…
Though the danger is greatest to those who by choice or necessity have to deal with children, no one is safe; even adult-only spaces are routinely invaded by censors armed with the excuse of making those spaces “safe for children” (despite the fact that minors are specifically prohibited from accessing them) on the grounds that a child “might” trespass there and be instantly gorgonized by the dreaded “sex rays”. It’s hard to imagine a more “adult” realm than the world of harlotry, yet even we are constantly under attack from fanatics claiming that most whores are either children or were in the recent past: our advertising venues are besieged, our clients are harassed and our persons are violated in the name of “protecting children” who by all practical measures barely even exist. But even if a fanatic concedes this rarity, the next thing out of her mouth will be, “If it saves even ONE CHILD, it will all be worth it!” and the brains of everyone within earshot except for skeptics and politicians will immediately shut down, virtually ensuring the victory of the latter over the former.