“May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.”

"This report is maybe 12-years-old. Parliament buried it, and it stayed buried till River dug it up. This is what they feared she knew. And they were right to fear because there's a whole universe of folk who are gonna know it, too. They're gonna see it. Somebody has to speak for these people. You all got on this boat for different reasons, but you all come to the same place. So now I'm asking more of you than I have before. Maybe all. Sure as I know anything I know this, they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, 10, they'll swing back to the belief that they can make people . . . better. And I do not hold to that. So no more running. I aim to misbehave." ~ Captain Malcom Reynolds

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Changing outlooks

I'm not sure how much this has happened to other people, but I do know having kids has changed my outlook on a number of things - most particularly work. How I deal with children and parents, things I am aware of, all of those things are different than when kids were just a theoretical concept. Calls where children are hurt or at risk affect me even more so, as I see my own children in those faces.

Yesterday had one of those instances. I was helping out the road guys with some calls since they were short handed. One I rolled on was around lunchtime - a "suspicious vehicle with people hanging out in the back seat" in one of our residential neighborhoods. Since we're getting killed on daytime B&Es around here, I was hoping to at least get a chance to help identify some of these people if not actually catching something.

So I pull up on scene to see the one passenger squirt right up to the front seat, while the guy gets out and tries to look casual as he walks up to his side. Looking at them I can see the nervousness and red faces, as they adjust clothing and try to pretend nothing is going on. It only takes a minute to sort out the particulars - he's 19, she's 14; they met online in a chatroom & he convinced her to skip school and hang out today, no her parents have no idea what's going on etc... They both swear they were just kissing and nothing more, and no intent to go further.

By this point one of the sergeants and the primary officer have shown up as well, as we separate people and start getting a bit more. The guy is almost textbook for a perv-in-training - a few instances in his history, unemployed & living in the parents basement, all the stuff that would make you feel uncomfortable. Plus he has brought a few accessories along for the trip.  The girl is a 14-going-on-20 like so many others these days - old enough to get into trouble & have raging hormones affecting her decisions, but young enough that she has no idea what all of this really entails. In my mind I can see my own daughter, or my teenaged niece - imagining what this own girl's father will think when he learns about all this.

Since it's already decided the guy will be taking a ride with us, I take the time to pull the girl to the side and give her the lecture of a lifetime. I don't even bother to sugarcoat anything - she's old enough to get here, she's old enough to hear the blunt truth. I ask what she would have done if he wanted more than she felt like giving... her "Just leave I guess." answer I quickly dissect with the fact she is 20 miles from home in a neighborhood she doesn't know, she's half his size, has no phone or anything else - as she seems to realize the predicament she was in. I explain about some of the other examples we've had around the locale and the nation of girls just disappearing after meeting someone "nice" online, and the things that have happened to some of them. Finally, killing the last bit of doubt in her mind, I show her the bag of sex toys and accoutrements he had in the trunk of the car...

From there my part was pretty much done. I know she got another earful from the sergeant as he delivered her to her father, and I'm sure dad was even worse. The guy got a trip to our jail & hopefully this at least gets him high enough on the radar we can keep him from actually dong something worse than getting one of these girls in a compromising position. I do know it was one of those times I personally enjoyed seeing someone get arrested and hauled away.

As I said, this was one of those calls that made me think of my own kids and family. We try to shield them from the nastier sides of my job, and to keep what we can of their innocence around. But I also know that before I'm ready to accept it we also need to teach them that "bad people" is more than just an idea, and that sometimes evil wears a nice face.


Melissa said...

Thank you for rescuing that young lady. Hopefully she'll share the experience with her friends and warn the lot of them away from similar 'good ideas'.

The way it was presented to me when I was a kid was 'never get in a car with a strange man'. It doesn't matter if it's a friend of a friend that you've been hanging out with all evening or if he's threatening you with a gun. It's better to take a bullet on the spot than to get in the car. And even if he's a perfectly nice guy, he might be a shitty driver. It doesn't cover everything, but it's easy to remember, at least.

Unknown said...

"The lecture of a lifetime."

Good work. Unless she's stupid, not just a bit dippy, it'll stick. I'm glad you didn't pull any punches.

RabidAlien said...

I salute your restraint, sir. Personally, finding out the young lady's age, I would have loved to have had the discussion with her, then had another one with the scuzzbag. In a dark alley. With a baseball bat. Maybe a weedwhacker. Or two.

I have a daughter, myself, and totally understand the change in perspective that happens when your first comes along. (and yes...while I would have loved to have introduced the perv to some gardening implements, I wouldn't actually do that in real life. Is just a shame that this guy has to ruin some young lady's life before anyone can take further steps.)

Lawyer said...

Good job on handling that. Reading your post, I thought of my daughters. I have talks about this stuff all the time. This post just makes it that much more real.