Monday, December 10, 2007

The Age of Innocence Must be Protected

Recently I took my granddaughter to see Enchanted, a wonderful and very cute fantasy kiddie movie. The movie theater was one of those mega theaters with at least sixteen movie options - which makes it a favorite amongst my movie-going friends; however, it tends not to be one of my "favorites" simply because there are so many children and young people hanging out at the huge arcade area that is located at one of the entrances.

This salient fact was not wasted on me during my last visit to the theater with my granddaughter. It was then that I realized that for the very same reason I didn't particularly care for the theater, there exists an entire sub-group of nefarious individuals (who represent a culture of predators) who take a particular delight in being in environments that are populated with young children - these people are known to us as pedophiles.

As soon as my granddaughter and I entered the theater, there sitting alone in the first seat was a man who looked to be in his late thirty's. Being more observant than paranoid, I noticed how an uneasy smile slowly plastered across his face as we passed by him to find a seat. Initially I thought it odd that he was there alone and dismissed his attendance with the thought that he was more than likely waiting for his own children to return from purchasing snacks. Or maybe he was just sitting in a different location to allow his kids some breathing space. This wasn't the case, no children ever materialized - he was there alone.

Soon the movie trailers began. My granddaughter leaned over to me to innocently ask, "Shouldn't the lights go down?" I hope not, I thought to myself; better up than down. At that point yet another lone man walked into the theater and sat several seats over from my granddaughter and myself. Okay, believe it or not, I do not suffer from fits of paranoia. I just find it very disconcerting and not at all too coincidental to see two lone men sitting in a kiddie movie. "What grown man comes into a movie theater to see a very "Disney-type" movie - especially when there are at least twelve other adult films being shown? This is my thinking. Need I say more?

It finally dawned on me. What better place for a pedophile to hang out than at a movie that appeals to children, little girls in particular? This very sobering realization caused me to start preaching to my eight year old granddaughter (in whispers) what she must do if she ever feels threatened by a stranger:

  • Immediately shout in a loud voice, "I don't know you, you're not my dad/mom!"
  • Scream at the top of your lungs and fight back if he/she touches you.
  • Try to identify an adult that you can go to for help.
  • And never believe anything that they may tell you about your family, e.g., "Your mom told me to pick you up," or "I'm going to hurt your mother if you don't come with me."

After this unsolicited tirade, my somewhat confused grandchild looked at me as if I had been struck by lightening - and I had. Pedophiles have all kinds of tricks in their bag and it is up to us to keep our children safe at all times. Pedophiles unfortunately look just like you and I. There is no clear way to discern who they are. They come in all shapes, sizes and colors. However without becoming paranoid vigilantes we can pay closer attention to our environs and those where we place our children. It is important that we inculcate into our children these very important daily reminders, for I would rather be paranoid than very sorry. Anytime you find a man sitting alone in a kiddie movie, you can more than likely rest assured that he is not there for the aesthetic content of the film; he's either prospecting or just fulfilling his/her desire to be near younger children.

Our job as parents and grandparents is to protect our children's age of innocence even though the mere fact of having to inform them of this human aberration somehow in itself diminishes their innocence. We have to stand vigilant in our efforts to let these very sick people know that we are closely watching them and are determined that our children will remain uninitiated into a world of abuse and confusion at the hands of those whom, if they actually do know the difference between right and wrong and good and evil, have no control over not hurting the most innocent of those amongst us. encourages us all to be very mindful and observant - wherever we take our children - especially in the most innocuous environments like the movies!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Anytime you find a man sitting alone in a kiddie movie, you can more than likely rest assured that he is not there for the aesthetic content of the film; he's either prospecting or just fulfilling his/her desire to be near younger children."

That's a bit of a stretch. Many Disney movies feature animation, which people like. And some parents screen movies before letting their kids see them. And some people never outgrow their love of children's stories. To say that any and every time a grown man is alone in a kid's movie is illogical.

You should be more afraid of public water parks and beaches. I once read an article by a detective that predators prefer these places, for obvious reasons.

Paranoia is not preferable to caution and *thinking*


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