Has the whole country gone mad?

According to an article, which ran today on ABC News, “A suburban Maryland couple accused of driving 20 miles with their 12-year-old son and his friend holed up in the trunk of their car have been charged with child abuse, but their lawyer says they are guilty of only bad judgment.”

This is just another sign of the times. A nosy busy body calls the cops on a family and the police, just doing their civic duty, dutifully track them down and arrest them. What’s wrong with this picture?

I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it. Plenty!

According to ABC News, police, were called after a witness saw the boys climb into the trunk. Surely, the witness must have also noticed that the boys weren’t struggling or being held against their will. These young people requested the ride.

Back in my day, no one would have given this a second thought. We used to use the trunk of the car to sneak into the drive-in movies (remember those?), we often had five or six people stuffed in there.

We would ride to the lake on a hot summer day in the back of our pick-up truck, hair blowing in the wind, not to mention being a tangled mess when we arrived at our destination. A small price to pay for a nice breeze on sticky Michigan summer day.

Those were the days when parents ruled. They could decide what was safe for their children. They laid down the law and dished up the rewards. Children could relax knowing who was in-charge and not have to worry.

It’s no wonder children are under so much stress today. They know that parents must walk a tight rope, parents don’t dare discipline their children, especially in public. They’ll end up in jail because some nosy busy-body will stick their nose into your family business.

I’ll never forget the time my 15 year-old cousin got a little big for his britches. He told his dad he would do what he wanted and that he didn’t have to listen to him. Wrong answer! One thing lead to another and my cousin took a swing, at my uncle, only to end up picking himself up out of the wall. My uncle had shoved him right into the wall, we had a nice imprint of cousins behind as a reminder of the incident.

Other than a bruised ego and a new found respect for his father, my cousin was no worse for wear. Was my uncle a child abuser? Depends on who you ask.

If you ask anyone in our family, you’ll hear that my cousin deserved exactly what he got and that my uncle is a good father. Ask a nosy neighbor who doesn’t believe in disciplining children, he should probably be in jail.

These parents are no different.

Were the children at risk?

Oh NO! They weren’t wearing seat belts. So!

They were laying down for pete-sake. Their necks were probably much more protected in a prone position than sitting in an ill-fitted car seat anyway.

Don’t even get me started on the seat-belt laws. They are unconstitutional and should be repealed anyway. Seat-belts cause more injuries and deaths than you might think…mostly because it’s not being reported.

It’s a win-win situation to everyone except consumers. Car manufacturers are required by law to install them, jacking-up the price of each and every vehicle sold. Municipalities win because they issue citations ranging from $50.00 to upwards of $300.00 for non-compliance. Providing a great boost to their bottom-line.

I’m still waiting for the law requiring children sleeping on the top of a bunk-bed to wear a seat belt. Then we can have random household checks for compliance. Children found not to be buckled up will be removed from custody and placed with parents who know their place.

According to ABC News, The Duthoys spent 48 hours in an Annapolis jail after the arrest, and were initially held on $150,000 bail. The judge released them after reducing the bail, but has ordered that they have no unsupervised contact with their 12-year-old son until their trial. The boy is currently residing with an aunt. The Duthoys’ two older children, a 17-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl, were allowed to remain with their parents.

If you find this a miscarriage of justice, a stretch of government authority and an outrage, please take a moment and sound off.

Annette M. Hall