So, the next time my beautiful just turned twelve-year-old daughter gets mad at me for not letting her walk home from school in our tree-lined suburban community, do I tell her about Somer Thompson, the 7-year-old Florida girl whose tiny body was just discovered in a Georgia landfill?
Let's see, last year, I already had to tell her about sightings in our area of a "man in a white van" who seemed to be following children home from the middle school she attends. I had to tell her because that report was about someone in our neighborhood. -- But clearly these tragedies happen in every neighborhood and can wreak havoc on any family.
Last year, when I told her about the "man in the white van," she took it in, and said "but mom, you always walked to and from school when you were growing up...why can't I?" Because times have changed, my dear. Times have changed.
Remember in the "old days" when it was rare to see a child's face on the back of a milk carton with the caption "Have You Seen Me?".....these days, milk cartons are almost obsolete and "Have you Seen Me" signs come at us every day on television, radio, and the Internet. -- And it's not just walking home from school that can be dangerous: children are sometimes not safe even in their own beds (remember Elizabeth Smart?).
So, what is a parent to do or say? On the one hand, we want to forewarn our children....the old "don't talk to strangers and don't take candy from strangers" lines seem outdated. But, do I really want my child to go to bed tonight with the story of poor little Somer on her mind? Honestly, I don't know what the "correct" answer is....(and, if you know me at all, you know I usually have a strong opinion on line of action is correct and what is not.)
Let me just tell you this, in theory I am not a proponent of the death penalty but if anyone did to my child what they did to little Somer, I'd hunt them down myself...and justice would be swift.
Lis Wiehl is a Fox News legal analyst and former prosecutor.