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November 2, 2012 permalink
When a two-year-old girl had a screaming fit, dad quickly calmed her down, but Texas police sent a helicopter, four patrolmen and a social worker to keep the peace.
Dear Free-Range Kids: I am an Indian male living in Austin, TX. I am 36 and have been in the US since I was 20. My wife of six years is white and was born and raised in Austin. We have a daughter who is almost two and a half. I take my daughter hiking along a short greenbelt trail near where we live. Today when we left for the hike she decided to test some boundaries just as she left the car. She yelled at the top of her lungs and started bawling that she did not want to go hiking and just wanted to get back in the car. Having seen this tactic from her for the past few months, I helped her put on her backpack and calmly asked her to try to hike with me for a few mins first. Couple minutes later she was totally immersed into the hike and enjoying it.
Soon we noticed a chopper go above us. We both got excited and spotted it, then we realized it was staying over us. This made me nervous since it looked like a police chopper. It was strange, but it was time for us to head back anyways.
On the way back, we ran into four cops. I asked them if they were looking for anyone and one of them said they were looking for me. I thought it was a joke, till I realized he was serious. They had received several reports of me with my daughter (from back when I was trying to calm her down as she got out of the car) and were investigating with a chopper and three cars!!
My daughter clung to my jeans while the cops questioned me and luckily I had my driver license on me so the interview ended quickly. (They needed my I.D. to fill out their official report.) The cops were professional and I assume the lady with them was from Child Protective Services. She was calm and made comments like, “She clearly trusts you” (looking at my daughter). I did not know what to do with this — yes she trusts me, she is my freaking daughter!
The cops were just doing their duty. I completely understand, but I am still stunned that this happened. I am grateful for the cops’ responding quickly and for concerned citizens calling them because they thought a little girl was in trouble. At the same time, I feel violated. I am a dad who took his daughter out for a walk in the greenbelt.
Maybe I am just the price that is paid to make sure kids stay safe. No system is perfect and maybe I am just the false positive. But it sure does not feel good to be challenged because of unnamed “concerned” people. I sure wish there was a way for people to realize the difference between a toddler being stubborn versus abduction.
Strangely enough, I just filed my application for naturalization (got tired of living on my Green Card) . Today was the first time in the past 16 years I have truly wondered if I am treated different because I have brown skin.
I would love for suggestions on how to get past this and not let this affect my behavior.
Hoping for a safer society with less paranoia. – A.R.
Source: Free Range Kids blog