Saturday, May 12, 2007


I think I may need to take a break from my message board.

I feel absurdly cross about a few things that shouldn't bother me. Following Madeleine McCann's abduction, there have been quite a few threads about offering support, lighting virtual candles (which previous readers will know how much I love) and a huge long one featuring support vs "what I would have done" vs "what I'd never do" vs whether such things should be discussed. This is all fair enough, I suppose, horses for courses, different strokes for different folks, etc etc. The extra threads seem superfluous, but it's a hot topic that any parent is going to be moved by.

But the capper for me is a thread about safety precautions where it is suggested that everyone takes a picture of their child every day so that in the event of something awful happening, we all have today's picture to offer the police.

That's just crazy.

We cannot possibly live like that - and nor should we. Talk about climate of fear... Yes, children are snatched, but stranger-abduction is extremely rare and I believe the statistics for such crimes have stayed at the same levels for at least a decade.

Are you going to take a picture of your child at every clothes change? (My boy usually has two sets of clothes a day at least, not to mention pyjamas). With sleepy-hair and then with brushed? With jammy faces and with clean? Where does it end?

It just seems like an OCD waiting to happen. I like taking pictures of my kids, but I don't do it to have a mug-shot of them for the police. To have someone advising this is a sensible measure to take makes me gurn fretfully: it's almost a superstitious thing - if I do this and this and this, then nothing bad can happen.

Er no.

We can do a lot to protect our children and should - but hysteria has nothing useful to add. And it's not like pictures protect.

Pictures are for the stable door.


Ellie said...

That photo idea is crazy... I don't think that would be an extra help anyway, it's like looking for a needle in a haystack unfortunately. Reminds me of the time when a child tragically died when a hole on the beach collapsed in on her, that weekend my son happily dug away as usual at the beach. You should have seen the looks we got. Knee jerk reactions are a real joy to behold.

Hippernicus said...

Oh yes, I remember that story. Awful.

It's a question of keeping perspective, isn't it? Which is sometimes pretty hard as anything to do with children getting hurt is so emotive. Quite rightly, of course, but not always helpfully.

Anonymous said...

I know what you mean! I mean, why are people doing it, so that in the midst of the biggest nightmare of their lives so far they can feel "Well at least I've been organised and planned ahead for this tragedy"??? And what good would it do anyway? How many children get rescued from abductors because the police knew the exact colour of their coat? It is the most spurious cockeyed logic. However it's not as bad as a previous time on that messageboard where a mum boasted about dressing her two girls alike every single day so that when one is abducted, the other one will be her "spitting image" for the police. And what about all those days in which the girls AREN'T abducted and are resenting being made to look like each other??? It winds me up. I don't blame you for avoiding the site. I am avoiding the news altogether at the moment. I mean it's so sad and it makes me feel hopeless. And the coverage is like emotional pornography. Do we NEED to see the parents suffering to know they are suffering? Leave the poor baskets alone I say.

Hippernicus said...

Yes, I know who you mean - I think she said it again on that thread. Drives me bonkers.