I live in Montgomery County, Maryland, in the suburbs of D.C. Many of our friends who are parents worry about leaving our kids to ride bikes or walk around the neighborhood, or play in an adjacent playground, or stay home alone for a few minutes, not because of kidnappers, rapists, or murderers, but because of the government. And this week proved those fears well founded.
Montgomery County kidnapped two children this weekend. That's the only way to see this story. Reportedly, around 4:55, someone called the cops because two kids, ages 6 and 11, were playing, without parents around. The cops forced the kids into a car, and then brought them to Child Protective Services. Three hours later, they informed the panicked parents. Three hours after that, the county let the parents take the kids home.
You send your kids out to play, and they don't come home. That's the nightmare that makes most parents wary of free-range parenting. That's exactly the nightmare against which this infrastructure of CPS, cops, and cop-calling parents is supposed to guard.
But then the kidnapping turns out to be by the cops and CPS.
The state has become the danger against which it's supposed to guard. If this sounds familiar, it's because it's analogous to the stories of police shooting unarmed black men and boys, or choking them to death on the sidewalk.
It's not just that the police are kidnapping and killing people, it's that their secondary effect makes us less safe by eroding community. Many things erode neighborliness — kids' video games, TV, air conditioning, et cetera — but one factor is that you can't let your kids just play unsupervised.
Stranger abductions, or kids in broad daylight being killed while crossing the street — these are 1-in-a-million dangers. A hostile county government is a more real threat for some of us.