Thursday, November 18, 2010

Unaccompanied adults: How far will we take Predator Panic?

I'd love to give a nod to Lenore Skenazy's Free Range Kids blog for this story.

Chess Players Ticketed in Inwood
Predator Panic in this country seemingly has no end. It is becoming more common for city parks to ban adults from being near playgrounds unless accompanied by an adult. Apparently this is the case in New York City, as seen in this sign. This week, seven people were cited (they could have been arrested) because they did a terrible thing-- they were playing Chess in the park
Hide your children! After all, the game of Chess has been teaching violence for a millennium or so; the object of the game is to use your army of pawns, Castles (rooks), Knights, Bishops, and even your Queen to capture the enemy king. Each piece "kidnaps" the enemy pieces (and there is no telling about the conditions of confinement upon capture, especially when our poor Queen is captured). It is a terrible game, teaching militarism, which ultimately leads to despotism-- even church members and women get in on the violence! I won't even mention the sexual undertones of the game, with most pieces shaped like a phallus. Seeing as how the Queen is the most sought after and versatile character in the game, much of the strategy involves boxing her in like you're trying to gang-rape her, so it is obviously promoting violence against women. Since the queen is the only feminine piece on the table, and not shaped very womanly, Chess promotes racism. Since most Chess games involve white and black pieces, it is possibly racist as well. Thus, those who play the game should be monitored closely.

Okay, enough sarcasm. It is time to analyze this idiotic story:
Since blogger is acting up I'll have to summarize: Seven men were issued a citation for "Failure to comply with signs," specifically, playing chess near a playground area (which means they must be accompanied by a minor). Note I said "near;" the tables are separated from the playground by a fence. Adding to the story is the fact that the seven chess players are known by the community and has even taught some of the children in the neighborhood how to play the game. Many members in the community expressed outrage over the citations. However, the way the police showed up and approached the players implies someone called the police, likely by a "concerned citizen" (a.k.a., a paranoid helicopter mom). 
611 img 06.jpgWe are already teaching children to fear men as potential sexual predators. How far are we willing to take this panic? In the interest of fairness, I wonder why we cannot have child-free zones besides strip clubs and bars. After all, with all the danger outside, keeping children at home seems to be a logical solution. Maybe we can even take the hint from South Park and build a wall around our cities to keep the outsiders out, at least until the story is released that most child abductions are by the parents, so they exiled the children. At this point in our culture, the art is not far from truly imitating the life.

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