Free-range Kids and Chinaberry Popguns

pop-gun2by Jerry Richardson4/15/15
When I grew up 70-years ago there was no concept of a “free-range” kid because all children were by necessity and by intention “free-range.”  Parents allowed their children to roam free, within understood boundaries, and they expected and demanded that their children be accountable and responsible (held blameworthy) for their actions.

What a wonderful (?) difference our progressive, nanny society has made:

Two Maryland children who received national attention as so-called “free range kids” earlier this year because of their parents’ decision to let them roam alone were taken into custody again Sunday by Child Protective Services.

Danielle and Alexander Meitiv’s children, ages 6 and 10, were picked up by police on Sunday at around 5 p.m., and taken to Montgomery County Child Protective Services. A neighbor apparently saw the children walking alone and called 911 to report it. WTTG reported the children were walking about a third of a mile from home at the time.
Free Range Children

If a child did, today, many of the things that I did when I grew up, they would certainly be suspended from school—like the pop-tart-gun kid—or perhaps even be arrested.

Horror of horrors! When I was in elementary school I actually made for myself a chinaberry popgun.  What a little criminal I was!

What is a chinaberry popgun?

For my purposes as a boy the only interesting thing about the chinaberry tree was its berries.  Go here to see chinaberries chinaberry. Go here to see popgun.

In order to make a chinaberry popgun you first have to have a branch from a reed with a soft, pithy core which can be easily removed. You will want about an 8 to 12 inch section of the reed.  Use a piece of wire, such as from a coat hanger, to punch out the pithy center of the reed. You will then have a wooden hollow tube with the hollow in the center being approximately ½ inch in diameter.

Next, cut a smooth, straight stick, or rod a bit less in diameter than the ½ inch diameter of the tube, and about ½ inch shorter than the length of the tube; be sure to have a large end on the rod that is suitable for pushing with your hand or bracing against your chest because you will use it as a plunger to operate the chinaberry popgun.

Now get some chinaberries.  You will need two each time you “fire” the gun.

Take the first chinaberry and with your fingers push in into the front-hole of the hollow tube. Take the smooth wooden rod and push the chinaberry as far as it will go forward toward the front of the tube.  When you finish this half of the “loading” the front of the first chinaberry should now be approximately even with the front of the hollow tube.

For the second part of the “loading”: With your fingers, push the second chinaberry into the front of the tube.

Now you are ready to fire.  Put the end of the wooden plunger against the second chinaberry and place the front of the wooden plunger against your chest and pull very quickly and with force as you grasp the hollow tube; this will cause the plunger to force the second chinaberry into the tube toward the first chinaberry which is positioned at the front of the tube.

The forceful movement of the plunger will cause an air-compression between the two chinaberries and the rapidly increasing air-pressure will force the first chinaberry to “pop” out of the tube with a sound and with a release of chinaberry moisture that looks quite a bit like smoke—Bang! Gunsmoke!   A boy’s delight!

You have just “shot” a chinaberry popgun.

If you are a kid (anyone under 18) don’t try this today if there are any nannies (progressive Bloomberg types) or gun-grabbers in your vicinity because they have no sense of humor and no tolerance for anything that goes boom; if they catch you, they will punish you and possibly lock-up your parents.

© 2015, Jerry Richardson • (3461 views)

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46 Responses to Free-range Kids and Chinaberry Popguns

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I think two things have converged, Jerry, to make the situation you speak of. One, men have been feminized, emasculated, and marginalized. My brother is married to a very good woman and she’s a wonderful mom…a real Sarah Palin-line “Momma Grizzly.” Don’t come between her and her children…and yet she’s hardly of the mind that her children can do no wrong. If they try to lie, cheat, or not do their homework, there will be hell to pay and likely they’ll end up with some bite or scratch marks.

    By watching her and my younger brother raise her two wonderful boys, I’ve been regaled with stories of my brother’s approach to outdoor activity vs. the mother’s. Mothers tend to coddle and protect (not bad things unto themselves). Fathers (at least non-emasculated fathers) tend to let their children learn by stubbing their toe…within sane and reasonable limits (limits which can seem fairly reckless to the female of the species).

    One can, of course, cite instances of mothers who are not so protective and fathers who are over-protective. But by and large, that’s the way we are made.

    The bottom line is that fathers (when fathers are even in the home, which is increasingly not the case) are needed, and they are needed to be men — good men. The glorification of the single mother has been a social disaster, the rotten fruit of which we will see more and more of in the years ahead.

    The other confluence is the monsterization of our culture. What “liberalism” has meant, in practice, is more liberty for the miscreants, criminals, and the just plain evil. The Left has done a wonderful job of finding all sorts of fake “rights” that have had the cumulative effect of making our streets far less safe than they were fifty years ago.

    And liberalism being the cult in which you never have to accept responsibility or say you’re sorry (“Smiles, everyone, smiles”), the ingrained mindset is to blame something or somebody else, for the Utopian dream must live on. So parents get blamed for engaging in behavior that was completely normal, sane, and safe not long ago.

    Few are honest enough to put the blame where it belongs: All of the limousine liberals who have foisted so many bad ideas on us that have made us all far less safe and our communities far less decent. And the end result (are you listening dumb-ass libertarians?) is a reduction in freedom.

  2. Jerry Richardson says:

    Brad,

    The glorification of the single mother has been a social disaster, the rotten fruit of which we will see more and more of in the years ahead.
    —Brad Nelson

    I read all of your comments to my wife. She loved them! The above quote really rang true with her. My wife retired from teaching elementary school after 37 years. During that time she taught 1st or 2nd grade. She had ample opportunity to witness children from single mother homes. And please understand, my wife was not putting-down single mothers. Bless them, they have a very difficult job. My wife was agreeing, just as I do with the disaster of the “glorification” of single-mother families.

    We both got a chuckle out of this qoute:

    And the end result (are you listening dumb-ass libertarians?) is a reduction in freedom.
    —Brad Nelson

    I tried, as best I could, to explain some of the reasons why you are rather anti-libertarian; but I would really appreciate it if you would do a lengthy—as lengthy as you have time—discussion of the subject; and please throw in a bit of similarity and contrast between libertarians and conservatives.

    Keep in mind that we live in the voting district that joins the district that Ron Paul hailed from during the time he was a congressman. I obviously never voted for him for congress because I was not in his district; however, I probably would not have voted for him even if I were; I never voted for him when he ran for President, because quite frankly I disagreed with him over his isolationists views—I didn’t pay much attention to his other views. I’m a bit concerned about his son Rand also. I guess I need a good sort-of summarized discussion of the ideas that you find most dangerous about political libertarians.

    Thanks.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I’m glad you and your wife got a kick out my remarks. And certainly your article gave rich material for this line of thought.

      Another thought about this: Liberalism is, at heart, the desire to live as protected children. No wonder the horror meter goes up when adult-children see real children doing what some are afraid to do themselves.

      Regarding libertarianism, its main fault is that it is yet another Utopian-oriented, simple-minded ideology. Like liberalism/Leftism (with which it shares many traits), libertarians don’t ask what the function of the fence might be before gleefully tearing it down (thus, at heart, not sharing the depth and respect for wisdom that conservatism does).

      It’s a zealous, generally slightly unhinged mindset. They use and abuse “liberty” as a value for all sorts of nonsense. And I believe we can understand where our often fatherless, but at least certainly unguided by wisdom, yutes are turning — to yet another feel-good cult wherein its adherents believe they, and they alone, are protectors of all things good and true. Simple cults and ideologies for minds which have never been trained past Baltic or Mediterranean Avenue.

      And it’s an inherently dishonest ideology. They will tell you that they are the gatekeepers of liberty, but “liberty” for them too often means “legalizing drugs, prostitution, homosexual marriage, abortion, and illegal aliens” — all while draping themselves in the Constitution. Theirs is an unbalanced, unanchored form of liberty, torn out of context and taken to the extreme. Once one has declared “liberty” as the be-all, end all, on what basis can one deny someone else something? And so they don’t.

      This is also why there is no complex moral order in the libertarian sphere. For them, at best, the market is the moral order. They are, at best, an amoral lot. In conversations with committed libertarians, I’ve been told that Israel, not Iran, is the real problem in the Middle East, and if we’d just open up trade relations with the Iranians, all would be well, if only because our “restrictive” foreign policy induces Iran to bad behavior.

      I have a short-hand adjective for libertarians: kooks. And I think it’s an appellation well deserved.

      That is my short answer. A longer answer would take a look at every major libertarian position and show how it was either taking liberty to an extreme (or out of context), was merely “libertine,” and/or was amorally driven, in large part, by the same utopian impulses (everything would be perfect if we just…) that drives the Left.

    • SkepticalCynic SkepticalCynic says:

      Dear Jerry,
      I would give my left testicle and mortgage my right one to have either father or son Paul in the pres office tonight.

      • Jerry Richardson says:

        SkepticalCynic,

        Thanks for your input.

        Dear Jerry,
        I would give my left testicle and mortgage my right one to have either father or son Paul in the pres office tonight.—SkepticalCynic

        I think very few conservatives would refuse to swap-out Barack Obama for almost anyone, or swap him out for no one; just get him out.

        But the real questions that I am considering, for myself, is do I really want someone with a strong libertarian viewpoint as President?

        If the only choice is Hillary Clinton or some other progressive/Democrat then that’s one thing.

        But suppose the choice is between a libertarian viewpoint and a classical, real, conservative viewpoint? What then? And which way would you go?

        • SkepticalCynic SkepticalCynic says:

          Maybe libertarians will be important in the future but the part of the country where I live they are a non-factor. I see your point, I think. We often have only bad choices for elected offices….and it has been this way for a good while. I have made the comment that the people that have the ability to run this country properly are smart enough that they wouldn’t have the job. We are governed by a bunch of greedy opportunists. It takes a man with real integrity not to steal a cookie when no one is looking.

          • Jerry Richardson says:

            SkepticalCynic,

            I have made the comment that the people that have the ability to run this country properly are smart enough that they wouldn’t have the job.
            —SkepticalCynic

            I love your comment.

            I remember a church discussion long, long ago in which someone was advocating someone for the church finance-committee because that person really wanted to be on the committee.

            Off the top of my head, I responded that I didn’t want anyone on the church finance-committee who wanted to be there.

            This is a real problem because the only way to manage such a situation, that I can think of, is to have a “drafting” committee to select candidates; based upon a preference NOT to serve; but then who gets to be on the drafting committee?

            I’m not sure there is a way to implement your and my candidate preference.

  3. Jerry Richardson says:

    Brad,

    Thanks. Wow! Lots of good stuff here.

    And it’s an inherently dishonest ideology. They will tell you that they are the gatekeepers of liberty, but “liberty” for them too often means “legalizing drugs, prostitution, homosexual marriage, abortion, and illegal aliens” — all while draping themselves in the Constitution. Theirs is an unbalanced, unanchored form of liberty, torn out of context and taken to the extreme. Once one has declared “liberty” as the be-all, end all, on what basis can one deny someone else something? And so they don’t.
    —Brad Nelson

    That is my short answer. A longer answer would take a look at every major libertarian position and show how it was either taking liberty to an extreme (or out of context), was merely “libertine,” and/or was amoral driven, in large part, by the same utopian impulses (everything would be perfect if we just…) that drives the Left.
    —Brad Nelson

    Brad you are always encouraging the rest of us to write-up stuff. Why don’t you write-up “A longer answer”; it would be so timely on the eve of the up-coming Presidential election. I don’t believe anyone would be better qualified than you.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Flattery may get you everywhere, Jerry. I’ll think about it (while noting the Mr. Kung wrote a terrific article on the subject).

      Glenn the Greater (Fairman) has also consistently written thoughtful analyses of libertarianism…even more penetrating than mine. They’re a bit scattered around the site, but worth searching for (often as a comment to an article).

      But let me try to describe the reasons why I may not and see if they resonate with you or others:

      1) I’m getting tired of involving myself in other people’s dramas. I realize that sour creeds must be opposed, but I’m not sure that analyzing them does much good, especially because…

      2) Most people, including many conservatives, are all the little fishies swimming in the same cultural water. And going by Russell Kirk, this may have been the case for quite some time. There are many “conservatives” who indulge the libertarian cult — perhaps because they’ve swallowed down the predominant youth culture and want to seem “hip” or just don’t understand what libertarianism really is. Russell wrote (and this is included in Mr. Kung’s article):

      But surely, surely I must be misrepresenting the breed? Don’t I know self-proclaimed libertarians who are kindly old gentlemen, God-fearing, patriotic, chaste, well endowed with the good of fortune? Yes, I do know such. They are the people who through misapprehension put up the cash for the fantastics. Such gentlemen call themselves “libertarians” merely because they believe in personal freedom, and do not understand to what extravagances they lend their names by subsidizing doctrinaire “libertarian” causes and publications. If a person describes himself as “libertarian” because he believes in an enduring moral order, the Constitution of the United States, free enterprise, and old American ways of life—why, actually he is a conservative with imperfect understanding of the general terms of politics.

      So I kinda get tired of insulting conservatives (who are supposedly with us in the cause against the Left) who won’t or don’t see that they are in bed with another offshoot of the Left. One gets tired of getting beat up (or just ignored) for bursting bubbles.

      3) I’m too busy planting and maintaining a garden that I’ve been hatching. When involved in at least a splash of beauty, one is at least less momentarily inclined to deal with the ugliness.

      • Jerry Richardson says:

        Brad,

        10-4 to all you said. Thanks for your pointing to KFZ’s article. It is excellent!

        BTW what sort of garden are you hatching?

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Vegetables and flowers. I’ll perhaps do a semi-whimsical post on all this if I get the gumption.

          • Jerry Richardson says:

            Brad,

            What’s your soil? Is it somewhat sandy-loam or is it more clay?

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              The soil, in this case, is store-bought. I’ve got a combination of a container garden and a traditional planted one. I found a small 10 ft x 4 ft open patch in front of the office here. It was a nasty bit of grass/weeds in between a couple of low evergreen bushes. After ripping out the sod, there wasn’t much soil underneath it. What there was is called “hard pan.” I would imagine that those in the northern states know what I’m talking about. It’s a type of hard pan that was compacted by glaciers. This stuff is just one step shy of being concrete. That’s no exaggeration. And this was just about 3 to 5 inches below the surface where this patch is. What dirt there was was very sandy.

              So, for the most part, I had to build up. I had to add a lot of soil. But as for what is typical of soil in the Northwest, I would guess that there truly is no such thing as typical because this is about as geological as diverse of a place as is known on earth. It’s all over the board what you’ll find. We’ve got glacial deposits, gigantic flood deposits, volcanic deposits, sea floor deposits, and lots and lots of granite. I’m sure an expert could say if there is a general trend toward sandy or clay. But as far as I know, there is no shortage of either, depending upon where you are and how deep you dig.

              • Jerry Richardson says:

                Brad,

                I grew-up helping my parents with gardens, truck-patches, and cash crops. My mom spend quite a bit of time in the garden. One of my jobs, that I disliked the most was cutting bean-sticks for running beans. Mom seemed to prefer running butterbeans, so I was stick-man.

                Our soil was sandy loam and we could grow virtually anything. In addition to beans, and turnip-greens, we could grow tomatoes, cantaloupes, melons, peanuts. None of that would rot on the sandy-loam soil.

                Then years later when I was living and working in the Mississippi Delta, a friend and I decided to do a little truck-patching. We planted all the above named stuff and…horrors…any thing that we had that lay on the ground such as melons, low-hanging tomatoes, and peanuts just rotted…the soil was dark delta jumbo with nary a trace of sandy loam. We really felt stupid at our failed truck-patch but we learned a valuable lesson about the importance of the soil you grow stuff in.

                Sounds like you are going to have some fun, good luck!

  4. Jerry Richardson says:

    Brad,

    but at least certainly unguided by wisdom, yutes are turning — to yet another feel-good cult
    —Brad Nelson

    I want to know if you got your word “yutes” from the same place I did. I got the word “yutes” from the movie My Cousin Vinny; One of my all time favorite comedies.

    My wife and I watch it usually 2 or 3 times each year. By now I know most of the action and better quotes by heart.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Definitely from My Cousin Vinny. I haven’t watched that in years. I really should give it another viewing soon.

    • M Farrell says:

      “My Cousin Vinny”– one of the best cures for depression ever– if that doesn’t lift your spirits try “Robin and the Seven Hoods” — Sinatra sings about Chicago being his kind of town, Dean Martin sings about loving his mother– Bing Crosby sings to a bunch of orphanage “yoots”– Peter Falk buries bodies in the cornerstones of famous buildings, and Sammy Davis, Jr. does the best singing, dancing bar room shoot-up ever– Also a must watch several times a year– I don’ think you could cast it today–

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Robin and the Seven Hoods is indeed a delight. A friend of mine introduced me to it years ago. The trial of Robbo, the reversal as to who got put into a building cornerstone, the hit-proof speakeasy — sheer genius.

        • M Farrell says:

          My favorite bit is where Sinatra and Martin are teaching the uptight Bing Crosby how to dress in “You’ve Either Got or You Haven’t Got Style” — and then it’s Crosby who out-suaves them all and gets the girl in the end–

      • Jerry Richardson says:

        M Farrell,

        “My Cousin Vinny”– one of the best cures for depression ever–
        —M Farrell

        Or just an ordinary case of the blues.

        Thanks for your pertinent comments.

  5. Jerry Richardson says:

    Judge Napolitano says in reference to the free-range kids issue that the State of Maryland is “over-governed.”

    …The government picks them up, brings them to a police station, confines them in the police station, invites the parents to come. And then, as if to administer its own unique brand of punishment, causes the parents to sit there in no communication to the children for four or five hours before they return the children to the parents,” Napolitano said.

    Napolitano stated that Maryland is “very over-governed and has an extremely paternalistic value judgment in its laws.”

    He explained that the parents could be using their children to challenge Maryland’s law. He added that if the police were truly interested in the safety of the kids, they would have returned the kids to the parents.

    “They are interested in conforming the parents into a state of behavior that the government commands,” Napolitano stated. “That’s why they bring them to the police station for five hours.”

    Police used Unique Brand of Punishment of ‘free-range’ Parents

    • Timothy Lane says:

      They are thinking of suing. Of course, Maryland is a solidly Democratic state, so it’s no surprise that it would be heavily overgoverned. And Montgomery is a liberal county dominated by federal government workers (and hangers-on).

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I’ve noted a trend — anecdotal-based it may be — in law enforcement from sane and wise justice (even if dispensed by quite imperfect humans) to a zealous, almost Nazi-like mindset with a loss of proportionality, etc. As a conservative, I’m supposed to stick up for the police. But law enforcement, more and more, is peopled by those who have been indoctrinated in the Progressive mill of environmental wacko-ism, distrust of conservatives, dislike of Christians, etc.

      This is why we dare not give the NSA the powers that they have to store our information. It’s not that in the hands of true patriots, desiring to protect this country, it wouldn’t be useful. It’s that the rank-and-file of the bureaucrats, technocrats, and functionaries in government are now hostile to the American individual and the traditional conception of liberty. And they’re arrogant sons-of-bitches to boot.

      • Tom Riehl TRiehl says:

        True enough! I read in an article about the free range kids that the cops said they were just following protocol. What a poor excuse for judgment!

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Q: What is the difference between a pit bull and a social worker? A: You might get your child back from a pit bull.

          But the very term “free-range children” is itself a mark of how far we’ve degenerated. This used to be the norm for all children.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            Funny.

            I, like Jerry and so many others, was a “free range child.” Oh, I didn’t wander about alone when I was four, five, or even six. But I’m sure by the time I was seven or eight I was riding my bike all over creation all by myself or with a friend of similar age.

            We certainly had basic rules instilled in us: Don’t go into anyone’s house that you don’t know. Don’t get into anyone’s car. Don’t take candy from strangers. Etc. But back then there weren’t as many perverts…or at least the Democrats and the Left hadn’t yet made it easy for perverts to be perverts. Whatever the case may be, it was quite true that at one time you needn’t lock your front door.

            But lawlessness has increased since then, and that is unambiguously due to the degraded morals of the Left — degraded morals the libertarian movement would pile even higher via legalized prostitution, drugs, and whatever other “liberty” they can think of.

            Back in our day, too, we weren’t as “free range” as all that, for there was an unspoken agreement amongst decent people that all children would be looked after. Funny, because the very (dishonest, often despicable) people who now say “It takes a village” are the very ones who have helped to destroy that village.

            Traditional morality is where it’s at. There is no substitute for it.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          I’m sure part of that “we must stick to protocol” is a result of man becoming a shallow creature who either cannot — or dares not — reason on his own.

          Part of this (perhaps all of this) stems from the Cultural Marxist dogma ingrained in people that they can’t trust themselves to make judgments because they are all inherently racists, sexists, homophobes, etc. And in this fascist-like environment of government and university, one word (disingenuously interpreted) can mean the end of a career.

          So moral rectitude is out. Simple-minded adherence to increasingly intrusive and arcane rules is in. And justice, common sense, and plain decency suffer.

  6. Jerry Richardson says:

    Brad,

    …one word (disingenuously interpreted) can mean the end of a career.
    —Brad Nelson

    It is downright shameful. There seem to be many people now who spend quite a bit of time misunderstanding (perhaps intentionally?) other people.

    It reminds me of the old song by the Animals:

    I’m just a soul whose intentions are good
    Oh, Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood.

    Here’s the link to YouTube for their song:

    Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

    I think being misunderstood when you had no ill-will or ill-intent is one of the more painful things in life.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Especially when the misunderstanding is deliberate, by someone seeking a grievance. And I do remember that song now that you mention it.

  7. Jerry Richardson says:

    The recent Free-Range Kids events have a history. In 2009, Lenore Skenazy released a book entitled Free-Range Kids.

    Here’s an interesting excerpt from the conclusion:

    The reporter interviewed four generations of the same family. The eighty-eight-year-old great-grandpa, George, used to walk six miles to his favorite fishing hole, alone, at age eight. His son, now sixty-three, played in the woods a mile from his home when he was eight. His daughter, at that same age, walked half a mile to school. Now her son, age eight, is driven to school. He is not allowed to leave his block, and neither are any of his friends. Most of them don’t even leave their yards.

    And here’s a letter I got over Christmas break from an American:

    I’m fifteen right now and get pretty much no freedom. I’m limited to what’s inside the house and the backyard. I can’t even go as far as the sidewalk— I might be “abducted or killed.” I used to walk to a bus stop, but my dad said it was too dangerous, so he started driving me there (it’s a five-minute walk!), and eventually he just started driving me to school. Today, after playing video games for two hours or so, I went downstairs and realized that the only things I could do there were eat and watch TV. Watching TV, playing video games, and eating junk food are fun and all, but after even just a few days, it gets old. (I’ve been on winter break for half a week now.) I don’t want my kids (if I ever even have kids) to live like me at all.
    It is the problem that has no name.

    —Skenazy, Lenore (2009-05-26). Free-Range Kids, How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry) (pp. 192-193). Wiley. Kindle Edition.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      That’s part of what leads to the obesity epidemic. Children don’t play as much at school in places where games have no winners (because they aren’t allowed to have any losers), and they play even less at home for safety reasons.

      When I was a pre-teen in Greece, we certainly wandered quite a bit through the general neighborhood, and on one occasion 3 of us took a hike further up the hill and through a Greek village (and none of us knew any significant amount of Greek). At Fort Campbell the following year, I routinely biked to the library and also made other trips through the installation on my own. None of this was especially remarkable, but I can’t imagine ordinary children today (such as the subject of that recollection) being allowed anything like that.

      • Jerry Richardson says:

        Timothy,

        How long did you live in Greece?

        • Timothy Lane says:

          We were there about 3 years (1961-4). I was 12.5 years old when we left.

          • Jerry Richardson says:

            Timothy,

            Did you learn to speak any native Greek?

            • Timothy Lane says:

              I learned a few common words, especially the words for “please” (parakalo), “thank you” (efkharisto), and “you’re welcome” (parakalo), as well as “yes” (nei) and “no” (okhi). There is also “malaka”, which is some sort of obscenity in Greek (though I never learned what). And, here and there, I’ve learned others over the years.

  8. Jerry Richardson says:

    Brad,

    I don’t know if this fact reported below has anything to do with our brief discussions in this article on Libertarianism but it does concern me:

    Neither Sens. Rand Paul nor Marco Rubio signed a friend-of-the-court brief asking the Supreme Court to allow the question of marriage to be decided by the states. Ted Cruz is the only announced presidential candidate from the Senate who’s signed the brief which was joined by 57 members of congress, but only only six Senators.

    The brief argues that that — based on the ideas of Federalism — the issue of marriage has traditionally been left to the states and that is where the Supreme Court ought to let it stay. “[O]ut of deference to the States as separate sovereigns in our system of federalism, this Court should be reluctant to intrude into areas of traditional state concern, especially the law of marriage and domestic relations,” the brief argues.

    Supreme Court Marriage Brief

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I would like someone more experienced than Cruz, but he certainly qualifies as the candidate who most sincerely practices conservative politics.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Strange bedfellows because the libertarian position is that the state should not at all have any interest in marriage as an institution. It should just be considered a private contract, no different from others…the true litmus test for freedom in a libertarian system.

      This is why I call them kooks. They need to take a close look at what is happening to societies where families are marginalized, even demonized.

      The “state” (the magic word for libertarians to make any public policy sound like top-down Big Brother) indeed has an interest if we consider that as a community of individuals and families we are (or are supposed to be) the state itself. And it is in our interest that the guy living across the street is part of a good, stable two-parent family. Libertarians dream utopian pipe dreams, but reality always intrudes…so they rarely bother to consult it for, like the Left, their ideas are too precious to them to ever give up.

  9. Anniel says:

    A 14 year old girl was found dead by the door of a Church in Anchorage Monday morning. She and two male companions were together the night before and she was dead when her companions awoke. No cause of death was given. Later the news was that one of the males was her “boyfriend” and the other an “older” man. No parents hunting for her were mentioned. Yesterday the older man was identified as a 32 year old convicted sex offender. Alcohol use is suspected. Still no mention of parents. Supposedly it might be two months before an autopsy is complete.

    What the news fails to mention is that when a child is 14 years old the parents can no longer make him or her stay home, although the parents are liable for any crime they commit. No free range before 14, but after a kid is 14 parents have no say. I’ve seen too many friends caught up in the garbage that is Child Protection in most states.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      It’s vey likely that “free-range” (i.e., normal) children are better able to handle being out on their own. They’re used to it. I suspect my parents took the same approach to alcohol, giving us children a limited introduction to it. In my case, oddly, at some point I became a teetotaler, perhaps as an odd rebellion against their encouragement. But the idea of getting children used to such things so that they can handle them better later on makes sense to me.

  10. Jerry Richardson says:

    Anniel/Timothy,

    No free range before 14, but after a kid is 14 parents have no say. I’ve seen too many friends caught up in the garbage that is Child Protection in most states.
    —Anniel

    It’s very likely that “free-range” (i.e., normal) children are better able to handle being out on their own. They’re used to it.
    —Timothy

    It’s very sad what predators add to the equation of freedom.

    But, I think both of you are correct that children should be “raised” to understand, recognize, and avoid certain dangers. I always listened to my parents about such things; they advised and counseled me even though they didn’t micromanage me.

    Internet predators are a major source of danger for most children and teenagers today, and I think it is not being over-protective for parents to remain aware of what types of interactions their children are engaging in.

    The delicate task of properly balancing freedom and security can make a very interesting discussion. After all, our Constitution was written in an attempt to do just that. Our Bill of Rights specifically speaks to our “freedoms” and the enumerated powers to enforce the law given to the executive branch and the judicial branches—article 2 and 3—are there to support legal provisions for our safety.

    The problem we are faced with today is that our government is constantly attempting to reduce or eliminate our “freedoms” (attempts at gun-confiscation aka gun-control being just one example); yet at the same time the government has drastically reduced our “safety” by refusal to properly enforce our laws (release of illegal immigrants criminals onto our streets being just one example.)

    The above “nanny” government phenomenon of intrusion into our Constitutional “freedoms” and “safety” is background for the governmental meddling into parental allowance of “free-range” kids.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Of course, the totalitarian state has no room for families, or anything else between the state and the individual (except the ruling party, which is a part of the state, and quasi-private organizations that coordinate with the state).

  11. Jerry Richardson says:

    The nanny government does not want children to grow up to be independent, in mind, spirit, physically, or otherwise; they want them to grow up dependent—especially dependent upon the government.

    Childhood independence has become taboo, even though our world is no less safe than it was twenty or thirty years ago. The ground has not gradually gotten harder under the jungle gym. The bus stops have not crept further from home. Crime is actually lower than it was when most of us were growing up. So there is no reality-based reason that children today should be treated as more helpless and vulnerable than we were when we were young.

    —Skenazy, Lenore (2009-05-26). Free-Range Kids, How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry) (p. 193). Kindle Edition.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Based on what I’ve read, we were on our own more at school during the 2 years I attended a Catholic school in Greece than in most schools today. Back then, some boys occasionally (to show they could do it) walked from our town to the school — several miles (and several towns) away. (I don’t recall doing so myself, but I do remember our bus passing one of the boys doing it once.) We were also on our own during recess; I wonder if that’s true today.

      • Jerry Richardson says:

        Timothy,

        We were also on our own during recess; I wonder if that’s true today.
        —Timothy Lane

        Can’t speak for Greece; but you know it’s not true in USA today.

        When I was in junior high school—a rather small country school—we had completely unsupervised lengthy recess and after lunch periods.

        School personnel would get sued today for what we got into.

        One of our favorites boys-activity was to cross the school-yard fence and organize into opposing forces in the pasture beyond the fence.

        Horses and/or cows were fed corn in that pasture and there were oodles of corn-cobs lying around. Furthermore those cobs, often half-cobs, were wet and heavy and these were what we used as throwing missiles between the two “organized” forces.

        One day, I got hit square in the forehead with a very heavy one thrown very hard and rather close-up; I didn’t exactly lose consciousness, but came close—big red whelp left on my forehead.

        No teacher every asked any questions. Things have really changed.

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