Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Toddlers & Tantrums

Often times, real life truly is stranger than fiction. This is especially the case
wherever children and safety issues come together. Throughout our research, we
often encounter some truly unique cases that we couldn't make up if we tried. We
write about them in order to promote an expanded safety awareness of the different
happenings of the world at large, and sometimes, in situations not-too-serious, just to bring a good chuckle or two to this otherwise serious topic. So...

One of these stories really happened. The other two were derived from the voices
inside our head. Can you tell which ones real?

A) Policeman uses stun gun on toddler throwing tantrum

B) Toddlers tantrum helps foil robbery attempt

C) Toddlers tantrum triggers full-scale police and rescue operation

While you're contemplating the correct answer, consider this very real safety fact:
Little children put toys in their mouths an average of 20 times an hour, which is
why it's so important to keep the floor and their play areas free of anything that
poses a choking hazard.


In California, early in 2008, a young boy in the midst of a tantrum triggered a
full-scale police and rescue operation when he angrily threw his toy teddy bear over a guardrail at the edge of a road in Glendale.

The chucked bear ended up about 80 feet down a steep hillside. So as any mother
would do, the boy’s mom set out to retrieve it. In the process, she was also
overcome by the laws of gravity, and ended up tumbling down the rain-slicked
hill. You might be able to guess what's coming next.

Naturally, Dad made his way to rescue Mom, when he, too, slipped on the hill and
became trapped. "We could not climb up because it was very slippery," reports the
dad. The panic-stricken boy then ran to knock on a neighbor's door, and the good
citizen contacted the authorities.

When the police and firefighters arrived, they had to use ropes and wenches to pull
the parents to safety. Needless to say, the boy learned a lesson he'll never forget. In fact, it was such a remarkable story that we decided to loosely base a children's storybook from it. Look for 'The Boy Who Threw His Bear' on our website
sometime in the future.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Trayvon Martin; the next Rodney King?

Now that George Zimmerman has been charged, hopefully some of the hysteria will die down. Or perhaps not. CNN and other news outlets have resorted to airing tidbits about Zimmerman's incarceration or details about how he cries in jail; a blitz meant to feed the sadistic schadenfreude of the masses. But given the way this case has evolved what we've seen thus far may be dwarfed by what is yet to come.

Prosecutors may have indeed overcharged Zimmerman. Second degree murder requires the intent to kill -- a dubious leap of faith that even the most damning of evidence so far does not support. Plus, the Florida law, which appears to have been written by mentally disturbed second graders, allows gun owners to shoot people if they mistake someones waving hello for an act of aggression that makes them "feel threatened." This brings us to a very important question given the hysteria surrounding this particular case: what happens if Zimmerman is acquitted of the charge.

Given the emotions that have built up so far, will we see another Rodney King type outbreak of unrest spreading all across America? Lets hope not. Yet the potential for such flair-ups is arguably even more pronounced today in the era of social media than it was back then. Racial tensions remain in many places, and having a black president in office has brought out many hidden prejudices that I never knew existed. Making matters worse, many people are using the case as a poster child for hidden agendas. Blacks seem intent on insisting it was racially motivated, and are using it as a parable to the injustices they face. Young lobbyists will fiercely fight on the other side trying to make this a justified killing seem justified. As is the case with life, reality probably rests somewhere in the messy middle with no black and white, good guy bad guy answers.

Thus we arrive at the million dollar question! If the outcome is messy, or the verdict not what many believe it should be, will those who have staked so much on this issue be content to let it rest?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Teens "Dusting" to get High

More teenagers these days will do just about anything for a thrill. The latest trend for parents to watch for is something known as "dusting." It involves sucking in compressed air to get high, usually from a can of compressed air used to blow dust from electronics. (Hence the term dusting)

Breathing in the compressed air can produce a euphoria that is similar to what a teen might feel from playing the chocking game. In addition to unknown health risks, it can also lead to impairment. Police in Wichita Kansas have reported seeing crashed caused by teens dusting. They know of at least four crashes in which a driver caused an injury after taking a hit from a can of air.

So if you have a teenager or even a child in older elementary school, be on the lookout for signs of this latest fad.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Trayvon Martin Circus

My how this case has taken on a life of it's own. In the two weeks since we originally posted on this case, it's gone from a backwoods story to a nationwide media circus. Unfortunately, lost amongst the accusations of racism and heated emotion is the core of what this case is about.

I very much doubt Mr. Zimmerman intended to become a child killer. Unfortunately, that is exactly what he has become. Not because he is a heartless monster, or even a racist, but for a much simpler reason: when you carry around a loaded gun, life altering tragedies are as easy to come by as a simple misunderstanding. Trayvon wasn't killed because he was profiled, but because one person had a gun when the situation escalated, allowing a mistake and misunderstanding to turn deadly. Like a drunk driver who plows into another car, it was Zimmermans stupidity, not his evil character, that left a child dead.

It was a mistake for Zimmerman to assume Martin was up to something. It was a mistake to follow and confront the teen. And regardless of how things unfolded next, it was a mistake for Zimmerman to assume he needed to use deadly force against a 140 pound unarmed teenager. This is not a racial tragedy. It is a gun tragedy. Even if you believe Zimmermans rather dubious story that Trayvon reached for his gun, this would be a non issue, and a non life threatening situation, had Zimmerman not had a gun. This case comes back to one thing, and one thing only: Mr Zimmerman, this otherwise "law abiding" citizen, was packing, turning a series of mistakes into a deadly encounter.

Unfortunately, this is rather typical of the mistakes that are common to "law abiding gun owners" when more people carry loaded weapons. In fact, "law abiding gun owners" are several hundred times more likely to make a mistake or commit a crime with their weapon that they are to use it legitimately for self defense. That means that every person carrying a gun makes you and your children monumentally less safe and more likely to die from a crime despite what the gun lobbyists might have you believe. Having a gun can make you feel powerful, but it doesn't offer safety, for one simple reason: legitimate chances to be the hero are extremely rare. You have a better chance of winning the 'big ' lottery. The chances to make mistakes happen every day.

The real monsters of this story are people like representative Dennis K. Baxley, who sponsored the gun lobbies stand your ground law, openly encouraging people to shoot first and ask questions later. Or any of the other ill informed gun advocates who promote the fairy tale that guns offer self protection. This myth directly causes hundreds of child deaths each and every year. It was killing children long before Treyvon Martin, and it will be killing kids long after. Let us not forget that as we speak the gun lobby is pushing further and further to try and revive the Wild West days where every idiot carries a gun on his belt. If this campaign continues unchecked, we can be assured of thousands of more stories like this to come.