In Which She Rants, Vol. 8

Just heard another story about a child being rescued from a sealed car in summer's heat. I hate stories like that, not only because I cringe at the thought of babies with heatstroke and their idiot parents, but I think publicizing those stories is part of an ongoing effort to undermine parental rights by teaching people to second-guess parental judgment. The public message is: parents are stupid and you (who likely have no kids and no understanding) may need to step in to save the breeders from themselves.
Case 1. The other day I suddenly realized our library books were due. The big kids were out, so I drove with the baby to the library. I parked directly in front of the entrance, with the book drop roughly 20 feet away. The baby had fallen asleep, so I left him in the car with van door wide open and every window rolled down. I hopped out, scurried to the book drop and returned to the car in less than 20 seconds. Literally. Not the "just a minute" that becomes 15 once you're inside the store. The baby was never out of my sight. Nevertheless, a woman who was walking up the sidewalk at the same time and could see perfectly what I was doing, stopped to glare at me as if I'd endangered my child. With that look that all moms of young children become only too familiar with when out in public. She's heard on the radio that you can't leave a child in a car, and she doesn't trust a mom to use her judgment --nor does she use her own to see that a well-ventilated car is not the same thing as a sealed one.
Case 2. One of our local advice columnists recently ran a series of columns with suggestions for how to intervene if you see a mom yelling at her kids in a grocery store. The subject is a perennial favorite of advice columnists. Lots of sob stories from adults abused as children who wished someone had intervened, and lots of well-meaning but thoroughly self-righteous speculation about mothers out of control. I've seen parents out of control in grocery stores, and I know how uncomfortable it can be to witness. Nevertheless, the advice to come between a mother and her kids is utterly pernicious. You are a stranger. Not only do you have no idea whatsoever the context of the situation, but more importantly, the last thing any young child needs in this day and age is the message that his parent may not know what is best for him, and you can find refuge in strangers.
Once our 3-yr-old ignored my command to hold my hand and darted right into a heavily-trafficked parking lot. When I caught him, I deposited the other kids safely in the car, then gave this kid one swift swat to the behind and a loud talking to. I was not out of control; I was acting. What I really wanted to do was hug him because I was grateful he hadn't been hit by the oncoming car. But duty had to overcome instinct, so I yelled. This kid is happy-go-lucky and it takes a lot to get through to him, and I made a parental judgment about how to teach him that his safety depends on sticking close to me in public situations. In fact, since my children outnumber my hands, our ability to go anywhere or do anything depends on my kids' obedience to me. Right-away, voice command obedience. Not begging, pleading, chasing after them obedience. That kid has never run away like that again. My lesson worked. But suppose some stranger had come up and "saved" him from his abusive mom and dressed me down --or called Protective Services on me? What would have been the consequences then?