Thursday, March 06, 2008

The face of paranoia.

One thing you can say about the British is that they are damn tired of playing second fiddle to the Americans. Any hysteria that sweeps America eventually sweeps England but they try to go one step further with the silliness. And the paranoia that children will be abducted, and the measures taken to "prevent" it, reaches new heights, or low, in England.

The reality is that more people win the lottery each year than there are children who are abducted by strangers. Most incidents like this, or molestations, have nothing to do with "stranger danger". The culprits in most cases are parents, relatives or family friends. Amazingly while paranoid about the rare occurrence little is done (or can be done) about those most likely to cause the problem -- people who are already close to the children.

In the campaign to out-dumb each other the Cann Hall Primary School in Clacton, England has decided to replace the children's faces in photographs with somewhat scary "smiley faces" that are superimposed over the child's real face. In other words, each child is stripped of their personality. School headmistress Clare Reece, in classic paranoid style says this was done because: "You can't say what is going to happen with any of those pictures." The school newsletter apparently has the full photos but when the newsletter is put on the school's website the faces are obscured. They call this "child friendly" and a measure to "to protect our children". Fact check: the kids are more likely to be molested by a teacher at the school than by someone who sees the photo on the internet and then makes an effort to track down the child.

One sociologist said that photographs give "children clear images of their experiences" and that the policy "is not only irrational but serves no purpose whatsoever."

When the bizarre photos got some publicity the school removed them and the site merely said it was "undergoing maintenance".

It seems that the entire purpose of public education is to teach children to live in a constant state of terror. But why not, that just makes them compliant voters later on for the real fearmongers in life: politicians.

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