The only thing I take seriously is my Freedom. And Bacon.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Murder of Skyler Kauffman and How To Keep Our Children Safe

I had plans on posting a sugar cookie recipe today.

Instead, I woke to the news that 9 year old Skyler Kauffman was found bludgeoned to death, her small body wrapped in a blanket and thrown in a dumpster.

I am mostly upbeat and happy go lucky. I like to keep things here light and fun, a place where you know you can feel good.

Sometimes though, we have to face those things that hurt or cause pain, and, since I can't tie the man who murdered Skyler Kauffman to the back of my car and drive very slowly until he is dead, my only outlet is to write about it.

Skyler's death is senseless and should never have happened, but if we use this tragedy to revisit how to teach our children to be strong and safe, if we stay vigilant not only as parents looking our for our own children, but also as adults looking out for every child, then perhaps we can pretend to rationalization this beautiful young girls tragic murder.

To me, these are the most important factors when it comes to protecting children (aside from the usual warnings about stranger danger) -

Gut Reactions:

If your kids have a gut feeling about a person - don't squash it. Too many times we tell them "Kiss Uncle Frank!" - when the last thing they want to do is kiss Uncle Frank. Maybe it's as simple as Uncle Frank has cigarette breath - but if you force your child to be friendly to an adult (even if it is family) - your teaching them they must show affection to an adult despite the fact they don't like him/her.

Awareness: 

Always be aware of what is happening in your neighborhood or the area you are shopping in - strange van, strange cars, strange people - even if you don't HAVE kids, I think we need to look out for all children. I'm not saying to call the police if you see a white van (or unknown car) driving in your neighborhood, but be conscious of the driver, the description of the car, if you have a gut reaction, jot down the plate number.

Know Your Neighbors: 

Get to know your neighbors and talk to them. This is something I need to get better at. I "know" a few neighbors - but I certainly don't know them all. We had a situation a few months ago where a man had moved into a house and he was listed on the Offender Locator App as a registered sex offender. I spoke with some neighbors about him, the police notified the families with kids who live by him, and I always kept an extra eye open. He moved out after only a few months, but it was quite an eye opener. We live in a very quiet nice neighborhood, but that means nothing. Also - not very many sex offenders actually register - a reminder to stay vigilant at all times, and keep communication with your neighbors open.

 The only way to put an end to crimes against children is a no tolerance policy. Our justice system, however, is so difficult to navigate through, and the lawyers put the victims and families through so much grief, many families opt not to prosecute.
Personally, I think we should tie them to the back of a car and drag them to a slow, painful, death.
But since the system is not going to change soon enough, and since my dragging idea would never see the light of day, the only option we have is to arm our children with the tools they need to asses situations, allow them to respect their gut reactions, and keep an eye out for children everywhere.

"Death is not extinguishing the light; it is putting out the lamp because dawn has come."
--Rabindranath Tagore


Rest In Peace, sweet Skyler. 

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for the info about the locator app. Question though - do you have the lite version? or the paid version? I want to make sure I get one that will help me keep my kids safe. And since they're tweens, nearly teens, they're even more ...ahem...attractive? to weirdos.

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  2. Suz,
    I had the lite app (the free one) - and then upgraded to the paid app. But it was the free app that alerted me to the offender (only 3 doors away!). The lite app will show the 10 closest offenders to the location/address you input - the paid app will show all of them.

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  3. Is the murder of the child have been captured?

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