Most of the stupid e-mail forwards I get I can just dismiss, but I usually check them out on snopes.com just to see what the facts really are (see: poisons in bottled water, toxic tampons, etc). Other times I'm just not sure; I know I won't be passing along any petitions, but I wonder if the cause or problem being petitioned is true (and current).
Then there are the ones I look up because I pray they're not true.
I got a forward of that last type a few years ago. I chose to think that the petition was a sick hoax- I don't think my brain could even process the idea that the story I'd read was true. So I looked it up... and it would appear that every horrible detail of the abduction and torture of a small boy was true- the only part that wasn't was the petition itself, which is outdated by years.
Here's the article- I'm not copying it to this post. Don't read it if you have kids... or go to malls... or have any remaining thoughts that "no one is truly evil."
After reading this article, I was scared to let Simon out of my sight when we were out in public. Now, let's be clear on this: I knew that there wasn't a sociopath hiding around every corner for me to leave my innocent child unattended; I knew that the vast majority of people would never hurt him, and would be more willing to help a lost child than to hurt him. But it didn't matter. All I could feel, deep in some primitive part of my mommy-brain, was fear that this COULD happen. The chances might be one in millions, billions even- but it COULD happen. I just kept thinking about that poor little kid crying for his mommy... about the guilt that his poor mother shouldn't feel, but likely will until the day she dies... about how I wouldn't be able to live if the same thing happened to us... and about how suddenly the death penalty didn't seem so unreasonable in some cases.
I've actually had to train myself to not think about this story. I'm usually more of an optimistic type, but this story ripped into my heart to the point where the scars stood out for a long time. If I was lying in bed at night and I started to think about it, I had to say a quick prayer for the parents of this kid, and then pray for God to take the whole thing out of my mind. I had to teach myself to close those thoughts off in a concrete bunker in my mind, because I couldn't make them disappear.
It's funny- I have a terrible memory. Horrible. Can't remember my own cell phone number or new friends' names. But can I forget something when I want to? Nope.
This whole thing was obviously not good for me as a parent. Some people might think of this as a cautionary tale, one that will make parents think twice before letting their children out of their sight... I think that's a problem. I don't want to be a so-called "helicopter mom," hovering around my children day and night, protecting tham and solving all of their problems for them. There are too many people out there who want us to live in fear, either because it gets them ratings, it makes them money, or because they need everyone to be as scared as they are so they feel like they're right...
I'm not going to let them win.
More on that next time... for now, thanks for letting me get that off my chest.
Anyone else out there had a similar experience? Am I nuts?