Monday, July 19, 2004

It was a simpler time...

I grew up in a small town in Texas. In those days we went where we wanted when we wanted. Our parents never knew where we were. The only rule was, "Be home before the street lights come on." Usually after dinner we were back out to play at night. There weren't any worries of kidnapping or perverts.  I moved back to Texas from Phoenix so my boys could enjoy small town life. I live outside of a small city in a nice quiet community. When you drive through you see bikes in the front yards. Must not be any theft. You see kids at the school on weekends playing on the field. Must not be any vandalism. You see kids walking to the local pool without their parents. Must be a safe place to live. What you don't see is graffiti, broken down cars in the yards, garbage on the streets, or drug dealers on the corner. You don't even see the police come through. I pay extra to live here, just for the safety of my kids. Hell I figured by moving in, that I would lower the property values.
That is until yesterday. I was sitting on my porch smoking a cigarette when the police rolled up across the street. They talked to my neighbor for a few minutes and drove away. He waved at me and I waved at him. Not 30 seconds after he sat back down, they came back. They called him out to the street and proceeded to pat him down and cuff him. After they put him in the back seat, I figured I would offer to watch his kids since his wife wasn't home. I walked over to the officers and asked if he needed to leave the kids with someone. This is the point in time my world got turned upside down. The police asked me if I had noticed A.J. acting strange. I said no. I asked what the problem was. It turns out my neighbor (seemed like a nice enough guy), was identified by four different people. He was walking around with his johnson hanging out and evidently had exposed himself to some children. They suggested I keep my kids away from him, something about a sexual predator. Sounds like they had more information than they were giving. MY first concern was the fact my kids played with his kids, in that house. I wanted to grab my kids and start asking questions. But you have to keep the trauma level to a minimum. I agreed to take custody of his kids until his wife came home. She got home at 1:00 am.
I met her at her front door and told her what happened. Her only response was " That don't seem like him at all. I tolds him not to be around the neighbors. We's the only black people in a white neighborhood." I wanted to slap the piss out of her. But  instead I went and got her kids and turned them back over to her. She didn't seem the least bit concerned or (to my horror) surprised. After everything was taken care of I set about the task of asking my children the questions no parent should ever have to ask. Did he ever show you his privates? Did he ever say anything dirty to you? Did he ever touch you? Did you ever see him touch anyone else? Plus many other heart wrenching disgusting questions. After which I had to explain to my 7 year old and 9 year old why I was asking these things. I don't lie to my kids if they ask a question I tell them the truth but I do try to shelter them from these sorts of things. I thank God my boys gave me the right answers. I'm fully satisfied that the only trauma that they have suffered from is having me as a dad.
Now what do I do when he makes bail? Our kids are friends. I know my kids can never go back over there, even if the police made a mistake, I'll never know. I learned two things yesteday. It's not safe for children anywhere, you must always be vigilante. And it's true, you can never go back.


Zelda said...

I have a child molester next door to me also, except that he came and told me that he had molested a 12 year old girl. He was trying to get me to testify at his trial as a character witness. I have two daughters who play with his two sons, and I almost paniced and asked if he'd ever touched my girls. I didn't though because I knew that they had never been alone over there. I did end up telling him that if he came within 10 yards of my kids I would shoot him and take the consequences. I was bluffing, but I haven't seen him since. I guess he doesn't want me as a character witness.

Jay said...

there's a website that lists all of the sex offenders by zip code along with a photo. it surprises me to see how many there are living around the elementary schools. i wonder if anyone every really knows who their neighbors are.

Vadergrrrl said...

trashman baby,
slow down here. just because the police came over and started some rumors does not mean he did anything. black men have been labeled sexual predators throughout history, this was justification for thier lynching.

You can not convict or judge him based on what those cops said. cops lie sometimes (sorry jack).

I think you did the right thing, you talked to your kids, you approached a very difficult subject matter. Good for you.

But who made you judge and jury? innocent until proven guilty should also apply to small texas neighborhoods.


Vadergrrrl said...

on another note,
you never want to trust your neighbors. My best friends aunt was neighbors to Garey Ridgeway for years (Green River serial killer). Her son spent the night at his house and everything.

Trashman said...

I never convicted the guy or assumed he was guilty. If anybody was lying it was the 4 witnesses not the police. The one thing I do know is if he was arrested he was in all likely hood doing something wrong. More than anything I feel sorry for his children. If he was doing something they will wind up carrying the burden. I agrre with the innocent until proven guilty thing, no matter the color of the skin. I did jump to conclusions, but that was out of fear for my children. Which I beleive is only natural.

Vadergrrrl said...

did you get the name of your song from a sublime song? love it!
i could not agree with you more, you are a good father, and children MUST be protected.
-im just one of those berkeley bleeding heart liberals... lol always looking for a conspiracy, ya know?
-i have a son too, and if anyone messed with him, i would probably kill then. have you ever seen the move hapiness, dont watch it. i made the mistake of watching it with my son, it was about a pedifile who was molesting his son and his friends. it was a horrible movie, made us sick, but it did do one good thing. it opened the door for an important and difficult discussion... child abuse.
-love your posts, you rock, keep on blogging baby!

Vadergrrrl said...

one more thing i forgot to add.
i think your awesome for being there for his kids.
your obviously a very good man.
damn you texans....

ps ask jack about adding halo scan comments on your blog.


Inanna said...

I think you did the right thing. You took care of someone else's children and you opened honest dialogue with your own. Whether he is guilty or not, the stigma remains, for better or worse. You're welcome for the link Trashman.

David said...

Hello TM/JM...errr... Bart?

As for the links, I put up a primer for everybody, on this post that should get you squared away. Now for haloscan... I'm going to take a guess... you want to use haloscan for your comments, or was it that you wanted to put links in haloscan?

Gimme a holler... always glad to help.

Katrina said...

You're a great guy to take his kids into your care...and I hope all works out for the best. Sometimes a tough situation like that arises and if what he's being accused of is true, it's awful that his kids will have to suffer for his sick perversions. However, the lot of you...neighbors, friends, family, etc. pulling together can probably make the world of difference.

David said...

In your template, add your links between this (towards the end)
<div class="box3">

and this


in the format described in that post of mine...

Jamie said...

You have to be vigilante, and vigilant for your kids. I suggest only letting them play in your house/yard, where you can keep an eye open. I tell my kids to stay in view of my windows, and to never go into anyone's house. I live in a small town, and it attracts people from the bigger nearby town. There are drugs, theft, sex offenders, etc. But it isn't as common as in the city's I suppose. Just equivalent. And I DO check web site mentioned earlier. I know who they are in my town.

Good writing, looking forward to more from Texas. Y'all always do things big!

Jay said...

if other people have declared him harmful, are you willing to gamble your children's saftey to abide the innocent until proven guilty theory?

me neither. i think you reacted like a damn fine parent ought to.

Jay said...

i will add though, i would point out to the kids that the jury is still out, so to speak.

Sara said...

Definitely check out those sites about checking molesters and rapists in the area. However, I think also realize some of them are trying to be better individuals. I remember a man asked to have his nuts wacked so he wouldn't do it anymore and the court refused him.

And I don't think Trashman was judging the man for being black. That is just what the wife said. If he hadn't put a color would Vader even have brought up the issue?

Vadergrrrl said...

trashman was judging no one. as a historian, vader says that society has labeled black men as sexual predators since the good ol days of slavery. that has been justification for lynching for years.

trashman did nothing wrong, in fact he was the hero of the story. vader is always sceptical about accusations, especially in the south.

ask me why? i probably wont tell you, but i have my own very, personal reasons for looking out for the safety of wrongly accused black men.

but trashman, i would still find out the whole story. i try not to believe gossip and accusations. many times they are untrue.

you did the right thing, especially in protection of your children.


David said...

Vader, you know I hate racism as much as you do. But have you ever noticed that being violently anti-racist comes across as racist? (Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan, Kweisi Mfume) You can't say I'm very opposed to the unfair accusations leveled against black men... that's discriminatory. What you can say is that you are very opposed to unfair accusations as a whole.

Just my 2 cents... I've got a pocketful of pennies.

tracy said...

least in the US you get to find out where your local pervs live....its rare that we ever know over here unless its general gossip around the area
used to live above a guy who, according to rumours, was a paedophile to some degree, but there was no way of knowing for sure

Vadergrrrl said...

Damn you David!
Why do you ALWAYS happen to be right! RRRRR you know me to well.
-As usual, I submit to your line of reasoning.