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.