Paranoia, Not Sex Offenders, Are Greatest Threat to Trick-Or-Treaters

November 2, 2008

Boy Is Fatally Shot Trick-or-Treating

SUMTER, S.C. (AP) — A 12-year-old boy trick-or-treating with his family on Friday was shot from inside a home and killed, and his father and brother were wounded by the gunfire, the authorities said.

A suspect in the shootings, Quentin Patrick, was in custody, a jail official said. Mr. Patrick, 22, has been charged with murder and three counts of assault and battery with intent to kill. The jail official said she did not know whether Mr. Patrick had a lawyer, and his telephone number was unpublished.

The family was headed home from a city-sponsored event here, when they decided to stop at a few homes to trick-or-treat, Police Chief Patty Patterson said. The father and his four children approached a home with a porch light on about 8:30 p.m., while their mother waited nearby in a vehicle.

At the door, family members said they thought they heard fireworks. The 12-year-old boy, his father and brother were all hit by the gunfire. The boy died at a hospital, Coroner Verna Moore said. The other two children were not hurt.

The boy’s father and brother were taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The authorities have not released the identity of the family, and Chief Patterson would not release any more details about the shooting.

[Ed: The man who shot this youngster who was trick-or-treating, no doubt emotionally unstable, was as influenced by the irrational paranoia sweeping our nation - fear of the stranger - as all of our citizens and politicians who regard sex offenders as the greatest danger children face on Halloween, despite a complete lack of evidence to support such fears.

Pay attention! Your child is THOUSANDS of times more likely to be hit by a car, drown in a pool, or be shot by gang members, than to be sexually assaulted by strangers on Halloween. This obsession with "stranger danger" comes at the cost of your children themselves and is THE major contributor to the perilous erosion of trust and respect in our society.

Leaving aside for a moment the motivations of those who ostensibly wish to protect children, whether it be out of genuine concern for their well being or out of some dark and vicarious titillation derived from an obsession with children and sex, I urge you take the time and the effort to consider ACTUAL dangers to children and adolescents and instead express your concerns towards their remedy.]

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