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Dutchess_III's avatar

Are we smarter now, or just more paranoid?

Asked by Dutchess_III (44398points) November 12th, 2014
30 responses
“Great Question” (2points)

This was my back yard when I was a little kid living in Florida. It’s a salt water canal that came off of Tampa bay. It rose and fell with the tide. No fences, tons of kids.
I was 5 and my little sisters were 2 and 1. Mom would just turn my 2 year old sister and I loose, with instructions for me to take care of her. My sister fell off the sea wall once. Fortunately the tide was out. If it hadn’t been I probably would have gone in after her, even though I couldn’t swim. It’s a guilt I feel at the pit of my stomach to this day.

I pulled her out of a neighbor’s indoor pool once, too. Nobody was keeping an eye on us.

There was an island in the middle of the bay. My girlfriend and I wanted to row over to the island in a row boat. So Mom packed us a picnic and we were on our way. No life jackets. No telling WHAT was on that island…alligators, snakes, spiders.

I was 6, my friend was 7.

On the way back we got scared. We may have been fighting the tide or something. There were several canals, like spokes on a bike. We made it to the nearest one and proceeded to stand up in the boat and pull ourselves along the sea wall, to the end then pulled ourselves across the other side. We traversed 4 canals that way until we made it home.

That’s just the way it was for EVERYBODY in those days. Was that OK?

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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Way more paranoid, leading to controlling.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Way more smarts. I used to believe I was bulletproof. Guess what? Not.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Bullet proof? Hell, you ain’t even bat proof!

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Good thing my mouth wasn’t full. That would be all over. Want the biggest funny?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes. Want the biggest funny!

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I get two surgeries. The little bastard gave me two hernias, either from the weight loss or the vomiting. He’s still screwing with me.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Revenge of the bats! (How are you feeling otherwise?)

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I’m good, weights coming up, people are finally saying I’m looking better. I feel like working out but I probably shouldn’t.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

I thought it was a bat wrapped in a terry towel.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Terry towel?

Aethelwine's avatar

More paranoid now that we have access to 24/7 news.

Brian1946's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe “Terry towel?” He probably means a bat that might have been made in Louisville. ;-)

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@jonsblond Hey you have reasons to be paranoid. Hang in there
@Brian1946 Laughs, went right over my head.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Terry towel?
Hides the bruises on the person you are going Neanderthal on. If you don’t care to hide the bruises you wrap the bat in barbed wire.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@jonsblond if you were a mom in the 60’s, would you have turned your kids loose like my Mom did? Everyone did it.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central Laughs, I try not to go Neanderthal on anyone, but I’ll file the idea away.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

^ Yes, for when a mugger ends up in your home and you want to make sure she/he got the point before the cops come rescue them. ;-P

josie's avatar

False alternative. Certainly not smarter. Maybe or maybe not more paranoid.
Another alternative is that parents are increasingly incompetent. Just like a whole lot of other institutional denizens.

Aethelwine's avatar

@Dutchess Of course! I’m not saying I’m paranoid, just society in general. I grew up in Las Vegas in the 70s and we ran all over until dark. Even when it was dark. I lived near the airport and my friends and I would roller skate in the parking deck. Going down the loop was a blast.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I let my kids run wild too. But not when they were 2, even if I had a 5 year old to “watch” them. I’m pretty sure that if I had a canal in my back yard…I just don’t think I would do it. It fact, I would have vetoed buying that house.
And I wouldn’t have allowed my 6 year old to paddle out to an island with no life jacket with only a 7 year old to watch her. Pretty sure I wouldn’t have, even if it was the early 60’s

ibstubro's avatar

I think it’s largely paranoia. When I was a kid of the same era, my mom would park me next to the door of the discount store and tell me not to move. Of course, I never did. One day she came to collect me and I was off to the side, sitting in a chair, looking at a book. Seeing mom was upset, a clerk raced over and said, “No, no! He’s such a good little boy. We set this chair here and gave him the books. From now on when you come in this is his chair and his books.” They were watching over me.

I think a large part of it is also that people are worse than they used to be. News wasn’t 24/7 and was largely sanitized. Unstable people had to invent their perversities, or, at minimum, fill in their own details. Now the news is like “Perversity 101”. Why torture a cat when the news will tell you all you need to know to successfully invade a school and kill 10 kids?
The mentally ill have largely been ‘mainstreamed’. Into ‘homeless people’. Depicted in the media as a well meaning and generally hardworking person that has fallen on hard times. Often as not, ‘homeless people’ are people that do not have the mental capacity to maintain a home for themselves, but we have deemed them capable of determining their own fate.

talljasperman's avatar

~ Can’t it be both? Smarter and more paranoid?

kritiper's avatar

More paranoid!

Buttonstc's avatar

Maybe “everyone” was letting really young kids who didn’t know how to swim run around unsupervised near large bodies of water in your neck of the woods, but it wasn’t true in mine.

Our street was basically a 2 mile long peninsula which dead ended into Great South Bay.

In other words, all the homes on each side of the street had a creek running behind their back yards and the two creeks met at the end of the street into the bay.

I was about 12 years old when my younger sister was born followed by my younger brother 18 months later.

Before my sister was born, my parents put up a chain link fence (with a locking gate) which ran the length of the house for their secure play yard.

My stepbrother and I both were strong swimmers but the ease and speed with which ab unsupervised toddler could make their way down to the creek and drown was a frighteningly real possibility. Hence, putting up the fence to create a large playard.

Even tho my alcoholic parents were idiots in many ways, at least they knew that non-swimming kids + large body of water presented a real danger of death by drowning.

So, I don’t consider it paranoia at all but basic safety precautions. And considering how out of it my mother was when drinking, I’m sure that yard saved their lives many times over.

Even today when I hear news accounts of a young child drowned due to an unfenced pool, it just gets me furious.

Sometimes it happened in the few minutes time it took a parent to go inside to answer the doorbell or tend to something else in the kitchen or whatever.

That is such a needless tragedy and could have been prevented so easily that I have a tough time trying to muster up any sympathy

Toddlers really cannot be left unsupervised for even 2 minutes with an open pool nearby.

They term it an accident, but if something could have been 100% prevented then it’s not an accident. It’s an inevitability.

There are enough random accidents from unforseen circumstances over which we have no control but a child drowning because of being unsupervised around ANY large body of water is negligence plain and simple. There is just no excuse.

It’s not as if it were so random that it couldn’t have been anticipated. It most certainly could have been anticipated but someone chose to be careless.

I don’t know what the annual numbers are for kids drowning in unsecured pools but even one is too many for something which could have been so EASILY prevented.

In that way it’s just like the unnecessary deaths resulting from unsecured guns.

If you’re going to be a crusader for gun rights and you have children, then be a responsible one and LOCK UP the damned weapons so that kids cannot access them. EVER.

Buttonstc's avatar

To directly answer your Q: “Are we smarter now”

Apparently the answer sadly is NO.

I just came back from the CDC website. If this quote isn’t totally discouraging then I don’t know what else would qualify.


” Most drownings occur in home swimming pools…in 2009, Drowning was responsible for more deaths in children 1–4 than any other cause except congenital anomalies (birth defects).”

That means the death toll for young kids is higher for drowning than for guns, or auto accidents.

That is truly appalling. So we really aren’t any smarter now than in the 50s and 60s even tho we know more.

longgone's avatar

Well, more kids make it to adulthood alive. I consider that a good thing. If those kids are also relatively free of phobias, that’s awesome.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

I think a large part of it is also that people are worse than they used to be.
Surely you jest. As man evolves and becomes better and better, I am sure his self-invented “golden rule” would latch in toi more an more people, making all of society a pillar of ethical behavior; they surely can’t be getting worse.

rojo's avatar

I’m going to go with the more paranoid crowd.

also, kids are dumber

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