To deter pedophiles some NYC parks are banning all adults without children

One of the local communities has banned registered sex offenders from all city parks and recreation centers, according to the article here.

The article also states that similar bans in Binghamton, N.Y., and Woodfin, N.C. are being challenged in court.

I have to admit, I’m in agreement with YaWanna. I, too, am an adult who’s unmarried and child-free by choice. I’m pretty much the exact opposite of a pedophile - not only do I not find kids sexually desirable, I pretty much don’t want to be around 'em at all. Heh… When I first read about this law I was pretty pissed. Not only does it reinforce the stereotype that people like me are somehow dysfunctional and potentially dangerous, but it pushes a few other buttons for me, too.

I’m willing to bet my left nut that this is nothing but a feel-good measure for nervous soccer moms. The media keeps people terrified and paranoid these days because horror stories sell, and everyone starts seeing danger lurking everywhere. Despite generally declining rates of violent crime, all of a sudden “the world is a dangerous place,” especially for kids, and politicians fall all over themselves in the rush to make it look like they’re doing something about the “problem.” Mind you, I have no desire to hang out in playgrounds full of screaming children, but I can’t stand the thought that if I, for whatever innocent reason, decided to sit on a bench in a playground, I’d be given a ticket and branded a potential threat to children’s safety.

This is also indicative of the general direction this country seems to be headed - trading liberty and common sense for a false sense of security. The privatization of leisure, mentioned by even sven, and the loss of public green-space in general, also bug the hell out of me. But this slow, steady progression toward “that which is not compulsory is forbidden” is what really scares me.

Not wanting to be responsible or to put forth effort, that is what is behind this law. Any decent caregiver can carry on a conversation with another adult and still devote the necessary attention their kid to keep them safe. This law is for people who don’t want to work that hard. They want to take kids to the park, then sit down and ignore them.

When it comes to kids, a certain amount of paranoia and anxiety are healthy. You should childproof cabinets and doors before the kid is mobile enough for it to be necessary. You should mistrust all strangers. But, it should be a reasonable amount of mistrust. Jrfranchi, seniors still love kids. When I see my niece playing with one of the many senior citizens in Boca Raton, the risk of them being pedophiles, kidnappers, or serial killers is quite low. My concern immediately switches from that to the much more likely-she’ll get them to give her candy she isn’t supposed to have, accidentally teach her a bad word, or get them to buy her something we said she couldn’t have.

Stranger On A Train I have the same effect on children. Turning a problem into a solution, I’m becoming a clown. Despite the fact that John Wayne Gacy was also a clown, this calms parents. They switch from ‘A strange man is very interested in my kids, and is probably a molester/kidnapper/serial killer.’ to ‘I can relax. He is making balloon animals and just likes kids.’. The “I am a clown” explanation works even when you happen to be dressed as a priest of Cthulhu, and one look made mom certain that you were a dangerous lunatic. In fact, it works so well that IMHO, most parents should be more paranoid than they are, and teach kids to fear and distrust most strangers under most circumstances.

Which leisure activities used to be free and are now commercial? There are still free museums and art galleries. Certainly playing in the park or walking around downtown is free to all.

And this law is stupid. It makes people criminals just for being in a public space near children. Penalizing those who leave their children unsupervised would go much further towards preventing child abuse without needlessly infringing on the rights of others.

I don’t have kids, I don’t want to have kids, and I like to occasionally have fun in playgrounds. (A lot of the modern ones are fascinatingly interconnected, I like 'em)

So this law (if I were to live in New York) is certainly be discriminating against me. It’s a fairly stupid law.

As for parents trusting clowns, that seems odd. Haven’t they seen Killer Klowns from Outer Space? Or heard Kinko the Clown?

I don’t have a strong opinion one way or another about this law. Just want to point out a couple of things-

-Adults without children are not prohibited from the whole park- just from the playground area. I have never seen a park with just a playground area- even the smallest parks have a few benches,tables,flower beds, etc outside of the playground.

  • It is quite common in NYC (and perhaps not in other places) for school aged children to be at playgrounds without their parents. Not 6 year olds, but certainly 10 year olds.

  • This law certainly wasn’t meant to be enforced rigidly. It was most likely intended more as a means for a park attendant to get rid of that man on the bench who is acting a bit weirdly.

Awesome, another law which we can apply in an inconsistent and unclear manner to people that we don’t like or, give us the creeps. Like minorities, poor people, or any of society’s other undesirables. Awesome, just fricken’ sweet.

And this would stop married, parents who are paedophiles how exactly? And wouldn’t it make it easier on the paedophiles, by creating these zones where parents and kids can feel a false sense of security?

Which is what makes it so scary, IMO.

We shouldn’t punish people because we think they may want to hurt someone.

Excuse me , but I didn’t say anything about punishing people. In fact, I don’t think the intent was to punish anyone. (with the possible exception of registered sex offenders who happen to get such a ticket) I think the intent was to be able to tell the person on the park bench who appears entirely too interested in the five year olds that he must leave, because this is an area reserved for children and the adults with them, in much the same way the same man could be told to leave a schoolyard.

So, you agree that I should be worried about this law. Let’s see- thirtyish male, hair past shoulders, hasn’t shaved in months, tattered old clothes, mumbles to himself and appears to laugh at nothing, seems to have sat at the bench for the express purpose of watching the children and being near them.

I hear Aqualung playing in the background. :wink:

Wouldn’t it make more sense to ban the kids? I mean…if there are no kids to abduct, then who cares if child molesters are in the park. :smiley:

This law is total and complete BS and I actually get sick to my stomach reading that some adults actually support the law. When will people realize that banning perfectly innocent adults from a public park, banning books, banning most things…does not solve the problem. Instead you just get innocent people pissed off. I’d like to round up everyone in favor of the banning procedure and ban them to their own little island where they can practice taking away each other’s rights all they want.

ah, what a nice reflection of 21st century thinking. The two extremes - the ones who believe that any adult without children of his own is automatically guilty of being a child molester and should have every right taken away, and the ones whose goal in life is to defend child molesters.

Both of you need to lighten up. They don’t allow people without dogs into the dog parks either.

So, what, NYC has user-specific parks for each and every demographic? If not, they’re discriminating, aren’t they? :rolleyes:

Well, I for one enjoy watching kids play in the park. I’d be pretty bummed if I wasn’t allowed to hang out and watch kids being kids.

“Bob, we got another one watching the kids play. It looks like he might be enjoying himself.”

“Put him on the list, Al.”


I know and I agree and I addressed it with post 14.

There are no free museums where I am. The few I’ve been to in the area charge a small fee. So does the Met in NY and the Smithsonion. (though I think they call this a “donation”).

There are also quite a few state parks you have to pay to enter and parts of the beach you have to pay to enter here.

I think the reasoning is that there isn’t government money to support the maintenance of these places anymore so they rely on these “donations” to keep the lights on.