It's a sad day in America when this is the case...
These days, if Rian Romoli accidentally bumps into a child, he quickly raises his hands above his shoulders. "I don't want to give even the slightest indication that any inadvertent touching occurred," says Mr. Romoli, an economist in La Cañada Flintridge, Calif.
Ted Wallis, a doctor in Austin, Texas, recently came upon a lost child in tears in a mall. His first instinct was to help, but he feared people might consider him a predator. He walked away. "Being male," he explains, "I am guilty until proven innocent."
In San Diego, retiree Ralph Castro says he won't allow himself to be alone with a child -- even in an elevator.
I have to admit, I'm the same way. I go out of my way to avoid being alone with any young person. When I'm in the vacinity of children, not my own, I'm aware of any inadvertant touching or even proximity to a child that could be misconstrued by a hysterical, suspicious, sue-happy parent. The sad thing is that statistically, hundreds of times more kids are mistreated and molested by family members than by strangers, and that statistically, strangers are far more likely to have your child's best interests at heart.
That is not to pretend that there aren't dangers out there. We hear about them every day. And most of the predators are men. But we make the mistake of assuming all men are potential predators. Our society goes out of it's way to not profile distinguishable groups who are clearly criminal. Why doesn't that apply to men when it comes to society's assumption that we are all potential molestors?