Posted by any laws broken, a resident of another community, on Aug 8, 2012 at 12:30 pm
Although as a parent I would have a healthy concern here was any law broken or threat implied? In past times people might actually consider that it may have been a white-haired grandpa-type engaging in supportive "multi-generational communication" with a kid. I guess that can only occur in a tightly controlled situation with direct family now. Heaven forbid making any small-talk like "where do you live". I don't know the reality here (no age given nor whereabouts of parent or caregiver) but I do know that parents around here are irrationally fearful (child abduction and public molestation by a stranger are extremely rare) and want to create bubbles around their kids to protect them from interaction with the "real world". I can't imagine what will happen when they leave home unprepared for that interaction.
Posted by Get Real, a resident of the Menlo Park: other neighborhood, on Aug 8, 2012 at 12:41 pm
Dear "any laws broken":
Anyone with an ounce of common sense knows they should not videotape and strike up conversations with young children in a park when a) they are not affiliated with any of the children present and b) when the child's parents or supervising guardian is not immediately present and aware of what is going on.
The fact you feel compelled to mock the well-deserved concern expressed by parents and neighbors is very disturbing. Note that it was only "concern" that was expressed and not statements that there was a crime taking place.
Posted by johngslater, a resident of the Menlo Park: Fair Oaks neighborhood, on Aug 8, 2012 at 6:10 pm
I feel very old. When I was a kid I was told not to take candy or go for rides with strangers. But adults often struck up conversations with me. In fact it was considered good form for adults to interact with kids, as a way of communally keeping an eye on what all the children were doing.
We didn't spend a lot of time calling police.
But there was one time the police were called to my neighborhood. My father was in Europe and someone was knocking at our door at night. My mother was worried. The police came and it turned out our reverend knew our dad was gone, and in making the rounds he wanted to check if we were alright.
Posted by Advocate for Kids, a resident of the Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks neighborhood, on Aug 9, 2012 at 6:19 pm
If any adult is videotaping a child without permission, that's a red flag. When the same adult approaches a child and asks the child where she lives, that's strike 2. There are enough registered sex offenders in the area that it's worth checking out and making sure this guy wasn't on that list. Because if he was, he would be breaking the law. Whether or not the man at the park was a predator is something the police could determine and they should always be called when someone is acting suspiciously around children. This man's behavior, poor judgment or predator, was just wrong. Either way, it's just common sense that adult men should not be taking pictures of young girls without parental permission or asking them where they live.
Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of the Menlo Park: other neighborhood, on Aug 9, 2012 at 6:45 pm
"Either way, it's just common sense that adult men should not be taking pictures of young girls without parental permission or asking them where they live."
What a world we live in. An adult male talking to or photographing a child in a park is now automatically supect of being a pervert. How sad. I had a grandfather that loved children and used to talk to them all of the time when he was in a park or in public and saw them. No, he wasn't pedophile. He just loved interacting with children. Now he'd be talking to the police. What a crying shame.
Look at the stats folks. Stranger abduction and stranger molestation is extremely rare. You should be worried about the people you know. they're the ones with easy access to your children and the ones that are statistically more likely to abuse. Of course, that will mean nothing to paranoid helicopter parents, but there it is.
Posted by Val, a resident of the Menlo Park: Felton Gables neighborhood, on Aug 9, 2012 at 7:29 pm
As a photographer I miss the days when taking photos of kids in public was just fine. Now, due to several run-ins with parents, there's this feeling of suspicion, guilt, and loss of innocence, even tho I'm the father of 3 kids myself. Believe me, I no longer take pix of kids in public unless I have permission first.