Dear Police: Can you please stop telling parents to check their kids’ Halloween candy for drugs?
Urging tens of millions of Americans to look for something that isn’t there is like urging tens of millions of Americans take off their shoes to look for something.
Hmm. Well maybe officially worrying about outrageously unlikely crimes — while pretending that they aren’t unlikely at all — is just something the government does. I once met an FBI employee whose job was to warn school bus drivers about possible terrorist hijackings. (For real — she and I were both speakers at a school bus driver convention. The glamorous life of a thought leader!) My point is that every year, some police department makes it to the news cycle by warning about drugs disguised as candy.
They do this without ever mentioning that if you like drugs enough to buy them, you probably don’t want to give them away to someone who will not pay for them, will not appreciate them and most likely will not even be around when they ingest them, meaning you’ll miss all the fun of watching them stare at their hand or dance for seven hours to EDM.
Nonetheless, the Auburn, Georgia, police posted to Facebook a photo of a whole bunch of ecstasy they seized in a “traffic-related incident.”
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Note that this was not a “Halloween-related incident,” yet somehow it has migrated into a parental warning.
“As you can see the ecstasy looks like candy, little frog heads in all different colors,” the department wrote. “Please make sure to speak with your children and educate them about suspicious candy-like substances.”
Educate your kids about a candy-like substance that is MORE exciting than candy itself? Not sure that is going to dampen a lot of enthusiasm.
The FoxNews report on this incident added that, “It’s unknown how the person was planning on distributing the suspected drugs.” Which is code for, “The person did not mention Halloween, so we will just leave the connection (which does not seem to exist) ambiguous.”
The report then leaps three years back to a 2018 incident when, indeed, two kids WERE hospitalized after eating Halloween candy laced with meth. Which is like reminding parents that while most of the time kids are safe at Disney World, there WAS that time when an alligator...
Auburn’s Sergeant Marc Pharr told Fox that he didn’t intend to give parents “candy anxiety,” but really, that’s all he’s doing with warnings like, “If someone did want to be silly and have that thrown in a bag, they certainly could.” Yup. And I could set my hair on fire, too. I could eat a live butterfly. I could put a rat in my purse and open it at the periodontist’s office. Anyone COULD do anything.
What no one HAS done, as far as we know, is ever kill a stranger’s kid with poison Halloween candy. So this kind of article is not journalism, it’s horror story fan fiction disguised as a service piece, complete with tips, such as “Inspect commercially wrapped treats for signs of tampering, such as an unusual appearance or discoloration, tiny pinholes, or tears in wrappers.”
Pinholes how tiny? Do we need an electron microscope? What about me giving out kind of old candy? That’s discolored. It’s chalky! But it’s not poison.
“Thank you for being vigilant with your child’s safety,” wrote the Auburn police on Facebook.
But desperately hunting through your kids’ candy for Ecstasy is not being vigilant. It’s being gullible, goaded into worry by articles that pretend that good parents have to go through the motions of hyper vigilance to keep their kids safe.
Lenore Skenazy is president of Let Grow, a contributing writer at Reason.com and author of “Has the World Gone Skenazy?” To learn more about Lenore Skenazy (Lskenazy@yahoo.com) and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.