Like many Americans my age, I read this story with a sense of awe at the difference between my own childhood and the norm today. Are things really more dangerous now? Neighborhoods are more anonymous, for the most part, but then statistics say the real danger is from family and friends rather than from strangers. One thing of which there can be little doubt is that our culture feels more entitled to intervene in decisions between parents and children.
I'm curious whether the parents in the Hall will think the mother was in the wrong. The comments in Salon are a tall drink of crazy. "So what if your child isn't suffocated or abducted! He could be maimed by the power window mechanism!" What do I know? I'm over-anxious even about my dogs. Who am I to think I'd have been brave about children? Still, I'm glad I grew up when kids were still allowed to go into the woods alone.