Paranoid Daycare Center
This "Church Sunday" at Newark USA, I show a church and its daycare center in the Springfield Avenue area. I was looking for Petland Discounts on Springfield in Irvington but turned the wrong way and ran out of Irvington eastward into Newark. As I turned down a sidestreet to head back west, I saw a church, so got out my camera and took this picture thru the car window. I planned to look the church up online later to see if there's a website for it. (I later found only bare listings that show its address and phone number (702 South 14th Street, Newark 07103-1714; (973) 242-2440).)
As I looked more carefully at the blockfront, I saw to the right a daycare center (United Day Care, also 702 South 14th Street; (973) 642-2799) that appeared to be associated with the church, so drove up farther, turned the camera sideways and started to zoom to fit that building within the frame, when I heard a woman's voice shout something like, "Are you taking a picture? Can you do that?"
I found that a peculiar thing for anyone to say, and the answer is "Yes, anyone can legally take a picture of anything in public." That's why paparazzi can't be stopped from taking fotos of celebrities as they walk around on public streets. I finished lining up the shot and took the picture, but still didn't know who called out that peculiar pair of questions, when a middle-aged (black) man walked out the door of the daycare center and challenged me. Why am I taking pictures? Still not aware of his problem, I said, "I want to give you some publicity." Then I did what I hadn't wanted to have to do, got out of the car and walked over to him, handed him my card, and told him I have a fotoblog that does a feature called "Church Sunday", and I was taking fotos of this neighborhood church and its affiliated daycare center.
Only then did I find out what the problem was, in his twisted, evil-thinking mind. You see, anyone who wants to take fotos of a daycare center has to be some kind of child-molesting, perhaps even child-murdering pervert! I was very puzzled by this, and pointed out that there were no children around when I was taking the picture. Check the foto yourself. I was showing a BUILDING and its sign, so people interested in childcare services in that neighborhood might have information about that facility. I have shown other daycare facilities and signs for the same purpose. The old fool was not mollified, but continued to assert that there is something intrinsically suspicious about anyone taking a picture of a daycare center, whether there were children around at the time or not. I was by this time fuming.
Hillary Clinton popularized the expression, "It takes a village to raise a child". Today's hyperparanoid society would void that, and substitute something like "Everyone in the village wants to rape and kill your child." I didn't say exactly that, but I did tell the fool that it is socially destructive to promote suspicion of people who take interest in programs for children. He asked, if I had a child in that center, would I be comfortable with someone taking pictures of it, and I answered that yes, of course I would. (What I didn't say is, "I am not a paranoid loon.") I pointed out that the same absurd suspicion bans fotos at the swimming pool of the Boylan Street Recreation Center if children might be in the picture! Madness — profoundly socially destructive madness.
The fool was adamant in his stupidity, and retired into the daycare center, saying he didn't think they could use any publicity I might give, but would contact me if they changed their mind. It's been a couple of weeks, during which they could surely have checked out this blog, but no one has called. It doesn't matter, tho, because that's not the way it works. They don't control what I say in my blog, and they've got publicity, whether they want it or not. They've got it, because they deserve it. Who knows, paranoid parents might be reassured about paranoia on the part of the staff of that daycare center.
I would remind such parents, however, as I might have said to the fool himself but didn't, that if adults who want to be around children are suspect, then HE and every other adult on the staff of child-services agencies are the FIRST people to suspect!
This country has got to stop promoting distrust, and encouraging everyone to regard everyone else as a potential enemy. That is hugely destructive socially. Adults are SUPPOSED to be interested in children and to take interest in programs for them. If we are not, then we will vote down all bond issues, veto all school building projects, cut out funding for daycare centers, etc., and let parents fend for themselves. They'll get no help from the village. No help at all.