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Editorial: The crime of walking

Proponents of the Nanny State would like nothing more than for the government to seize more and more control of our children. These politicians, bureaucrats and busybodies want you to think that they — and not parents — know what’s best for kids, and they view all parents as children and child abuse suspects until proven otherwise. So they are likely ecstatic about recent news out of Tennessee.

A mother from Whitwell, a small town near Chattanoogs, will be in court later this month to face charges stemming from a March incident when deputies found her driving ahead of her daughters as she made them walk to school as punishment for missing the bus.

Oh, the humanity!

According to a report by Marion County sheriff’s deputy Chris Ladd, Lisa Marie Palmer was driving ahead of her daughters, allowing them to walk and catch up to her vehicle and then driving farther, continuing the process until they reached school. Deputy Ladd says the girls had already walked roughly a mile and a half, and had two more miles to go to reach the school. “Temperatures were cold, and traffic was beginning to become heavy with citizens heading to work,” he said. “Mrs. Palmer was in no position to reach her children safely in the event of an emergency.”

Upon stopping Ms. Palmer, the deputy cited her for child neglect. She also didn’t have a valid driver’s license, so he began trying to find a ride to school for the girls. Shortly after, Ms. Palmer’s husband, Brandon, and her father-in-law, Douglas Palmer, arrived. An argument ensued leading to the arrest of Douglas Palmer on charges unrelated to the original incident.

While it is unlawful to drive without a license, the mother’s actions before the traffic stop were hardly out of line. Thousands of kids walk to and from school every day, and many of them walk farther than the 3.5 miles the girls were walking. There is nothing inherently dangerous about such activity nor is there anything outlandish in the mother’s choice of punishment.

It’s a sad state of affairs that more parents are finding themselves in the crosshairs of the authorities for simply trying to teach life lessons or encouraging children to function independently.

The fact that this trifling affair led to charges against the mother of the girls is both an indication that Whitwell police have too much time on their hands and the death of common sense. But that’s just a routine casualty of the Nanny State run amok.

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