Dumb stuff people say (and write)

I fly solo on business trips, but I am not a pedophile.

I fly solo on business trips, but I am not a pedophile.

Believe it or not, Donald Sterling—the racist owner of the Los Angeles Clippers—wasn’t the only person to say something really dumb in the last week.

Nope, in the world of family travel, Tracey Spicer, a mommy blogger from Australia, scored some serious stupid points, too.

Spicer, who has A RECURRING COLUMN in the Sydney Morning Herald, wrote Sunday about how she doesn’t want her “kids sitting next to a man on a plane.” In a nutshell, her post alleges that men are more likely to commit child sexual abuse on planes.

One of the final lines reads: “Sure, not all men are pedophiles [sic], but offenders are predominantly male.”


If this line isn’t offensive enough, the rest of Spicer’s argument certainly does the job. She cites “data” from the Australian Bureau of Statistics that indicates “90 percent of all child sexual abuse is committed by someone in, or known to, the family.” Then she goes on to write: “However, stranger danger is a risk and women are perpetrators in only about 8 percent of the cases.”

Spicer cites other “information” to support her case. One incident—an obvious outlier—was from 2001. Another, from 2012, widely was accepted to be a case of an airline behaving badly. She mentions a third incident, but that one was from 2012, as well. And it also wasn’t cut-and-dried.

Don’t get me wrong, I applaud the author for trying to raise awareness among parents that you never know who your unaccompanied minor might get as a seat-mate on a long flight.

Still, to do it and besmirch all male travelers in the process—that’s just irresponsible and dumb.

Here’s a novel thought: If you’re a parent and you’re spazzing out about who your child might sit next to when he or she flies solo, how about you just FLY ON THE PLANE WITH YOUR KID?

More important, why do so many people wig out over issues relating to family travel by air? Why do kids on planes prompt people to do and think and say such weird stuff?  What is it about family airplane travel that makes so many sane humans sound nuts? Every time an item like this hits the news, I ask: What could we be doing differently to change the perception of kids on planes?

Let’s hope we find some answers soon.

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