Who decides when we should worry? + “Most Wanted” by Lisa Scottoline

I’m a mother. I get worried about everything with my kids. And we live in a medium-sized town, and things usually seem to be under control.

But then things are reported. Or pieces of things are reported. And we’re told to worry. Or to be aware. Or to be on the lookout for. Or not to worry, it’s not a credible threat.

It seems like there’s a much smarter presence in my town, and in the world in general, deciding which things we should get worried about, as parents.

I’m sorry, it doesn’t work like that.

In the last couple of weeks in this town we’ve had a couple of incidents. The first was last weekend, when a nine year-old reported that he was approached by a man in a car who asked him if he wanted candy, and tried to lure him into the car.

This happened less than a mile from our house.

The second incident happened yesterday. Someone left a note in a bathroom at the high school threatening violence the next day.

The first incident was reported in the paper and online.

The second was reported to high school parents only through a vague phone call.

The first reporting was deemed credible, or so it seemed, by the articles I read.

The second was no deemed credible by the authorities, although they promised to have additional police presence at the school (and all schools, I believe).

They urged parents to send their children to school, although many did not (from what I hear).

59787381Now, I’m not judging any parent’s reaction to either event. Both events scare the living bejesus out of me and make me want to homeschool my girls (until I remember that then they would be home all day) and not let them go anywhere in public. But I start to wonder why authorities are telling us that one event is more worthy of worry than the other?

Why is a nine year-old more credible than a high school student? Are both taken with a grain of salt by the authorities? If so, why are they disseminated to the public in such vastly different manners?

And, if they’re both taken seriously, why are we, the public, supposed to take one more seriously than the other?

I get both scenarios, and I’m really not second guessing. Just wondering.

The incident with the nine year-old: they want the public to be aware that this could be true.

As far as the high-school story: It’s testing season, so students may be trying to get out of tests. And, if they give in and call off school for the day, they’re setting a precedence, which may cause more students to call in to get out of tests, presentations, or just school in general. It was also the anniversary of Columbine, which could make it more and less of a real threat.

Mostly I’m just wondering why the two occurrences were handled so differently. The one story is specific and circulated to the public. The other only communicated to high school parents through phone calls (and may be text messages?) from the school district in vague, un-specifics that caused, in some, more worry. (I do not have a high schooler, but, thanks to other parents and friends ‘in the know,’ I got a few specifics. I think I would have sent my child, by the way.)

So this is me, wondering, not for the first time, who decides what is credible? I don’t think I’m questioning the police; I’m sure they have more information than me, and more than gets into the news. I’m more questioning how the stories are released, and if those releasing the stories realize that the vagueness adds more worry. Tell ALL parents a little bit more. The grapevines of the world (including social media) only add to the gossipy aspects of the story, making it bigger than it may have been.

I guess, in the end, I’m just a parent and I want a clearer picture every time. I don’t doubt that authorities handled both situations well, but I would to know a few more important details. In the nine year-old boy (near abduction) case, the public was given the age of the child, the street where it happened, the time of day, the color of the car, and what the would-be abductor said.

In the high school violence complaint, parents were told there was a threat that was deemed not credible, although there would be a heightened presence. There may have been a little more (I didn’t hear the whole message, but this was the gist of them, as I understand).

I guess, in this instance, less isn’t more. And, as a parent with children at other schools, I think the information should have gone out to the whole district. Just my thinking, because hearing the vagueness that gets handed down through world of mouth is really disturbing.

Okay, enough rambling for today. Onto my review of Lisa Scottoline’s Most Wanted.


 

What if the anonymous donor for your child was a serial killer?

 

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The Premise

Christine and Marcus tried for years to have a baby. When they learned that it wasn’t possible for them to conceive naturally, they decide to use a sperm donor. Christine gets pregnant easily.

They know what they believe to be the important facts about their donor. He’s tall, blonde, and blue eyed (like Marcus). He’s smart, caring, and disease free. No genetic diseases present. He seems perfect. Donor 3319.

And then Christine sees what looks like their donor on the news–as he’s arrested for serial killing nurses. The evidence is stacked against him, and he looks a lot like donor 3319’s picture.

The sperm bank is unwilling to release the name of donor 3319, so Marcus sues, making Christine uncomfortable. His reaction to the news puts a large strain on their marriage.

In order to assuage her doubts and to put some distance between her and Marcus, Christine heads from Connecticut to Pennsylvania to hear directly from the accused, Zachary Jeffcoat. After visiting him, she falls prey to his charms, and begins working with his lawyer to learn the truth.

The only thing Christine is sure of is that she loves her baby, and nothing is going to change that.

But what if she learns that Zachary is the donor? And what if he’s the killer? And how far will Christine go to learn the truth?

My Thoughts

This was a pretty good page turner, and interesting in that I learned a lot about sperm banks.

First off, I liked the main character, Christine. But I thought her husband was a class A jerk. I kind of wanted him to be the serial killer.

The first half of the book was more of a ‘what if’ scenario. I thought this book was going to be a study of a marriage under the strains of the unknown, and the battle in court that would cause a battle between Christine and Marcus.

But, suddenly, it switches gears and becomes a mystery/thriller as Christine searches for answers without Marcus.

The first half was one kind of book, the second another. Both were enjoyable, and worked together.

I give this one 3 1/2 stars. A fun thriller, perfect for the airplane or the beach.

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