Leiby Kletzy was 8. He may have been a Brooklyn child but he wasn’t street smart by any stretch of the imagination. On Monday he became lost on what was supposed to be a short walk and asked a stranger for directions. Two days later police found his body dismembered in a fridge in an apartment and in a bin on the street. Police are questioning a man who allegedly picked the child up in his car.
Headlines in newspapers online are written to make you click on them. When I saw the picture of Leiby Kletzy with the words “Lost boy killed after asking for help” I knew what was to come.
Not the story so much, which is horrifying and heartbreaking. I too, have only one son and have three daughters to the Kletzy family’s four. The death of a child is a tragedy and reading of this little boy’s death made my chest constrict and heart ache. It would for anyone, parent or non-parent alike. However, it wasn’t reading the story that I was dreading; it is the change in society over the next few days.
For the next week I can expect several people to say directly to my daughter, in my presence, not to trust anybody, to never talk to strangers. They’ll tell me, in front of my daughter, how sad it is that you just never know where the next psycho lives and what a shame we live in a society where I can never, ever, let my child out of my sight.
People who know I believe in the ‘free range’ philosophy of raising children will make a point to contact me or send me the link. See, do you see? This is what happens when a child walks home alone.