The up-shot of all this is that the do-gooders have got the entire society by the you know what. It's an intolerable situation where every grand-father (I'm one of these) is now subject to this kind of very public "social abuse".
The story was a straight forward one. Grand-dad and grand-daughter went to the beach. grand-dad was the responsible adult supervising his granddaughter as she frolicked in the sand. It was fun. It was a beautiful family occasion.
The little one had not bought her swimmers, she stripped to her panties and enjoyed paddling with grand-dad some distance away keeping a sharp eye-out. When it was time to get out of the water he helped his little granddaughter get back into her little dress.
Next thing – the Police are there! Police carrying batons and guns. The little girl's mum expressed serious concerns that one cannot help but feel the situation was overblown. ''It started several years ago with families not being able to take photos of their own children at swimming pools and now it seems to have progressed to scenarios like this. As a society, I believe we have grown too paranoid. I feel so sorry for all the grandfathers' who face this sort of scrutiny and persecution, simply for spending time with their grand-kids."
There you have it. Grand-dad was shaken to the core. "The Police wanted my name, they took my identification. They also talked to Emma and asked her name and date of birth. They informed me a complaint had been lodged,'' the distressed grandfather exclaimed. He's never been the same since, never quite got over it.
Granted, it didn't take long for the Police to figure out that the anonymous call alerting them to what they considered a suspicious situation, was harmless, but grand-dad and the family are shattered to the core.
Eamonn Duff quoted grand-dad ''Would this have happened if I had been a female? Would it have occurred had I been a younger man? I would like to meet the person who made the call. I'd like to ask why they couldn't have at least approached me, so we could have avoided all this."
Joe Tucci: anxiety instead of confidence
But it's not grand-dad who has been most affected, but the little girl. She was confronted by what must have been terrifying to her as a little person, these super huge Police officers, kitted out for the kill. Read the article to see what it's done to this tiny little girl!
Eamonn Duff sought out the chief executive of the Australian Childhood Foundation and registered psychologist Joe Tucci to get a response, who noted that raising community awareness about child abuse had inadvertently triggered ''widespread anxiety'' instead of ''confidence''.
Joe Tucci expressed the view that people are responding not necessarily in a helpful way. In this case, the execution is not what he would have recommended: ''Given it was so public, the person could have at least approached the grandfather for a few words. Yes, it might have ended up being a little embarrassing to both parties but at least it would have avoided that young girl's involvement and negative experience with police.''
But the hapless Police were once again put into an impossible situation. ''It's better to be safe than sorry. If a member of the public does see something that causes them concern, we encourage them to contact police and we will follow that up,'' said Detective Acting Superintendent Linda Howlett, the acting Sex Crimes Squad commander.
15 grandfathers on the beach
As stated earlier, the up-shot of all this is that the do-gooders have got the entire society by the you know what. It's an intolerable situation where every grand-father (I'm one of these) is now subject to this kind of very public "social abuse".
We live in Tweed Heads, not a three minute drive to Rainbow Beach at Coolangatta, and when the grand children visit from Sydney, we all go to the beach, allowing the grand children to enjoy the sand, building sand castles, wading in the water a little way in and jumping the waves of the surf, and camera in hand, just as our parents did with their grand children.
False accusations across the board, have bought so much harm and distress and anxiety, that it needs a judicial reversal to bring this thing to book for fun loving families to re-take the land. Society cannot have a few do-gooders controlling the mores of national past-times. This Christmas–New Year period at the beach, I counted no less than 15 grand parents like me, with cameras in hand, enjoying the family fun as of yesteryear.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html