Thursday, April 07, 2016

They would have gotten away with it, if it weren't for those meddling kids...

Two stories from different sides of the Atlantic recently highlighted how crime fighting and investigation really can be child's play.

In the UK, cops in Surrey were astonished when a group of kids formed a human arrow to point a police helicopter in the direction of two alleged criminals. As the suspects in a farm burglary case made their way across fields to escape the arm of the law, the enterprising youngsters laid themselves on the ground to act as a signal. All it took was a quick radio message from the chopper and the fleeing men were apprehended.

As a number of commentators have pointed out, it seems like something straight out of Enid Blyton's Famous Five or Secret Seven stories, to which I was addicted as a kid. 

It's true to say that choppers didn't feature much in Blyton. Her young sleuths were from a bygone era in which the village bobby would have been plodding by on his pushbike. And the arrow kids from Capel were on an Easter egg hunt in the company of their parents, so had some cordon of protection. I don't remember the parents in Blyton's books taking the slightest interest in where their kids were from one week to the next. Certainly not the boys, anyway.

Brave and ingenious though the British children were, they surely must doff their caps to an American counterpart - young Hilde Kate Lysiak of Pennsylvania. The nine-year-old daughter of a former New York Daily News hack, she has established her own local rag called the Orange Street News, reporting on the goings-on in the Snyder County town of Selinsgrove (Pop 5,383). 

Does Hilde restrict herself to yard sales and fashion trends at the local prom? 

No siree bob. 

When she got a tip-off about a possible homicide, she was down at the crime scene - notebook and camera in hand, breaking the story before other more established news outlets. It was a scoop which attracted opprobrium from local residents, who felt she would more appropriately occupied with dolls and crayons, but the youthful newshound has since hit back in an online video.

Before we know it, kids will be running the world. And given the track record of these youngsters, perhaps it would be no bad thing.

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