‘Suspicious Man’: Creepy Pervert Or Loving Grandpa?

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When I lived in Israel during my last year of college, I got used to seeing a bomb squad blowing up suspicious objects all over town (like on a bus, for instance, or a park bench). Most of the time the object was nothing more than a discarded lunch but, hey, you can never be too careful.

The same thinking must’ve applied to parents in a Pocatello, Idaho park who freaked out over a suspicious man in their local park. They say he was taking pictures of children and, when confronted by parents, ran off. Local News 8 reported later that day that the suspicious man “with white hair and a beard” was driving a tan/brown van and that, “If anyone has information about this man, police would like them to call police dispatch.”

Guess who called the cops? The man himself, who says he was at the park taking pictures of his grandson. He also claimed to have never run away but that he simply walked away from a woman who started yelling in his face. Needless to say, police are no longer worried about the “suspicious man.”

What is it about so many parents, myself included, that automatically makes us assume the worst in these types of situations (like the guy is some sort of pervert/pedophile)? It’s often difficult to draw the line between being an aware/involved parent and a neurotic one. What do you think? Are these Idaho park parents crazy – or did they err on the side of caution? Would they have reacted the same way to a woman?

(Photo: iStockphoto)