The Low-Trust Society: A Case Study

     I snagged the graphic below from Ace of Spades HQ. The story it tells, though four and a half years old, is an important one. It’s easy merely to allow yourself to be appalled and then pass on to other things. In today’s sociopolitical environment, that’s no longer wise. Anyone could be caught in the toils of something greatly similar.

     Please read the story in its entirety. You may have to download the graphic and magnify it for ease of reading. Then return here and follow along with me as I unpack it, step by step, and invite my Gentle Readers to confront the questions it raises.


     First, the behavior of the would-be baby-snatcher. According to the narrator she was “brimming with nonchalant confidence.” Yet she was about to commit a heinous crime which was once punishable by death and is still regarded as worthy of life imprisonment. That’s a penalty that would deter the overwhelming majority of us.

     Why was she so confident? Was it a veneer and nothing more? Stipulate that it wasn’t; what would have given her such a degree of confidence that there would be no penalty for her theft – indeed, that she would get away with it cleanly?

     Note here that the baby’s immediate guardian was a man and the baby-snatcher was a woman. This will also factor into subsequent developments.


     Second, the father’s stunned incredulity at the baby-snatcher’s brass. If the narrator’s description of his reaction is accurate, he could not accept that the snatch was really happening for a vital few seconds. He sat stunned long enough for her to get baby and carrier some distance away, which might have played into the reaction of the bystanders.

     Why was Dad so utterly stunned? Did he still believe, perhaps subconsciously, in the high-trust / low-crime civilization of seven decades ago? If not, would he have reacted differently or more promptly?

     This goes to the degree of situational awareness prevalent among law-abiding Americans.


     Third, the baby-snatcher’s defensive tactic upon the father’s (eventual) reaction. It was apparently immediate to the point of being reflexive. There are only two possible explanations:

  1. She was completely insane and truly believed the child was hers;
  2. She’d planned it in advance, as with the snatch itself.

     Explanation #1 doesn’t hold water. Her actions throughout were too calm and too calculated to make it plausible. Might she have counted on her sex to give her a tactical edge big enough to get away with the baby?

     If I’m correct, this indicates that the story is unlikely to be unique…or, if it is, to remain unique.


     Fourth, the reactions of the bystanders who intervened in the baby-snatcher’s favor. Given the bare bones of the situation and a typically unobservant crowd in the parking lot, perhaps their conclusion was defensible: i.e., that it was the man, not the woman, who was the criminal. That would be consistent with prevailing attitudes toward men in public places when children are nearby.

     This question isn’t asked nearly often enough: Have Americans become prejudiced against men and fatherhood? The family courts certainly are. Prompt reactions such as the one the father suffered in the story above testify in support.

     Consider the implications with regard to American men’s willingness to marry and become fathers.


     Fifth, the immediate reactions of the police on the scene. Their attitude was defensive of the actions and intentions of the baby-snatcher…who, by that time, had escaped completely, unimpeded by anyone. I find the police’s behavior the least comprehensible thing about the tale. Certainly it’s the least praiseworthy. Perhaps that’s my lingering desire to believe that most police are good people sincerely dedicated to “protecting and serving” the public.

     It’s widely observed today that police are reluctant to intervene in a violent incident, regardless of its nature. Yet in the aftermath, with father and mother both present and testifying, what accounts for their protracted attempt to exonerate the baby-snatcher? Surely by then the facts of the matter were clear. Were they worried about lawsuits? Interrogation by higher-ups? Perhaps an unfriendly inquiry from a political source?

     In any such situation, there’s a possibility that the police on the scene will make a mistake. They’re human, after all. But their fear of the possible consequences “should” not keep them from acting according to the law and the observable circumstances.


     All the above relies, of course, on the narrative in the graphic being an accurate one. If there are any among my Gentle Readers who know differently and can substantiate their claim, please step forward.

     While it is true that father and mother retained their baby, it’s insufficient to say that “all’s well that ends well.” That is not the case…or perhaps I should say that it “shouldn’t” be. But then, we “shouldn’t” have squandered the high-trust society that would once have made all the events above unthinkable from the very first.

     I urge you, Gentle Reader, to pass this one around. If I may once again use that dispreferred word, it “should” be widely known. It would have great impact if it were.


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  1. I was reading Hans G. Schantz’s latest – The Wise of Heart, a novel – that’s serialized at the link. The similarities of the book and this incident – the callous use of “identity” to achieve one’s unethical and immoral way, had me making connections between many such incidents. I’ll be spending some time over the next few weeks writing about it.

    • Evil Franklin on June 3, 2023 at 9:21 AM

    Unfortunately men have been turned into the bad guy in almost all situations. Walking with your child’s hand in yours often brings looks of distrust and suspicion.

    A suggestion would be to place a necklace or bracelet or business card somewhere on your child that will provide support in the event someone claims that your child is not yours. More hi-tech options may be available.

    A mans life can be ruined overnight by unfounded accusations. We’ve seen it happen often. More and more men must take proactive steps to protect themselves.

    Evil Franklin

      • Divemedic on June 3, 2023 at 5:56 PM

      Males have been painted as the bad guys in popular culture for decades. They are assumed to be the bad guys in divorces, child custody cases, domestic violence cases, and most other domestic situations.
      In sitcoms, the oafish dolt is always the white husband. The wife is always painted as either the clever foil to the husband, or the victim of his evil plots.

    • Seething on June 3, 2023 at 12:21 PM

    My thoughts paralleled yours. However, perhaps because I’m the older dad of a teenage daughter, my anger and I credulity at that father was primary. How could a man, whose primary job is to protect and provide for his family, sit there slack-jawed, in condition white, as a stranger approaches him and his child? I view anyone approaching my family within a certain radius pretty much anywhere outside of church as a possible threat. Paranoid? Probably. Justified? Without doubt. That clueless father should have at a minimum should have had his hand on the carrier’s handle, pulling it  between his legs, before that predator was within 10 feet. Ideally he would have been thinking of pulling his concealed firearm even earlier, but I’m sure that milquetoast didn’t have one. Sociopaths are everywhere. We don’t let it stop us from going out and traveling more than most, but you’re a fool if you aren’t aware of what’s going on around you. As General Mattis said, be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet.

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