As someone who went to Public Schools between 1953 and 1965

do you know how creepy all this sounds? Doesn't it make you wonder what went wrong?

As a kid I walked to school, walked home, played in the woods, sometimes didn't get home until 5:00 or later. It was all so free, and carefree. Now it seems more like going through enemy held territory. Maybe it's Baby Boomer paranoia, but my kid never walked to school or home until he hit High School, and that's in Toronto which is as close to 50's era Baltimore as you can get. Then again, I didn't attend Public School in Baltimore; I was out in the country, but Toronto's safe and easy compared to many contemporary American cities.

This whole thing distresses me more than I can say. It feels like kids, even my kid, have been robbed of something I cherished then and still do in memory: the concept of being carefree and free to be a kid, to have fun in the most spontaneous ways without a worry. That's what childhood is all about.

Heaven knows our entertainment was full of guns, since it was the era of the western, and I watched a program called Sagebrush Trail every afternoon at 4 PM which was comprised of old 30's western movies. But there wasn't a sense that the movies could invade your life, like Columbine or Sandy Hook.

Oh, well, I guess I'm old.