For once, I am speechless. Here is how a provocative column by Wendy McElroy begins:

“On Nov. 28, 2002, 2-year-old Abigail Rae died by drowning in a village pond in England. Her death is currently stirring debate because the ongoing inquest revealed an explosive fact. A man passing by was afraid to guide the lost child to safety because he feared being labeled ‘a pervert.’

In the article ‘Day of the dad: paedophilia hysteria leaves men afraid to help,’ The Telegraph raises a question that applies equally to North America. Have high profile cases of pedophilia created such public hysteria that the average decent human being, especially a man, is now reluctant to approach a child in need?

Consider what happened to Abby. The toddler wandered from her nursery school, Ready Teddy Go, through a door left open. A bricklayer named Clive Peachey drove past her in his truck. At the inquest, he stated, ‘I kept thinking I should go back. The reason I didn’t was because I thought people might think I was trying to abduct her.'”

Read the whole shocking article. I don’t know if our fear of pedophilia has turned into hysteria. I do think that it’s interesting that we’re so obsessed with pedophilia and serial killers (e.g., shows such as Criminal Minds, which weekly features a serial killer sending convoluted messages to the cops, who try to decipher them before he kills again).