A few weeks ago, Ian McIlwaine was washing his car in the front yard of his British Columbia home while his kids played beside him. His four-year-old son got wet and decided to strip off his wet clothes. McIlwaine thought nothing of it. He asked the child if he wanted a new set of clothes. He didn’t. The boys continued to play in the yard.
The next day the father left for a business trip. A few days into his trip, his wife called him – frantic. The The Royal Canadian Mounted Police had paid a visit to their home. A neighbor called to report the naked boy playing in the yard. The police spent a half hour in McIlwaine’s home, questioning his wife. They finally left with a warning to make sure the child is in the back yard if he ever decides to strip off his clothes. They said there could be “further action” if it happens again.
No laws were broken and the family is understandably freaked out by the experience. They get along with all of their neighbors and have no idea who would have made an anonymous call to the police for something like this. The kids are now frightened of police after seeing their mother distraught through the questioning. To make things worse, McIlwaine told CBC that their home had previously been broken into in the middle of the day while his wife and kids were home and claims that when he called to report it, the RCMP said they “didn’t have the resources” to send someone out.
A call to the police for a naked four-year-old? Is this what we’ve come to? The family has now been through a traumatic experience — and for what reason? Because a neighbor couldn’t stand the sight of a naked child?
There’s no indication in the story that the nudity is a common occurrence around this household — it’s an isolated incident of a child stripping off his clothes while playing in the sun. Big deal. There are way too many people misinterpreting the whole “it takes a village” idea lately. First it’s neighbors reporting children walking home from the park together in broad daylight, now it’s a neighbor reporting a child who’s playing right next to his father. If there was a problem, why not talk to the family, rather than subject them to police questioning?
People need to either start minding their own business, or have the nerve to speak to someone face-to-face with their problems. This anonymous moral vigilantism is getting really old.