No one is more truly helpless, more completely a victim, than he who can neither choose nor change nor escape his protectors.
- John Holt
Just as we wouldn't toss away a can of beans before eating them, we oughtn't dispose of radical ideas, no matter how radical, before digesting them first. This is today's can of beans: children, even small children, ought to be treated as independent beings and enjoy the same rights as adults. Eight-year-olds should vote. Five-year-olds should maintain the right to divorce their parents over a refusal to go to bed.
Whether this would be "good for the child" is a separate argument altogether; what we are discussing here is another human being's rights. Is this unreasonable, irrational? I think so, and I would imagine that you do, too, but I'd also like to suggest that we, as people who were raised in a society that denies these rights to children and have never witnessed the alternative,are incapable of reaching an informed verdict on the matter.
Perhaps it isn't in the child's best interest to, say, allow a six-year-old to wander the countryside without parents or ... say ... run around on a Major League Baseball diamond during a game. But perhaps we also have the moral responsibility to grant this person the same rights as that person, without regard to age or height or the expectations we may set upon them.
Are you done? Here, I'll take your can for you. We recycle in this household. To the blackboard:
At 3:15 p.m. Central time (4:15 Eastern) on April 19, 2012, this enterprising young gentleman in the South Side rose from his seat, found a way over the railing, and bolted through U.S. Cellular Left Field, objective and destination unknown. Here is video documentation of his adventure.
The gentleman in the White Sox uniform is Dayan Viciedo. This was his 17th career putout at left field, and likely his most notable, because this time, he put out the flickering flame of ambition in a child's heart. He is to be commended, I suppose. In this instance I'm going to break a rule of mine, which is never to scold or condemn a field-stormer. If the child had happened to run on the field while a play was in progress, he could have placed himself in a considerably dangerous situation, and I'm afraid that I cannot encourage such behavior.
I would love to continue to lecture you, but we have statistics to gather.
Estimated run time: 18 seconds, but it could be argued that a field-storming isn't completed until the runner is apprehended by security personnel. I find this argument to be sound, and so I am awarding him the extra 11 seconds in which he was being carried by Viciedo. This is a 29-second run.
Estimated run distance: 140 feet
Evasions attempted: 1
Interactions with players: 1 (was lifted and carried around by left fielder)
Security guards in play: 2, though neither appeared to be in full pursuit.
This is the 12th field-storming incident I have documented, and this is certainly the youngest field-stormer I have seen. The most obvious comparison to draw is the 2002 incident in which Dusty Baker's then-three-year-old son, who was serving as a bat boy, erroneously tried to pick up a bat near home plate in the middle of a play.
The clear difference is that that young fellow was attempting only to complete a task assigned to him, to do what was expected of him. This young fellow dispensed with the social mores of the parent-child complex as profoundly as he dispensed of the notion of trespassing and private property.
Are these mores a necessary constant of nature? Perhaps rights had to be compromised -- perhaps children really did need to be ordered to stay in the hut for we as a species to survive. But this fellow never asked for that. He asks for nothing. He only knows that he is here, now, and he lives and acts without regard for such silly cultural artifacts as "our permission."
Click here to read more adventures in field-storming.