Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Book Review - Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe (and Parents Sane)

I finished reading Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe (and Parents Sane) by Gavin de Becker last night and feel obligated to review it.

The first half of the book is great. It's not terribly groundbreaking, when considered as a sequel to The Gift of Fear, but it's a good book, especially for a parent worried about his or her children. There is a solid focus on prevention and trusting intuition.

The second half of the book has a different focus. Starting with the chapter on guns, Mr. de Becker abandons the premise of prevention and starts pushing an agenda. Instead of using intuition to avoid problems, he pretends that inanimate objects are the cause of society's ills. At one point, he derides gun owners for trusting their intuition in dealing with potential criminals. Apparently, in the author's mind, the most effective form of self defense in existence has a magic switch in it that kill intuition and critical thinking.

The author spends countless pages parroting bad studies published by the most biased groups available and actually pokes fun at the idea that guns prevent violent crime. The hypocrisy is entertaining, because the author owns a security company that employs armed guards. If guns don't help, why does he require them?

Further, the author advocates more government intervention, at any hint of a sign of trouble to an extent that would make any liberty-loving individual twitch. Child abuse is horrible, but the methods must be followed, or we'll soon be allowing all government intrusions.

In short, read the first half of the book, and a couple of the appendices, then put it on a shelf. The second half of the book is pushing for big government, no effective means of self defense and sweeping laws based on statistically minuscule problems and relying on benevolent government intervention.

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