Oops! I owe Mattemma04
an apology because I did misread that first part of her post. I see now that she was never in favor of the man's camera-phone getting searched.
However, it looks like there are actually some here who do see this sort of things as being "better safe than sorry."
I don't blame the teen, although for me, the fun was in imagining the whole "danger" scenario with my friends, so I had no thoughts of actually making it known to some complete stranger that he was the "suspect" in our little drama. So it's kind of hard to imagine this girl wanting to take it to the next stage like that.
I was more the type to have a lot to say and then be horrified if someone actually passed along what I was saying to the other person. I still am sort of like that, although of course now I'm much more aware of the reality that things never usually stop with the person you're talking to. Plus I've naturally grown enough integrity (I hope) to know I should follow the basic rule of not saying stuff about others that I wouldn't say to their faces, and of treating others the way I'd like to be treated.
One of my girls had a situation a while back where she felt pretty sure that a neighbor who came to our house stole some money out of her purse. It's possible that the child did this, but dd also wasn't 100% sure about whether she hadn't already spent the money. And this wasn't the only child who'd been in our house. So, I suggested that she a) keep her money in a less accessible place and b) not say anything about this to the girl or to the other kids.
I asked her to think about how she'd feel if someone had accused her of something like this. How could she prove her innocence in such a situation?
I have the same response to comments that a particular guy looks "creepy." I tell her that it's definitely a good idea to turn her bike around and head back home if there's someone out there that she doesn't feel comfortable riding past for any reason. It's always good to follow her instincts about staying away from certain people and coming to me or her dad with any concerns.
But it it would seriously not be cool to be calling the police to have them check out everyone who she thinks might be a bad person. Because, when you accuse someone of being a "perv," how can the accused person prove his innocence? "Lack of evidence" doesn't always satisfy onlookers that the guy who was just searched by the police is really a nice guy.
I mean, how would this girl feel if some mean-spirited kid felt like spreading a rumor that she had some incurable STD? How could she prove that she didn't? It might have some effect on her ability to get a boyfriend; maybe she'd only get called by boys who didn't care about whatever they might get exposed to. I really don't think it's totally impossible for this teen to learn some empathy, and to learn that old granpas are people, too.