The article in Sunday's Times about driving your kids to school has generated a lot of discussion. I just posted a mini-rant in Reader about this, and figured it was worth re-posting here.
As a parent and a computer scientist, to me this comes down to basic probability theory. The idea of the "only 115 abductions a year" stat is to make it sound as though the chances are so low that it's not worth protecting against.
As we all remember from discrete math, though, you don't care about the probability, you care about the expected value. As a parent, the cost of losing a child is, for all practical purposes, infinite. So any "lose my child" event with non-zero probability becomes worth preventing against. The cost of driving a kid to school each day is astonishingly low; there's no point in NOT doing it.
The author is basically appealling to the sentiment of "why aren't things the same as when I was a I kid?" To them I say: the world changes, get over yourself.
This is not meant to be an argument for protecting kids against all possible dangers, but driving your kids to school is pretty much a no brainer. It's right up there with "should I buy my kid a car seat or not?"
By the way, most states these days have much stricter car seat and seat belt laws for children than when we were kids. My kids will never know the joy of bouncing around, unrestrained, in the way back of an '85 Oldsmobile wagon. That's life.