Monday, December 7, 2009

Overreaction Kills Santa

The US Postal service announced new safety measures for its Operation Santa program so comprehensive that only 35 stations have decided to participate this year.

Upon receiving a letter from a child the service will shred the envelope, photocopy the letter, redact personal info and then put it out for people to select to fulfill the child's Holiday wish.Admirable and heroic that participating stations are taking precautions to shield children from sexual predators.

Only problem with the procedures is that secular "Santa" won't be able to find the child and give him/her the present. You see all personal info will be redacted. That means address, contact info, and anything likely to identify the child. And since they've shredded the envelope that presumably contains a return address, there goes that info.

In essence, overreaction to the potential breadth of sexual predators has killed Santa for thousands of children who need their wishes realized.

I'm not downplaying the dangers of sexual predators getting a child's personal information but what about the regular person who just wants to do a good deed? Overreaction may have killed Santa but draconian screening measures have killed the Good Samaritan. To get to read and fulfill a child's wish, one needs to wait on line, show 2 proofs of ID and only then will access to letters be granted. I can only imagine how anxious and excited the average New Yorker is at the prospect of waiting on a post office line to fork over ID before being allowed to do nice for a child.


Maybe this year instead of encouraging children to commit pencil to paper and write Santa they can just send him an email

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