When I was a kid, the world didn’t seem dangerous. It was just out there. Whether backyard or neighborhood park, it was a place to explore. I didn’t realize my parents and other adults were watching out for me.

I went to kindergarten when I was five. The school was several blocks away, across a somewhat busy street that had adult crossing guards. But there were still side streets to cross on our own.

My very first day, Mom walked me to school, and a genial old man, the school principal,...

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