The 21st Show

Kim Brooks On ‘Parenthood In The Age of Fear’; The Need For High-Speed Internet In Rural Areas


Kim Brooks

On the 21st: Chicago author Kim Brooks joins us to talk about her new book, "Small Animals: Parenthood in the Age of Fear." But first, millions of rural households still don’t have high-speed internet, and for those in the farming business, that makes life even harder. 

For the parents out there, imagine asking your child to run outside to walk the dog. Now imagine that because of this, the police might come to your door.

You might have heard about this story recently as it made headlines here in Illinois. A North Shore Chicago mother made what seemed like an innocuous parenting decision to, as I said, send her child out for a walk with their family dog. But a neighbor saw this as unsafe and called the police. While they never ended up pursuing charges, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services did end up investigating neglect. And it makes us all wonder, are we making safe decisions? And should we continue to abide by the old adage that if you see something, you say something?

Chicago author Kim Brooks has been grappling with these issues and her own similar story in her new book Small Animals: Parenthood in the Age of Fear. She joined us in our studio at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. 

Diane Redleaf also joined us in the studio. She’s the legal director of the National Center on Housing and Child Welfare and the author of “They Took the Kids Last Night. How the Child Protection System Puts Families at Risk.

But first - 

Nearly all Americans now have access to the internet. But, many residents in rural areas either don’t have it at all, or have service that’s much too slow for what they need to do business.

The federal government has taken some action on this by announcing more than a billion and a half dollars toward helping rural areas expand access. And as Congress debates the latest version of the Farm Bill (which needs to be renewed by the end of this month) we wanted to get a sense of what this looks like for farmers and people in the farm business.

Mary Hansen joined us on the line. She reported on this for the Illinois Newsroom, a statewide collaboration of public media stations. 

We also spoke with Phil Jensen. He was on the line from Newton in southeastern Illinois, where he owns his own farm equipment business.

And Mike Romano joined us. He is senior Vice President of Industry Affairs at the Rural Broadband Association.

Story source: WILL