Rational listeners would be inclined to erase any doubts that a nation of sooks is incubating after hearing Rafael Epstein’s warning on ABC 774 Drive yesterday. Before announcing breaking news Epstein warned mums in cars with kids that the issue at hand might disturb the littlies and it would perhaps be best to distract them. It was a report about a woman found dead by foul play somewhere in Melbourne. I don’t blame the announcer, as this is clearly policy from the ABC’s nanny-state branch office who apparently know little about competitive media and couldn’t care less if listeners turned off or switched to another station. It’s also an insult to parents who want their kids to grow with a realistic understanding of the world around them. But worst of all it aims to stifle the natural curiosity of kids for the unusual, even if it is the nasty activities of criminals and other ratbags. Gawd almighty, how would modern swaddle-mummies have dealt with my favourite radio show all those years ago? Sundays on 3UZ, ears would be glued (often Mum’s as well as mine), to Tom Jones’ Newsbeat in which the announcer’s shocked, hushed voice recapped in lurid detail his Saturday night tours of duty with the wallopers through the carnage of Bodgie blues and car crashes that seemingly turned the gutters of Melbourne into rivers of blood. Shocked? Of course I was. Troublesome afterthoughts, even nightmares? You betcha. A similar childhood response followed goodies v baddies movie matinees and superhero comics of the day which usually portrayed plenty of fisticuffs and rifle fire. Yet, paradoxically, the only murderer I know of from boyhood came from way out in the bush with no radio reception or access to movie matinees. And as far as I know, he killed in his middle age, for a contract. For the rest of us, the only problem we had with notoriety was spelling it.