BRETT Peter Cowan nearly destroyed my holiday.
Daniel Morcombe's abductor and killer has done so much harm to the Australian way of life.
He hasn't just put the fear into every parent when it comes to letting their children catch a bus, he has also tarnished the camping and caravanning experience.
The chilling account of how he abducted a boy from a Darwin caravan park, molested him, beat him up and left him for dead bothered me long before we packed the van to head north.
Even more disturbing was the number of other people who are like this, the inquest into Daniel Morcombe's disappearance revealed.
Sick men who go to lifesaving events purely to get off on watching young children, like yours and mine, have innocent fun.
I have three children and while I try and keep an eye on them, there are moments when they wander off.
They know about Daniel Morcombe, they know not to trust strangers and go off on their own, but they are children.
And the beautiful gift children have is to see the good in people first and foremost.
Distrust and unease is something that appears to be learned and acquired in early adolescents.
So it was up to us parents to monitor them and limit interaction in case one of the other campers is a wolf in sheep's clothing, like Cowan certainly was.
And I did, for the first few weeks of the holiday.
Each fellow camper was treated like a potential deviant in disguise.
Conversations were restricted and we tried to keep to ourselves.
But you know what, we cannot allow the Brett Peter Cowans of this world to destroy our enjoyment of it.
And the incredible enjoyment of a holiday is heightened by sharing it with new people you meet.
We have met some fabulous people in the last week and our children have made new friends they will never forget.
While we may have only enjoyed each other's company for a short while, I hope we will remain in contact for a lifetime.
Now, as I sat here outside our little van in a caravan park at Fitzroy Crossing, Western Australia, I view my fellow camper as a new species.
Common sense still needs to prevail and our rules about not going off on your own, ever, will not change.
But we exchanged books and small talk with our next-door-neighbour this morning and it was fun.
We are turning to our fellow campers instead of Google about where we should go next.
I'm looking forward to hearing the travel stories of the next people we meet at Broome.
I know one of them might be a monster. But most of them won't be.
Most people are just people, trying their best to get through the sometimes difficult journey that is life.
Bad things happen and we have a responsibility as parents to limit the risk of them.
I will always be thankful to the Morcombe family for creating awareness we desperately needed.
But I still believe we have a lot to gain when we try and see the good in people first.
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