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World Clocks

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Scaring our Kids

I just opened an email from my kids' elementary school. There was a nine page email forwarded by the school district from Senior Investigator Gary B. Kelly of the NYS Police Department Special Victims Unit.  I read that he is inviting all fifth graders in NYS to participate in a national contest promoting "Bring Home Missing Children."

His email includes the statistic, "1.3 million children are reported missing each year."  Really?  Really??

Assuming that the kids are not going missing in large groups, but individually, one would immediately think that there must be 1.3 million kidnappers out there, lurking to grab our children.

Then I remember that teenagers who run away are also included in this "missing" statistic.  And of course, anyone who has a sixth grade education knows that most missing kids are with one of their parents or a family member.  Not that this makes them necessarily safe, but it does alleviate those fears that there are millions of childnappers out there. 

So, I checked the stats from the Department of Justice.  How many children were kidnapped by a stranger?  Um, 115.  Yes, yes, my heart breaks for them and their families, loved ones and friends. 

But 115 is a far different number than ONE MILLION THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND. 

So, there is a national contest where the posters will be collected, judged, and chosen across the nation with a free trip to Washington DC for the winners, their teachers and parents.   I don't have a degree in criminology or law, or even marketing, but don't you think Facebook should just have all these missing children's photos, names, birthdates, and information readily available?  Isn't that the number one networking site?  Aren't more people looking at FB than any other site?  Doesn't it account for one out of every ten hits?? 

Why are our fifth graders being scared out their little minds about all these missing children and made to feel responsible for finding them? 

Isn't the real, unspoken culprit here the divorce rate in the US?  Most of the children who go missing are abducted by their divorced/divorcing/separated parents. 

So, here's my poster: 


                    TO THE ADULTS:

                    BRING YOUR MISSING CHILDREN HOME.
                    WORK ON YOUR MARRIAGE...IT'S WHAT YOU VOWED TO DO.
                    THERE'S LOTS OF HELP AROUND, JUST LOOK UP AND ASK.