Help Find Missing Children

Missing Children.jpeg

Coming out of the mall into the parking lot, I saw this poster lying on the ground. 


It was a flyer to help find a missing child. 


Every time, I see something like this, I just have to take a big gulp and deep breath, as this seems like one of the scariest things that can happen to a child and their parents.


A child is dependent on it’s parents, and when they go missing G-d forbid, the fear of in whose hands they might fall and what may be done to them is unthinkable. 


The goal is to get the word and pictures out to find the child as quickly as possible. 


From 2002, statistics show about 800,000 children go missing every year (or about 2,000 per day)–that is unbelievable!


Of those, about 204,000 were family abductions, 58,000 were non-family abductions, a 115 were taken by a stranger, and the rest were mostly run-aways.


About 1 in 5 runaways are considered likely victims of child sex trafficking. 


A 1997 study showed only 5% of non-family abductions even get reported to police and entered in the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC)–many may not enter a report when a child is gone just a few days or it may get filed under other categories like homicides or sexual assaults. 


In the 1972 and 1981, there were tragic cases of missing children Etan Patz and Adam Walsh, both killed at age 6, with Etan’s remains supposedly thrown in the garbage in Soho (he was never found) and Adam’s located in a drainage canal in Florida. 


Etan was the first missing child whose pictures were put on the back of milk carton. 


In 1983, the anniversary of Etan’s disappearance, May 25, was designated National Missing Children’s Day.


In 1984, the Walshes and other child advocates established the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) “to help find missing children and prevent child victimization”–shockingly before this there was no coordinated federal and state mechanism for search efforts.


– NCMEC tip hotline (1-800-The Lost) has received over 4.3 million calls in the last 32 years and they have facilitated the return of 227,000 missing children.


In 1996, America’s Missing Broadcast Emergency Response (AMBER) was set up as a a child abduction emergency alert system; it was named after Amber Hagerman, a 9-year old abducted and murdered in Texas. 


– AMBER Alerts, between 1997 and 2015, were credited with the safe recovery of 723 children. 


My heart goes out to these children and their families! 


Anything that each of us can do to help with the desperate situation of missing children and their safe recovery is worth not only our attention, but our utmost vigilance and helpful tips. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Two Lost Children

Children

Often we hear about lost children with everything from Amber Alerts to our phones and billboards to advertisements on local TV and even on milk cartons–and it is completely frightening. 

 


Rarely though do we come into contact with lost children…but yesterday it happened to us. 

 


We were taking a nice quiet walk around the neighborhood, but something was different this time. 

 


I see 2 children running down the block, and as they get closer, I see they are not playing, but running scared. 

 


The taller, older girl is ahead of a smaller boy. 

 


As the girl is within speaking distance, her whole face breaks into tears and she starts sobbing loudly.

 


Not knowing if they were in some imminent danger, I asked quickly what was wrong and were they in danger. 

 


By now the little boy has caught up with his sister and they–taking turns–saying they are lost. 

 


We start asking more questions.

 


Are you from around here?  No, they are visiting from NY. 

 


What is the address of where they are staying?  Don’t know. 

 


What the name of the people they are staying at?  Don’t know. 

 


Where are their parents?  Don’t know–they told them to go out and run around the (strange) neighborhood.

 


How old are they? The girl is 7 and the boy is just 4.

 


We told these 2 little kids not to worry that we would help them find their way back and that we wouldn’t leave them until we did. 

 


Immediately, we headed back from where they had come from to backtrack and find their parents. 

 


The boy and girl took turns running ahead, crying, afraid they were not going to find the house they came from and saying the streets here are so curvy unlike the square blocks where they are from in NY. 

 


As we kept going around, I started to get leg pain, as I am still on a cane myself from recent surgery, and we were rushing to find their home in the midday Summer sun.

 


We made it down a long block, looking this way and that with the kids–turned the corner…then again the same thing…down another block…although we try to calm them, as we kept going, the kids get more panicky that they were just completely lost. 

 


Finally, thank G-d, a lady in the distance…the kids start running…they recognize her immediately…it’s their mother. 

 


The lady sees us behind them bringing them home to her…she picks up the little girl who makes it to her first…so glad to have her kids back.

 


She waves to us…a quick sort of thanks–and turns and walks away.

 


That was it…she didn’t say a word and was gone before we even caught up. 

 


The kids were really sweet–and were also fortunate–and I hope they are okay and never have to experience anything like that again. 

 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

 

Alert, Alert, And More Alerts

Alert, Alert, And More Alerts

No this is not an alert, but some strategic thinking about alerts.

As a kid, we get our first alerts usually from the fire alarm going off in school and practicing the buddy system and safely evacuating.

As adults, we are used to get so many types of alerts:

– Homeland Security threat alerts
– Breaking news alerts
– Emergency/Disaster alerts
– Severe weather alerts
– Smog alerts
– Transportation delay alerts
– Accident alerts
– Fraud alerts
– Economic and financial alerts
– Amber missing child alerts
– Internet security alerts
– Power loss alerts
– Home or business intruder alerts
– Fire alerts
– Carbon Monoxide alerts
– Medical/health alerts
– Chemical spill alerts
– Product safety or recall alerts
– Unsafe drinking water alerts
– Active shooter alerts
– Work closure alerts
– Parking garage alerts
– Dangerous marine life alerts
– Dangerous current or undertow alerts
– Air raid siren alerts
– Solar eclipse alerts
– Meteorite or falling space debris alerts
– Special sale or promotional event alerts

With the arrival of highly successful, mass social media applications like Twitter, we have alerts aggregated for us and listed chronologically as things are happening real-time.

The brilliance of the current Twitter-type alerting is that we can sign up to follow whatever alerts we are interested in and then have a streaming feed of them.

The alerts are short–up to 140 characters–so you can quickly see the essence of what is happening or ignore what is irrelevant to you.

When more space is needed to explain the details behind an alert, typically a (shortened) URL is included, which if you click on it takes you to a more in depth explanation of the event or item.

So alerts are a terrific balance between short, attention grabbing headlines and links to more detail, as needed.

What is also great about the current alerting mechanism is that you can provide concise alert information, including:

– Message source (for ensuring reliability)
– Guidance (for providing immediate instruction on response).
– Hazard (for specifying the type of incident)
– Location (for identifying geographic or mapping locality)
– Date/time (for implications as to its currency)
– Importance (for determining severity such as catastrophic, critical, etc.)

While we remain ever, hyper-vigilant, we need to be careful not to become anxiety-ridden, or at some point, simply learn to tune it all out, so we can actually live life and get stuff done.

It’s good to know what’s going on out there, but can too much information ever become a bad thing? 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)