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)

Bird’s Nest Surveillance

Birds Nest Surveillance.jpeg

I took this photo today of a bird’s nest on top of a surveillance camera. 


I find this fascinating!


The pure irony of a bird finding safety and shelter in a nest atop a surveillance camera looking out for bad things like criminals and terrorism. 


On one hand, safety and security.


And on the other hand, the fear and insecurity of it all. 


A bird may find a peaceful nesting place there.


But for the rest of us, the world continues to be a very dangerous place. 


Often walking the streets of a major urban city, I think to myself the chaos and danger that could so easily ensue if events took a sudden and serious turn for the worse where society as we know it can completely start to unravel, and as they say, “the sh*t hits the fan!”


I believe that many, if not most people are worried about this, hence the incredible popularity of shows and movies far and wide such as:

 (Fear) The Walking Dead

Containment

The 100

The Last Ship

Jericho

Mad Max

Road Warrior

I am Legend

The Book of Eli

The Postman

World War Z 

Waterworld

Children of Men

Outbreak

Armageddon

Oblivion 

The Day After Tomorrow 

and more. 


The camera is surveilling and the bird is watching from their perch. 


We go about our days like the post apocalyptic zombies that wander the Earth.


But not so deep down, in our minds and hearts is the terror of what can happen at any moment and what is likely destined to happen eventually. 


This is not about doom and gloom, but about what the threats are out there, what is being done or not done about them, and who will ultimately survive and would you even want to. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Help Is Coming

Help

So I used to have a boss who said something really funny.


He used to go, “Everybody says they want to help us” and then bemoaningly he would seem to repeat that a few times. 


The next part which he didn’t need to explicitly say was that “But no one does!”


It was the words, but also much the tone–yes, the walls could be caving in, the ship could be sinking, everything going up in flames, and of course, everyone is there looking on, shaking their heads pitifully, and seemingly stretching out their hand in an offer of help. 


For this boss though, the help couldn’t come fast enough or with enough resources to help resolve all the issues going on at the time. 


I suppose first and foremost, we have to help ourselves. 


Secondly, there needs to be a core understanding from the beginning of what is really doable and what is simply fantasy fare. 


Third, if help is on the way–great, but it’s got to be timely enough and come with enough raw horsepower to make a genuine difference. 


Finally, sometimes miracles do happen and everything works out great–the day is saved–but even then so much underlying damage has been done that you need to rebuild from the core foundations again. 


And for the next time, you’ll need to ensure capabilities beyond what was ever imagined before. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Internet Divide And Conquer

Cut Cable

Remember in the old Western’s when the Indians were about to attack the town, and before they rode in with knives and flaming arrows–what would they do?  


The Indians would cut the telegraph lines–no calls for help out, and no communications in–the town and its people were completely cut off.


The very next scene would be the slaughter of everyone in the town including a bunch getting scalped. 


How have things changed in the 21st century?


Not so much so, as the New York Times reports today on the constant threats to our underground Internet lines being cut–with 16 cuts to the lines in the San Francisco Bay area alone in the last year. 


Similarly just a couple of weeks ago, the media was reporting about the U.S. being worried about Russian subs cutting the undersea Internet cables.


But isn’t the Internet built like a spiders’s web (i.e. the World Wide Web) with redundant routes so that it can withstand even a nuclear attack?


Apparently, if you take out key Internet Exchange Points (IXP) or major international cable lines then the Internet can be seriously disrupted. 


Similar to the impact of an EMP weapon that fries our electronic circuits…poof no more communications. 


If you can cut off our core communications ability–then it’s a simple strategy of divide and conquer.  


Divided we are weak and can’t communicate and organize ourselves to either know what’s going on or to effectively respond. 


Like sitting ducks in the Old West surrounded and cut off–it was a slaughter. 


This is why it is so critical that we not only build redundancy in the cable lines, but that we create alternatives like satellite Internet or Google’s Project Loon for balloon Internet access.


It’s not just the military, law enforcement, and emergency management not that needs to be able to communicate–we all do!


With excellent communications, we can unify ourselves and we are strong–but if we are left in the dark, then divided we fall. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Are We Ready For Anything?

Contingency Planning

So contingency planning is a critical part of risk management.


You never know what can happen in life…


So you must have a solid business continuity plan (BCP) and disaster recovery plan (DRP). 


That way in case of natural disaster or terror attack–we are prepared!


So what was really sad-funny this week was when I became aware of an annual contingency planning exercise that was being conducted as a table-top exercise–that’s legit. 


It was well-planned, scripted to really challenge the participants, and I heard it went very well.


But then just that evening as it turned out there was a real contingency.


What happened?


Everyone was working well to address what happened and how to fix it and kudos to some super great people. 


The only problem was no one seemed to really know or was following what to do from a contingency plan perspective.


In the end everything turned out fine, but it was incredible how planning and training can deviate so far from real life. 


It’s like in school, when administrators conduct fire drills for the teachers and students and everyone gets up like good boys and girls and goes out in an orderly fashion, maybe even in a nice buddy system, but then when G-d forbid there is a real fire, everyone starts screaming and running crazed for the exits. 


Perhaps table top exercises should be thrown out the window and testing should be conducted with realistic scenarios and under mandated lifelike circumstances. 


Instead of smoke and mirror planning, we need serious preparation for the day when it isn’t child’s play or cool drawings on the whiteboard only. 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Sharyn Morrow)

Ready To Explode

Explode

So have you ever had to deal with someone at work and they are NOT exactly acting the consummate professional?


They may be volatile, angry, raising their voice, intransigent, threatening, acting the a*s, maybe even a little meshuga.


Yeah, unfortunately it happens (although it absolutely shouldn’t)!  


People have crap going on in the office, at home, and sometimes they come in and they just can’t cope.  


G-d forbid, they should never really “go postal” as in real violence–but you never really know what you are going to be dealing with. 


One colleague said some people are just “hypervolic“–a new word for someone who is excessive, over the top, and emotionally volcanic!


Yikes–scary enough. 


Another colleague I know who is excellent with people and has decades of experience dealing with a cast of characters told me, “I just look at everyone as a bomb ready to go off.


Ugh, not exactly how I would want to perceive people around me, but the point is well taken–you never know (and you can almost hear the ticking now). 


With some people we sort of know from dealing with them that they have some marbles loose, and while others may appear calm, cool, and collected on the outside, on the inside they may be a volcano ready to blow. 


Heck, you can’t read everyone right and even if you do, you can try to calm them down, listen to them, work with them, talk sense to them, suggest some counseling or other outside assistance, but even then they may go off the deep end. 


Lots of personalities out there, lots of people with problems and stresses, and sometimes we in our best intentions may make mistakes or unknowingly say the wrong thing and it only inflames the situation.


Of course hopefully, calmer heads will prevail, professionalism will take front seat, and people will get some perspective and do the right thing…chill man!


But also keep in mind what my colleagues said, some people may  just be ready to go explode–like a volcano–and we need to be ready for that too. 


How do you prepare for this?


Yeah, I don’t remember them covering that subject in leadership training–maybe with the exception of listen, show empathy, and if worst comes to worst you can either head for the exits to get away or shelter in place before the human stress bomb goes big boom! 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Camilo Rueda Lopez)

Peace To All Mankind

Peace
I liked this post in downtown Washington, D.C. inscribed with the following:



“May Peace Prevail On Earth.”



It left me wondering, if Earth includes:



1) ISIS advances into large swathes of Syria and Iraq

2) Taliban attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan including the one that left 132 children dead in a Peshawar school last week.

3) Boko Haram kidnappings and killings in Nigeria including the hundreds of children taken and given as wives to their captors 

4) Al-Shabaab fighting in Somalia including attacks in the capital, Mogadishu

5) Hamas in Gaza and their barrage of rocket attacks on and terror tunnels into Israel

6) Hezbolah in Lebanon as a proxy for Iran-sponsored terror

7) Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and threats to annihilate Israel off the face of the map.

8) Russia in Ukraine and Georgia and ongoing threats to Eastern Europe/NATO.

9) China’s military build-up, including nukes, submarines, and anti-satellite weapons.

10) North Korea cyber attack on Sony and threatening “the White House, the Pentagon, and the whole U.S. mainland.”



Peace is more than a wish, right now it seems like a dream. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Chaos On Metro

Metro
Sheer chaos on the Washington, D.C. Metro this morning. 



A water main break suspended the running of the Orange, Blue, and Silver lines.



The Metro spokeperson told me pointing with his hand up to his the neck that the water was filling the tunnels and getting way up there–nice!



At the same time, disabled trains on the Red line brought things to a “Major Delay,” followed by the offloading of crowded trains because the conductors couldn’t get the doors shut.



At the stations themselves, numerous escalators were out of commission, you can see them at boths ends of the station here, and the people were backed up all along the platforms. 



At one point, I got caught on the edge of a platform with a huge crowd pushing up against me, and had to tell the person behind me to take a step back (that I didn’t want to end up on the tracks, why thank you, and believe it or not, so not-so-nice people actually laughed at that!). 



Unfortunately, it didn’t take much to see how most of this city can be brought to a snarl or taken right out of commission. 


After 9/11, one has to ask, what have we learned as the Capital of the nation that our basic infrastructure and support systems cannot endure the ups and downs of weather and age, let alone G-d forbid another attack on our soil. 



Hopefully, someone will wake up and step up the planning and preparations here, rather than just spending trillions abroad and with what results. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

In Case Of Emergency

Metro Emergency

Washington D.C. Metro Emergency Instructions


Ugh, long and boring.


How ’bout this instead:


– Don’t Freak Out


– Don’t Get Out

(unless your in immediate danger)


– Don’t Take Your Bulky Stuff Out


– Don’t Fry When Your Out

(stay away from the electrified 3rd rail–zap!)


Easy, smeazy. 😉


[Note: Follow instructions at your own risk.]


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal – sorry so fuzzy, train was moving)

Dire Warnings On Cybersecurity

Security Camera
This week Adm. Michael Rogers, the Director of the National Security Agency and head of U.S. Cyber Command issued a stark warning to the nation about the state of cybersecurity:



With our cybersecurity over the next decade, “It’s only a matter of the ‘when,’ not the ‘if,’ that we are going to see something dramatic.



The Wall Street Journal reports that he gave ” a candid acknowledgement that the U.S. ISN’T yet prepared to manage the threat!”



China and “one or two others” [i.e. Russia etc.] are infiltrating our SCADA networks that manage our industrial control systems, including our power turbines and transmission systems,.



The cyber spies from the nation states are “leaving behind computer code that could be used to disable the networks  in the future.”



Can you imagine…you must imagine, you must prepare–not if, but when. 



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)