So if you live in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and were watching primetime TV last night, you probably got startled by the alert that flashed across your screen not to mention that loud alarm system-like sound that went along with it.
A boy in Orillia had been abducted – or so authorities thought. Thankfully, this story had a happy ending with the boy being found safe a few hours later and it also being revealed that he hadn’t been abducted after all. It was a case of misunderstanding – where a family member forced the boy into a car because he had run off earlier.
Phew. Case closed.
But something very unsettling came out of this incident. While most of the reaction was generally positive, much of it was also quite alarming (pun not intended). Several people complained about how inconvenienced they were during their beloved season finale’s while the Amber Alert was on. And much to my dismay, one report even stated that viewers called 911 – not for an emergency, not because they had a potential lead on the alert, but because they were annoyed with the alert itself! Unreal.
Have we really become that shallow?
Here’s one example of the negative reaction:
Thank you, tweeter. You are either just vying for attention or basically saying that the next time a child goes missing, no one should be notified because it’s ‘annoying’. The ignorance is truly disappointing.
To all those who complained, what if it was your child that had seemingly been snatched? Would you not want the public helping in the search for their safe return? The fact that this occurred in Orillia does not matter either as would-be kidnappers would easily be able to travel from one city to another. The invasiveness of this alert was as effective as it was meant to be with the vehicle in question being tracked down as quickly as possibly because of it.
And despite the fact that it ended up being a false alarm, the alert was issued because it was presumed that a child had gone missing! This was the first time a nationwide alert of this magnitude had gone out and, in my opinion, it absolutely delivered. Everyone was notified on any device, anywhere.
For me, I felt a real sense of community when I saw the alert. I felt involved and felt a real concern for this child and instinctually wanted to do anything I could to help locate him safely.
So two key messages here:
1) The next time such an alert comes across your TV or mobile device, please accept the alert for the message it is conveying. It is meant to be loud, shrill and intrusive so that it gets your attention, regardless of what you are doing. Try not to get annoyed. Whatever you’re in the middle of watching will be available to view later – but a child missing may not see another day. I still have faith in us as humans to put our selfishness aside and think of others – especially in a time of desperation and need.
2) To parents and guardians: think twice before you cause a scene, forcing your child into a vehicle again – you never know who’s watching and what the consequences could be of a misinterpreted action.
What are your thoughts on this? Please share your comments below.
The image in this post can be found here.