Children who should not have to know what the words missing, abducted, or kidnapped mean. Instead they should be outside in the sunlight, swimming in the cool refreshing sparkling water of a local pool, or riding their bikes around town. Each child that is missing or abducted lives a different life now. Different in that their lives now involve uncertainty, stress, possibly physical pain, definitely emotional duress.
Do you feel you could make a difference in a missing child’s life? In reality it only takes one person to bring home a missing child. How well do you really look at the young face of a missing child printed on a missing child poster? Do you look at the weekly ADVO mailer that arrives every week in your junk mail with your coupon leaflet? When you hear or see an amber alerts in your area, do you stop and listen and write down the details of possible get away vehicles?
Do you believe you could make a difference in a child’s life? In the end it takes only one person to recognize a missing or abducted child’s bright smile, a missing tooth, a crooked grin, bright blue/green eyes, or a scar/birth mark listed on the missing child poster. Yet it is easier to avoid looking at those lost, missing or abducted children’s faces is it not? Reality is hard to see. When we look at the faces of America’s missing and abducted children, then we have to enter their world for a minute. That brings up the inevitable haunting questions, where are you, are you being hurt, are you alive or dead, and who could do such a horrid act to a child.
A surprising study done by the channel six news team in Florida showed that perhaps people do look for and recognize missing, lost or abducted children, yet if they recognize a child they are unsure what to do next.
The investigative news team printed missing children posters of an eight year old paid actress, named Brittany. They then posted the child’s missing posters on all doors coming into and out of a local mall. Next they had Brittany sit by herself on a bench just inside the mall in plain sight. Shoppers could plainly see her as they entered or exited the mall, they could see she was sitting alone, and they either just pasted her missing child poster upon entering the mall or would see it as they exited less than 60 feet later.
Many people did not notice or choose to ignore not only Brittany, but also the missing child posters pasted on every door. Other people did stop and look at or read the missing child poster, but did not notice the child sitting alone.
Then there were the rest of the shoppers who noticed that the girl on the bench struck a close resemblance to the poster they just passed. Many do a double take as they pass the little girl sitting by herself. Some said they were afraid to go to police and be embarrassed it was not the same girl if it was not her.
In the end after hundreds of people passed the little girl sitting alone on a bench in a mall, only three people actually tried to help the little girl or find out if she was the missing child pictured in the poster.
Three people out of a hundred or more people actually acted on their instincts or concerns. The rest let it go citing fear to get involved, what if it was not her, if it is her what should they do next and so forth, and instead of taking action walked away. Have you walked away from a missing child? What does one do if a child is being carried screaming and kicking out of a local store? Do we question if the person carrying the child is the father or mother of the fighting child, or do we assume it is and walk away, hoping and praying we are doing the right thing.
If you see a child who looks lost or afraid by themselves do you stop and ask are you ok? What stops us from getting involved? Fear that we are wrong. Fear that a parent might get angry at being questioned. Or is it simply the fear that if it is a missing child I do not know what the next step is to take? Ask the child, are you ok, and do you need help? If the child says they are ok and no they do not need help, it is ok to ask the child where their parents are.
If in doubt call mall security and 911 and explain you want to report a possible missing child at the mall. If you are wrong you won’t be arrested, and you should not be embarrassed for erring on the side of caution. However, if you are correct you will reunite a child with her family and end a nightmare for so many people.
Please view the complete story and video that was captured by the Florida news team, Majority Of People In 'Missing Child' Experiment Don't Notice, Help Girl. After you have viewed the story please stop by the
Please look at the little faces as you pass them on the street, at your child’s school and in the public, do you recognize a child from the NCMEC The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children missing children posters? I wish to thank Lisa Shea, owner of BellaOnline, for posting this eye-opening article in the MEC Forum.