Michael Tabman

Where Have All Our Children Gone? Murdered, Missing or Bullied to Death

In Crime and Security on December 29, 2011 at 9:30 pm

Where Have All Our Children Gone?

Murdered, Missing or Bullied to Death

                                                                                                                                                                 

A few weeks ago, I was honored to be the guest speaker at OpieFest, an event named after Jesse Ross, a student who disappeared five years ago.  OpieFest brings together families of missing loved ones and keeps this tragic issue in the public eye.  The number of people who have family members missing and/or presumed dead is staggering and distressing.

This year, we heard of several cases of children who are missing or were brutally murdered.   We also heard of other children who were bullied to the point of suicide.  Let’s not forget how many other cases of such tragedies we did not hear about.

What does this tell us about the state of our society?  While we fight terrorists, thugs and sometimes ourselves in the name of protection and self-preservation, have we forgotten what’s really important? Our most cherished assets seem to have no protection at all.

After a tragedy occurs, we usually respond with new laws and aggressive enforcement actions.  We should write laws that hopefully deter and punish criminal conduct.  After the Casey Anthony trial, there was buzz about creating legislation known as Caylee’s Law – which would require a parent to report a missing child.  This is an excellent idea that I hope reaches fruition.

But the sad reality is that all the laws in the world will not stop a parent from “snapping” or a degenerate from molesting; nor have laws stopped murderers from killing and we will never stop children from bullying.  So what do we do?

We keep alert and stay engaged with our kids, family, friends and neighbors.  We should follow the  mantra for our war on terrorism, “If you see something, say something.”  Learn the warning signs of a parent who is experiencing extreme stress.  Talk to your kids and understand the signs of depression and bullying.  Open a dialog with their teachers.  Watch for the same warning signs in your kids’ friends, neighbors, nieces, nephews and grandchildren.  If  you suspect something is wrong – take action.  Talk and listen.  If necessary, make a referral to the appropriate public agency.  Most importantly, never assume that your friend or family member could “never do something like that.”

For every child who has been molested, murdered or disappeared, they were victimized by someone who was trusted to “never do something like that.”

Remember, “Evil prospers when good men do nothing.”

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