We need to calm the eff down

It’s justifiably a worst nightmare, but child abduction in Canada is not the norm.

Missing Children Society of Canada looked at the 46,718 missing children recorded by the RCMP in 2011. The majority were runaways, parental kidnapping accounted for 145 and a stranger kidnapping was 25. Though absolutely horrifying, one missing child is too many, these numbers do not reflect Canada’s 5,607,345 fourteen years and under crowd recorded by Statistics Canada.

Parental abduction is what will most likely occur in the rare event that your child is kidnapped. It usually occurs between separated parents, where one is not abiding by the custody agreement.

The RCMP website says, “Canadian law enforcement definition of a stranger not only refers to someone totally unknown to the child victim but also refers to relatives, friends, and acquaintances.” So strangers are rarely true strangers.

Well if it doesn’t happen that often why are we always hearing about children kidnappings? The same reason we hear about shark attacks when they happen – they are rare occurrences. If news were about everyday stuff it wouldn’t be called news. It would be called stuff that happens all the time. Having it brought to our attention, such as through Amber Alerts, helps families find their children quicker. It’s about helping others, not fearing for ourselves.

Also, we are fucked up. My first-year journalism professor told our class that a newspaper in California only ran happy stories, and bombed. We as a people like the most terrifying, shocking stories.

A child being abducted is already a heart-wrenching story. I myself cry and physically hurt every time I hear of one. The more gruesome the story, the more it is shoved in our faces.

What parents really have to fear is the stigma they may get if they let their kids run outside, say hello to strangers or walk home from school without a parent. We have to fear the people who fear the improbable for our children. We live in a time where a man fawning over a baby, the way a woman stereotypically would, is seen as perverted instead of caring. Toy recalls are all over the place.

I have recently finished feminist writer Inga Muscio’s book, Cunt: A declaration of independence. In it she speaks of a lady named Jaleh, who fled Iran to America. Though grateful for her new life, Jaleh was shocked over how cold American women were to each other, while women in Iran cared for each other. I relate to this story because our sense of community here in Canada can easily be lost in a sea of paranoia. And that’s fucked up.

Canadian statistics of missing children has decreased since the beginning of their recording in 1987 by over 10,000. Things are getting better. And while I agree we must watch our children, teach them about safety, even enroll them in self-defense, I also believe we need to let them have a childhood.

When I bring this topic up, even with those opposed to me, people admit that they had fun growing up, running through forests, playing at their friends’ houses. Do you want to deny your child of these memories? It’s scary, I know. I get freaked out too. But we can’t let fear control our lives, nor those of our children.

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6 thoughts on “We need to calm the eff down”

  1. Thank goodness I’m not alone in this. Sometimes it truly feels that way, and I know it does for others too, and that’s who this blog is for =) So sad that a parent can’t even let there child play in their own backyard. I wonder how all these prior generations ever made it out alive lol

  2. This is a huge touchy subject for me-living here on the very land that was once the infamous pig farm you mentioned. Since my son was old enough to play outside on his own he has had no one to play with without being tethered to a parent or caregiver of some nature. I’m not sure who everyone fears-really. I grew up with Clifford Olson who targeted children in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s in my area yet we were still on our bikes and exploring our worlds. We were out with friends and playing kick the can until the lights came on. The exact neighbourhoods now when I go through or even look out my window are virtual ghost towns. I know the kids exist because the schools are all full-just look inside the cars dropping the kids off those daunting two blocks from garage to school door.

    I am thrilled when my son (11) can get together with one specific friend because this child has parents that think like I do and like my mother before me-‘Turn that screen off and get out of my house, go have some fun and buy some milk on your way back’. We go through the basic rules, time expected back and then he’s off. The first time I visited a friend in Northern BC (formerly the highest crime rated in Canada per capita) we let the children play at the school playground across the street, their ages were single digit (probably 7) but there were 3 of them and they were across the street. It was freeing and amazing when they all arrived sun kissed and happy after playing for 25 minutes-we could see them if we needed to, windows were open, we could hear them… Ugh, I already feel the need to justify allowing my kids to play in a safe way!

    It’s easy to keep the kids inside, it’s easy to have them home and safely in front of the tv or some other electronic gadget. This way we know where they are and who is influencing them (or do we-next rant is all about eight year olds playing grand theft auto) since we chose the channel/bought the cartridge ourselves. I fear what this automated dependence is going to do to our kids more than the creepy guy we all imagine at the playground.

  3. No no don’t worry! Even if this kind of thing is rare, rare cases are still too many. It’s good to get the word out, I’m sending good vibes and I’ll pass this on.

  4. I live in a place where I could run around as a child, but unfortunately, you never know. Last Friday, 2 girls were riding their bikes and were abducted from here. They still have no leads. PLEASE PLEASE help spread the word! Here is a link to their Missing poster: http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/wcfcourier.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/6b/c6bdc22a-ce7d-11e1-ab38-0019bb2963f4/5002c04654cd0.preview-699.jpg
    An Amber Alert was not issued since no one saw an abduction. Here is an article on it: http://wcfcourier.com/news/evansdale_search/
    Info on twitter can be found at #evansdalesearch
    These girls could be anywhere, so PLEASE keep your eyes open. Bring these girls home. Their mommies need them.
    Sorry to overtake your blog with this comment. And this probably does nothing to help your anxiety with this issue!

  5. Always love your posts !!
    So true , kids need to PLAY 🙂 How will they ever learn if society keeps them coddled up until they are 19 , and can get into all sorts of trouble ? hahaha

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