Archive for May, 2012

Today is National Missing Children’s Day

May 25, 2012

This was published by Yahoo’s Trending Now.  I don’t need to say anything, except that I hope you will read the entire article. There are powerful and new facts for you to absorb despite the sadness …..

Big Story: The missing      By Vera H-C Chan

Etan Patz missing poster (AP, New York Police Department)May 25 is National Missing Children’s Day. Etan Patz, its poster child, remains missing.

After 33 years, a man has stepped forward to confess to strangling Patz. Proof will be another matter, as the former grocery store worker has not been able to provide the body nor has he given a motive. As for the confession’s timing, a realtor who rented the suspect his apartment told the Star Ledger that maintenance people heard he was battling cancer, but nothing more has been substantiated.

When Etan vanished May 25, 1979, he was said to be the first missing child featured on a milk carton; his father Stan Patz, a professional photographer, supplied the photo. Etan’s face was the first to appear on a Times Square electronic billboard six years later. In an era of highly publicized kidnappings — among them Adam Walsh, whose 1981 disappearance prompted his father to host “America’s Most Wanted” — the campaign convinced President Ronald Reagan to call May 25 National Missing Children’s Day. A year later, Congress set up the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

How Etan changed the nation’s laws: Before this case, how law enforcement dealt with the missing varied.

Etan’s disappearance revealed that the systems in place were inadequate to deal with missing children. Schools did not alert parents if children did not show up. Depending on the jurisdiction, a police response could take as long as 24 to 72 hours after a child’s disappearance. According to the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), in 76% of missing cases where the child is abducted by a non-family member and killed, the murder occurs within the first three hours of the kidnapping. Furthermore, there was little communication between police departments; if a child was taken over city or state lines, the trail was often lost. (April 28, The Economist)

The wrenching horror of a missing or murdered child fueled other changes: The 1989 kidnapping of 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling led to the federal sex offender registry, although these days many know such legislation as Megan’s Law, in honor of Megan Kanka, killed by her neighbor in 1994. (Wetterling remains missing.)

The 1996 murder of 9-year-old Texas girl Amber Hagerman triggered the AMBER alerts. Her case remains unsolved, but the alerts have improved clearance rates of finding children to 97% — in 1984, the odds had been 62%.

Oprah Winfrey presents an award to Jaycee Dugard, 2012

The numbers: Stranger abductions are high-profile partly because they’re extremely rare: About 110-200 are snatched, out of 600,000-800,000 children that go missing each year.

The statistic of a child murder happening within three hours of an abduction can be a panicking, but misleading one, that comes from a 1993 Washington project. Of 600 murders studied, 76% had been killed within three hours. “It suggests if we don’t find them in the first 24 hours, we should give up hope,” NCMEC executive director Bob Lowery tells Yahoo!, but points out that cases like Jaycee Dugard and Elizabeth Smart clearly offer hope.

What that timeline should do is instill a sense of urgency and the importance of alerting police immediately.

In nearly 60 percent of the cases studied, more than two hours passed between the time someone realized the child was missing and the time police were notified (2006 Child Abduction Study, Washington State Office of the Attorney).

In the case of California teen Sierra LaMar, the high school didn’t notify the parents of her absenteeism until 11 hours later — typical procedure even in the high-tech San Francisco Bay Area. (The school has since changed that policy.)

Child ID app, FBI.comHow to protect your children and how your children can protect themselves: In an age where stolen iPhones deliver their own locations, it’s tempting to look to technology — from smart phones and GPS tracking devices to social media — as a precaution. NCMEC doesn’t recommend gadgets, but Lowery says, “One key piece is a current image of the child. The FBI has an iPhone app for parents that we do endorse.” The Child ID app helps parents keep current data, including a photograph. (No information is shared with the government unless parents enable permission.)

The most effective tool, Lowery says, is the spirit of the kids themselves. “Children who are more assertive and willing to bring attention, who are willing to say ‘no’ to an adult figure, are the ones less likely to be successfully abducted.” More ways to protect minors and report abuse:

Police in Etan Patz case….Age of vulnerability: Parents do worry about the flipside, that generations have grown up overprotected and fearful. That milk-carton campaign partly ended because it scared kids.

Missing children appeals showed up on milk cartons across the nation throughout the ’80s, but by the end of the decade, the program began to fade out, primarily due to concerns over its efficacy and complaints by pediatricians that the photos frightened young children. “People weren’t really paying attention to the images on the milk cartons,” the center’s Bob Lowery told the San Jose Mercury News. “The only ones paying attention were younger children enjoying their cereal.”

(April 20, Time)

“Our children are smarter and better educated and more worldly” than previous generations about the dangers, but Lowery agrees there has been a trade-off. Knowing the brutality out there “instilled a sense of vulnerability in all of us … it changes us as a society … We’re not as trusting as we used to be, but we need to be educated of the dangers out there.” And, he adds, what the case of Etan shows to parents and victims is that no one forgets. “We’re going to continue to look for children.”

This is MeddlingMom…..please send out your prayers and well wishes for these children and their families.

Have a good Memorial Day…and appreciate those who have protected our rights with their service to our country.

Doing the Green Thing…

May 10, 2012

Some of you may have seen this before, but I hope you still enjoy it. I received it in an e-mail the other day.
Some real truth here.

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the elderly  woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags  weren’t good for the environment.

The woman apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing  back in my earlier days.”  The clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did  not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”

She was right — our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.   Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to  the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and  sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and  over. So they really  were recycled. But we didn’t have the green thing  back in our day.

Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we  reused for numerous things, most  memorable besides household garbage  bags, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our school
books. This was to ensure that public property, (the books provided  for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings. Then  we were able to personalize our books. But too bad we didn’t do the  green thing back then.

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every  store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t  climb into a 300-horsepower piece of machine every time we had to go two  blocks. But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the  throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling  machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry  our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from  their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that  young lady is right; we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every  room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief  (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana .. In  the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have  electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile  item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion  it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up  an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower  that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to  go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.  But she’s right; we didn’t have the green thing back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup  or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled  writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the  razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just  because the blade got dull. But we didn’t have the green thing back  then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their  bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour  taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire  bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a  computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000  miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.

But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old  folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then?
Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a  lesson in conservation from smart aleck young people.  We don’t like being old in the first place, and in the second place,  screw young snots like that cashier!

Well, first of all, I don’t necessarily think that clerk was a smart aleck (and isn’t that an ancient term!). I guess it would be great if we didn’t need to be reminded to bring our bags with us. I, myself, am guilty .I will go into a store and leave my 7 shopping bags in the trunk of the car, not realizing until I am at the register and see those plastic bags. I will do better by keeping the bags in the car where I will notice then rather than in the trunk. I actually am happy to receive brown paper bags as I recycle my paper in those and they are strong and neat-great for that purpose! I promise.

Remember when you finish a box of cereal, throw away the liner and flatten the box so it can go into your paper recycling; the same goes for all kinds of boxes…just notice.  I know this can all seem like a large burden, but what if we manage to change the world by doing these things. You might even want to call or write companies and ask them to use less packaging. Think about this-when you open up that nicely packaged (in a plastic bag) T-shirt, did it really need to have a full piece of cardboard in it? What’s the purpose of that? So that it looks good and you will want it…that is such a waste of our trees! It takes 17 trees to make 2000 pounds of paper. Now that is a travesty.

Yes, the current generation and their parents and grandparents are not a great example. We all have the latest technology. People text each other across a room, rather than talking. Think of the money spent by one extended family (each member of which is probably complaining about how expensive things are) on data packages for those phones…mucho donero, which could buy a woman several nice pair of new shoes in a year’s time-SERIOUSLY!

And of course, don’t get me started about the fact that you have no guarantee that you will have a connection at any given location-witness those who have traveled to remote areas of this country, gotten stranded in their cars and have had no way of contacting anyone or getting help…a very grim thought when you think about how much we rely on these items and lull ourselves into feeling safe. So, what is the real value and what is it we need…certainly not to be online on our phones and to tune out the person sitting right next to us…technology is not good for building close relationships.

By the way, I do still use brown paper bags to wrap a box when I am mailing a package to someone. Yes, I guess I am a dinosaur.

The way I see it, we have way too much. Americans are the ultimate consumers, always looking for the next thing to buy, looking for what is better. Our 6 year olds now have smart phones so that they can play games. Of course in terms of technology, electronics and appliances, we have forced obsolescence thrust upon of us every day; it is seemingly impossible to be a good consumer. Companies really are not interested in repairing anything. It is less expensive for the consumer to replace an item than repair one much of the time. If you need a new mobile phone, you usually cannot continue with your current plan. It has been eliminated or is unavailable for the newer technology.

Another thing that we did when we were kids was we PLAYED OUTDOORS and USED OUR BODIES. We actually climbed trees, rode bikes, played hopscotch or baseball. We jumped rope, skated (yes, we had skate keys-remember?),  and I remember jumping rope every night in the summer until it got too dark out. We went on long walks to the park  or the creek and nobody was following us or micromanaging our whereabouts. Nobody worried too much about abductions, although, I do remember my parents telling me at age 4 (when we moved to a new house) that if someone came by in a car and had a question for me or needed help to NOT go near the car. I could speak to them, but I stayed many feet away from that car when that did happen. Our sandwiches were placed in wax paper bags in our lunch bags or lunch boxes.

Most of our play and entertainment was free. We did not increase our “print” on the environment. We burned calories, had very few snacks and there were no problems getting the kids to go to bed. WE WERE TIRED from all of that time playing.  There also were not many obese children.

I am here to tell you…you can change things now..just do it. It can be as simple as recycling your paper, all of it, all of it as long as it is clean paper. Take your water bottle home from Wawa to recycle it or better yet, use one that you can wash (although the problem there is that you’d have to have many if you are out for the day). When you buy an item like pretzels at BJ’s and it comes in a large plastic container with a lid, re-use or re-purpose it (save your change in it or use it for a container for blocks or some other item with lots of pieces. You can even offer it on where you can  give away things you no longer need or want (clothes, technology, household items, music, all kinds of things). It’s very easy and rewarding. You’ll be surprised at how you or someone else might find an item re-usable. Instead of thinking about “throwing something away”, think about “how could this be used” or “who else might find a need for this”. You can make a difference in the landfill. Little things really do make a difference.

It is true that many of us are in a quandary about the way the world is now…Decide what makes sense to you; figure it out…we do have that green thing…we just have to look for it.

And support your local farms and stores rather than driving a distance to Walmart! Support small business; we want them to stay in business and be in our communities. They add a richness to our lives, they give us options and their owners recognize us when we walk into their stores.

Be a part of the solution…and tell your friends and family…an old friend, Nancy,  said,”… the old days for sure – not because we are old fashioned, things just made sense, for example, recycling was in before it was in! Yikes!

This is MeddlingMom…have a wonderful day.


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