A Sobering Thought

sobering thoughtNot every child that goes missing is abducted. Some children leave home for a variety of reasons.  Unfortunately, not every child that goes missing is found.  Sadly, not every missing child is found alive.  And not every child that goes missing is a toddler or baby.

Teenagers go missing. They leave home for a variety of reasons, ranging from arguments with family members to refusing to abide by house rules.  Subsequently many of them may find themselves on a slippery downhill slope, sometimes involving prostitution and drugs.

Some person, will seek out the vulnerable runaway and use that teenager, who has no money and no place to stay, as a means to earn income.  When that teenager has nowhere to turn, some unscrupulous person will use this person’s vulnerability to suit their own agenda.

Many missing children, end up on the streets and in a situation where they are too scared and too frightened to runaway.

Too scared to escape and too scared to return home for fear of what their parents may say.

Yes there are incidents where children go missing and the parents don’t care, but thank god, they are in a minority.

But one thing the McCann case has taught a lot of people is how to use the media to your advantage when you have a missing child, especially social networking sites, like Twitter and Facebook.

I was driving home today from Bluewater and some sad thoughts crossed my mind.

We have all seen the vilification of Kate and Gerry McCann on sites and blogs.  We have all seen the creation of a Foundation where some of the group stand on street corners distributing leaflets accusing the parents, of a missing child, of being complicit in that child’s disappearance.

We have seen this group target the neighbours of a missing child’s family by delivering leaflets through their doors telling them their neighbour, namely the McCanns, are not speaking the truth and could be involved in their daughters disappearance, all based on a theory by a convicted ex-detective.

We are now witnessing a so-called Profiler from America promoting her e-book, that is flawed and basically lacking in research.

This is not finding the truth of what happened to a missing child, this is nothing but a witch-hunt against the parents of a missing child.

Just imagine if you had a missing child, and upon seeing how effective the McCann campaign to find their daughter is, and searched and found these sites and blogs that orchestrate such a hate campaign against the McCanns, how would you feel?

My sad thoughts on driving home today were, how many people might not be able to face a barrage of abuse, accusations and spite?

How many parents might deter from starting online campaigns to find their missing child, for fear of those that will accuse them of being bad parents or even worse, accuse them of harming their missing child?

How many parents might be fearful of using the media, in case the media started to turn on them?

It is so easy to say, “I wouldn’t care what people said about me.”

Well that is easier said than done.  They won’t know what affect it will have on them until they find themselves at the end of the abuse. It takes a very strong person to ignore. And sadly human nature, has this awful tendency to make you wonder what people are saying and that drives you to read the vitriolic comments being made about you and your family.

When you are not having to deal with the heartbreak of having a missing child, to read nasty comments about you, is bad enough, personally I think of Kate’s words about the people that write them, “F**king T*sser”.

But just imagine having to deal with online abuse as well as suffering the torment of not knowing where your child is or if your child is alive.  It doesn’t seem humane, does it, that people put others through added torment by writing such vitriolic comments?

It is a sobering thought, if just one family of a missing child deter from using the Internet and Social Networking to find their child, for fear of what others might do.  A very sobering thought indeed, isn’t it?


12 comments on “A Sobering Thought

  1. A double-edged sword, I think. 

    I WAS aware of missing kids prior to Madeleine, but I mainly used the Internet for work, and relied on what I consider to be the sensible media to catch up on news. Even the “sensible media” got caught up in the media frenzy on occasion, but, in general, if there was nothing really new, then they didn’t report it (or else published the odd op-ed).

    The downside of that is that it’s easy to forget about a particular child; the upside is that they are less likely to publish wild theories and their comment sections are less likely to be full of unsubstantiated anti-mother vitriol. 

    Other parents of missing children have tried – often in vain – to draw attention to their missing ones. Occasionally, the magic “Maddie” word has been attached, possibly in part because it is (or was) a high value keyword search term, but I do suspect that many parents who  have observed the vitriol and foundless accusations against the McCann family  find themselves in limbo as to how best to continue to publicise their own child’s disappearance with a minimum of intrusion.

    Not easy.

  2. Rui Pedro: 13 anos depois, a tortura de uma mãe
    Pais de rapaz desaparecido em entrevista à TVI
    Por: Redacção / CLC  |  6- 6- 2011  21: 44Dias sem fim e noites sem dormir. Não será mais do que isto a vida de Filomena Teixeira, mãe de Rui Pedro e rosto de sofrimento. Portugal conhece-lhe a dor e as lágrimas. Esta segunda-feira o juiz decidiu levar a julgamento o único suspeito do caso e os pais do rapaz de Lousada, desparecido há 13 anos, dão uma entrevista exclusiva à TVI, que sempre acompanhou o processo.

    Anos de «tortura». É assim que Filomena Teixeira descreve os longos anos que vive sem saber se o filho está vivo ou morto. Uma incerteza que não a faz perder a esperança, depois de ter perdido quase tudo na vida. Pelo menos, tudo o que um dia lhe deu alegria. «Um dia muito importante. É o início de uma nova etapa e esperamos que o inicio de uma nova esperança», diz à TVI. 

    13 anos depois o quarto de Rui Pedro está como ele o deixou. O pai confessa que por vezes dorme lá e sente-se melhor. Mas Filomena não consegue. O «desespero total» do casal de Lousada não os faz desistir de querer saber o que aconteceu a Rui Pedro. Filomena diz que 13 anos depois «tudo falhou» e que se sente «impotente, perante tudo e perante todos».

    A mãe de Rui Pedro, visivelmente debilitada, confessa que tem vivido uma vida de «tortura». Perdeu «muitos» quilos e a esperança é a única coisa que ainda a «alimenta, apesar de tudo». Uma esperança que a mantém viva, mas que é também a fonte da tortura, hora após hora, dia após dia. «Quanto mais o tempo passa, mais eu entro em desespero. Penso muitas vezes se algum dia o irei ver e isso degasta-me. Por outro lado penso que tenho que lutar para quando ele vier, eu estar aqui», diz.

    Filomena Teixeira, a mãe de Rui Pedro só tem um sonho e um temor: voltar a ver Rui Pedro e «acabar os dias» sem saber quem lhe levou dos braços o filho.http://www.tvi24.iol.pt/sociedade/rui-pedro-filomena-teixeira-tortura-tvi24-ultimas-noticias/1258780-4071.htmlWhy do the Portuguese bloggers seem to have given so much more attention to Madeleine’s disappearance in comparison to this little Portuguese boy who also disappeared without a trace?

  3. It is sad Carana.

    Honestly, I must have been wet behind the ears, as they say.  When Bennett was sending his books to the MP’s I just thought, that the MP’s will file them in the bin, probably without reading them.

    If the silly old coddger wants to be such an idiot and sit there writing envelopes and sending books out for them to be burnt or fill a landfill site, that is down to him.

    Not for one minute did I think he would go so pro-active.  I was shocked and mortified at the leaflet drop in Rothley.

    And do you know what is the saddest part, when I gave my reasons, that it was vigilante action and those poor children had to attend school and some other child could mention that leaftlet, I was told by an educated person, “So what?  The McCanns haven’t cared  about other children when they have dragged them into this, so why should any preference be given to the twins. They are fair game, blame the parents for making them fair game.”

    I couldn’t believe it, that adults were prepared to use children to attack the parents. As far as I was concerned they were two little children who were due to start school, they had a sister who was missing, and kids can be cruel at times and if one child had heard anything about that leaflet, they could have said something so cruel to those children.

    That is not caring about children, to care about a child, would mean you wouldn’t do anything that could cause that child harm.

    • From what I’ve observed, the Rothley leaflet drop seems to have been a turning point for quite a few people. 

      For some it might have been due to a fear of possible legal consequences and / or  the general shock horror public reaction that made people wake up.

      Some people found it out of bounds to have distributed leaflets in the vicinity of the family, but found it perfectly okay to drop them elsewhere. 

      The problem is… it was a taster of the bigger load of unsubstantiated rubbish that was to become the 60-million-strung-together-factoids that quite a few people seemed to support (and happily contributed to) at the time. 

      It must have been awful for the family, but – looking on the constructive side – it did make quite a few people wake up and smell the coffee.

    • I think quite a lot of people got caught up in some kind of propaganda machine without realising it. 

      • Yes they did, and it started very early on.  I never hit forums until after arguido day but looking back now, I can now see the foundations were being laid right from the start.  

        And unfortunately it is so easy to get suckered into thinking something and you start believing it to be true.

        That leaflet drop made my stomach churn, I said so at the time and when they wanted to go ahead and leaflet the tapas members and witnesses I just felt sick to be honest.

        They reminded me of those people you see, standing outside courts banging on the prison vans.  All I can see now is a group of vigilantes that have decided to take the law into their own hands… some of these people are dangerous in the fact that they load the gun for others to fire.

    • I read that earlier, it is so touching and yet so sad because everything written there is true.  Poor child is used as a weapon.  Those last four lines really do hit home.

      So pleased that WA shared that, it is a stark reminder that at the heart of this tragic case is a missing child.

      • Yep. A football in the world of cyberhooligans. She deserves better than that. So do all missing people. Some may have passed away, but some may be desperately waiting to be found. 

  4. At first, observing people arguing about who could be responsible didn’t seem that important.

    Two things I now find really scary:
    – people who become convinced that someone is dead won’t remain vigilant;
    – the more the general public becomes brainwashed by the media as to who is responsible can land innocent people in jail.

    • Totally agree with everything you said there, but there is another scary part and that is being innocent and being vilified on forums and blogs and accused of heinous crimes.

      I think Christopher Jefferies, isf the classic example, tarnished by the press and finished off on forums and blogs.  My god a certain forum had him and Joanna’s boyfriend on trial, found guilty and sentenced before the police even finished their enquiries.

      That is the scary thing about all of this, apart from people will think what is the point of looking for a missing person, as you said.

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