Friday, June 27, 2008

Amber Alert...

You know I really hate to get serious (most of the time), but when the State Police issued Vermont's very first Amber Alert my perception of the small world and peaceful community that I have become accustomed to was initially shaken, but the more I read about the situation the less I worry about what "things are coming to these days". I feel badly for the family of Brooke Bennett, I don't think any family should have to go through what they are dealing with right now. I sincerely hope that they find her safe and sound - and soon.

My take on the story based on what I've read in the newspaper and watched on the news is that it was unlikely a random abduction but another Internet predator story. A MySpace(c) account was created by the girl some time ago, with her parents blessing until her father caught her doing things he didn't approve of, so as punishment, the account was disabled. The daughter's reaction to the "punishment" by creating another account without parental permission or knowledge. This girl is (let's hope she IS) 12 years old. The lie that got her dropped off at the gas station - was apparently an elaborate plan, but honestly what kind of Uncle drops his 12 year old niece off at a gas station and leaves her there without waiting for the "friend" that was supposed to pick her up? Did she sneak off to meet some creep and it ended badly? Did someone pose as another pre-teen and lure her into something sinister? Or did she just run away?

The Internet is a scary place and there are a lot of creepy people online. I distinctly remember the first time I got a web cam (back in college) and launched CUSeeMe to talk to a friend and within 15 minutes of entering a chat room some middle-aged man had his genitals in front of the camera masturbating for the whole chat room to see. It was really funny at the time, but I think that there's really more and more weirdos out there and even more places for them to hide online.

It's a tough time to be a kid, but an unbelievably tough time to be a parent. How do you police your child's Internet usage? How can you police what happens on their friends' computers - there's an element of trusting the other parents - some of whom just don't have the knowledge to limit access to the bad sites, while allowing children to learn about the world through the good sites. I think parents also face a terrible amount of pressure from their children who want to use the Internet to communicate with their peers too. The permissive nature of today's parents, the concept of not wanting to repeat their own parent's mistakes and the desire to avoid raising disappointed children has created this culture where commonsense is rare and a sense of entitlement is epidemic.

Sure makes me glad that I have dogs - Murphy might have a sense of entitlement, but he's not hunting for strangers online to take him for a walk after I gone to bed for the night and he's never had a tantrum in a store. :-)

1 comment:

. said...

This whole thing ended badly - it was ultimately the Uncle (who is a convicted sex offender) who dropped her off at the store - likely to try to create a alibi - and then picked her up later in town promising her a "party", instead taking her home and initiating her into his perverted "sex club" then he killed her, burying her in a shallow grave on a nearby property. Even worse is that her own stepfather helped (or tried to help) him cover his tracks and tamper with evidence. The mother's crocodile tears on the news was almost laughable ("I'm not mad Brooke, come home") - your daughter is missing and when you're interviewed the first thing you do is scrunch your face and say YOUR NOT MAD? Give me a break. I hope this screwed up state justice system investigates her for child endangerment and removes the remaining children from her custody - OBVIOUSLY she doesn't have the braincells to protect her 12 year old daughter from a pedaphile she has no business as guardian of the remaining children.