Monday, February 2, 2009

Parents: WATCH Your Children

I read something in the news yesterday that just infuriated me. The headline read:

"Texas Department of Public Safety Refuses Amber Alert for Missing Girl, 11"

The long and short of it is, they refused to issue an Amber Alert because in Texas the Amber Alert provision says the child has to have been taken unwillingly from their environment for the alert to be issued. In this case it appears the 11 year old child went willingly with a 26 year old felon, to Mexico.

While her parents say they had no idea there was any kind of relationship between their child and this 26 yr old, the girls friends described him as her boyfriend. (story here)

Now, I don't know this family but I know what it's like to be a mom to an 11 year old girl. I've had 3 of them reach and pass that age and I have an 11 year old right now. At the tender age of 11, a girl is at the very beginning of puberty. Half the time she isn't sure if she likes the latest pop group yet, or still wants to play with her barbies. She still has stuffed animals all over her room, and while she thinks this boy or that boy might be cute, she also still watches cartoons on Saturday morning. It's a very delicate age for most 11 year old girls as their bodies have just begun to change and they're entering into a brand new area, and leaving a familiar one behind. Most of the time they aren't even sure which way they'd rather go in this new adventure, either. It's emotionally confusing as well, as the hormones begin to march through their veins and make them have thoughts and feelings they never really considered before.

The very idea that a 26 yr old man would take interest in an 11 yr old girl, just makes my blood boil. As Rep. Garnett Coleman says in the article "People who prey on children more often use seduction rather than ropes". If this girl's friends indeed have described this man as her boyfriend, then seducing her and deceiving her is exactly what he did, for his own sick and twisted gain. That her friends knew about it, and didn't tell anyone is equally mind-boggling to me. When I was 11, if a 26 yr old man was hanging around me or one of my 11 year old friends, the parents would know about it in a heartbeat and you can bet this man would no longer be hanging around 11 year old girls!

What made me almost as angry as the pervert who took this precious little girl to Mexico, is the Texas Department of Public Safety who refused to issue the Amber Alert because of the state provision that says the child has to be taken unwillingly. Are none of these people parents, for crying outloud? Do none of them have a shred of common sense? Gee, a 26 year old man that does NOT have the permission of the parents, takes an 11 year old girl and runs off to Mexico. Hmm... maybe it's just me, but how do we suppose this 26 year old convinced this little girl to be "willing" in the first place? Who knows what he promised her, what lies he told her, and what else went on. I don't even like to think about it but this is the world we live in. That the authorities in Texas that had the authority to issue the alert and didn't, just makes me so angry. Oh, she left willingly so we're not going to step in and make it a matter of priority. I wonder if they'd react the same way if it were THEIR 11 year old daughter talked into leaving with an adult man? Somehow I suspect priority would look a little different, in that case. I know if it were me that had the final say so on whether the alert be issued or not, Texas state provision would be out the window and the alert would be issued. Sure I'd get fired, but I'd rather get fired for doing the right thing, than do nothing and pretend it's "not my jurisdiction" or that it's "out of my hands" as we often hear in cases like this.

Its simply unthinkable for me to know that someone can talk an 11 year old girl in to running off, and the state agency will do nothing to help. It almost sounds like we're not even talking about Texas, USA.



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