If you are anything like me, having your phone go off with an amber alert on Feb. 14 caused quite the shock. Having been at 11:30 p.m., it was unexpected and startling to all. The message outlined the missing child Riya Rajkumar’s description, the suspected person she was with, the car she was seen in, and the location that she was last reported to be. Within 40 minutes, she was tragically found deceased. On social media, people complained that the alert woke them or their children up. Peel Police were flooded with calls, emails, and social media messages complaining about that alert. I understand this brief frustration, of course, but the fact is that the system works. The need to find a missing child should outweigh this frustration, and I hope it continues to do so despite these complaints. Upon receiving the alert, somebody called with the information they had been looking for and the child was found.
If your child woke up because of the loud alert, that is frustrating, but you can hug them and put them back to sleep. Riya Rajkumar’s mother will never be able to again. If it was your child that was missing, I doubt you would care about the slight inconvenience it would cause others. I would wager that, in fact, you would want every possible person looking, regardless of the hour of the day. This whole ordeal is heartbreakingly reflective of society as a whole: we are desensitized to things that don’t concern us directly. Every heart should ache as an amber alert goes off. Tragically, it could happen to anyone. Next time an amber alert goes off, hold your child close and see if you can help in any way. Don’t knock a system that works, support it, you will never know when you may need it.