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Bad Horse


Beneath the microscope, you contain galaxies.

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Nov
2nd
2021

Kidnapping, Human Trafficking, and Halloween · 7:25pm Nov 2nd, 2021

Last weekend was another pathetic faux-Halloween. Children were allowed to trick-or-treat from 4-6 PM, to make sure none of them were out after dark, or even in twilight. I didn't even buy candy this year; I just pulled the still-nearly-full bowl of candy from last Halloween out from an end-table drawer. I waited by my door for those 2 hours, and was visited by one group of kids.

Halloween is being slowly smothered by (surprise) smothering parents, terrified that their child may be hit by a car (see my 2017 post The Deadliest Day of the Year is the Safest), given candy with drugs or razor blades in it, or--a new addition--kidnapped and sold in foreign countries as slaves.

(Full disclosure: Just after I wrote a long email to my aunt and uncle in Cleveland in 2019 debunking the email they were circulating warning people about razor blades in Halloween candy, someone in Cincinnati may have put razor blades in Halloween candy. Also, a needle in a KitKat bar in Cleveland this Halloween.)

I have a good friend who is absolutely convinced that every year, thousands of American children are kidnapped and sold into slavery overseas. She insists that I-79 is a corridor for trafficking human slaves, who are driven north to Canada (the Canadian border inspection is notoriously lax!), after which they're sent--presumably on a very low-budget airline--to be sold on some other, non-white continent. She doesn't know how all these slaves are smuggled past TSA, nor why people don't prefer the much lower-cost local children.

The logo of the facebook page of "Have You Seen Me?", the prominent national organization to find kidnapped children, says "Shine a Light on Slavery". Its pinned post reads, "The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reports that roughly 800,000 children are reported missing each year, that's 2,000 kids a day!!"

Every week I get an advertising section in the newspaper, which always includes a notice from the above-mentioned "Have You Seen Me?", showing the photo of a missing child, and another photo, made by computer, either of that missing child, age-progressed to his or her present age, or of the suspected abductor.

The strange thing, which took me years to notice, is that these "missing children" are only rarely children, and were never kidnapped by strangers.

They are always either

  • Adults who disappeared without telling anyone, but are kind of young, like 18 or 19
  • Children who disappeared decades ago
  • Children who were "kidnapped" by one of their parents--in other words, an illegal custody battle

If 2000 kids go missing every day, why hasn't a nation-wide organization dedicated to finding missing children ever, that I've noticed, featured an American child who was abducted within the past 5 years by a stranger?

Today's missing child, Earl Joggerst of Arnold MO, went missing on 8/4/1972. That's nearly 50 years ago.
Last week's, Christina Battin, went missing from Thousand Palms CA on 6/8/03, and would currently be age 32.
I've lost the photo from 2 weeks ago, which I clipped because it was yet another person who went missing as an adult and had been missing for years, and I began thinking at that time about saving these clipping to write a blog post.

Checking the website for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children shows there are only 2 active AMBER alerts in the US: Summer Wells, missing since June 16, 2021; and Stevie Johnson, missing since Friday, and believed to have been kidnapped by her mother.

Summer Johnson's father was arrested in 2020 and charged with domestic assault and possession of a handgun while under the influence.

The most-recent posts on the facebook page for Have You Seen Me? are:

  • An Apr 16 report that Joshua Lee Wandell, a 41-year-old man who went missing in April, was found dead.
  • A Jan 21 report that Marisol Garza is suspected of having kidnapped her 1.5 year-old son.
  • A Jan 21 report that 29 year-old Jacob Cartas has been missing from Milwaukie, Oregon since April 25, 2020.

The FBI's website on kidnappings & missing persons lists only a single kidnapping in 2021: that of 14-year-old Daniella Moreno, by her mother Liliana Moreno.

So, checking three national websites about missing children, I've found only a single case in the entire United States so far this year of a child having possibly been abducted by a stranger--and that from a family whose father has a history of drunkenness, is a convicted felon, was arrested for domestic assault and possession of a weapon while drunk 2 months before she went missing, and has since been arrested for drunk driving.

And yet, while I could find only one case, nationally, of a child who might have been abducted by a stranger, among my closest friends and family I know two families who've been threatened by the state because their children were out walking by themselves.

A little more than 10 years ago, in my freedom-loving hick town where AFAIK not a single child has ever been kidnapped, one of my sister's kids was picked up by the police at age 13 and delivered home with a stern warning, to both child and parents, for the crime of walking around town by himself.

Just this year, my best friend was threatened by the state of New York with having her two children taken away from her, because her 5-year-old daughter went outside by herself and walked to a neighbor's house--over a hundred feet away! Now she has to attend counseling sessions and have weekly inspections of her house by someone from protective services. Never mind that there's nothing she can do to keep that daughter from doing it again unless she puts deadlocks on all the doors and windows--which would also be a safety violation for which they could take her children away.

Yet none of these organizations allegedly concerned about children is counting how many children are taken away from their parents just for walking around outside. Is it more or less than the number abducted by strangers? Does anybody know?

So we're destroying Halloween, and may be tearing apart families, in fear of a problem just when that problem has finally been effectively solved.

Comments ( 27 )

For the record, I got several groups on Sunday, many of them after dark.

How many families with young children do you have in your neighborhood?

5603118
I don't know. Less than average, I think. But back when Halloween was after dark, I'd get at least a dozen groups.

To be honest, tying up the rabid Rottweilers at the bottom of the driveway may have discouraged random small strangers from visiting. (just kidding)

We had about a third of 'normal' year trick-or-treaters, but our neighborhood is 'aging' to the point where we have about a third as many elementary school kids anyway. Our main problem was our supply of candy had a leak in it, and all the stuff the wife bought a month ago decayed (by some atomic process, I suppose) down to fruit chews and jawbreakers by the time we turned on the porch light. I swear, I'm going to buy a gun-and-candy safe just to keep such leakage to a minimum (because I wasn't the leaker for the large part).

5603119
You think it's possible that those kids just grew up and out of trick to treating? Thats what happens in most neighborhoods unless you have good cycle of people moving in and out.

Full disclosure: Just after I wrote a long email to my aunt and uncle in Cleveland in 2019 debunking the email they were circulating warning people about razor blades in Halloween candy, someone in Cincinnati may have put razor blades in Halloween candy.

Yeah, awful people taking notes from the paranoid on things that sound amusing to them. (It's apples that were a hoax, the candy thing was real)

Yeah, I remember this kind of stuff back in the '80s, where there were always parents' groups trying to shut down Halloween as "unsafe". if you listened to them behind the scenes, though, the real reason was because it was "demonic". Just more SRA-scare BS at the core of it; but the "protect the children" rhetoric has spread far beyond its source, thanks to general irrationality and conspiracy-theory mentality. Reality is always far more boring than the hysteria.

The street I TRT down had tons of families, but I know that, yeah, things have been ridiculous. The "poisoned pixie stick" story that I've heard a lot was a scumbag father who was trying to murder his son, and covered it up a bit by poisoning a few more. You look at any tampered candy story and they'll turn out to be something like that. I know that there are some states that are getting rid of the "if your child is five inches past your front door unsupervised, CPS gets called on you" laws. I walked across the street to my local park all of the time. If children were as physically and mentally fragile as helicopter pearl clutching Karen parents thought, we wouldn't have survived very long as a species.

And yeah, I get Amber Alerts on my phone, but they're always "taken by parent." Same with kids sold into sex slavery. It's usually the parents selling or pimping out their kids for more drugs. Are there instances of kids at a local park who are kidnapped by a stranger when their parent takes their eyes off of them for a few seconds? Sure, but it's super, super rare, as horrifically tragic as it may be. Not to say we shouldn't teach our kids about stranger danger stuff (especially online) but the idea that Halloween is the time of year where hundreds of kids a year are getting poisoned and hundreds more are being sold into slavery? Ridiculous.

nor why people don't prefer the much lower-cost local children

Thrift is dead. :trollestia:

I have a good friend who is absolutely convinced that every year, thousands of American children are kidnapped and sold into slavery overseas. She insists that I-79 is a corridor for trafficking human slaves, who are driven north to Canada (the Canadian border inspection is notoriously lax!), after which they're sent--presumably on a very low-budget airline--to be sold on some other, non-white continent. She doesn't know how all these slaves are smuggled past TSA, nor why people don't prefer the much lower-cost local children.

Why are you friends with Kyle's mom? Everybody knows she's a big fat bitch.

5603122
On my street, 3 out of 20 houses had new occupants this year. So I don't think that's the main issue, though it may be a factor. More important is the rising popularity of having Halloween parties, indoors or outdoors, sometimes called "Trunk or Treat", where parents and kids go together and walk around between stations to pick up candy. Some churches hold these. Ironically, these are more likely to spread covid than walking from house to house.

One of my side hustles is performing with a local church band. It's an affluent, out-of-the-way suburb north of an affluent, out-of-the-way city somewhere in the midwest. This Sunday, all the congregation's parents could talk about was whether or not they were letting their kids go out to trick or treat. I was surprised by the spread--it's annecdotal of course, but I noticed just as many young parents mention they'd let their kids go out unsupervised as older parents (bearing in mind the parents' ages were varied, but the kids ages mostly fell in the 4-14 year-old sweet spot where Halloween is the Monumental Event that it ought to be). The spread seemed to be something like 85%/15% in favor of letting kids run around. A few mentioned the local police would be running extra patrols through the subdivisions, which most seemed to think a smart idea.

Again, anecdotal results. Grain o' salt. Whatever. I had some truly amazing times going out with a pillowcase and a flashlight and causing chaos in my neighborhood as a child, and would be super bummed to see such a fun tradition go away.

Wanderer D
Moderator

Thankfully, the town where my kid tricks-or-treats has a lot of people doing it. Although yeah, another friend in Illinois told me they were now just allowing that at 3pm. WTAF.

5603137
Your neighborhood, and just you, may be getting old and you haven't noticed it. Our neighborhood used to have kids all the time, but stopped once everyone grew up and out of the hobby. There hasn't been any major new sources of kids expect for one street, and since they all moved in at different times, they already had their tick or treating routs planned in other neighborhoods.

2000 kids a day are reported missing? I'm going to guess that 1999 of them are found within three or four hours after the report.

The other one is probably found the next day, wandering around in a forest with a rusted old sword and rambling about the lion-headed pirate and the bunyip.

Statistical manipulation is wild.

5603160
Statistics is the art of making numbers lie.

5603160
Q-nuts use those same statistics to argue millions of US children are cannibalized by Demo(n!)crats every year. Not sure where we're getting all these millions of children from.

Do you spend a lot of your free time looking at cold cases?

I hypothesize that one of the contributing factors for some of this fear-mongering about children is actually because of cars and roads.

It’s unlikely for a child to get abducted, but it’s far more likely for a child to get hit by a car. Surburbs and car culture is terrible on parents and children. Yes, our homes and properties can be much larger due to this, but it means children can’t do anything without an adult ferrying them around.

This YouTube video about how kids experience childhood in the Netherlands was really eye-opening to me.

It’s almost as if American culture discourages families from having children.

5603160
I also wonder if that's a worldwide thing and if so how many of those kids live in, say, warzones. Or near minefields. Or other such situations where people going missing is a sadly normal state of affairs that has nothing to do with kidnapping and everything to do with the local environment.

5603165

In my senior year I could have taken Statistics, but everybody did and I was a badass so I took Elementary Linear Algebra*, the mathematics of matrices.

And I've always regretted it, because nobody's ever tried to lie to me with an eigenvector.





* Which is neither elementary nor linear nor algebra

Yet none of these organizations allegedly concerned about children is counting how many children are taken away from their parents just for walking around outside.

That would be counterproductive for their continued existence


5603579

* Which is neither elementary nor linear nor algebra

Bilinear? :rainbowhuh:

Summer Wells <snip> Stevie Johnson <snip>

Summer Johnson's father

The kids were missing so long they merged together.

5603579

nobody's ever tried to lie to me with an eigenvector

That's because they know you took linear algebra. Statisticians with PCA are the worst.

5603269
No, none. Well, I am interested in solving a 2,500-year-old murder mystery. Maybe I'll work forward from there.

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