Commercial Exploitation

High profile child kidnapping cases personify high drama in ways that few events can duplicate. Rarely is the divide between good and evil or the certainty of righteousness as starkly portrayed as when predators kidnap little children. While we watch the mystery unfold and pray for a safe resolution, certain low elements of society play to our fears or otherwise exploit the tragedy for commercial or other personal gain.

Commercial exploitation manifests itself in several ways. Fingerprint ID Cards, DNA Sampling Kits, kidnap protection database services and self-defense courses for little children sprout like mushrooms in a mountain meadow in the wake of predatory child kidnappings. Although our initial reaction is to take the necessary steps to protect our children from victimization we should consider our options and the practicality of investing in goods and services that may not be necessary.

For instance, most law enforcement agencies will gladly have trained officers fingerprint your children at no cost and with much better results than a commercial enterprise. Similarly, you can save big bucks by sampling your kids DNA at home using common household items without sacrificing the integrity of your sample or having to pay for storage.

For a fee, kidnap protection database services will store your kids fingerprints, photograph, personal and identifying information in a centralized computer database and distribute the information to relevant agencies if your child is ever kidnapped. Just hope that they do not also sell, trade or barter your child’s information with commercial list brokers or go out of business. You do not want to call an 800-telephone number in the middle of the night to find out that it has been disconnected. A much better option is to store relevant information at home and make it immediately available to law enforcement in case of an emergency. Although self-defense courses for children will instill self-confidence and keep them off of the street, there is not a twelve-year-old child in America physically equipped to fend the advances of a determined adult predator.

High profile means media rich and there are individuals who will exploit your child’s tragedy to cash in their fifteen minutes of fame. Be wary of lowlife opportunists posing as family spokespersons or glad handing politicians attempting to raise their profile on the evening news. You need neither new best friends nor an entourage. Your goal is to find ways to promote your child’s case and further the investigation.

Every two-bit con artist within a hundred mile radius is going to angle for a slice of the money pie. Americans respond to crisis with great generosity, and few events epitomize crisis better than the desperate family of a kidnapped child. A local financial institution should tightly control funds raised to assist the family or recover the child. Accounts should be established for specific purposes and withdrawals should require two signatures: one from a family member and one from an objective third party. The missing child’s family should sanction fundraising activities and money that is raised should be immediately deposited into the relevant accounts. Media should be scanned for bogus fundraising activities and law enforcement should be contacted when they are discovered.

Ironically, while tragedy and crisis often time brings out the best in people it also posses the power to highlight the worst. If you are in the grip of crime and are focused on the recovery of a kidnapped child, have a trusted individual watch your back, because although we want to think the best of everyone who extends a hand, history and common sense teach us that exploitation does exist and even pond scum will find its optimum level of existence.