Last night Hubby ended up working late so I decided instead of trying to fix dinner and try to judge when he would be home that we would just go out. We headed down to CiCi’s because I’m a sucker for pizza and it is cheap. As we walked in, I noticed a flier on the door for a missing girl. Kara Kopetsky has been missing since May 4th apparently. She went off to school one morning and never came home. Based on the circumstances, it doesn’t sound at all like a run away situation, although that would be more comforting.
Kara’s story is so frightening to me. As a mother, you live to protect your children. You spend years teaching them how to be safe, what to do if a stranger approaches them, not to cross the street without looking, etc., only to see cases like this where a child just disappears. School is the one place where your children should be safe from harm.
During my drive to work this morning, I caught part of a segment discussing Kara’s disappearance. The woman speaking to the dj was a family member, but I can’t say for sure who she was as I didn’t hear the introduction. As I listened to her pleading, I got chills. I realized that this can happen to anyone, and does happen much more than I am willing to acknowledge.
I know that things like this have been going on for centuries, but I have to wonder how things have changed in this new information age. We (myself included) post pictures and intimate details of our lives online (and yes, Kara has a MySpace page). We know there are predators out there looking, but we continue to live our lives as though we are safe from them. At the same time, the internet, along with all of the various news feeds and warning systems, helps to get the word out as soon as a child is missing. The instant transfer of information has surely helped find many abducted kids. I’m not a stats type of person, but I have to wonder which side is more heavily weighted-the number of abductions due to online activity or the number of recoveries due to getting the word out faster. It would be interesting to compare.
Most of all, this really has me thinking about the safety of my own child as he gets older, and any that may follow. Where do you draw the line? How do you let kids have their freedom, yet keep them safe? How do you feel at ease when there really is no safe place? How do you send them off to school or day care when you hear about children disappearing from those places? How do you parent in a world where there really are no sure answers?
I pray for Kara’s family and friends and for her safety. I hope that she is safe and returns home soon without harm. Most of all, I pray that she isn’t found like Kelsey Smith was.