Got my new issue of “Entertainment Weekly” in the mail today. It is the one magazine that I read cover to cover every week, and I say that with pride. It keeps me up to speed on movies, TV and books, with occasional columns from Stephen King that are worth the price of subscription all by themselves.
This week I happily opened the latest issue and then almost immediately had to fight the urge to fling the thing across the room. Why? Because of the full page ad (on Page 3) for a new show called “Disappeared: True Stories of the Missing and the Families Who Never Give Up Hope.” Are you kidding me? Do we not get enough coverage of missing children and kidnappings? (Case in point: have you seen the new cover of People magazine this week?) Must we have an entire show dedicated to learning the minute details of the life of every missing person out there in addition to the 24/7 news coverage whenever a child disappears?
Crime is down. Crime against children is waaaay down. Kidnappings are so rare you’d have to leave your child alone in a public place for something like 750,000 years before they would be randomly abducted. Most children who do disappear have either done so of their own volition or were taken by a family member. Yes, random and tragic abductions do happen. But it is improbable it will ever happen to you or someone you know.
The feeling that we know any abductee and their entire family as well as we do our own is an illusion, carefully fostered and maintained by the 24 hour media and shows like “Disappeared”. This illusion keeps most people in a constant state of anxiety over something that will never happen. Fear sells. Fear also makes people easy to control. Who might benefit from the control of people afraid of kidnappings, abductions and disapperances? I can think of a few.