There two types of people. I’ll name one, you name the other.
Yesterday’s Amber Alert in Ontario brought both types out of the woodwork.
I don’t know how prevalent the Amber Alert system is around the world, so I will briefly explain the system. Also, here is a Wikipedia article on the subject.
When a child is abducted, the Police can issue an Amber Alert. It is a message with details about the child and alleged abductor. It might have information about what clothing the child was wearing or what make and model of vehicle the abductor was driving.
In Ontario, the message goes out to every cellphone, every cable or satellite television, every radio station, and digital road signs along our highways.
Ontario has had Amber Alerts for a long time, but the cellphone broadcast component is fairly new. It comes complete with an emergency siren sound and a digital female voice that reads the message aloud.
Being a concerned citizen/vigilante, I take heed of these alerts on the off chance I might spot the abductor, call the cops, and save the child. That’s what a KFC employee in Tilbury, Ontario did yesterday. To her bewilderment, the abductor and child came in to eat some greasy chicken and salads not fit for human consumption. The employee remembered the details from the Amber Alert, she called the cops, and all was set right in the world. Here’s the CBC news article with the details.
So that’s the first type of person. Let’s call them “compassionate hero”.
While our compassionate hero helped to deliver the boy back to safety, after being taken 300 kilometres from his home, the province’s 9-1-1 operators were shaking their heads in dismay at the other type of person.
During the two hours between the time the Amber Alert was issued, and the time the child was found, the 9-1-1 operators received hundreds of calls from people complaining about the Amber Alert.
Now, I don’t know what is wrong with this type of person. Maybe when the Amber Alert came through they were achieving their highest scores ever on Candy Crush. Maybe they were too busy watching Vlad Guerrero Jr. (the number one prospect in baseball), crushing balls during batting practice in his debut game with the Blue Jays. Maybe they hate kids. Maybe they are closet child abductors. I don’t know, but…
…it only takes a second to push one button on the cellphone to make the Alert go away. Is it really such a big inconvenience for them that they have to call 9-1-1 to bitch and complain? As if the emergency service’s operators are their own personal complaint department?
If we’re calling the first type of person “compassionate hero”, what should we call the second type? I’ll leave that up to you. Feel free to do so in the comment section, if you are so inclined.
I meant this article to be a refreshing positive breath of fresh air from my usual ranting and raving, but alas, in every good story there are elements of human stupidity lurking.
So I’ll try now to tip the scales and show some appreciation: To the police (the real ones that do their job and keep us safe), the 9-1-1 operators who filtered through the calls, the citizens who were diligently on the lookout, the people who operate and maintain the Amber Alert system, and the “compassionate hero” who made the call to save the kid.