The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil,
but because of those who look on and do nothing.

~~~ Albert Einstein



Friday, May 02, 2008

Ignoring the missing

Let's say you're walking into a mall, and there's a poster right there by the entrance. Even at a glance you can see it contains a photo of a child. How many of you will take a moment away from your every important and busy lives to actually stop and LOOK at the poster? Remember- most posters with children on them are 'missing persons' fliers- which are posted in order to help solicit YOUR assistance in locating a missing child.

I know... you're swearing that you'd look at the poster, memorize every detail of the child's appearance and any information listed.

So, let's pretend you really do all that. And then you go off into the mall to do a little shopping. And, out of the corner of your eye you notice a young child- about 8- sitting alone on a bench. Do you take a closer look at the child? Not because of the poster you just saw, but because in this day and age, a child sitting completely alone in a mall might be in need of help. Her mother could have been shopping with her and she wondered off. Maybe she's lost. Maybe she's hurt. Maybe- she's okay right now sitting there alone, but there's the chance that right at that very moment there is a sexual predator walking into the mall.... and he's on looking for his next victim?

I know- you're saying you'd stop and look at the little girl. Maybe even go sit down beside her, ask if she's lost- ask where her parents are.

Now, saying that you do all that, you look at the poster outside the mall. You take a moment to look at the child sitting alone... what happens if you realise that the little child on the missing persons poster IS the same little girl sitting alone on the bench inside? Then what?

This might at this moment be a lot of "what if's"... but for some people- this is exactly what just happened to them. And, you might be a little taken by the reactions they had.

Local 6 printed missing posters of Britney -- a paid 8-year-old actress -- and posted them at the entrance of the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando.

Britney sat alone on a mall seat near a missing poster as her father watched from a distance inside a nearby Panera restaurant.

The experiment was to determine how many people would notice or help the girl posing as a missing child.

Local 6 videotaped person after person entering the mall without even noticing the missing child signs.

Others who did see the posters on the doors were videotaped walking by the missing child.

"I saw her but didn't know what to think," shopper Megan Reed said.

"I didn't even see her," shopper Priseilla Landerer said. "I didn't notice her."

The majority of people at the mall who did see a missing person sign also saw the young girl but just kept walking, Local 6's Donald Forbes reported.



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