Ignorant editorial

I just found this editorial on the problem of missing children. The author’s sentiments are noble, but he clearly doesn’t know what he’s talking about. To quote: There are 800,000 missing children each year under the age of 18…I have been asked by the editors at BNN to cover the Haleigh Cummings case and I obliged. I would like to see coverage for all the missing children not only in America but around the world…A great number of these children are never found.

The 800,000 figure gets thrown around a lot. I’m not sure it’s accurate; I’ve also read that 800,000 people are reported missing each year, which includes adults as well as children. But in any case, this figure is misleading. The 800,000 includes cases where the person was found, even very shortly after the disappearance was reported. Like if a toddler wanders out of his yard and down the block, or if a teenage girl is a few hours late getting home, or if an adult decides to take off for the weekend without telling anyone. All of them get added to the tally, even when they turn up safe almost immediately. The 800,000 tally also includes runaways, not just abducted kids. In any case, about 99% or more of those 800,000 people who are reported missing turn up shortly.

That’s not to say the problem of missing people isn’t real—I certainly know that as well as anyone. Just as real is the sad lack of media coverage for most missing people. But this blogger isn’t helping when he inflates the numbers.