EDITORIAL: Dealing with the predators

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 6, 2002

The onslaught by the national media, covering the seeming explosion of child kidnapping and sexual attacks can seem mind-numbing to concerned parents across the country. Day after day, it appears, more children are falling victim to predators, even locally. Paramount on everyone’s mind are two questions: Why is it happening and what is to be done about it?

We are looking at investigatory techniques, ways to alert potential victims and trying to see the signs of abuse in our own children. Even more heart-breaking to a parent than discovering your child is kidnapped is to locate that child dead and sexually assaulted.

There is only so much parents can do to protect their children, but one vital thing is to re-open those lines of communication. Certainly, talk to your children but even more important – listen to your children. What are their interests? Who are they friends with and who dislikes them and why? Today’s children face unimaginable pressures and influences from their friends, television, movies, music and more. Try to understand and know your child before they get into situations they cannot get out of alone.

And realize that, no matter how much you get to know your child, there are still the monsters out there, the sexual predators, who are experienced at gaining a child’s trust, even in the instant it takes to whisk them into a pickup truck and drive away with them. Nearly every child molester and rapist, before they committed the crime which got them caught, did it several other times without being caught. There are numberless victims which have never come forward.

Try to instill common sense into your children. Trust must always be earned, and it starts at home. Our children are our most precious resource, since they are the future of our planet. At all costs, we must protect them and insure they will have a future.