Standing a few blocks from where Nichole Cable was last seen, I am struck by the lack of information in this case, nor the lack of journalistic aggression.
I am not from Maine.
There is a journalistic culture, all its own, in Maine. It may or may not be similar to other small town type States in America, as my reference point is New York, where journalists regularly congregate around anyone connected to a case, and pour off strong question after strong question. Think: Anthony Wiener (now running for office again, as an example of morals for us all), surrounded by journalists all thrusting mics in his face.
When a fireman from Florida came to Maine to sell drugs, Florida journalists were threatened with arrest when they camped outside the suspect's relative's home, actually getting there before police. They were stunned to see a Maine law enforcement official screaming at them (caught on tape) that they would be arrested...for doing their job.
Nichole Cable went missing this week and already sensitivity indicators show that there may have been a delay in calling 911; a delay in judgement, not necessarily nefarious, even though the family has taken to the very same media, Face Book, that may have led to their daughter's disappearance, that is, if she is missing because of someone she met on Face Book. By simply reporting that it was reported "immediately" (by police) we may wonder why the need to even add the word "immediately" when calling 911.
From Bangor Daily News:
On their Facebook page, the Old Town High School student’s parents said they believe their daughter was last known to be with a male using a fictitious name on a Facebook account. A Bangor High School student with the same name was questioned by police.
(end of article entry.)
It is believed that she went off with a man who used a fake name/fake profile on Facebook (FB) to lure her away. The amount of time, itself, is worrisome.
People are frightened for Nichole, and for their own families.
The high school kids locally are frightened.
The local parents are frightened.
They should be. We all should be.
They are both right to be frightened, as we are just, apparently, rediscovering the power of the written word, and how it can influence us, just as it did in generations gone by, who relied upon letter writing to communicate love, loss, life and death.
People think that things like this don't happen in places like this, but the internet has connected us all.
World War II was an extreme example of those who, at times, based their entire ability to stay alive on their wills, fueled by the letter from home, a sweetheart the young man was trusting to be faithful to him. How often have we heard men say that it was the thought of their sweetheart, or wife, which kept them going during the darkest hours, or how a folded, beat up, and almost disintegrated love letter was the most important part of a soldier's uniform? Or, perhaps, even how the "Dear John" letter was the final shred of hope to disappear during war, the written word is powerful.
Our society has changed, and our children are slipping from our grasp, so parents must now, more than perhaps any time in almost 50 years, pull their children closer than ever before, and place strong limitations upon what they do, where they go, who they see, and their time on Face Book.
We live in a country that has become, in just a few years, almost unrecognizable. The internet has changed us all.
Do you really want your 13 year old daughter gleaning her self worth from how many strangers mark her as "friend" on Face Book? Think this is just kids? Government workers (you know, the ones you are trusting to run your life for you?) are constantly getting in trouble for either being on FB too much, or "liking" something that they are not allowed to like. (I'm not kidding). I guess this is better than what the IRS has been doing the past 6 years.
You haven't lived until you've been 'shushed' by a government supervisor who, at age 40, is arguing with someone on FB which store is "hotter: Old Navy or Marshalls"; (again, I am not making this up!)
What of the bullying mentality? Those of weak character can appear bold and appealing in writing, and especially those who have failed to make strong connections in society in 'real' life, find a 'new life' on the internet, with what is called "internet muscles", perhaps showing that the more deficient in natural life, the more projection to be seen online.
Think of the strange litany of characters the plight of Hailey Dunn's case has brought, with those using various names and personas, making shocking statements in order to gain attention for themselves, reveling in controversy. Famous cases have always brought out such oddities, but it is an all new realm in the internet.
Parents must stop apologizing for being parents and stop thinking that the government (whoever that is) should be teaching their children morals, and put the brakes on this downward spiral.
Dress, appearance, manners, speech, language, grammar, usage, gender...all of these things matter.
The new "do not judge!" mentality that does not even allow for children to be children, nor to recognize that some are male and some are female, does not change the fact that people judge you, sometimes hundreds of times in a single day. Even just a single look can cause someone to have a half dozen opinions (judgements) about you. How much more so do your children feel this among their peers? Are we preparing them to withstand the judgements of others without compromising their own beliefs?
Parents must return to the common sense of instilling things that are out of vogue today including:
Busy kids are healthy kids who are not online all the time communicating with strangers day and night.
Kids should work. To live is to work, and work sustains life. Historically, the world has reached a point where the abundance of food is so great that a portion of the population can still be fed while not working. Historically, (if history teaches us) this is not a norm. Should we have a down turn, are we preparing our kids to survive in the world? Are we giving them the skills to survive, or are we abdicating our instruction not only to the government, but to the internet?
With record numbers of Americans being paid to sit home and do nothing, many kids do not think they have to work. We have entire towns and counties where there are more on state aid than who are working and it destroys the very fabric of society, robbing people of their dignity.
At 12, I had a paper route. At 13, I was sweeping up at a butcher's shop.
When I worked for child protective services, the interview of the parent included, "What do you do to provide for your child?" about 10 years ago. I heard many (not "some", but "many") say, "Tanif!" while barely able to lift his head from playing a video game.
Think that is bad news?
Today, social workers are told not to even ask that question, as it might be "demeaning" to the parent. The able-bodies young male, who refused to do his homework in high school, is home playing video games and being paid for it. The Bible (uh oh) says that if a man will not work, he is not to be fed, but in this case, he is getting money for keeping a pulse. Without quoting statistics, over the years I learned that when I met a male, 40 years of age, who had never worked, that it was very probable that he had more than 3 children, all with different mothers, that were supported by tax dollars. He did not work, therefore, he had to find another way to feel like a man.
Thanks, emotional thinkers. I think it is time to take even more away from the working man to pay for yet another program for someone who does not want to work, in the name of compassion, of course.
Please don't respond with broad strokes. I work with people who cannot work. They physically are unable to work, yet, often ask (or indicate) that they wish to help, and when they are able to do something helpful, they beam with pride.
Work ethic is out of void, but children that are taught to work will thank their parents later on. Kids from Aroostook County in Maine pick potatoes from an early age. I have spoken to many of them who, as adults, are glad for this work experience. Interestingly enough, theft in that county is very low, percentage wise to population. Aroostook County people are proud of their work ethic, even though it is an economically challenged place to live.
I spoke to one mom who said that she reminded her little girl that if a man asks her to help him find her lost puppy, he is to be run away from. Her daughter is sharp and knows enough, but it was a good reminder.
Children are not naturally suited for discernment, as they are
It is okay to think. Seriously, it is okay to think.
It is okay to be wrong. It is okay. Your child's self esteem will survive and he may just learn something.
It is okay to want to take some time and think things through. Nothing highlights this principle more than the emotionalism that rules us today.
Reading FB on the missing child case itself shows us much. "My best friend's daughter was friends with this girl, who went to school with this guy, who totally almost met Nichole and I am so distraught about this right now..." It's tough to think critically when our only thought is narcissistic at best. How is this impacting me? Who cares, for there is a missing child!
Children not only need to have their internet monitored, but they need to be able to think critically and parents can use FB to teach them this very thing.
Statement Analysis is a good place to start. :)
It is wise for a parent to be able to sit next to the child, especially a young teen (the age of moving into critical thinking)
Life is competitive and your child will have to compete for a job if our country does not move completely to a communistic view point.
When I was a boy, we did not have signs warning parents at sporting events. Today, sportsmanship is not taught.
It is still okay to teach your son to be competitive, while being a gracious loser. Masculinity sacrifices its strength to help others. There is a time to compete (sports) and a time to turn it off (parenting) in life.
Our sons and daughters need to be busy at what needs to be busy at.
My youngest is now 11 and his lessons in manners have gone well, and we are moving on to dress, appearance and decision making. It is okay to teach your children that manners are a way to show respect to others, even if ridiculed for it. The children are not born with wisdom, nor understanding, in spite of all the wonderful movies Hollywood sends our ways.
Manners and Gender
I hereby give you permission to teach your son to hold his mother's chair at dinner, and get his sister's door in the car.
Boys will become men. Men are stronger than women.
I had seven sisters and my father taught me just how unmanly it is to raise a hand in violence to a woman.
Girls today are exposed to violence in the home as undisciplined homes produce violence, and it is no wonder that they find themselves drawn towards violent boyfriends and eventually violent husbands, and even when finally confronted with the fact of being a battered woman, still lack the resolve to leave the abuser.
It is epidemic.
See your son.
Give him a toy he likes and he will cherish it. As he gets older, you'll see him love his toy, like a car, and polish it, and baby it, and do what it takes to take good care of it. It is how boys are.
Teach him to close his ears to what is being taught today, and tell him that women are different than men, special, with a greater human capacity for love and emotion, thereby, at greater risk for exploitation. Tell them that the movies from Hollywood that teach that the 15 year old girl knows more about love than her stodgy 40 year old father, is wrong. Tell your children, not to follow their hearts, but to obey their parents. Teach them to think.
If a young boy is taught to cherish his mother and sister, and not to treat them as "equals" when it comes to rough play, we can reduce violence against women in society. I always cringe when I see my son avoiding contact with a female during an ice hockey game. He can't do it. It goes against his upbringing. I will never understand what goes through the mind of a father who puts his little girl in a helmet and has her crash into boys. It leaves me cold, and very sad, as I consider the long term ramifications.
When my older boys were young, they lived in a totalitarian society. I told them how to dress and how to behave. There was no debate. There was no 3 year old crying over too many choices for lunch.
When the pubescent years descended, things changed. At age 14, when my son wanted to go to the movies, he had to, at the dinner table, present an argument about why he should be allowed to go.
If his argument was sound, he could go. He would present that the movie had a certain rating, and he was going with certain friends, and that these friends were not known to cause trouble, and that safety precautions were in place...and so on.
If his argument was sound, permission granted.
By 16, he was self governing. He had no curfew. The envy of his friends, he was always home early and in bed because of school or work requirements, but thrived, emotionally, on the freedom that he did not bother to use much.
But that was long ago, and he had been taught to think critically, not too early (at age 8, for example) but when his brain was more developed (we began logic at age 11), recognizing that all children develop differently.
We don't have statements to analyze in the case of Nichole Cable, and we don't know what happened to her, and if she is alright or not. It appears that exploitation, perhaps emotional exploitation, has taken place, but we do not know.
She is only 15 years old.
How old is your little girl?
Mine is 13.
She is in need of constant protection and not only trusts me to do so, but is counting on me to provide for her needs in life. She is learning how to discern forums and see how the 'kindly grandmother' may be a 40 year old man, feigning interest, for example, in pet rabbits, in order to communicate with my little girl.
Clancy will not allow it.
|On guard and vigilant|
The internet has given us many wonderful opportunities, but with opportunities comes responsibilities that must be respected.
Nichole Cable, and so many situations similar, reminds us, as parents, just how much responsibility that is needed to protect children in today's world. If anything, she is in need of our prayers, even as she reminds us to not abdicate our divinely appointed responsibility to raise and nurture our children, and protect them by all means.
Predators are counting on our laziness and our lack of discernment.