It is not going away – this feeling of helplessness. My fingers automatically click to Nurin’s blog everytime I am surfing. I scan the news online for developments, for any latest stories. My heart soared at any positive developments and sank again when I read they were leading to nowhere near a solution; an arrest or anything that would put a face to this mindless crime. Cases such as this has always affected me badly. James Bulger, Sarah Payne, ...and Maddie McCanne who is still missing.
The release of the four initial suspects means that the culprit is still out there. This is no ordinary criminal, no ordinary human being who takes pleasure from seeing someone in pain, who challenges authority by openly placing his victim in a public place. He/she needs to be found.
The police are doing all they can in the face of public glare and pressure.
But there’s something more that can be done to prevent this, this terrible crime being repeated. A lot has been said of Amber Alert, here, here and here. Once a child is missing, no time should be wasted in alerting the police, neighbourhood watch, any agencies at all who could help in the search. I believe Minister Sharizat has proposed something, though not to the effect of a Nurin Alert yet. Read about it here. Let us hope she does something.
I was appalled when I read that the police had advised that parents only report a missing child after 12 hours. 12 hours? Imagine what can happen in one hour, let alone 12 hours. One hour to a parent waiting at home or walking the streets scanning for that familiar face is one hell of a long time.
It must have been three Ramadhans ago when I had four hours of hell waiting for my son to come home. He wanted nasi tomato for iftar and I made his favourite lamb in kicap to go with it. , when he was due home, came and went. And yet no sight of him. Within half an hour, I had called all his friends. No one had seen him walking home. We called the school. They could only confirm that he was in school that day. By then, it was already two hours when he should have been home. Neighbours suggested we called the hospital, the police. My husband had by then walked the area several times and had stood on the bridge over the motorway and called his name out loud. He came home and calmly asked me to pray and pray for the safe return of our son. By then a crowd of concerned neighbours had arrived. It was six and it was dark. A neighbour drove me to the school and still no luck. I was already in tears by . It was so uncharacteristic of him not to call and not to come home on time.
The words from the teacher rang clear to this day when I told her that my son would not do anything stupid such as not coming home without telling me. She said, Mrs Wan, if I get a pound everytime a parent tells me that, I’d be very rich today. I could have given her a &^^%$!!
Anyway, I came home to find a very sympathetic policewoman sitting in my front room. How do you describe what he was wearing? What jacket was he wearing over his school uniform? How was his haircut? Was he wearing his favourite cap? And his rucksack?What brand was it? I couldnt remember. I couldn’t remember anything. Well, just as well because at that moment, a sheepish looking lad walked in. If not for the presence of the policewoman, I could have strangled him. His teacher was proven right after all. He had gone with his friends to break his fast as it was the last day of school and couldn’t call me because his battery was flat.
The policewoman, doing her duty, had to interview him of course for his reasons for staying out so late. And gave him a piece of advise, pointing to my wretched tear stained face, she said, Look at your mum. Look at how worried she was.
Yes, Alhamdulillah, everything turned out well. But it was a nightmare. A nightmare because I have read too many cases of missing children who never returned, not because they didn't want to return but because some sicko had taken them away.
A few days ago, I met up with our Prime Minister who dropped by for a function, after his address at the UN. I asked, or rather, I blurted out to him about whether we should compile a register of sex offenders, of paedophiles. At least, with a register, we would know who these people are, where they live. So, when a child is missing, the first reference would be the register of offenders in your area. When Sarah Payne was brutally murdered, there was a campaign for Sarah’s Law to name and shame sex offenders. You’d want to know if a child sex offender is living near you, wouldn't you? You’d want to know that the person employed at a nursery of your child’s school isn’t a pervert. Whatever it is, as a parent, you’d want to know.
Yes, said the Prime Minister, a register would be useful. But I agree with him when he said, it has got to be dealt with carefully. In the
Judging from the comments I read at the Nurinjazlin’s website, especially after the arrest of the four suspects and now the detention of a female foreigner who swallowed her SIM card, I think we still have a long way to go. Commenters are already spelling out what they’d do to these four even though they have yet to be charged. And some of the suggestions are quite horrific. When the matter is already in the hands of the police, it is best that the public allows the police to do their job. We can help by keeping vigilant. When a child is struggling and crying while being dragged away, as was the case of James Bulger, we can show our concern. Had that someone who assumed the two boys who dragged the two year old away were his brothers bothered to stop them and ask, Jamie wouldn't have been left to die at the railway tracks. When a child is screaming, tak nak , tak nak while being dragged into a van, surely there was something wrong.
These are some of the things that kept playing over and over again in my mind. When do we stop to ask and help? When does concern become over reacting and a nuisance?
Let us continue and pray for Nurin, her parents and for the safety of all our children. God bless.Read the story here and I am pleased that the Star has done a follow up here on Support for Paedophile list.
The NST has also done a follow-up on the registering of sex offenders here.