Filed under: AL, Birmingham Alabama, Birmingham, AL, Commentary, Missing people, News Media (as source & subject), Social commentary
There is something to be said for persistence. Mountain Brook’s Beth Twitty has made sure that the nation has not forgotten about the disappearance of her daughter in Aruba more than one year ago. She has not given up hope of receiving answers. It has been the persistence of her family that has kept the case in the media spotlight, though I am sure that there are many that would rather see it fade into the black hole that the other stories appear to have fallen into in recent months.
This is not despite efforts by some to give the case a wider perspective. BlackAmericaWeb.com posted a story online yesterday talking about efforts to locate the Martins, a local family that has been missing from their College Hills neighborhood home for several months now. Lori Slesinski is also still missing, with her case fading away from its early frenzied coverage earlier this summer. Slesinski’s story even prompted the discovery of a MySpace page by people interested in following developments and prompted a group dedicated to getting information out to the social networking resource.
The question is raised in the article written about the Martin family is whether the issue of race has something to do with the lack of interest in the story. It could be playing a part, but not nearly as much as the fact that the media just moved on to the next missing person story. It could also be that in the eyes of many, the case does not involve them and could not happen to them in the same way that they could disappear while in a foreign country.
In an age when the missing person image on a milk carton is replaced with electronic Amber Alert systems both online and on the roads, one would think that the ability to keep all missing persons in the public eye would be easier than ever. It may have something to do with the country’s short attention span, their need for instant gratification. Many of these stories do not provide the immediate closure that many equate with the sitcom. We’ve never been able to truly solve our problems in 22 minutes; why should it be any different now?
There is always hope in an unsolved case, as is the case currently with JonBenet Ramsey, though we await evidence to prove that the confession is not a symbol of false hope but the conclusion of a long ordeal. So as local and national media gear up for the beginning of fall sports season, with countless families sitting captive in front of their televisions and reading newspapers to get their sports fix (including myself), maybe we should take this opportunity to remind people of the cases and of the need for answers.
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