Some of you might know Luke Chung, the president of FMS and popular speaker at Access conferences. He sent me a letter last week that I wanted to share with my blog friends. This doesn't relate to technology or Microsoft Access but as a father, I think it is an important message.

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Hi Everyone,

Sorry for the impersonal nature of this blind CC email, but I have an important message I wanted to share with you as a parent.

This past November, I had the honor of meeting John Walsh, the host of the TV show America's Most Wanted and founder of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (www.ncmec.org). He's also the father of Adam Walsh who was 6 years old when he was kidnapped and killed in 1981. John turned that tragedy into a crusade to help victims and put some really bad people away. We had a nice conversation and I wanted to help. In December, I visited the headquarters of NCMEC in Alexandria, VA, met with their president Ernie Allen and some of his managers. This past week, I visited again with my managers and learned more about the challenges they face from the people doing the actual analysis.

It's been a very moving experience to tour their offices and see what they do on a daily basis in conjunction with law enforcement agencies. Visiting their call center, I eavesdropped on some conversations where I could only hear one side. I can't even begin to imagine how desperate the parent on the other end of the line must be when reporting and describing their missing child. Thank goodness this organization exists because prior to John Walsh's efforts, most police forces didn't know how to search for missing children or communicate across jurisdictions, and the FBI tracked stolen property but not missing people.

As you may know, over the past few years my firm has helped intelligence analysts in the area of counter-terrorism fighting against those who seek to destroy our civilization. Unfortunately, there are some very evil people right here preying on our children. NCMEC helps find missing children and puts pedophiles away. They are a non-profit and congressionally funded organization to be the clearinghouse for missing children. It's a very noble cause and I'm looking forward to helping them technologically as we have with the war on terror.

Having learned what I have over the past few months, I would be remiss to not share it with you. Here are some resources:

  • The NCMEC website offers a lot of information on protecting and educating our children: http://www.ncmec.org
    It's also important to teach the distinction of strangers approaching children vs. the need to approach strangers in emergency situations, since most adults will help.
  • Educating children about safety on the Internet: http://www.netsmartz.org
  • Finally, here's a site that with maps showing registered sex offenders in your neighborhood and near your schools: http://www.familywatchdog.us/

Some say the statistics show these crimes aren't necessarily increasing in number and that it's a lot of media hype. I don’t know if that's true. But as a statistician, I do know that if it strikes your family, statistics don't matter. Fact is, there are close to a million convicted sex offenders in public and over 100,000 of them who are supposed to be registered are missing, not to mention those who haven't been convicted. I don't want to make you paranoid because the odds are still very low, but common sense precautions are worth taking. With the recent craziness in Missouri, Florida, California, Utah, etc., this problem exists everywhere, and hopefully we can all help protect our children and communities better.

I hope this has been helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Best wishes,

Luke Chung