Thursday, July 7, 2011

No to Caylee's Law

I'm nodding at everything my friend Josh Blackman says in this post about why a "Caylee's Law," or federal law making it a felony for parents not to notify law enforcement within 24 hours after a child goes missing, is a horrible idea. I am especially in favor of this because I was horrible at using cell phones for long periods of my life. This is mainly because I am a writer, not a phone talker, and would often forget to charge my phone or have it with me because I could happily go for weeks or days at a time without using it. I am better at this now that I have an i-phone that has text and e-mail capability, although really, if I could get a phone that had no voice plan, I totally would. Anyway, at various stages of my young adulthood, my parents would panic due to my poor cell phone maintenance habits. Once, they actually did call the police on me because I went for twelve hours without returning their calls when I was an IJ summer clerk; another time, they came close because I left my cell phone in a drawer in my desk at the social science research firm where I was an RA for two days over the weekend without noticing it. Actually, I wasn't a minor on either of those occasions, so the law might not have applied. But if cell phones had been more widespread when I was actually a minor, I can see these sorts of things going much more awry. In my case, this just let to considerable egg-faced embarrassment over my absent-mindedness. But if lots of conscientious parents do the same thing, then police departments will get overwhelmed with a lot of not-very-meritorious calls that potentially siphon resources away from more meritorious complaints, potentially leaving everyone worse off and less safe.

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