When you think about how much time, energy and valuable resources are used every time an amber alert is sounded here in New Jersey, you would hope that a child is being saved from a crazed kidnapper a lot of the time. The sad fact is, most amber alerts are merely the consequence of domestic custody disputes where one parent takes the kid from the other. Case in point: George Berry, whose assault of the mother of his 11-month-old son yesterday morning before taking the child triggered an Amber alert.

George and Reign Berry (Paterson polce)

He was arrested in Paterson about an hour after the child was found. If this story sounds familiar it’s because it’s what happens most of the time. 99 out of 100 amber alerts have this type of ending. So it’s gotten to the point where we are deaf to the Amber alert, generally ignoring it and just going about our days.

The Amber alert should be reserved for abductions by strangers. But since it is not, and is used as a tool by warring couples in custody battles, we now barely even hear them. unfortunately, this has diluted its urgency and has taken away it’s effectiveness in thwarting a bona fide kidnapping, rendering the Amber alert almost useless. We need to either modify the parameters for the issuance of an Amber alert if we want it to mean something or else just get rid of it entirely. because right now when we hear an Amber alert most of us just lower the radio until the annoying alarm sound passes.

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