Amber Alerts: a wake-up call

From CityNews

Most of us have smart phones and unless we turn them off or put them in airplane mode overnight, we’re going to be awakened by an Amber Alert occurring anywhere in the province. To me this is overkill. Other jurisdictions have managed to allow opting out of the alerts or containing them to regions. Not so in Canada. Each province can only issue a province-wide alert.

My heart bleeds when some unfortunate child goes missing in Thunder Bay, Ottawa or Windsor but there’s very little I can do from my bed here in Greater Weston™; especially when police wait until 3 am to wake me and ask me to do their job. Yes, there may be compelling examples of how an AA has saved a life but they are extremely rare. In most cases, alerts are triggered by a parental dispute with little danger to the child.

People annoyed at being awakened by an Amber Alert are made to feel like pariahs. Don’t get me wrong; if you call 911 because you’re mad at being awakened by an AA, it’s official; you’re an idiot. Most of us don’t call 911 to complain but there’s a considerable body of opinion that only heartless douches resent being awakened.

Call me old-fashioned but I like a good night’s sleep. A solid 7 or 8 hours is important for us so-called adults in order to function effectively the next day. Indeed, population-wide sleep disturbances are dangerous. How do we know this? Each spring after the clocks go forward, the loss of an hour’s sleep boosts heart attack and road accident rates significantly (7% and 17% respectively).

In effect, Amber Alerts may kill more people than they save.

The fix: either restrict alerts to daytime hours or (to accommodate shift workers) allow people to opt out while asleep.

Oh and one more thing; cut the sanctimony.