At 3:08 am I was jolted awake by the screechiest loudest most gosh-darn scream from my cell phone.
AMBER ALERT!!! AMBER ALERT!!! AMBER ALERT!!!
As the blasting continued, I looked at the text. Something about a child abduction in a brown Buick. The only option to stop the shrieking phone was to “erase.” No saving for later. I tapped it ASAP.
And then I laid awake until morning, heart beating fast, wondering how many bay area residents could possibly spot a brown Buick from their beds. I was fuming.
This is not the first time this happened, and I always lament the uselessness of these alerts to all cell phones. When you have one in our state, you cannot opt out of these alerts on a basic (not smart) phone.
It has happened while driving, and nearly caused me to crash. There is no way I would stop on the highway to look at my phone. I don’t answer normal calls while driving, either.
It has happened at various times of the day, and I don’t see zooming cars from my kitchen, either.
It happened when I was getting an ultrasound by a surgeon (that’s another story) and she nearly dropped her handheld device.
And that screech: I didn’t know my phone is capable of such volume.
A well-intentioned setting that in fact is largely useless.
If you are not acquainted with the Amber alert system, see this.
I am all for radios broadcasting (without upping the volume manifold, as they do now) and especially for the electronic signs on highways.
But how can I possibly help from my bed?
As I lay awake, I realized I was not really angry at the alert. I was angry that people do horrible things that made others invent such a system. I was angry that countries invade other countries without provocation. I was angry that a few bad apples inflict so much harm on the peaceful and helpful majority.
I learned this morning the details of the abduction, The face of an angelic toddler taken from home by what is reported to be a stranger with out-of-state license plates is haunting.
I’m mad that such happens. Now that I’ve had coffee I’d like to go out and look for that brown Buick.
But as an aside, don’t shoot me, I’m also grumpy because I was awakened hours ago in a violent way and am lacking sleep. Some of the best intentions lead to grumpiness.