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Editorial: Suburban Boogeyman

The abduction of 6-year-old Etan Patz 33 years ago was not only a horrendous crime, but it also was the actualized embodiment of every parent’s deepest and darkest fear.

With the May 24 arrest of 51-year-old Pedro Hernandez, there appears to be closure on this heretofore unsolved crime. Patz became the first missing child to appear on the back of a milk carton. His disappearance not only helped heighten awareness surrounding missing and abducted children, but it also spurred President Ronald Reagan to declare May 25 National Missing Children’s Day and for congress to establish the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in 1983 and 1984 respectively. While this high-profile crime happened in an urban setting, there’s always been the concern of these insidious transgressions making their way into seemingly bucolic suburban settings. In fact, Hernandez hails from the middle class burg of Maple Shade, NJ, a community whose motto is, “Nice town, friendly people.” 

But aside from high-profile victims like Patz and Adam Walsh, the notion of children being scooped up by the proverbial stranger in a van with promises of candy and puppies is more myth than reality. According to statistics provided to Garden City Life by Janine Kava, deputy director of public information for the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services, a total of 865 missing children reports were filed in 2011 for Nassau County. With 748 of these cases being reported as runaways, none of the 191 cases remaining open at year’s end were classified as stranger abductions. Suffolk County’s 2011 numbers were similar; 1,486 missing children, 1,389 runaways and no stranger abductions among the 72 remaining cases that remained open at the start of 2012. With parents taking a more precautionary route in warning their offspring about speaking to strangers along with the hundreds of public service announcements and programs warning of the same perils, apparently the message is getting through to the youth of today. While this may provide cold comfort to the parents of Etan Patz and other families who’ve been subjected to these horrific acts, these deaths did provide a wake-up call to the naïvete of a populace.

— DGdR

News

The 36th annual Thunderbird American Indian Mid-Summer Pow-Wow will be held at the Queens County Farm Museum from Friday, July 25 through Sunday, July 27. It is the longest-running American Indian Pow-Wow and will feature three days of inter-tribal Native American Dance Competitions.

More than 40 Indian nations will be represented. Chanting, drumming and brilliantly-colored, finely-detailed regalia will provide stimulating entertainment for people of all ages. All dance competitions and performances will be narrated for your appreciation of the rich tradition and culture that is being shared. American Indian art and craft vendors will offer a unique array of times for shoppers.

On Monday, July 7, Vincent J. Calamia, 48, of Floral Park, was arrested on charges related to the production and possession of child pornography. The criminal complaint, filed in the Eastern District of New York, alleges that between approximately 2005 and the date of his arrest, Calamia engaged in sexually explicit conduct with minors and possessed and produced child pornography. The complaint further alleges that approximately 10 videos seized from the defendant’s computer depict the defendant engaging in sexual contact with boys who appear to be as young as between 15 and 17 years old.


Calendar

Village Concert

Friday, July 25

Magic & Comedy

Friday, July 25

Irish Kids-Fleah Music Fundraiser

Saturday, July 26



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com