The subject of child abduction and stranger danger has always been something close to my heart. When I was in fifth grade while heading to school in Lakewood, OH, a man in a long black car offered me a ride to school. Had I hopped in that car, I probably wouldn’t be here today. It was that memorable event that sparked my best-selling novel, The Black Cadillac.
In 1989, a little girl from Bay Village was abducted. This case was nationally known and is something that will be etched in my mind forever. I remember everything that happened and always felt “close” to that terrible event. Amy’s disappearance made me more aware of my surroundings, but also frightened the hell out of me. While Amy’s body was found three months later, her killer/abductor was never found. If she were alive today, Amy would be my step-sister. (For more on Amy, read James Renner‘s book “Amy: My Search for her Killer“).
Starting this month, I am going on a Cleveland city school systems tour to promote the topic of “Stranger Danger”. In my opinion, there is not enough education out there on the subject. (Watch this video.) * Every forty seconds in the United States, a child goes missing or is abducted. It’s time to put an end to this and fight back. You cannot turn on your television without hearing about an attempted child abduction or something along the subject.
Just seven days ago, a man tried to abduct a little girl from a bus stop in Cleveland in broad daylight. Thankfully, the driver who dropped the little girl off saw what was happening and prevented an abduction. In September of last year, another little girl was approached at her bus stop and offered a ride to school. The little girl ran and hid behind a shed. The Elyria police never found the man and the woman trying to abduct her. It goes without mentioning the horrific events that happened on Seymour Avenue in Cleveland last year. Stories like these continue to come out every day.
We live in a different world today. Everyone is so focused on smart phones, technology, and the newest toys. We have lost sight of what is most important to us and the future of this world – our children. My mother once told me that when you have a child of your own, you would do anything humanly possible for that child, especially if it meant giving up your own life. Now that I have an 18-month-old daughter of my own, I completely understand what she meant by that. Losing your child is the most harrowing thing that can happen to anyone on the face of the earth.
In such a guarded world we live in today, as parents we need to be even more aware of our own and our children’s surroundings. As the old saying goes, “If something seems off or not right, it probably isn’t.” Almost everyone has a cell phone capable of taking photos. Instead of snapping photos or videos of fascinating things going on around us, how about taking photos or videos of things that matter? Had cell phone cameras been around in 1989, Amy might still be alive.
My goal with this tour is to make kids and students more aware of their surroundings, educate them on stranger danger, provide tips for situations, and promote my book that very much covers the important subject. Each student that I see will receive a “Stranger Danger Awareness” wristband and I will be donating my book to each school library that I visit.
The Black Cadillac is a story about a boy named Cody that is offered a ride to school by a stranger in a black vehicle on his morning walk. Cody’s character is built and designed to draw people of all ages into this thriller that is every parents’ worse nightmare. The boy and his best friend take matters into their own hands and become obsessed with trying to figure out who the man is in that car. This story goes deep inside the realm of possibilities, highlighting the crucial importance of education, and sometimes, bravery.
* Fact found on parents.com
Ryan Ruiz is a Staff Writer for The Inscriber: Digital Magazine. You can follow him on Facebook: Ryan (BrownsWriter) Ruiz and Twitter @ryanpruiz24. Email Ryan at [email protected]
The Black Cadillac can be purchased on the web, www.theblackcadillac.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, or www.amazon.com