I wasn’t going to comment on the Heene family and Balloon Boy but decided to on behalf of parents of missing children. If you havn’t heard the story, last week in Fort Collins, Co., Richard Heene and his wife called 911 and reported their 6 year old son, Falcon, was missing and their other son said Falcon had climed into a helium weather balloon in their back yard and accidently launched it into the sky. This sparked a search and rescue effort from many agencies from the sherif department on the ground to the National Guard in the Air. This balloon floated for several hours and I belive 50 miles or so before landing, sans child. In the time after questions arose as to the whereabouts of young Falcon Heene. Did he fall out of the aircraft? Had he ever been in the ship? CNN covered the story as did many TV and Internet stations. Questions arose including was it even possible for that balloon to even carry a fifty pound payload?
Falcon was found in the family home hiding in the attic. Then allegations that this was a hoax, or a publicity stunt soon followed. It was mean. What shocked me was in this day where we have instant mass media coverage and communication from official sources to everyday people and strangers, how people jump to conclusions and speak before they think. Also, it seems very little people are willing to give their neighbor the benefit of doubt. Almost immediately it was like a witch hunt – HOAX! HOAX! people were shouting on Twitter and Facebook, just to name a few social networks. Even CNN quickly admitted they knew it was unlikely the balloon could have enough lift to get off the ground carrying a child but chose to go with the story. Nowhere did I hear or read anything about the JOY when it was announced that Falcon was found – and found SAFE! So what if it was a hoax? Deal with that later! How many people in our nation were watching and holding their breath, praying, and hoping a little boy was not in that balloon and was hiding somewhere safe, and not that he had fallen out somewhere along the journey? How many parents have had that nightmare of experiencing a missing child whether it is for a minute, fifteen minutes, hour, day, week, year, or never being reunited with their child again?
Let’s take a minute to call off the Heene Balloon Boy witch hunt and thank God there is a safe child home with his parents and pray for those Parents of Missing Children – pray they are reunited with them and all are safe.