Amber Alert, Complaints and a Lack of Human Empathy

Roopesh Rajkumar, 41, was arrested on a highway about 130 kilometres north of Brampton around midnight Thursday. His daughter, Riya, was found dead in his basement apartment shortly before his arrest. (Facebook) – Source: CBC.CA

An unfortunate and tragic event occurred on February 14th, 2019. Riya Rajkumar was dropped off at a Mississauga gas station by her mother so that Roopesh Rajkumar, her father, could take her out to celebrate her birthday. Around 6.30 PM, as per multiple sources (CP24, CityNews), her mother reports her missing because he missed bringing her back on the agreed time. She expresses her concern to the authorities after receiving a threat from the father indicating he might cause harm to not only himself, but to his own daughter as well.

Right before 11 PM of the same night, an amber alert was issued in the hope to seek public help to locate the whereabouts of the girl. What appeared to be parental abduction turns into a first-degree murder case, when the girl’s lifeless body was found in a residence in Brampton at her father’s place, as per the police report. Sadly, the alert did not produce results we all wished for, but it did help to locate the man, after his car was spotted in Orillia, ON. While it’s truly heartbreaking to see the loss of life, there was something else happening around the same time that made me write the next piece.

On February 14, within an hour of an amber alert being issued for 11-year-old Riya Rajkumar, 911 dispatchers in Peel Region received 124 calls. The “vast majority” of them, let me highlight this part specifically so we can be on the same page, were complaining not about robbery, witnessing a crime, nor seeing someone about to commit suicide – they were complaining that the alert that was issued for 11-year-old girl, who was eventually found deceased, WOKE THEM UP. That’s right. The same complaints would continue even hours after the initial alerts. Since all this happened within a day, many people started calling the complainants horrible people. But the problem of what we witnessed that night did not start the same day. And here is why.

There are no surprises that we live in an unjust world. We live in a world filled with selfish and self-centered people, people that care about themselves more than anything else in this life. And maybe that’s okay. It’s not a crime to not love anyone or be friendly. But there’s something that makes us more humane and a loving human being, when we, in fact, do exercise all the positive feelings and practice them on a daily basis on people we know or just random people we meet at the grocery store, in public transit, airports or any other places. But that, as you already know, does occur more frequently in the ideal world, the Feb 14th event proved, the world that we live in is not one of them.

Valerie Reyes, from New Rochelle, New York, had been reported missing. The last time she was seen was on January 29th. On February 5th, highway workers found a suitcase in the early hours, and after looking inside, the workers found a woman’s body later identified as Valerie Reyes. One of those workers reported in the news (Source: NBC News, CNN), allegedly took pictures of the body. The question is why, and what was the reason this man felt so important to take a picture of someone’s sister, daughter, aunt, friend, especially when it was not her who put herself into that suitcase for the sake of a joke, she was clearly inserted inside after being killed. Getting back to the complainants of Amber Alert, as you can see, it was not just a random case of indifference towards human life but an alarming pattern that continues for ages but we somehow started talking about it now.

Let’s leave Amber Alert and Valerie Reyes’ case aside and dig deep into another issue in which we can identify more indifferent people towards others. Allow me to ask you a question – do you take public transit? I assume you do, so do I, as a matter of fact. Here’s the scenario – it’s early morning, people are rushing to work, the bus is about to arrive and boom. The bus either does not stop or it does, but because of passengers wearing big backpacks, the bus driver can take in only a few passengers while the rest of them will have to wait for another bus, which might take more time. So the question is, why do some people think that their backpacks are more important than people that have to get to work? Are we not supposed to share the same bus? Why don’t we just remove them, put it down, and make more room for others? And you know what? Even when the bus driver announces on the speaker almost begging for all the backpacks to be removed, trust me, nobody cares. I know that because I’ve witnessed it millions of times. Because people’s own persona is what they are concerned about. And if someone is late for work because of their backpack, oh trust me, hell will freeze before they turn into a considerate human being.

Another example I would like to bring up is of grocery stores. We all have been there, haven’t we? How many times you had to wait with your cart while other customers pass by? You wait and wait. You’re patient. You let other people go first before you even move from one aisle to another. And how many of them stopped to say, “Oh please, you go first.” Not many, right? And that’s the problem. When people do not look around, push each other, interrupt when you talk to a customer representative because somehow they think their time is more valuable than yours, it’s what makes you no longer surprised about people who complain about an amber alert that disrupted their good night’s sleep.

As I can bring more examples of how many people out there, no matter in which part of the world they’re from, do horrible things. You will be stunned learning that things like these are nothing in comparison to what people are actually capable of. And getting back to the young life being claimed by the father, and the issued amber alert – this type of practice is important to help the police do their job more efficiently. Our duty as citizens is to assist and be alert if it’s necessary. Without public’s help, no murder case can be solved easily, abducted people can’t be located, and criminals will simply commit crimes more openly, because of people like those who complain about amber alerts and prefer to do nothing or rest while the rest of the world turns upside down for those grieving.

So, to conclude, let’s not forget about Riya Rajkumar whose life was shut off by her parent whose primary duty was to protect her. He takes her life as if it was just turning the switch of the light from on to off. So yes, let me say this to those who complained about the amber alert – I sincerely wish you to have a good night. And don’t worry about not getting enough sleep because of that “horrible and noisy” alert. It won’t be triggered again. Be cool about that because the reason of it is no longer lives, and will never get a second chance to greet the morning, but you will, and will have so many other mornings, you can enjoy the rest of your happy life. And for you, my dear reader, who is deeply upset by what happened – there’s not much we can do except remain caring, loving, and respectful. Let’s not forget, while people like you and me exist, we can help the world become less self-absorbed. Let’s believe in it by taking one step at a time.


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