Oh! That is such a great idea for a book! Where do they all go? Aliens? Illegal slave trading? Serial killers? WOW!
This is why it pays to do a little research.
We always hear the ‘shocking’ statistics news media vomits at us, but we never hear the ‘truth’ about, well, anything actually, but that’s a different topic. Every now and then you hear something on the news about how many people go missing every year. And the numbers keep getting worse! Back in the 1980’s we were all terrified to hear that 100,000 or maybe even 200,000 thousand people go missing every year!
Holy JE… hold on, I swallowed my gum.
Quick! Let’s look that up on the internet!
www.ask.com › Q&A › Society › Social Science
Holy SH… *cough* *Choke* Ah! There’s my gum!
Wait! Seriously? Ten Million people each year? And 500,000 are never found? Each year???
Dude, it has to be aliens! Or the government is in on it! Seriously!
Wait. Maybe that’s just a bad search result. Some people post bad information. No! Seriously! You can’t believe everything you read on the internet.
Let’s see here…
www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread347164/pg1Apr 6, 2008 – Every year millions of people just disappear without a trace. … Yes,many people go missing, but most of the time they are just teen runaways or …20 postsMar 3, 201320 postsNov 20, 201120 postsNov 22, 2007See? Aliens! Told you! Look at that MILLIONS! Where do they all go?Wait, what? A reliable source? Like what?
Oh. Okay. What do they say?
“During 2012, 661,593 missing person records were entered into NCIC, a decrease of 2.5 % from the 678,860 records entered in 2011. Missing Person records cleared or canceled during the same period totaled 659,514. Reasons for these removals include: a law enforcement agency located the subject, the individual returned home, or the record had to be removed by the entering agency due to a determination that the record is invalid.”
Wait. Lemme do the math here… Uh.. Yeah.
That leaves 2,079 people not accounted for. And that is an ongoing tally situation with new files coming in all the time.
That means less than 1/3 of 1% remain unaccounted for (at the time of the tally). And that is 2/10ths of a percent of the sensationalized numbers thrown around in the media.
(Not even counting that ridiculous ten million number for the US and the UK. If that number where true, more than 1 in 40 people would go missing every year. Can you imagine? That’s more than one kid from every classroom disappearing every year. Quite a sensationalistic number. Do you think you’d notice if one out of every 40 people you knew disappeared every year?)
All of a sudden, the story isn’t quite so interesting. Don’t get me wrong. I feel horrible for the families who loose their loved ones, and I hope they are all found, but the idea that it’s aliens, or a government conspiracy, or anything out of the normal suddenly doesn’t seem so far fetched.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention‘s statistics, and some quick number crunching I probably screwed up, there were approximately 88,000 divorces in 2011. Out of 88,000 “I don’t love you anymore’s”, how hard is it to believe that 2,000 of them were “Screw you, I’m not even telling you I’m leaving!” Not so hard, I think.
I’d say the missing persons numbers we often hear are … not valuable. I think this is an excellent example of how doing your homework pays off. If you want to write a story about aliens taking millions of people and no one notices, go for it! I want to read it. Just don’t throw out an un-researched statistic to try to get me to bite.