Avi Ben Stella and others who need our prayer

26 08 2009

It seems every month or so some heart breaking prayer requests circles the globe electronically and is later found to be a hoax.  Either a kidnapped child or an injured one or deported or some amazing newsworthy malady.  Except they aren’t in the news.  They simply have their story passed around through internet friends and associates for no purpose.  For the Avi Ben Stella‘s and the Penny Brown‘s and the Amanda Bundy‘s and the Brayden Hembree‘s of the world, there are Twitter alerts, Facebook wall updates, chain emails and text distribution lists all offering up prayers and condolences.  It isn’t as though anyone is asking for a liver or charity, they just want your prayers.  Prayer, in any religion, is a good thing.  I think even the most atheist of persons can even say that a moment of silent thought can be rewarding.

So where’s the harm in leading people to prayer through fake names and false tales?

As you forward on emails and perpetuate the tales, somewhere a child who is truly missing, truly injured, truly endangered gets forgotten and unheard.

While you are hearing about the Amber Alert for the unnamed and non-existant 3 year old in the silver truck with the tag 72B-381; have you heard of Adji Desir, a little six year old boy in Immokalee who disappeared this past January with no leads or clues?

For every missing Ashley Flores who is not a kidnapped teenage girl, there is a Trenton Duckett who is still missing after three years.

For every Amy Brucewho the Make a Wish Foundation is NOT giving 7 cents an email to, there is a charity in need of more than just a forwarded email; such as buying Pink & White M&Ms to help donate to the Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

I am certain that hoaxsters probably do not think their actions through if they would be so petty as to circulate hoaxes that prey on the hearts of recipients, but if they did, maybe they would stop and think of how many tip lines and local police stations are being distracted from necessary actions to explain the hoax to the tipster.  In the case of the ‘missing’ Ashley Flores, the local police department still receives tips each day about potential sitings of this girl who never existed, over three years since the hoax began!

I ask that if you receive an email that proposes that a billionaire will donate five dollars to a cause for every email forwarded; or if you receive a text about a missing child that doesn’t include the child’s name or location they are missing from or what they were wearing; or a wall notice to pray for Avi Ben Stella – go to snopes.com.  These folks have made a business out of finding out the facts on everything from political news blurbs to petitions and everything in between.  Just because you got it from a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend, doesn’t make it any more accurate.

I know people have big and generous hearts, they wish for world peace and all kids to grow up and live happy, healthy lives with 2.5 kids and a picket fence to call their own – and sadly, there are people who just want to see how far they can manipulate those hearts.

And as a side note to my little blog here, many pranksters up the ante on these hoaxes by posting links to supposed informational pages on their ’cause’ that actually direct you to a site which will try to install malicious software for your computer’s enjoyment.

Knowledge, Malwarebytes and Snopes are your friends.  Use them.

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2 responses

21 07 2010
true blood o ~!

Its funny how many people do pass on these things without looking them up at all and then get all defensive and stuff when you tell them its fake.

2 08 2010
protogere

That it is, indeed.

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