No, The Amber Alert System Was Not Shut Down
The latest shutdown related furor to make its way around the Interwebs occurred this morning when conservative bloggers apparently discovered this message when you went to the portion of the Dept. Of Justice’s website that deals with the Amber Alert system, which is meant to notify the public when children are missing:
Of course, it didn’t take long for Matt Drudge to get on the case:
As it turns out, though, the actual Amber Alert system was not impacted by the Government Shutdown at all:
The Department of Justice Web site that provides information on the AMBER alert program is off-line because of the federal government shutdown, but the program itself, which alerts communities to serious child abductions, is still up and running.
“It’s all functioning,” Patti Davis, communications director for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, said in an e-mail. “Only the DOJ Web site, which is informational, is down. The states run AMBER Alerts, and NCMEC does secondary alerts. Service has not been impacted. “
The AMBER Alert Program, which was named for 9-year-old Amber Hagerman who was abducted while riding her bicycle in Arlington, Tex., uses radio, television, the Internet and road signs to assist law enforcement agencies in the search for abducted children.
Conservatives are criticizing the Obama administration for allowing the Web site to lapse — accusing them of shuttering an essential service to make a political point about the shutdown.
As John Adams once said, facts are stubborn things and, in this case, the facts are that the Department of Justice isn’t even directly involved in the Amber Alert system, and certainly doesn’t act as the central authority in releasing Amber Alerts. For quite obvious reasons, that it is something within the purview of state and local law enforcement.
It now appears that the DOJ has restored the Amber Alert site on its website, and, as noted, it appears to be purely informational.
But all of this leads to a question…..
Did people really think that the government was shutting down a system designed to help quickly find missing children, or were they just jumping on something without, you know checking the facts?