Amber Alert!

Feel-good story from this morning:

A 1-year-old girl who was in the back seat of a car when it was stolen outside a daycare center near Atlanta was found safe Wednesday morning, authorities said.

Police got a call from a resident who had spotted the car parked in a neighborhood, Forest Park police Lt. Jason Armstrong said.

Police then found the missing car and the girl, asleep inside the vehicle, near Scott Drive and Holly Circle in Clayton County shortly before 7 a.m.

Authorities had issued a child abduction alert early Wednesday morning after the 1994 green Honda Accord was stolen outside the 24-hour Playskool daycare facility in Forest Park, just south of Atlanta.

Now, child abduction isn’t funny; but anyone who follows the news can tell you that abduction by a stranger is so rare as to be remarkable. The overwhelming majority of Amber Alerts come when a non-custodial parent decides that stealing their own kid(s) is actually a workable idea.

So in turning this into fiction, for low comedy we could go with the thief’s perspective. Crack kills, and opportunistic car theft is right up there on the crack-o-meter. You find an unattended car with the keys still in it, and off you go! Then, ten minutes later, the baby makes a noise; you adjust the rearview mirror to see what’s up and holy mother of god there’s a child in this car. Park, wipe steering wheel, forget that you left clear fingerprints on the rearview, exit stage left, spend the rest of the day in crack-fueled paranoia.

Better still, imagine if said crackhead stole the car from the non-custodial parent who’d already abducted the child. From the crackhead’s perspective, it doesn’t matter—though it might be funny to have the crackhead not notice the baby until dozens of cars filled with armed response officers surround him. But imagine the story from the noncustodial parent’s perspective. You’ve raged yourself up on alcohol and masculine entitlement until you’ve convinced yourself that stealing your own child is somehow going to work out. You bust into the daycare center, social-engineer taking the child, put her out in her car seat, run back in because you forgot your phone, come back out and the goddamn car is gone! NOW what?

As an aside, note that the daycare center is 24-hour. What’s up with that? Seems like the kind of fly-by-night thing where they’d actually let the non-custodial parent take the kid.

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