Keep an eye out for our kids

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By Alice Du Pont

What is it with Florida and children?

Every time I hear something on the news about a missing and exploited child, even before they say where it happened, my mind immediately clicks that it happened in our state.

It seems that, for whatever reason, children in Florida ages 3 to 13 are not safe, especially little girls. There was a time when you could lock your door and go to bed. You felt safe, knowing that when you got up your kids would still be there. But I guess that's a thing of the past.

It is now suspected that little Haleigh Cummings was abducted from her own bed in the middle of the night while sleeping in the same room with her father's 17-year-old girlfriend. That is too scary.

It doesn't seem to matter much whether they are at home with family or not. Too many little girls come to mind when I just think back over the past five years. I started really noticing when Ralia Wilson, the Miami tyke who was in the custody of two "aunts" went missing and no one knew she was gone for three years.

Then there was the child near Tampa taken from the family home who has never been seen or heard from again.

Remember the little girl who was abducted from her home in the middle of the night in rural central Florida by a sexual predator who lives a few yards away from the front door of her parents' mobile home? Her little body was found a few days later. The man, who subsequently admitted to taking the child and killing her, had only been released from prison for sexual battery on a child a short time earlier.

Enough has already been said about Caylee Anthony.

The pendulum has to swing back. Our children are not safe. Grownups have to stop taking advantage ofhelpless children. Children don't vote and only a very few people stand up as advocates for them. Children don't have money so they can't give political contributions to people who could make the punishment stiffer for anyone, including parents, who hurt children.

If something doesn't happen soon, I'm afraid we'll all wake up to many more mornings with the national and international news media cameras parked outside another Florida home looking for another missing child.