Seedlings: Fear and Microchips – By Amy Wall Lerman

“I’m Amanda Berry. I’m here. I’m free now.”

The tone of this young woman’s voice on the 911 recording is haunting. I’ve heard the words over and over again on the news and I still can’t get over how sweet, innocent and hopeful they sound. It’s as though she had waited a lifetime to say them and yet she her girlish voice made it sound like she’d been gone for a week. But no, it had been ten long years – ten, long brutal years of suffering and torment the likes of which exist, for most of us, only in nightmares.

This has been the news story of the week. Cleveland, Ohio – 3 missing girls – now women. Lost then found. Lives stolen. Families broken. Hearts broken!

There have been hundreds of thousands of people reported missing in the USA in the last 30 years – how many of them are being held hostage in a house near you? It’s a terrifying thought and one we can’t dwell on without forcing ourselves into little bubble-worlds where everything feels safe and unthreatening.

After two days of complete submersion in this story, someone called my name from across the newsroom and asked, “What do you think…would you put a microchip in your child?”

I looked up exhaustedly and almost immediately uttered, “Yes,” then adding, “If there are no health risks.”

Until I said that I didn’t realize how scared I really felt about someone snatching my son of a street corner. Do I really want a microchip inside my child? No, of course not. What I want for my child is to be able to walk to school on his own or with a group of friends without fear. What I want is for him to be able to wait at a bus stop without being flashed. I want him to be able to trust adults – both those he knows and those he doesn’t. I want him to live in a world where people see children (and other adults) as living miracles; where guns don’t exist and the Earth is treated like the Eden it was meant to be. I want everyone to see life as a precious gift that shouldn’t be wasted, stolen, abused, or damaged.

I also want to drink lemonade on Mars but that’s not going to happen either.

Unfortunately, I can’t control the world and the people in it. I can dream all I want I suppose, but perhaps the most important thing these women took with them into their torture chamber was they’re will to survive – perhaps that will is in all of us – perhaps not. I hope to never have to find out. I wish they had never had to find out. To me, these young women are heroes because they didn’t give up. They lived. They may not feel like heroes, but I hope they eventually do – if not for themselves, then for the rest of us loonies still dreaming of a better world.

Here on planet earth the best I can do without a protective bubble is to teach my son everything I can to keep him safe; to give him the tools and the savvy to avoid putting himself in a bad situation; to make sure he knows he is loved more than life itself; to respect himself and others; to never question his good judgment; to be confident and strong; and to run like hell in the opposite direction of any car that approaches him. And yes, I know, even an ego-maniac with black belt can be brutalized in a world that’s anything but perfect.

Hmmm…so…where’s that microchip?


Amy Wall Lerman, Editor-in-Chief of the Motherhood Later Than Sooner eZine, Baby Bloomer, is a television news producer and writer. She is the author of several books including The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Critical Reading and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Family Games. Her poetry has been published in an online literary journal and she maintains her own blog called Dodillydo. Amy lives in New Jersey with her husband and 4-year old son.