Is Simple Self Removal Fair?
By Bart Vogelzang

Surprisingly, and pleasingly, the City of Vancouver (B.C. Canada) Police Department, has only failed to resolve 4 disappearances out of over 3500 reported in 2011. (
CBC News). It shows a commendable effort on their part, but the locating of the latest person raises an interesting question.

It seems that the young adult deliberately, and for undeclared reasons, departed, leaving no hint of his whereabouts or even that he was leaving purposefully. This left not only his family and friends searching frantically, but put pressure on the police system as well.

Obviously it is the right of every adult to leave their situation if it is no longer tenable to them (excepting legal requirements such as child support, parole, etc.), but is there not some kind of moral requirement to at least notify the authorities that one has left deliberately, without coercion from others? Shouldn’t one head off the waste of hundreds or maybe thousands of hours of police work, volunteers searching, and family and friend expenses in posters and private detectives, not to mention the angst of not knowing what happened? Even if you hate your family so much that you want to make them suffer, it is still not right to make the police victims of your disappearance.

Some will argue that it is your right to do that, but if enough people do that very thing, we could pay a severe price, in that at some future time the police won’t even look for any adult at all, even if they may have been kidnapped. It has already headed in that direction, as you can see by the number of parents who have to practically scream to the police that the disappearance of their adult child is not normal behavior, that their kid has been nothing but reliable in the past. The delays in effective searching for that missing person may well doom them. The sooner a search is mounted, the greater the chance of success.

Sadly, the need for some to disappear deliberately is sometimes based on rejection by their own family or friends. It may be a case of being homosexual in a homophobic environment, with continual harassment by those who are supposed to love you, causing you to leave. Or maybe it is a matter of being involved in gangs and needing to escape. Whatever the reason, none of them justifies wasting taxpayer money by not letting the authorities know you have left voluntarily; it simply isn’t fair.

Understandably of course, if you have an actual or perceived grievance against the state or community from which you departed, you may well feel that they deserve to waste money, time, and effort trying to find you.