Has your sleep ever been interrupted by an alert blaring from your phone? It happened to me, and I'm sure many others last night at about 10:30 p.m. It took me a while to settle back down and go to sleep.

Not to diminish what happened, but unless the suspect in this case has the ability to either teleport or time travel, there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. The origin of the alert is eight and a half hours of driving time from where I was formerly sleeping. That is the case many times, as Texas is a very large state. Should people in Alabama or Mexico have been alerted? It would have been less distance.

We have the technology to make alerts smarter- it happens with severe weather. I don't get tornado warnings from Houston and they don't get giant hail warnings from where I come from. So why is a Blue Alert going statewide?

Photo by Possessed Photography on Unsplash
Photo by Possessed Photography on Unsplash

Some folks speculate that this motivation is a political one, but that seems a little unlikely to me. I think it, like most problems, is bureaucratic in nature. It would probably take a lot of paperwork/ legislative re-writing to make Blue Alerts and Amber Alerts make more geographical sense.

Personally, I would love to see alerts transcend state lines- when it makes sense. I am much more likely to spot a missing child or a suspect that came from Clovis, New Mexico- and people near Louisiana or Arkansas would probably be better able to help those folks than people in Austin. It just doesn't make sense the way it's currently set up.

The biggest problem? Excess or irrelevant (to the person receiving them) alerts cause people to turn them off completely. I'd like to know about extreme weather, but my alert is currently turned off.

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