Opinion: A sound that shouldn’t be silent

Published 7:25 am Friday, August 4, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

Staring blankly into the dark theater 20 rows in front of us, credits rolled across the screen as my wife, my mother-in-law and myself sat in silence.

The final ones in the theater at the AMC Lee Branch location in north Shelby County, we couldn’t find the words, nor could we look at each other until the final credit hit the screen, the lights grew brighter and the music turned to deafening silence.

It was as impactful of a moment as I could remember in a movie theater in a long time.

The fact that we were coming off a movie marathon of “Indian Jones,” “Mission Impossible,” “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” all within three weeks of each other, I didn’t have much left in the tank at this point, but it was this fifth and final movie in that span that possibly left the biggest impact.

We finally got the courage to turn to one another, my wife’s eyes filled with tears, and my mother-in-law, who was admittedly “not OK” throughout, still sniffling as we started to discuss the “Sound of Freedom.”

If you haven’t seen the movie, it follows Tim Ballard, a special agent with the Department of Homeland Security, as he goes from arresting pedophiles to searching for children exploited in child trafficking.

Based on a true story, he ultimately saves more than 50 kids in the movie and reunites a brother and sister who were trafficked after their father dropped them off with an apparent talent recruiter.

Yes, some of the movie is embellished, and no, it is not the best film you’ll ever see from a production standpoint. That said, the production is still very good, the movie is intense and has you on the edge of your seat, and most importantly, the message is one that will make you truly want to make a difference.

That was the key takeaway—the message.

It was a particularly timely message with several local arrests within the last week related to adult men traveling to meet minors for sex as part of undercover operations in Homewood and Pelham featuring local police and the FBI.

That shows the market that is there for it, which will continually make it more and more dangerous.

Just like drug trafficking, if there is a want for the product, people will find a way to illegally traffic it to fulfill that need.

Even worse than the drug trade, however, is that people aren’t products. They are people. Nobody has the right to just take another person, much less sell that person, in most cases a child, to another person.

It is just disappointing that people think they can do that just like breaking any other laws, while others are in the market to spend money on supporting such a dark issue.

To see six total men within the last two weeks arrested on charges related to soliciting a minor, one of which we have seen on the sidelines of many local sporting events, it really starts to hit home.

And this movie really pushed it over the top.

I urge you to see the movie and see what it inspires you to do. It could be as simple as writing something like this on social media to spread the message, reaching out to local law enforcement, volunteering your time with different organizations or just learning more about the issue.

But we can’t be silent.

Freedom is a sound that should be heard around the world and a feeling nobody should have to live without.