So I got another one of those vaguely hostile emails from a person whose loved one is missing and who cites multiple small and not all that significant errors in her casefile. Which, of course, I will correct, and I told her so.
Very few of the errors on Charley are, strictly speaking, my fault. I copy things correctly almost all the time. The problem is my sources — if they’re wrong, the error gets perpetuated. I rarely have the wherewithal to independently verify stuff. Garbage in, garbage out. In my experience, law enforcement sources are not much more reliable than newspapers. For example, this missing woman’s friend claims I got the date of birth wrong, but I double-checked with the law enforcement source and it has the same date of birth that Charley does. I think the best source would be the MP’s family or friends — and certainly they are the ones who will be yelling at me if I contradict them — but even those people can be wrong, or deluded. My own father once momentarily forgot my date of birth one day when I was fourteen and he took me to the doctor’s office. (To be fair, so did I. I had a high fever and was in extreme pain. He has seven children.) He said I was born on October 14. I disagreed and said no, dummy, it was October 4. The actual birthday is October 5.
I do the best I can. I still feel kind of bad right now about the mistakes, though.
And BTW, I spent like 16 hours watching the entire House Season 5 all the way through and neglecting everything else I’d planned to do. That show gets more (melo?)dramatic every year.