So I accidentally set a fire in the kitchen today. I put a pot on the stove to boil. Also on the stove was a plastic paint tray, as the bathroom is being remodeled. Unfortunately I had turned on the wrong burner. Without realizing this I went into the bathroom. I had a volume of Chekhov’s short stories with me so I was gone for some time. When I came back I discovered that the paint tray had melted over the burner it was lying on and huge flames were leaping energetically out from between the coils and the kitchen was full of smoke. I pulled the paint tray off the burner and put the pot on the coils to block oxygen, but the fire continued to burn so I had to fill a glass of water and pour it all over the stove. Finally the flames went away. It gave me quite a start.
The kitchen is still stinking of smoke and kind of foggy. I hope it goes away soon.
I think I should have a look at the smoke alarm.
Elizabeth Smart, who (as I am about to unnecessarily explain) was abducted by Brian Mitchell and held for nine months back in 2002, has testified at a hearing to determine Mitchell’s competency and has detailed the horrors of her captivity for the first time.
Elizabeth is now 21 and a music major at Brigham Young University. She’s grown into a beautiful young woman. The details she gives don’t surprise me a bit: rape several times a day, forced to take drugs and alcohol, constantly threatened with death, etc. Elizabeth seems shockingly well-adjusted for having gone through all that — evidence for my theory that human beings are amazingly resilient and have the potential to bounce back from anything.
Elizabeth also says that Mitchell seemed perfectly rational all the time while he held her and only started going on about religion and being a prophet when he wanted something. She thinks his insanity thing is an act. I have no opinion on that, it’s not for me to decide, but frankly I’m starting to wonder if this guy is ever going to be tried. It’s been six years since his arrest and they haven’t even decided whether he’s competent or not, never mind set a trial date. It doesn’t really matter, I think, as long as he’s locked up forever.
You can read some of Elizabeth’s testimony here.
As for Wanda Barzee, Mitchell’s wife and accomplice, the press has got hold of some letters she wrote to her mom where she speaks of wanting to repent of her sins. But she doesn’t really talk about Elizabeth, only says that both she and Elizabeth were “victims” of Mitchell. She hasn’t been declared competent yet either, but she seems to be on the way there now that they’ve forced her to take antipsychotic drugs.
The New York Daily News
The Associated Press
The London Daily Telegraph
The Salt Lake Tribune