This is disgusting

I just found this article about Lucero Sarabia‘s relatives doing a vigil for her. The 21-year-old woman with two children was eight months pregnant when she disappeared from San Antonio, Texas five years ago.

The comments on this article are sickening:

2 kids, 8 months pregnant? WTF GET IN THE PROGRAM stop partying stop doing drugs get a job


Why should she have? Each litter she squirted out gave her a bigger check each month. So while grandmama and aunts took care of her puppies, she could still go out and go to parties, and die her hair, and still have fun. I mean, having tons of kids doesn’t mean you need to change your behavior, does it?

God forbid a woman have three children. Shame on her. (My mother had seven.) God forbid she go to a party to celebrate Thanksgiving. God forbid she dye her hair. (I do.) As far as I know, Lucero wasn’t a drug abuser or on public assistance. She was married, too. Separated from her husband, it’s true, but married. And no matter who she was, she was also in all probability the victim of a terrible crime, and she doesn’t deserve to have complete strangers who know nothing say such awful things about her.

What the heck is wrong with people? Whatever happened to sympathy and compassion and all of that?

Going all out for Christmas presents

I like getting gifts for people more than I like receiving them. I’m having fun shopping this year. So far I’ve gotten:

A digital camera for my boyfriend Michael
A book called Wicked Plants: The Weed That Killed Lincoln’s Mother and Other Botanical Atrocities by Amy Stewart for my dad (he is a botantist)
A Thomas Kincaid painting for my mom
A Memory Foam mattress pad for both of my parents
The biography Young Stalin for my brother Ian (an awesome book, btw, possibly the best biography I’ve ever read)

I plan to get a certain t-shirt for my friend John, and gift cards for Michael’s parents (I hate giving people gift cards, it seems to scream “I didn’t care enough to think of a specific gift for you so here’s this instead” but they asked for them), and a stuffed syphillis microbe for my brother Colin. (We hate each other. Seriously. Every year for the last few years, I’ve gotten him a stuffed microbe as a token of my disaffection and lack of esteem for him. So far he’s gotten gonorrhea, flesh-eating disease and the ebola virus. He has never commented on these gifts. In fact, we basically haven’t spoken to each other in at least five years, even though we’ve shared the same house for much of that time.)

I still haven’t decided what to get for my other friends and relatives. I’m sure I’ll think of something. I’ve got almost a month.

China executes two child traffickers

As China’s child trafficking saga continues, the government just executed two men who were found guilty of abducting fifteen children between them to sell. Several of those children have yet to be returned to their parents. From the article: Estimates of the numbers of victims are difficult to come by. The Chinese supreme court said 1,714 people were punished for abducting and trafficking children in the first 10 months of this year, as the government ramped up a crackdown on the crime. Since April, Chinese police have rescued 2,008 abducted children, the report said. That doesn’t seem like very much when I read an earlier report saying between 50,000 and 200,000 people are abducted every year.

A lot of boys are taken to be sold to childless couples who want sons. Exactly where do these childless couples think the children came from? If they know or even suspect these children were stolen from other families, they are just as guilty as the traffickers themselves and should be held accountable.

Additional articles:

The London Times
The Guardian
China View

Genealogical databases

I signed up for a seven-day free trial at World Vital Records, an international genealogical database with all kinds of records. I only want the US database though — I’m looking for info on missing people. My free trial lasts seven days, and if I find it useful enough I suppose I’ll buy a year’s access. It’s only forty bucks. (And seven days from now I’ll know whether I have to actually pay that $150 speeding ticket or not. I plan to challenge it in court; wish me luck!)

I did a search for Toni Stancil, Aleacia Stancil‘s mom. I found a death record for T. L. Stancil which is probably her. Same state, same month and year of death. It says T. Stancil was born on May 17, 1959.

I’m not sure how useful this database will be for me, but I figure I have nothing to lose.

Is woman’s disappearance the police’s fault?

I just read this article about a 24-year-old woman, Mitrice Richardson, who’s been missing from Los Angeles County, California for over two months. She was arrested on minor charges, booked and released. It was the middle of the night by then, and she had no transportation, no money and no way to contact anyone. The police offered to let her spend the night at the jail, but she said she wanted to leave. She didn’t appear to be a danger to herself or others, or mentally incompetent, so they let her go. And she vanished.

The author of this editorial blames the police for Mitrice’s disappearance, claiming they lacked “compassion” and shouldn’t have released the woman when they knew she had no way to go home. (Other sources claim she was “acting crazy” on the night of her disappearance and claimed she was from Mars, suggesting she was having some kind of episode. There have also been accusations of racism; Mitrice is black.) From what I have read about this thus far, I don’t see it that way. The police offered to help her by letting her spend the night in an empty cell. She turned them down. What were they supposed to do then, force her to stay? If they had kept her against her will, they could have faced a lawsuit for false imprisonment. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

Of course, Mitrice’s disappearance is tragic. All disappearances are. But I don’t think the cops could have reasonably done more than they did. Thoughts, anyone?

More info on Mitrice:
Her family’s website for her
Los Angeles Sentinel article (which also blames the cops and claims Mitrice was drunk when she released)

Parents in China searching for their children

Earlier I wrote on this blog about child trafficking in China. As many as 200,000 children (or about as many people as live in Little Rock, Arkansas) are being kidnapped every year for this purpose. I didn’t realize grown men were being taken, though, until I read this article, which mentions two men in their twenties who were kidnapped by traffickers and have been missing for several years.

The older people being taken are apparently being enslaved under very harsh conditions. One teen who was missing for two years before being able to escape “laboured in a brick kiln in Henan with more than 200 others, and wore clothes with the number 203 sewed on. She says he saw six people beaten to death in his two years there.” That reminds me of a Russian gulag. Or a Nazi concentration camp.

China, which will probably be the big superpower of the 21st century, is still trying to improve its human rights record. It seems like it would serve the nation’s interests and improve its reputation if it would put together an aggressive effort to curb human trafficking and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Missing children a problem for Jamaica’s poor

This blog is pretty US-centric, but this article from Jamaica caught my eye. Basically, it says that missing children are a terrible social problem among the poor and working classes in Jamaica, but are virtually unknown among the rich. Apparently a lot of kids run away or are lured away from home due to poverty-related circumstances. Of the 1,200 children reported missing since September, only a little over half of them have returned home by now, and three of them have been found dead.

A related article says hardly anybody has subscribed to Jamaica’s Ananda Alert system, which seems to be some kind of Amber Alert type thing for cell phones. So not only are poor Jamaican kids vanishing left and right, but nobody seems to care.

Brian Carrick’s mother is dead

Terry Carrick, whose seventeen-year-old son Brian disappeared from Johnsburg, Illinois in December 2002, has died of cancer at age 65. She had both leukemia and lung cancer. She left behind her husband and thirteen other children besides Brian.

As I’ve observed on this blog before, I’ve noticed a lot of cases of parents of missing children dying young, or relatively young. (The most striking example I can think of is Sofia Juarez‘s mother who died of unspecified “natural causes” at age 26.) I don’t know if this is an actual statistical trend or not, but the stress involved in having a missing child certainly isn’t conducive to a long life.

I have officially overindulged this week

Books currently checked out from the library:

Bluebeard: the Life and Crimes of Gilles De Rais by Leonard Wolf. 259 pages.
A Plantation Mistress on the Eve of the Civil War: the Diary of Keziah Goodwyn Hopkins Brevard, 1860 – 1861, edited by John Hammond Moore. 137 pages.
The Last Jews in Berlin by Leonard Gross. 349 pages.
Herschel: The Boy Who Stated World War II by Andy Marino. 226 pages.
The Floating Brothel by Sian Rees. 236 pages.
Looking for JJ by Anne Cassidy. 319 pages.
Wicked Women: Black Widows, Child Killers, and Other Women in Crime by Betty Alt and Sandra Wells. 187 pages.
Cranioklepty: Grave Robbing and the Search for Genius by Colin Dickey. 308 pages.
Say You’re One Of Them by Uwem Akpan. 358 pages.
The Dangerous World of Butterflies by Peter Laufer. 271 pages. Renewed once.

Books I bought at the discount bookstore yesterday (and got a really good deal, $26 for all of them when the list prices totaled $87):

Catastrophes and Disasters by Roger Smith. 246 pages.
Everyday Life in Traditional Japan by Charles J. Dunn. 198 pages.
50 Really Exotic Pets by David Manning. 191 pages.
365: Your Date With World History by W. B. Marsh and Bruce Carrick. 683 pages.


3,619 pages.

Rate at which I’d have to read to have all these finished by the time I come back to the library next week hungry for different books and tired of lugging these tired old ones around:

603 pages a day.

Likelihood of this happening:

Slim. But not impossible, if I really put my mind to it and dedicate my week to it and neglect all other aspects of my life. And I am perfectly capable of doing that for books about vicious killers, prostitutes and stealing dead people’s heads.