I did another count and, as of this writing, there are 8,539 cases profiled on Charley. It remains by far the largest missing persons database on the internet, though I expect NamUs will eventually surpass it in size.
I do not really know anything about the recent disappearance of Kyron Horman. I’ve only seen headlines on the subject and haven’t read any articles. For the most part, I don’t follow new missing persons cases because I have enough to be getting on with, and I only start reading articles when the disappearances are old enough to put on Charley. Hopefully Kyron will be found before that time. But anyway, while doing my usual searches for the latest missing person news I found this blog entry about stupid people accusing Kyron’s stepmom just because of things on her Facebook page.
Now, for all I know, Kyron’s stepmom does know what happened him and possibly she harmed him. I have no idea at this point. And certainly people are entitled to form opinions and really can’t help doing so. But I think it is just plain irresponsible to accuse someone of a terrible crime in a public forum, all on the basis of so slender a thread as a Facebook page. If Kyron’s stepmother is innocent of involvement in her disappearance, and she finds out about the stuff those people are saying, it’s only going to make her feel worse.
And it happens ALL THE TIME. Like with Bryan Dos Santos Gomes — even though the police were saying outright “this is a random stranger abduction” and explaining their reasons, I read comment after comment on the articles accusing his mother of having killed him, or given him away, or sold him for one reason or another. Not even “I think she did this” but just plain “She did this.” I felt glad that Bryan’s mom can’t read English and thus won’t be able to read those comments. I think perhaps sometimes people forget that comments on message boards and stuff can be read by all and it’s not a private conversation they’re having. Or maybe they’re just insensitive, callous jerks.
I just love how people who’ve never been through it themselves try to judge crime victims and the parents of missing children based on their behavior after the crime. “I think she must have done it because she didn’t cry hard enough on TV.” “I saw a picture of him with his other child and he was SMILING, how could he?” etc etc etc. As if there was some kind of manual on how people are supposed to behave in those situations. Yesterday I posted a case about a teen mother who ran away to Mexico with her baby. One commenter on an article about her case said, “If she had decent parents she wouldn’t have gotten pregnant.” As if the girl had no part of her own in this, as if her mother was expected to watch her and guard her vagina 24 hours a day.
Perhaps my family is just different, but in response to crisis situations we often don’t behave the way they do on TV shows and in movies. We generally seem to have the ability to simply turn off our emotions during crises and think about them in a purely logical, intellectual way. An example: when I was seven years old my half-sister H., who was then nineteen or twenty, was in a terrible car accident. She wrapped her car around a phone pole and came very close to being killed. They had to life-flight her to another hospital in a helicopter, and she broke, it seems, practically every bone in her body, including both legs and one of her arms. (She made a full recovery.) My father, a professor, was teaching a class when the secretary came in and told him about the car accident and how things looked bad. He finished teaching his class before he hopped in his car and rushed to H.’s bedside.
Some people would view this as evidence that my father didn’t care about his stepdaughter and was indifferent about what happened to her. Not so — my dad loves all his children and stepchildren and was just as worried as anyone else. But he never cancels his classes for anything, and the way he saw it, it wouldn’t have done him any good to drop everything and run to the hospital right away. Certainly he couldn’t help her, and H. was unconscious and in surgery and wouldn’t have even been aware of his presence anyway. Similarly, when I was a little girl and got sick at school with those godawful incapacitating migraines, something that happened three or four times a year, Dad never came to get me until after he was through teaching his classes. Sometimes that meant I would be stuck at school writhing and moaning until the school day was almost over, but I never felt any resentment towards him for it. Nothing was going to stop the pain and I might as well writhe and moan in the secretary’s office as at home.
Anyway, getting back to Kyron’s stepmother and all the other parents of missing kids who get scrutinized and picked apart by the media and the public — form opinions if you want, even I do that. We all get “feelings” about people. But before you post the said opinions online, if you are implicating the MP’s loved ones simply on the basis of a “feeling,” think about what you are saying and how it might affect the MP’s family and friends. And also think of what a judgmental idiot you’re going to look like if you turn out to be wrong.
He said he’d call me this week with more news, but it’s Saturday and he never called. The man has always been good about keeping me informed and I don’t believe he forgot to call or anything like that. From my experiences with him, I think he just has no news to give yet. All the same, I may succumb to temptation and drop him a line on Monday. Only to be told, I’m sure, that the prosecutor hasn’t made up his/her mind yet or hasn’t gotten back to him.
When all of this is over I intend to send Austin a thank-you card or something. I know rape victims sometimes have a lot of trouble with the police. I have looked at message boards and a lot of them have said they felt ignored, the police weren’t returning their calls, weren’t taking them seriously, etc. I never felt that way about Austin, and he has always been sensitive even when he had to ask embarrassing questions. I think I’m lucky to have landed him.
Whilst napping today I dreamed that Austin called me and told me Rollo had been murdered in jail. He said the police themselves had beaten him to death. In the dream I felt ambivalent about this: glad he was out of the picture for good, but upset because he would just be dead and not suffering through a decades-long prison term.