The things that people say

Since I can’t work on Charley today — the site keeps going down, then coming back up, then going down again, making it impossible to get anything done — I thought I’d blog about something that has been bothering me for awhile.

I rarely pay attention to Facebook chatter about missing persons, because for the most part I don’t consider such chatter to be reliable enough to use as a source in my casefiles. I have literally never joined a Facebook groups discussing  some specific case or other, for example.

But awhile back, as in months ago, I happened to be viewing the chatter on such a group for an entirely different reason and saw a post that really made me angry.

I’m not going to say who the missing person was, other than that it was a female child who has been missing for many years. No one has ever been charged in the case. The parents maintain that she was abducted from their home, but many people believe the parents themselves were somehow involved. For the purposes of this blog entry that’s all you need to know.

Some Facebook poster on a group about the case made reference to the fact that, several years after the child’s disappearance, the parents took their remaining children and moved out of state. The poster said something like, “Isn’t this a tacit admission of guilt? Why would they move unless they were sure she wasn’t coming back? Don’t innocent people refuse to EVER move, and stay in the same house forever, hoping their child will return?”

Now, I don’t know whether the parents in this case are guilty or innocent, and for the purposes of the point I’m trying to make, it doesn’t really matter. It just really makes me mad that people would judge them based on the fact that they moved away.

It’s not like anyone ever gives you a rule book on “How to Behave If Your Child Is Kidnapped.” You don’t know how you’re going to act in that situation until it happens to you.

It reminds me of how, after I was raped, certain asshats who read this blog were convinced that I must be making up the story because I didn’t act traumatized enough for them.

Never mind that they only had, like, 1% of the information — they weren’t there, they didn’t know me, all they saw were the words I typed into my blog. But they were publicly calling me a liar and a fraud and making all sorts of judgments about me when they didn’t know anything about it. And not one of them has ever apologized for it.

Yes, it’s true that some parents refuse to move away after their child disappears. I know of one case where not only did a missing girl’s mother refuse to move away, she started sleeping on her living room couch and kept it up for years, because she wanted to be sure she’d hear the knock on the front door if her daughter came home in the middle of the night. (That woman did eventually move, but only because her apartment building was being torn down and she had no choice. She still lives in the neighborhood.)

And it’s also true that some families DO move after their child is taken — in fact, I’ve heard of families that moved specifically because they wanted to get away from all the memories, wanted to get on with their lives, and felt unable to do so while still living at the same address. I’ve known of families who not only left the state but left the COUNTRY.

More to the point, in this particular case, the missing child was an infant. There’s no way she would remember her parents or her home address or phone number or anything like that, even if she was alive and became aware she had been kidnapped and wanted to reach out to her family.

And so they moved. And someone on Facebook was calling them murderers because of it.

Just…think about what you say, people. Try to remember that everything you put online can be read by others, that the very people you’re speculating about can find your musings and read them, that words hurt.

8 thoughts on “The things that people say

  1. Sheila February 5, 2018 / 6:57 pm

    I think that a lot of people think that all human emotions are expressed the way they personally would express them. It clouds things when you assume that you understand human behavior based on your own experience. Each innocent mother or father waits in their own way. Each guilty one waits in their own way. At some point, the ways may intersect. Of course, we may never know whether these people started in the innocent or guilty base camp. It does seem a petty thing to judge them on though.

  2. Ann Reich February 5, 2018 / 7:54 pm

    These types of trolls are worse than the shallow, rude ones on YouTube who can’t spell: “your dum.” *** The mother of a girl kidnapped in the 80s keeps more than one site going and has fielded the most insensitive questions, false leads, and gruesome details informing her of what is typical treatment of someone taken overseas for the sex trade and so forth. I couldn’t bear it. She has the detective’s name, badge #, and work phone on the sites. I’d set up one site, then leave it to the detective to check.

  3. vmulier February 5, 2018 / 9:15 pm

    Sadly, many people would prefer to substitute assumptions and snap judgments for actual understanding. Many people simply cannot admit to themselves that they know very little about anything. Instead of accepting the reality of not knowing, they paper over their ignorance with assumptions.

  4. Dan Standish February 5, 2018 / 10:12 pm

    Humans can and are some of the cruelest animals out there

  5. Fiona February 9, 2018 / 4:10 am

    Not quite the same thing, but I was accused of telling lies about my father’s death because I wasn’t deemed to be upset enough; the fact that he’d had cancer for several years and we’d all had time to prepare – and had, indeed, gone to say ‘goodbye’ to him two days earlier – just wasn’t considered relevant. There is no cookie-cutter reaction to any traumatic life event; people deal with things in their own ways, and the disrespect involved in telling them that they’re not behaving appropriately is monumental. Only the police, maybe, get to question a bereaved person’s responses, and hopefully they consider a broader canvas than just one single fact.

  6. Melinda February 9, 2018 / 7:02 pm

    I agree that people should be more sensitive to others. It’s funny you mention moving, because I’m still trying to overcome a VERY traumatic move that happened back in 2014!

    I know it sounds crazy but I lost my beloved family home and it still hurts. Anyway, I see both sides.
    I don’t believe it’s wrong if people question things…it’s HOW they do it that matters. A lot of people are really insensitive and don’t choose their words wisely or carefully, which can cause a lot of pain.

  7. Jaclyn February 9, 2018 / 11:47 pm

    I agree with you. I lost a child and everyone in my family; siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, have handled it differently. We filter life through our own experience and relationship we had to the person we lost. When a person deals with a tragic or traumatizing incident, there is no “right” or “wrong” way to deal with it. We have unique responses, some of which no one ever sees or knows about.

  8. pirateshistory February 13, 2018 / 6:08 am

    My wife’s friend was killed in a car accident in 2015. His wife is building a new house with the life insurance money because she told us she can’t spend one day in her current house without seeing signs of her husband whether it’s a ceiling fan he put up or the shelves he built in to the living room wall. She plans to move out when her son goes to college in the fall, only staying in that house the last few years until he finished high school. Sometimes it’s just best to move on.

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