MP books I need to read

I’ve already read quite a few nonfiction books and novels about MPs, but here’s a list of missing persons books I’ve heard about and have yet to read, in alphabetical order by author. The MP or former MP who is the subject of the book is included in parentheses. Once I have read them I’ll probably review some or most of on this blog.

You’ll note that some of the subjects of these books aren’t on Charley. That’s because either they’ve already been located, or they are non-US cases.

Hands Through Stone: How Clarence Ray Allen Masterminded Murder from Behind Folsom’s Prison Walls by James A. Ardaiz (Mary Sue Kitts)

A Stolen Life: A Memoir by Jaycee Dugard (Jaycee Dugard)

A Case for Solomon: Bobby Dunbar and the Kidnapping That Haunted a Nation by Tal McThenia and Margaret Dunbar Cutright (Bobby Dunbar)

We Is Got Him: The Kidnapping that Changed America by Carrie Hagen (Charley Ross)

Memoir of a Milk Carton Kid by Tanya Nicole Kach and Lawrence Fisher (Tanya Kach)

3,096 Days in Captivity: The True Story of My Abduction, Eight Years of Enslavement, and Escape by Natascha Kampusch (Natascha Kampusch)

Finding Me: A Decade of Darkness, a Life Reclaimed: A Memoir of the Cleveland Kidnappings by Michelle Knight and Michelle Burford (Cleveland girls)

Shannon: Betrayed From Birth by Rose Martin (Shannon Matthews)

Finding Everett Ruess: The Life and Unsolved Disappearance of a Legendary Wilderness Explorer by David Roberts (Everett Ruess)

My Story by Elizabeth Smart and Chris Stewart (Elizabeth Smart)

Also, a movie:
Abducted: the Carlina White Story (Carlina White) This is a Lifetime movie you can watch for free if you have Amazon Prime.

If anyone has any suggestions about more books I should read or movies I should watch (nonfiction only) I’d be happy to consider them as well.

Quotes in Australian media

Back when the girls in Cleveland were located, I got contacted by a whole bunch of different media people wanting to interview me. One of those was from Australia. I spoke to the reporter on the phone but never heard back from him as to what had been published, so I figured he hadn’t used my material. (That happens sometimes: not everyone who gets interviewed by a news source gets published. It’s like how if you’re researching a paper or a book you’re writing, you’re not going to use every source you come across.)

Well, I stumbled across quotes my Australian interview while looking for something else. It appears they used it after all, and just forgot to tell me about it. Here it is: The World Today: Finding missing women alive a rare occurrence.

I’m pleased that my quotes are included in the same article as Elizabeth Smart’s. I admire her very much.

This makes four continents I’ve been in the news at: North America of course, and Europe (I got interviewed by a TV station in Paris after the Cleveland girls story broke), and South America (in May 2012 I got interviewed by a TV station in Colombia) and now Australia. There remains Asia and Africa. And, I suppose, Antarctica, but what are the chances of that ever happening?

Meeting Elizabeth Smart

Yeah, so today I went to the Elizabeth Smart cocktail party and speech in Fort Wayne. I had a blast, frankly. I’m really glad I went.

I had a fashion emergency beforehand, the first one in my entire life. Five minutes before I was supposed to leave to go to the Scottish Rite Auditorium where the event was being held, I found out my shoes (patent-leather sandals) had died. The soles were coming off and flapping. I tried taping them back on but (a) the tape showed and (b) it didn’t work anyway. I’ve always hated those shoes, but they were my only pair of dress shoes and I could hardly show up at a cocktail party in sneakers. I had to frantically run to the store and grab the first pair of dress shoes I saw, and ask a clerk to cut the tags off so I could put them on right then and there. Fortunately I was only a few minutes late for the cocktail party (fashionably late you might say) and plenty of people arrived after me.

Everyone was given a booklet about dealing with abduction, called “You’re Not Alone: The Journey From Abduction to Empowerment.” I was able to speak to Elizabeth for a few minutes and she autographed the booklet. She is even prettier in person than she looks in the pictures. I told her I really admired her for refusing to let her horrific experience ruin her life, and that I had used her as an example for myself in that regard. Her husband Matthew was also there, and I chatted with him a bit. Other people asked him where he’d met Elizabeth and he explained about the mission in France, and I asked him if French people really went on strike as often as it seemed like. “Yes,” he said, “they’re always striking. For the smallest of reasons. They’re never happy.”

After I had my few minutes with Elizabeth, the TV reporter who was covering the event approached me and asked to interview me on camera. I said okay, and she basically asked me what Elizabeth and I had talked about and I told her. Off-camera, I told the reporter about the Charley Project. And I did get a sound bite in the resulting news broadcast, see here.

Elizabeth’s speech was before the cocktail party. She basically told the story of her abduction, including details I hadn’t previously heard about. She’s a very good speaker. I’m not given to getting all emotional about such things but I found myself getting a little choked up when she talked about what she went through.

And on top of it all, three different people complimented me on my dress.

It was quite an evening.

Elizabeth Smart gets married

I wrote earlier about how Elizabeth Smart had gotten engaged and was talking about a summer wedding. Well, she decided to get it over with quickly — presumably to avoid media attention — and married in Hawaii yesterday, in the presence of only her immediate family. She and the lucky man, Matthew Gilmour, will honeymoon at an undisclosed location and then live in Salt Lake City.

I hope her honeymoon plans don’t conflict with her scheduled speech in Fort Wayne on March 8, which I plan to attend. I bought a ticket for both the speech and cocktail party — meaning I should get a chance to meet her in person.

Elizabeth Smart to marry

Per ABC News and loads of other news outlets: Elizabeth Smart has gotten engaged to marry. Many of the articles don’t name the suitor, but The Daily Mail (perhaps not the most reliable source?) says he’s Matthew Gilmour, age 21, from Scotland. They plan to marry in the summer.

All the best to her; I hope this marriage works out. She is a very strong, resilient young woman who has been through a lot.

Elizabeth Smart’s new job

It’s made news all over the country today that Elizabeth Smart has been hired by ABC to provide commentary on abduction cases. Apparently she’ll start in a few weeks. I’m not sure how regular this gig is going to be. I think she still has a year or so left to go in college. (It is my understanding that Brigham Young University degrees take longer than four years because students are required to do a mission trip.) Elizabeth will not talk about her own abduction, but will focus on current cases. She’s as photogenic now as she was nine years ago and I’m sure she’ll look great in the TV studio.

Detroit Free Press
The Associated Press

Very good article about Elizabeth Smart and others

I found this excellent article called “Elizabeth’s choice: Take path to advocacy or fade into ‘normal’?” It talks about the possibility that Elizabeth will either become a crime victims’ advocate or just have a normal obscure life and marry and have kids or what. It also talks about two crime victims (one case was a shooting, the other a gang rape) that became victims’ advocates. One works as an attorney for crime victims and the other is a public speaker and on the Utah Domestic Violence Council.

Brian Mitchell gets life in prison

The two life sentences come as a surprise to exactly nobody. The judge pretty much had no choice. Anything else would have been political suicide (except the death penalty, which was not an option).

Elizabeth Smart spoke out at the sentencing and to the media later, saying she was glad it was over, etc., and telling Mitchell she was having a wonderful life, no thanks to him. Mitchell did what he usually does, which is sit and sing hymns. I reckon Elizabeth didn’t much care what he had to say in any case.

The Examiner
The Guardian
The Salt Lake Tribune
The Los Angeles Times

More on Elizabeth Smart

I wrote earlier that the defense is arguing Elizabeth didn’t suffer “extreme psychological injury” from her kidnapping, rape and abuse at the hands of Brian David Mitchell. I found an editorial about this; the first sentence sums it up perfectly: “Even the worst criminals are entitled to legal representation, but do attorneys have to make offensive comments while defending them?” Another editorial argues that Mitchell’s attorney is just trying to defend his client as he is constitutionally obliged to do. To coin a cliche, it’s a dirty job but someone has to do it.

Meanwhile, the prosecutor is of course arguing for a life sentence for Mitchell. The minimum he can get is 30 years.

“A life sentence is necessary to protect the public from further crimes of the defendant,” prosecutors wrote. ” … the defendant is a pedophile who has victimized not only Ms. Smart, but other children as well.

“Not only is the defendant a recidivist, but his refusal to acknowledge the wrongfulness of his conduct poses an even greater risk of future crimes against children. This defendant cannot be released back into society.”

Prosecutors also noted Smart’s vulnerability at the time of her abduction.

“The defendant knew Ms. Smart was particularly vulnerable to his crimes because of the unusually heinous, cruel, brutal, degrading and humiliating abuse to which he subjected her,” prosecutors wrote. “The defendant rendered her vulnerable by intentionally creating a climate of fear for her own safety and that of her family. When he first abducted her, he held a knife to her throat and threatened to kill her and her family. Throughout her captivity, he continually threatened to kill her and her family.”

In total agreement there.

And, from the comments section of the aforementioned article, a dirty joke. One commenter said, “What he deserves is castration. Then put him in the prisons general population until his castration has healed. Once that is complete, a public hanging would be in order.” Another replied, “But he wouldn’t be hanging anymore.”

Elizabeth herself just did a rare interview with the press. Read about it here, or read the transcript here. She points out that May 25, Mitchell’s sentencing date, is also National Missing Children’s Day. A neat little parallel.

Elizabeth is an incredibly strong woman and I really admire her. I actually looked to her for some coping techniques after my own experience: don’t let it define you, don’t let him take from you any more than he already has, rely on your support system and do your best to get on with life because if you can do that, you’re not letting him win.