Any Suggestions for Avoiding the Lousy Read?

I recently read a book that had lots of potential; the novel Surveillance by Jonathan Raban.

Raban is a talented writer.  His characters are well developed, flawed, and interesting.

He crafted what I thought was an exciting plot, while developing several good subplots.

His vivid descriptions of the character's actions made the story come to life--to the point that I would have preferred he not be so graphically disgusting.

In any event, as I neared the last page of the book, it became alarmingly apparent that the author was going to need a miraculous ending to resolve all of the storylines.

Then, inexplicably, Raban decides to just end the story.

Not one of the book's issues are dealt with.

The end.

Nothing.

As it turns out the plot and subplots were merely a window for the reader to observe the character's lives at a point in time.

He left me hanging like when I was a child and had received permission to stay up past bedtime to watch Hawaii Five-O--only to learn at the end of the hour that the episode was "To Be Continued" next week. 

It was a next week that I would not have permission to stay up late again for TV viewing. 

As in I had just wasted an hour of my life.

If only I had checked the reader reviews on a site like Amazon and saw that it rated only 2 stars before getting this one from the library.  I should have researched the title, read quotes like the following, and done a little homework:
...But it is as if the publisher was on the phone with an insurmountable deadline to meet, and he had to leave the ending out in order to reach it.
Obviously, most of the reviewers argued that the ending (or lack of a suitable one) doomed the novel.

Dumb.
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Do you look at reader reviews online before reading a book?

Any suggestions for selecting books to avoid feeling like the read was time wasted?

On Prostrate Fixes, Glasses, and Shoe-Fittings

I'll need a few days to recover from the vacation, and as you'd guess, the long return drive with little ones--glad we only do this once a year. 

As a result, I'll have a Missing Person Monday post ready to go next week.

In the meantime, I offer this...
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If I am ever in the St. Paul, Minnesota area, one stop that I want to make is the Science Museum of Minnesota to see their collection of Questionable Medical Devices.

Online, the collection is referred to as the "Collection of Quackery" and offers quite a few laughs.

Tired of wearing glasses and contacts? 

Try the Natural Eye Normalizer which massages tired eyes so that vision will improve.  Or, at least that was the claim made in the 1930s--a proclamation that was later described as an ineffective and nonsensical treatment for vision impairment.

Attention men with prostrate problems!

Look at what you could have purchased in 1925: The Prostrate Gland Warmer which was promised to "stimulate the abdominal brain."

Um... Yeah.... 

My favorite piece from the collection is this contraption called the Shoe Fitting X-Ray Device:



It is believed that there were 10,000 of these machines in use and taking X-Ray images of a customer's foot so that the perfect shoe fit could be determined.  And for no additional charges, the customer was also provided with intense blasts of radiation leaking from the device into the immediate area.

Who knew that good health used to be related to those who avoided the shoe store.

The X-Ray shoe fitting gadget was banned in over half of the states in the USA by the 1970s, but surprisingly, the one in St. Paul's museum was actually found in operation in a shoe store in West Virginia in 1981.

Reading these medical insights, I am suddenly motivated to look into that all natural tapeworm diet that was advertised in the 19th century--and remarkably is still looking for customers today.   

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Photo Credit: Museum of Quackery.

He Looks Like Brad Pitt? Not...

Joran van der Sloot is getting multiple marriage proposals while awaiting trial and being held at the Peruvian prison Miguel Castro Castro?


Someone thinks he looks like Brad Pitt?


Yeah, right.

I really don't get why many serial killers (Bundy, Ramierez, etc.) and violent murderers attract such romantic attention either after being sentenced to death row or confined to a life of staring at walls.

I tried reading a few articles on the topic, but concluded that the experts are simply guessing as to an answer as well.

I do believe that Joran will likely need those "relationship" escapes to survive his incarceration considering he is temporarily in a correctional institution where, back in January, the new warden was murdered on the premises on his first day on the job.

Prison life will not get much better if, as most insiders expect, Joran is transferred to Lurigancho Prison--which is considered one of the world's worst facilities.

Perhaps, the other inmates will just want Van der Sloot to sign a copy of their Ocean's 11, 12, and 13 DVDs. 
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The second photo was used from here.

Ignored: A Rerun

The linked feature part of this post first appeared in January of 2009 when my blog audience almost entirely consisted of spammers from Eastern Europe and China.
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I am guilty.

Guilty of failing to notice the beauty all around me.

In the few moments that I am aware what is happening around me, I am usually rewarded with something special:
  • A a monarch butterfly circles a series of purple iris plants.

  • A brown pelican in flight crashes into the water searching for a fish dinner.

  • A small child lovingly shares his vanilla ice cream cone with his best friend--a golden retriever. 

So, I can relate to the "audience" of passer-byers in this video from an old post of mine as they largely ignore an immensely talented African-American musician named Tony MacAlpine tackling a challenging Chopin piece on piano.

That still does not make it right. 

I wonder how much of the beauty of life that I have missed as I wander along in a fog of thoughts concerning me, me, me?

Hello Kitty Regrets?

The following is a mugshot of a woman recently arrested for a misdemeanor offense.


Do you think she'll eventually regret getting the Hello Kitty chest tattoo?

Ponderings from the Beach House

This is week two of our vacation, and I apologize, but I won't have much time online to visit blogs.

On a related note, I won't have a new Missing Person Monday post ready for two weeks--then things can get back to normal here.
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Overhead from One of the Kids
  • Hey Dad, mom needs you to get a live rat out of the swimming pool.*

  • Hey Dad, does two swims in the pool and one in the ocean count as a shower for the day? 

  • Hey Dad, will this 50 SPF sun tan lotion will make me invisible?

 Said/Thought by One of the Adults
  • At the current pace, I think after two weeks of supporting the ice cream truck the way the kids have, the owner will be looking to add a branch office that covers our home neighborhood. 

  • We parents enjoy finding neat toys in catalogs, but what do our kids like to play with?  Rocks, sand, shells, sticks, and water of course.

  • Is two weeks long enough?  I think I need to go back home and recover from fourteen days of "vacation." 

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*Note: I was surprised to see that the rat in the pool did look like a rat--not the monster city ones that I have seen, but much larger than a mouse.  They swim very well, and I am happy to report that it was safely removed from the pool when no loss of life--me or any other creature.   

Tuber of the Week #35: Just Add Water

While blogging from the beach last summer, I could not resist posting an amazing surfing video

In continuing that tradition, I'd like to introduce 20-year old professional surfer Clay Marzo.

Marzo is not like any other pro surfer--he has Asperger's syndrome, which is from the autism family.

I mentioned previously that our youngest son was also diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder called PDD-NOS, and we see some of the similar obsessive behaviors that Marzo's mom describes in this article.

Fortunately, Clay Marzo was able to transform his obsession with water into a performing career in which he is considered one of the best in the world.

At age 15, Marzo became the youngest champion of the amateur National Scholastic Surfing Association when he scored two perfect 10s--a feat that had never been done.

The following is the trailer for a 2008 video about the surfer entitled Clay Marzo: Just Add Water.

The movie explores Marzo's challenges and how it may even contribute to his incredible focus while in the ocean.



A portion of the movie's proceeds were donated to the non-profit Surfer's Healing: A Foundation for Autism--a non-profit that offers assisted surfing for children with autism.

Also, reporter Alyssa Roenigk did this wonderful short for ESPN the Magazine on Marzo.

She describes his mother's struggle to find more about her son's obstacles after a lifetime of hearing people refer to Clyde as rude, dumb, unmotivated, etc.

Marzo's story is nothing short of inspirational.

Fifty Years: A Rerun

Being away from home and short on Internet time, I decided that it would be wise to recycle a few posts.
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As a newbie to blogging, I had the silly idea that writing was not so difficult--simply invest lots of enthusiasm and the final product will certainly be prize worthy.

Wow, was I a moron. 

Was?

Ok, maybe I am still am a moron, but at least not with my failure to understand how much that writing is a craft.

I do appreciate the many talented writers who blog and share their suggestions--it can only help me improve.

I see my strength as being able to select an appealing story.  I consider my weaknesses to be, well anything else to do with writing--the mechanics, storytelling, character development, etc.

But, the only way to improve is practice, and that was my goal with the following piece written last year.

With this short post, I attempt to contrast possessions with our legacy by describing a series of events involving an elderly neighbor that I witnessed along with the Mrs.--a story that I use a different approach in retelling.  

In any event, this one is entitled: Fifty Years.

At the Beach: A Good Deed Rewarded

Excited to be at the beach, our little kiddo crew was digging in the sand early this morning.

Among the beach walkers passing us was a young man sporting reflective sunglasses.   He carried a plastic trash bag half-filled with juice box wrappers, old cans, bottle tops, and other paper garbage.  It was obvious that he has spent his morning walk collecting the trash left behind by inconsiderate people instead of gathering shells or watching the waves.

Draped over his opposite shoulder, was a backpack stuffed to near capacity.  A sippy cup and bottle of child's sunscreen was visible in a side pocket.

On the top of the backpack, was a sticker that said something about Cincinnati, Ohio.  

Behind him, trudged his wife and a five or six year old daughter .

He approached our motley crew and asked, "Excuse me.  Is this where you see the wild horses?"

"Their protected area starts at that fence (which was about 100 yards along the beach farther north)," I replied.

"Finding the wild horses can be difficult," added the Mrs.  "Their habitat is miles long, and sometimes we are fortunate to encounter them once during our two-week stay here," she continued.

"Ok, is there a best time to see the horses?"  the man asked.

"No, it seems to be random," the Mrs. said.

The man thanked us and continued walking with his tired family to the fence. 

Twenty-five minutes later, I glanced over just beyond the fence, and what do you know, there stands three of the wild horses. 


I can see several folks a safe distance from the horse, but watching with excitement. 

My thoughts?

If you spend your morning walking and picking up garbage at the beach, the least the four-legged locals can do is pose for your weary family's photo op.
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Note: The wild horses of the Outer Banks (NC), are descendants of 16th and 17th Century Spanish Mustangs that survived shipwrecks and made this place their home.   In a previous post, I discussed the horses and the area in greater detail.

Though it fits my story well, I did not take this photo--it was used from here.

Survivors

Just a note: We are on vacation for the next two weeks, so my time available for commenting on blogs and responding to emails will be limited. 

Thanks for your patience.  
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I consider myself to be a planner. 

I try to anticipate various sorts of inconveniences and emergencies that can happen at home or on the road, so they will have less of an impact on our family.. 

Unfortunately, we cannot prepare for everything that happens in life.  Sometimes survival can hinge upon our ingenuity--displaying grace under pressure.

Marc and Stacy McNeil recently offered a powerful display of survival planning under duress.

Camping with others near the banks of the Caddo and Little Missouri Rivers last Thursday night, the normal peaceful rivers were measured at 11 pm by governmental water gauges at a depth of three feet.

By 5:30 am the next morning, the same measuring devices were in a raging water flow and recorded the depth at 23 feet.

The rivers had risen 20 feet in a few short hours.

An Arkansas State Trooper noticed the rising water at 3 am and notified county authorities.  

Understandably, the campgrounds had transformed into chaotic scene.  Roads were flooded.  Finding higher ground in the darkness and the dense forest was impossible.

The McNeil's took action:

 ...Marc and Stacy McNeil of Marshall, Texas, survived by pulling their pickup truck between two trees and standing in the bed in waist-deep water.

"It was just like a boat tied to a tree," Marc McNeil said, describing how the truck bobbed up and down.

They were on their first night of camping with a group of seven, staying in tents. The rain kept falling, and the water kept rising throughout the night, at one point topping the tool box in the back of the truck...
Finding two sturdy trees to anchor your truck between while water floods past you is brilliant.

My prayers are with all of the families who lost loved ones; including the relatives of seven-year old Kylee Sullivan who was one of the 19 persons that perished in the disaster.

Officer Makes an Arrest: Of His Wife?

We leave for an annual two week family beach vacation on Saturday, so my commenting on other blogs and email responses will likely be delayed during that time.

While I am gone, I do plan to continue with 4 posts per week.

Regarding the following post, I was not able to find a link to the articles related to the original story--as the information resides behind a dreaded password-protected news site.
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Earlier this year, Benton (PA) police officer Gene Barrett was the only cop on-duty in the quiet Central Pennsylvania community of 914 residents.

When officers working solo need back-up or assistance, the Benton Police Department, like other tiny agencies, employs mutual aid agreements with neighboring police agencies like the Pennsylvania State Police--so despite being alone, help was one radio call away for Officer Barrett.

The officer's shift was most memorable on that winter day, not for any call that he was dispatched to, but for an incident that found him--a domestic disturbance between Barrett and his wife.

The specifics of the domestic vary depending on the two different versions reported by the husband and wife, but here is what I gather happened:
Barrett's wife was in her truck and the pair began arguing in a public place while the officer was on-duty (he was driving his patrol car).  The incident escalated when Barrett's wife questioned the officer about having lunch with another woman. 

Officer Barrett then stated he was "acting on instinct" and tried to "defuse the situation" when he removed Mrs. Barrett from her vehicle, placed her on the ground, handcuffed her, and put her in the back of his patrol car.  

His wife's version is similar but describes her being pulled from the truck, thrown to the ground, and handcuffed. 

Obviously, no criminal charges were pursued against Barrett's wife, and the officer had his Pennsylvania police certification taken after the woman filed a Protection from Abuse (PFA) Order against him. 

Recently, the PFA was either dropped or ran its legal course (I don't recall), and now the officer is trying to regain his law enforcement certification.
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 A couple of thoughts on this odd situation:

  • I mentioned above that even small police departments have mutual aid agreements.  It does not matter if the officer is the only one on-duty, he/she can still request assistance from other agencies if that officer becomes involved in a domestic dispute or something similar.

    What should an officer do when confronted with such a problem?  You call for other officers, other supervisors, your own chief, etc., and you sit there with your mouth shut or whatever it takes to keep the situation from escalating until the police arrive.
  • If your law enforcement "instinct" is to become involved in a domestic disturbance with your wife while on-duty and in uniform, and then to "defuse" it by arresting and handcuffing her, then it is a fair assessment that you should be pursuing other career options.
 I am surprised that this story slipped through the cracks and did not draw national media attention.

If the Shoe Fits, Drink from It?

This past weekend I watched some of the NCAA College Softball World Series.

These young women are amazing athletes, yet a viewer will still see a fair share of strikeouts.

Softball and strikeouts, of course, reminded me of this news story from last month:
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — A South Tahoe High softball coach required any player who struck out in a May 1 game to drink soda out of a shoe, school officials have confirmed.

Eight varsity players who struck out against the Wooster Colts in that game at Todd Fields were required by coach Anneliese Neitling to drink soda pop out of a team member's softball cleat at a team slumber party that night...

James Tarwater, the superintendent of Lake Tahoe Unified School District, interpreted the action as a young coach's mistake.

"It was meant as a joke and obviously it went too far," said Tarwater, whose office received one parental complaint about the incident.

Tarwater said the incident will be addressed during Neitling's postseason coaching evaluation.

"People learn from mistakes," Tarwater said. "She does a good job pulling the team together, morale-wise and support-wise."

However, the parent who complained about the event said it was a safety issue.

"I was not happy about this. She should have thought about this and acted with better judgment," the parent said. "This is a safety issue. Each year there is a horrible story of someone killed because of hazing. I just didn't want this go any further and see someone get hurt."

Many states, including California and Nevada, have laws against hazing, which is an initiation or act that subjects someone to possible bodily danger, physical harm, personal degradation or disgrace in order to be accepted in their group or organization.

The parent was concerned that if the girls thought that being forced to drink out of a shoe was OK, that something worse might follow.

The parent's daughter who struck out and drank out of the shoe spoke to the Tribune about the experience.

"I thought she was joking about it at first," the team member said. "I was a little shocked. I thought it wasn't a very smart thing to punish us with."

...The reporting parent said that coach Neitling has apologized to the team and parents, satisfying his concerns...
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I had two observations on the forced footwear chug-a-lug:


  • If you have a job that involves being an authority figure over teens or children ( e.g. teacher, coach, police officer), the last place you should want to be is at a "slumber party" with the young people.

    Trying to instill discipline, or be viewed as a peer, at 1 am by playing drinking games (even if it is only with soda) will result in the adult losing his/her job 95% of the time.

  • If I made anyone drink liquids out of my wretchedly funky shoes, it would likely be considered assault with a deadly weapon.   
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The image was used from here.

Out the Back Window--Then, Now, and in the Future

The following story involving a neighbor's son happened in the year 2000...
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Surrounded by half-full moving boxes, I wipe the perspiration from my forehead and chug a glass of tap water. Glancing out the kitchen window and enjoying the hot August morning from the air conditioned inside, movement attracts my attention.

I see a young boy about 11 or 12 years old.

He runs through the native field grasses behind our house carrying a toy gun and wearing a olive-colored children's soldier helmet. He dives below sight level in the two-foot high brush. After a few moments, he jumps to his feet and charges an imaginary enemy's bulwark.

The child's fantasy is interrupted by a female who gestures for him to come to her.

The boy retrieves his rifle and walks to an adjacent house.

I return to the task at hand--moving into our first home.

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Ten years later, young adult Alex has not made the best decisions with his life, and has been arrested for theft, assault, and vandalism.

Last year, he plead guilty to a felony drinking and driving related charge after two of his passengers (also intoxicated) were injured when his car crashed into a tree.

Alex has struggled to keep a job, and has been a source of aggravation for his retired football coach father.

Sometimes, I wonder if Alex's dad stares into that two-foot high field grass and can still see his young son running and playing in the green glory of summer.

As, I watch our kids chasing each other in the field through the same kitchen window, I wonder:
In a decade, will I be in the same position as Alex's dad--wishing my sons and daughter could just have remained children forever? 

What is Missing from this Flyer?

Two weeks ago, police in Salt Lake City (UT) announced that they were reopening three separate cold cases of four missing persons--one adult and three juveniles. 

The oldest case (1964) is the strange disappearance of then fifteen-year-old Reed Taylor Jeppson.


Jeppson was last seen leaving his family's home to walk his dogs at around 12:30 pm on a Sunday in October.  No trace of the boy or his two German Shorthaired Pointers was ever found.

Authorities are publicizing the Jeppson disappearance via a new website that was established by the agency for cold case missing persons.

You can access the original Jeppson flyer as a PDF document here, or I listed the text below.

What is absent from this flyer?    
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Reed Taylor Jeppson

DOB: May 28, 1949

Date Missing: October 11, 1964

Missing From: Salt Lake City, UT

Sex: Male

Race: White

Hair: Medium blond hair

Eyes: Blue eyes

Height: 5 feet, 6 inches

Weight: 140 lbs.

Clothing: Blue Levi jeans, white cotton, knit shirt, gym shoes, and a reversible parka (black on one side, blue on the other).

Anyone with information on this or any other Missing Person case is asked to contact the Salt Lake City Police Department. Callers may remain anonymous.

SALT LAKE CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT
(801) 799-3000

Case Details: Family members last saw Reed Taylor Jeppson Sunday, October 11, 1964, at 12:30 p.m. as he went to feed his two German Shorthaired Pointers. Reed, who had upper and lower dental braces, was wearing blue Levi jeans, a white cotton knit shirt, gym shoes, and a reversible parka (black on one side, blue on the other). His dogs were never found either.
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What vital piece of information is missing?

How about telling the public what neighborhood and street address the boy disappeared from?

Though it is not the most populated communities in the US, Salt Lake City is a state capitol and had a population of about 190,000 in 1960.

Trying to jog person's memory about what he/she saw four decades ago is obviously a difficult task, but failing to provide an address where Jeppson was last seen to help folks recall, makes the effort nearly impossible.

Outside of the teen's description and the mention of the dogs, including Jeppson's last known location is essential in trying develop new leads from the public.

I assume it is simply an oversight since these details are posted to the Utah Department of Public Safety's site:

"...Reed was last seen in the vicinity of St. Mary of the Wasatch on the East bench of Salt Lake City, Sunday, October 11, 1964..."
This is much better than simply missing from Salt Lake City.

In addition, stating that "callers will remain anonymous" and then providing a general police department phone number to the public for questions about cases is a flawed system for protecting identities.

Using a dedicated phone number for anonymous reporting, as well as an electronic system for anonymous tips, would give citizens greater confidence that their contact information will be handled discreetly--as opposed to the thought of being transferred to a handful of employees before the tip reaches its destination.   
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Note: My blog is simply a place for me to state an opinion on police matters. I do value the time of authorities and do not typically bother investigators with conjecture regarding the cases I discuss.

Conversely, when I do see an omission or error that I believe is salient to a case, I will contact the investigating agency. Regarding the Jeppson's case described above, I did contact the Salt Lake City Police Department and suggested that the address information be added to their missing person flyer.

This is the second time that I have contacted investigators directly in a case--the first instance is described here.

Safety in Numbers: The Kid Way

After a long weekend of car travel, I have concluded that our third grader watched a little too much of the original Star Wars and Jeff Corwin adventures on DVD--as he seems to be afraid of his own shadow now (or thinking that Darth Vader or a black mamba is hiding behind the shower curtain).

My hint was this:

THE MRS..: Son, go upstairs and get yourself a clean shirt from your room.

THIRD GRADE SON: Is dad up there?

THE MRS.: No, he is still unloading the van, and I'll be changing little Luca's diaper.

Third grader peers up the stairs into the darkness above.

THIRD GRADE SON: Can't I wait until Dad is done?

THE MRS.: We have a lot of things to accomplish before bedtime.  Go take care of the shirt now.

Third grader gulps some air and tries to conjure up some courage.

THIRD GRADE SON:  Well... Er... Ok...

Just then, three-year-old sister enters the room and interrupts the dialogue with a loud monotone version of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star while holding a stuffed pink elephant.

THIRD GRADE SON: Umm..Hey Sissy want to go upstairs with me?

SISSY SISTER: Sure.
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I am happy to report that third grader and his pint-sized singing companion did retrieve his shirt and make it back downstairs unscathed. 

Should I store this scaredy cat skeleton in the closet memory away in my mind to later embarrass big brother? 

Maybe, this is something to retell when he has his first girlfriend?   

The incident was a vibrant example of the old adage: There's safety in numbers; at least from the kid perspective.

Joran van der Sloot: Wanted Man (Again)

I'll save the post I had scheduled for tomorrow as I wanted to comment on this breaking crime story...
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I am not sure you will find too many Americans who are shocked that Joran van der Sloot, the prime suspect in the Natalee Holloway missing persons case from 2005, is wanted in connection with the murder of a young woman in Peru.

Authorities in Lima stated that 21-year-old Stephany Flores Ramirez was found dead in a hotel room--with visible scratches and having suffered from blunt force trauma.  Peruvian police say that they have evidence linking Dutch citizen van der Sloot to the crime.

I did not read as much about the Holloway case as many others, but from the start of the investigation it seemed that one scenario unfortunately stood out:
I believe that Joran van der Sloot and his posse targeted Holloway at the casino in Aruba, isolated her from her friends, slipped her a date-rape drug like GHB or an equivalent, and then they all left together for another location.  Sadly, one can insert a number of theories as to what happened next--that include Holloway's death and then the furtive disposal of her body.
It is eerie that on May 30, 2010, exactly five years after Holloway vanished, van der Sloot left a casino with a another woman that is now dead.

Peruvian authorities believe that Joran left their country for Chile, and police in Chile are said to be currently searching for the murder suspect.

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I am curious if van der Sloot is not right now Googling to compare Dutch and Peruvian prisons and getting back results like an overview on the segment on Lima's Lurigancho Prison being aired this month on National Geographic Channel's:  Inside the Worlds' Toughest Prisons.

A cell at Lurigancho Prison in Peru

Yikes...

If young Joran does make it back to the Netherlands, I would not be surprised to hear that his first desired topic of conversation will be to be fully cooperative with authorities investigating the Natalee Holloway disappearance--as well as anything else to fight extradition back to Peru.
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The photo was used from National Geographic channel's site here.

Out Shopping, and You See This?

If you witnessed the following incident in a Target store parking lot, what would you think just happened?



A few weeks ago,I discussed the Anne Sluti case that involved a 17-year-old victim being attacked and kidnapped during broad daylight at a Nebraska shopping mall.

Authorities in Stafford County, Virginia issued an Amber Alert after the 17 year-old girl in the video above was also believed to have been kidnapped.

The next day, the victim was found with her family--allegedly unharmed.

Authorities now believe that the incident was not an abduction, but they are continuing to investigate whether any charges will be filed over the filmed altercation.

What is the story that was offered to police about the parking lot struggle?

The victim's family was moving to Florida and the daughter did not want to go with them.

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How is a bystander supposed to tell a real kidnapping from a hoax?

I don't have a great answer for that one. My advice is, when seeing something suspicious, err on the safe side and contact police immediately--providing the license plate information (as the good folks did in the video above), if at all possible.

Giving law enforcement that crucial information is worth the risk of embarrassing someone as opposed to missing an opportunity to save a life.

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Note: The Washington Post's article on the story contains an extended version (over 4 minutes) of the parking lot struggle caught on camera--the action starts about two minutes into the clip as the van and persons on foot are seen chasing the woman through the parking lot.  Unrelated to the incident, I did have to laugh at the woman at the 30 second mark who tries to roll one of those giant red balls outside the Target with her leg--my kids are always trying to kick, push, and pounce on those.