Tuber of the Week #40: Reflective

I was in a reflective mood this weekend. 

I'll blame it on the birthday.

Another year.  Laughs? Accomplishments? Regrets? Thank yous?

All the above.

Anyway...

It is strange to hear a secular song from the past, written with no apparent spiritual message, and then see the tune used with a photographic montage of sunsets and sunrises--again, by another author who was not aiming at spirituality.

The resulting video product?

Oddly, a strong spiritual statement; especially if considered from a Creator's perspective.

...What if I'd been the one to say goodbye, goodbye

Could you smile when it hurts so deep inside

And it never fades away...




Happy Tuesday.

Matt Hill, Missing

Having the kids out of school for a long holiday break has not left much time for blogging.

As a result, no post on Monday, and I'll continue with the Sgt. Rust case the following Monday.

Anyway, I did want to publicize a recent missing person's case from our nation's capitol...
__________________________________________

Matthew Hill, a 26-year old Christian campus outreach worker who mentors students at George Washington University in Washington D.C., went missing four-days ago (Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at around 10:30 am). 

Authorities stated that he dropped a student off in the Chinatown area of D.C., and then Matt's debit card was reportedly used about 30 minutes later in town for gasoline. 

He has not been seen since. 

One of the news reporters covering the story stated that authorities believe that someone else has been using his debit card, but I did not find any additional information on that angle. 

Police are looking for the missing man's car, a 1996 black Honda Civic LX with a D.C. license plate of "DT 2747".

His family and friends spent much of today searching and distributing flyers in the city--hoping to generate leads. 

My prayers are with Matt Hill and his family.   

___________________________________

--Update on 5/29/2011--

A spokesperson for Matt Hill's family confirmed that he has been located and is safe.

Caylee Anthony in the News

Excellent blogger Maxi has recently been discussing the Caylee Anthony death case; a story that has risen to the front pages of the news this week as Casey Anthony's murder trial began in Florida.

I wrote a couple of posts on the case way back when., and am still curious in learning more about, Ray Kronk, the man who pointed police to the little girl's remains.

Ms. Anthony's defense attorney, Jose Baez, offered his opinion of Mr. Kronk's involvement:


...During his two-hour opening statement, Baez also cast doubt on Roy Kronk, the meter reader who found Caylee's skeletal remains in December 2008, alleging that he found the remains in an unknown location months earlier and moved them to where they would be found by authorities in an attempt to cash in on the high-profile case.


"He thought he had himself a lottery ticket," Baez said.


"You will not be able to trust a thing having to do with Mr. Kronk, because he had control of Caylee's remains, obviously, for several months," Baez said. "Where he found her we do not know. We may never know, because the police never investigated him."


Kronk's attorney, David Evans, denied the allegations in a statement. "To the extent that the defense is stating that Mr. Kronk somehow had possession of and had something to do with the disposition of the remains of Caylee Anthony, those statements are absolutely false," Evans said.

With Ms. Anthony's defense that her daughter accidentally drowned in the family pool and her parents covered up the incident, the evidence and testimony in this sad case will be evaluated daily in the courtroom.

Stay tuned for more on Mr. Kronk's actions.
___________________

Maxi's part one on the Anthony case can be read here.

A Dance with Joslyn

Since mid-March, the National Football League has been in a work stoppage.

Even though the season's games don't start until September, each organization uses the spring and summer for training and preparation.

This off-season, until the contract dispute is settled, there is no training or preparation.

The players are "locked-out" and prohibited from going to work.

With the additional free time, some players have been in the news--for good and bad reasons.

Rookie J.T. Thomas of the Chicago Bears is the subject of a positive story:

...Last Friday, Thomas accompanied 14-year-old Joslyn Levell, who has spina bifida and is often confined to a wheelchair, to her school dance.

The two met in Morgantown, West Virginia; that's where Thomas went to college, and Levell, a Bears fan, moved there two years ago.

Thomas' 7-year-old brother, Jared, has autism and rides the same bus as Levell.

Knowing Levell was a Bears fan, bus driver Jake Tennant planned to introduce Jared's older brother to her. Nearly three weeks ago, J.T. was invited on the bus while kids were being dropped off at home.

What timing. As J.T. met a Bears fan in his hometown, Joslyn explained to him that she'd had a rough week because all of the boys she asked to the dance declined.

Thomas melted.

"I hugged her and signed a few things and we talked for awhile and she cried a bit," Thomas told NFL.com's Steve Wyche. "I gave her a hug and told her everything would work itself out..." 

...Luckily, it all worked out. Thomas rented a black Chrysler for the occasion and showed up at Levell's house with a bouquet of roses and a corsage.

And Thomas...was frank about his role in Levell's big night. "This was Joslyn's night. It wasn't about me."

Part III: Crime Victim Sgt. Patrick Rust

Continuing from last Monday...
__________________________________________________

Case Summary

On March 16, 2007 at about 1 am, US Army Sergeant Patrick Rust, who had recently returned from a tour in Afghanistan, left a bar called Clueless in Watertown, NY. Rust had been drinking with friends at the establishment for several hours, was apparently intoxicated, and the bartender refused to serve him any more.

After leaving the bar, investigators reported that Rust's phone was used twice to call one of the friends he had talked with that night/morning. Police have been unable to find anyone who saw him alive again.

The sergeant's roommate, also active-duty, told police that he had not seen the missing man since the day before and that Rust did not return home from the bar that morning. Rust did not show-up for work at Fort Drum that next morning and Rust's mother, the roommate, and his supervisor subsequently reported him missing the following Monday.

Six months later, Rust's skeletal remains were found in a field six miles from the bar. An autopsy was inconclusive as to a cause of death.

-------------------------------------

Last week, I ended with two aspects of the Rust case that I wanted to discuss further.

The first was:

The "Clueless" bar is known as an alternative lifestyle or gay (evidently not exclusively lesbian/gay though) bar.

Lifestyles
An alternate lifestyle/gay bar in a community that does not feature many similar establishments may be significant in this case. 

First, since it was know that Clueless was this type of place, it could attract persons in the general public with violent tendencies--specifically, those that may loiter nearby to victimize customers leaving.

A very intoxicated man leaving a bar in the early morning would make for an appealing crime target.

Second, Don't Ask Don't Tell was the US armed forces policy at the time of Sgt. Rust's disappearance. 

Could persons who were violent toward active duty soldiers running in such social circles have been loitering to victimize a comrade leaving Clueless?  Certainly. 

Finally, Sgt. Rust's presence at the establishment was known by several soldiers.  He placed cell phone calls to what investigators described as soldiers outside his circle of friends the evening that he disappeared. 

Could someone believing that he was participating in a homo/bisexual lifestyle have intentionally gone to the bar that morning to deceive and then confront Rust?  

Certainly again. 

In sum, the possibility of a hate crime could be a factor in this case. 

I'll save my second point until next time: that investigators were examining allegations that Sgt. Rust was trying to obtain cocaine the night he vanished.
 ________________________

More information on this case can be found at Patrickrust.com or my other posts on Sgt. Rust are here

Tuber of the Week #39: Contagious

Blogger Lady Old Soul was kind enough to remind me that I have a post series entitled "Tuber of the Week" and suggest some potential features.

The video below is a great one--not only for the little one featured, but for stirring the memories of tiny ones that once graced our house.

__________________________________

Despite it being just a few years ago, I can barely remember when our sons would go into a laughing fit like the kiddo in the following video.

I am sure our daughter never participated in uncontrolled giggling--she was and is still the toughest cookie in the family.






Thanks to Lady Old Soul, and I hope everyone has a good weekend.

Arresting on Probable Buffoonery

Recently, 30 officers from across the US were named the 2010 TOP COPS for outstanding police work.

I guarantee that investigators involved in the following Memphis criminal case will not be in the running for the 2011 TOP COPS.

On Tuesday, Memphis Police officers accidentally arrested one of their own.

Officer Edrick Braxton was mistakenly arrested on a warrant for aggravated burglary when his fingerprints were lifted from the scene of a crime.

But turns out Braxton's prints were there because he made the scene when Antavious Christopher called police on March 17th regarding a burglary on Mickey Drive.

Christopher had seen someone inside his neighbor's home and called for help. Braxton made the scene and arrested two suspects.

But other officers dusting for prints lifted Braxton's from a lawn mower, and an arrest warrant was issued.

Braxton was arrested Tuesday and charged with aggravated burglary.

He was later released and the warrant was recalled. A spokesperson for the MPD said Braxton's prints were on the lawn mower because he touched the item while working the crime scene...

Arresting the responding officer after finding his prints at a crime scene?

Zoinks!

I really can't remember a case like that one, and I am sure Memphis PD brass hope they never have to issue statements--while cleaning the egg off of their faces--about a similar incident again.

You can even see the poor guy's mugshot still posted on several websites

I also wanted to comment on my disdain for awards in general, but I'll save that for another day.

A Marriage Tip

Note: Blogger still seems to be having comment problems.  Thanks to all those who tried leaving a comment on yesterday's post--and then for it to disappear.
__________________________________

I think if I had been a general contractor, the Mrs.would have been a much happier wifey.

Yes, warmer weather means home improvement projects--projects that I'll need to outsource skilled individuals to complete...

Part II: Crime Victim Sergeant Patrick Rust

As what usually happens in discussing missing persons/former missing persons: I think I can cover the topic adequately in one or two posts, but later realize I cannot.  So, here is the second and not the last post on the Rust case...
__________________________________________________

Case Summary

On March 16, 2007 at about 1 am, US Army Sergeant Patrick Rust, who had recently returned from a tour in Afghanistan, left a bar called Clueless in Watertown, NY. Rust had been drinking with friends at the establishment for several hours, was apparently intoxicated, and the bartender refused to serve him any more.

After leaving the bar, investigators reported that Rust's phone was used twice to call one of the friend's he had talked with that night/morning. Police have been unable to find anyone who saw him alive again.

The sergeant's roommate, also active-duty, told police that he had not seen the missing man since the day before and that Rust did not return home from the bar that morning. Rust did not show-up for work at Fort Drum that next morning and Rust's mother, the roommate, and his supervisor subsequently reported him missing the following Monday.

Six months later, Rust's skeletal remains were found in a field six miles from the bar. An autopsy was inconclusive as to a cause of death.

Observations (Continued)

--Reportedly, Rust's wallet and ID were recovered with his body.  The wallet contained $80--making it less likely to believe that robbery was a motive in this case.

--According to the CrimeWire case broadcast, Rust was not wearing a heavy jacket, gloves, or a hat the very cold morning that he left on foot from the bar and vanished.
  
--Rust had moved into his off-base apartment with the new roommate the day prior to when he went missing.  Allegedly, Rust's personal belongings were removed from his apartment prior to him being reported missing to local police (after military officials knew).

--Rust's roommate told investigators that he contacted Rust's supervisor and told him that (Rust) would not be reporting for duty as scheduled that morning.  This contact was made two hours prior to when Rust was scheduled to start his shift.

---------------------

One of the local news services requested (via the Freedom of Information Act or FOIA) and was granted access to some of the investigative reports.

From this, they learned about specific angles that investigators have focused.

When someone disappears, accurate and inaccurate portrayals of the individual begin to appear--creating additional pain for the families and sometimes causing the investigation to be misdirected.

With that said, I want to be careful and respectful in discussing some additional information; as there have been some allegations made about Sgt. Rust.
 
I do want to offer some insights on two additional and controversial aspects of the Rust case:
  • The "Clueless" bar is known as an alternative lifestyle or gay (evidently not exclusively lesbian/gay though) bar; and,
  • Sgt. Rust reportedly discussed trying to obtain cocaine the night he vanished.
 ________________________

I'll continue there next time; specifically with why investigators would be very interested in these two bits of information.     
 
More information on this case can be found at Patrickrust.com or my other posts on Sgt. Rust are here

Zombie Parent

After dropping the twins off at preschool this morning, I drove in the "family vehicle" for about five minutes before I realized something. 

Something that should have been obvious.

Blaring from the vehicle's DVD player for at least 300 hundred seconds as I drove alone was the toddler cartoon Max and Ruby

The theme song played.  The characters talked.  Max was scolded.  Ruby laughed. 

Yet, I was oblivious.

I missed a chance to listen to the news on the radio or pop in some tunes.  Instead, the morning commute featured "Max and Ruby... Ruby and Max..."

I think such an action qualifies me for some type of Zombie Parent merit badge.

-----------

Note: Thanks to all who left comments and I am sorry to have lost those when Blogger.com suffered its meltdown last week.

There is Preparation and Then There Is...

When conducting emergency preparedness drills at a workplace, there is a right way and a wrong way to practice.  The following from Las Vegas is a prime example of the latter:


In a world overflowing with dumb ideas, this one was extraordinarily stupid.


Let's send a cop undercover into a hospital's intensive care unit, waving a real gun, and see how the staff reacts. But let's not tell anyone it's an emergency preparedness drill.


That's exactly what officials at St. Rose Dominican Hospital-Siena Campus did on May 24....


On April 20, three ICU nurses and a respiratory therapist sued the hospital, off-duty cop Charles Yannis, Chief Operating Officer Teressa Conley and three members of the Emergency Management Committee, Bernard Jones, Kim Dokken and Matthew Berhold.


Jones, then the chief of security, was fired. Dokken, trauma and stroke program director, and Berhold, rehabilitation services director, were placed on administrative leave and booted off the Emergency Management Committee.


The lawsuit -- filed by nurses Keri Standish, Anne Hale and Barbara Ruggiero and respiratory therapist Marcus Day -- describes how each one feared he or she was going to die that day after an angry man entered the ICU and began waving a gun.


According to the lawsuit..., Yannis pointed his gun at Standish's face from a distance of 3 or 4 feet and ordered her into a break room.


Ultimately, he forced eight staff members, including Standish, Hale and Day and two physicians, into this break room. One weeping nurse asked whether she could call her children to say goodbye and was told no...

Perhaps hospital leaders now understand that an "unannounced drill" is best used with the organization's fire drill practice and definitely not in preparing for man with a fully auto AR-15 loose in the ICU emergencies.

Part I: Crime Victim Sergeant Patrick Rust

A tireless victims' rights advocate, friend of the blog, and excellent crime writer at the site Zasu Says  sent me information on the story of former missing person and now deceased and probable crime victim Sergeant Patrick Rust. 

After researching this sad case, I had a few comments for my Missing Persons Monday segment.
_____________________________________________________________



Case Summary

On March 16, 2007 at about 1 am, US Army Sergeant Patrick Rust, who had recently returned from a tour in Afghanistan, left a bar called Clueless in Watertown, NY.  Rust had been drinking with friends at the establishment for several hours, was apparently intoxicated, and the bartender refused to serve him any more.

After leaving the bar, investigators reported that Rust's phone was used twice to call one of the friend's he had talked with that night/morning.  Police have been unable to find anyone who saw him alive again.

The sergeant's roommate, also active-duty, told police that he had not seen the missing man since the day before and that Rust did not return home from the bar that morning.  Rust did not show-up for work at Fort Drum that next morning and Rust's mother, the roommate, and his supervisor subsequently reported him missing the following Monday.

Six months later, Rust's skeletal remains were found in a field six miles from the bar.  An autopsy was inconclusive as to a cause of death.

Observations

--Unknown crime scene, victim's belongings disappear (his personal items were removed from his off-base apartment prior to police involvement), and little information gained from the found remains--with the lack of physical evidence, this is the type of case that is dependent on a tipster to be solved. 

--In similar circumstances, it would be likely that more than one person would be needed to overpower someone like Rust, but the sergeant's level of intoxication may have been such that he was simply unable to care for himself and was venerable to just one motivated attacker...

--------------------------------

To keep this post a reasonable length, I'll finish Sgt. Rust's case next Monday in Part II. 

More information on this case can be found at Patrickrust.com

--------------
Note: The following comment was left about an upcoming program featuring Sgt. Rust's case:

"Crime Wire is doing a segment on the Rust case from 9 to 9:30 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, May 10. Our guest will be forensic investigator William Sullivan, who is looking into the case on behalf of Rust family members. 

Fail: Deceiving the Police

Note to potential law-breakers--an essential component in the art of deception is believability.

For instance, giving a false name and identification information verbally to an officer and having he/she consider it, requires that you can spell the full name and provide a date of birth accurately when prompted multiple times.

Providing a reasonable fake ID to the same officer should include a photo and description (height, weight, sex, age, etc.) that, well, resembles you.

And when altering a temporary license tag, review a calendar or two so as not to become confused and do this:


If you do make this mistake, I guarantee that something about a tag displaying the date "March 41, 2011" will resonate as suspicious to even the most distracted police officer.

No duh eh?

Have a good weekend everyone.

My Contribution

Our ten-year son old excels at sports.  Basketball, soccer, tennis, baseball, etc., you name a game, and he shows skills.

He can thank the Mrs.' side of the family, as my in-laws have quite a successful athletic track record:

Father-in-Law: Division I, NCAA basketball; minor league baseball, semi-professional basketball in Italy

Brother-in-Law: County high school sports hall of fame, 4-year letter and 3-year top seed Division I, NCAA tennis 

Sister-in-Law #1: Division I, NCAA 4-year letter in rowing, competed in Boston and NYC marathons as well as multiple ultramarathons (50 milers)

Sister-in-Law #2: 3 year letter Division III, NCAA tennis

Wife: County high school sports hall of fame, 4-year letter and 4-year top seed Division III, NCAA tennis
So what are my contributions to my son's athletic talent?

I mean other than a high school sports record that primarily featured underachievement? 

I am dumb and stubborn.

I am dumb enough to believe that I can out-row, out-serve, out-run, out-shoot, and out-perform any of those relatives in a competition.

If not right now, all I need is a little time to get ready.  With preparation, my tennis backhand could become a weapon or pounding pavement would push a marathon runner.

In basketball, if I miss 6 shots in a row, I think I just need the ball one more time to start making two and three point baskets.

My son is the same way.  He does not worry about his last misses, if his team needs him to shoot, he does.  This quality is referred to as a shooter's mentality.     

I believe I can win.

So that is my contribution to the little guy--plod along unconcerned about the obstacles and look for victory.

Who said that me being a goober can't be a positive?

Deputies Spying on Police Officers

While away from blogging last month, I saw this story about a Florida sheriff's department that had conducted an investigation of a local police department:

The Pinellas Sheriff's Office is investigating improprieties at the Kenneth City Police Department.

The probe comes at the request of Kenneth City Mayor Teresa Zemaitis after she saw a 110 page report that shed light on how Chief Douglas Pasley and his officers spend their duty time.

The report says Chief Pasley used his town-issued car to go as far away as Orlando, even though he's not contractually (Note: corrected spelling) allowed to take the car out of Tampa Bay.

The report also says the chief has long breakfasts at restaurants outside of Kenneth City while on duty with other officers...

The report also says ...that at least one officer uses the computer in his patrol car to look at dating and bodybuilding websites...

The 110-page report was evidently the product of a previous four month investigation of the police by a sheriff's department.

One hundred and twenty days of snooping and the "smoking guns" are that the chief takes prolonged meal breaks and one officer misused the agency's Internet? 

Seriously?

Yawn.

I can't think of a police department or any other business or agency where if a four month investigation was conducted similar allegations of misconduct or much worse would be the product.

The unmentioned issue is that the less-than-five person police department in Kenneth City accounts for over one million dollars of the community's just over two million dollar budget. 

Times are difficult, and town leaders are looking at cutting costs--and the police department is a very appealing target. 

If the police department needs to be dissolved or combined with another agency, then the mayor should build a case that speaks to the wisdom of such a strategy.

But for now, wake me up when the mayor has something worth publicizing; because deputies "stop-watching" police officers on meal breaks is certainly not raising morale, lowering crime, or making the citizens of South Florida any safer.

Grand Entrances

Wow, it is May and my first day back from blogger hiatus.

Thanks to everyone for the kind words, thoughts, prayers, emails, and comments.

I usually feature a missing person post on Mondays (hence the name "Missing Persons Monday"), but instead I'll start the week with something lighter...
_____________________________________________

One of the great yet lesser known things about professional baseball is, during home games, when a relief pitcher enters the contest from the bullpen (the bullpen is the place usually beyond the outfield fence where pitchers not in the game patiently wait to be called spending time goofing around and eating), the person running the scoreboard will play a snippet of a specific song that says something about the athlete. 

Maybe the song emphasizes the player's competitiveness, plays on a nickname, or is simply a tune that the incoming pitcher really digs. 

Often, it makes for a grand entrance.

After some contemplation, I have concluded that if I was a Major League Baseball relief pitcher entering a home game, the appropriate song for me as I came running from the bullpen to the pitcher's mound would be the title track Underdog from Audio A's fifth release ten years ago.

...Been beat up



Been broken down


Nowhere but up


When you're facedown


On the ground


I'm in last place


If I place at all


But there's hope for this underdog! 

In soliciting the Mrs.' opinion for this life-altering question, she disagrees with my selection. 

In contrast, she believes the perfect fit for my grand entrance should be Travis Tritt's memorable hit from 1991 entitled Here's a Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares) .

At least I am good for a laugh--at my expense mostly.

So what song would best fit your entrance into a crowd of cheering fans?