Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Change of Seasons

The seasons are finally starting to change. We've been broiling hot here this summer and into fall, with my first deer scouting trip in September, being conducted in triple digit temperatures. Things are finally cooling off, though now they tend to get confusing. Last week, morning temps were in the 30s, with highs in the 60s, this morning, it was 70 degrees as I left for work, and 80 degrees on the way home. Add in the rain we've been getting(thankfully), with humidity in the 90+ percentages, and it makes for some miserable times. Everything is sticky with condensation, and the only thing air conditioners do, is attempt to remove some of the moisture from the air, which tends to freeze up AC units. Profitable time to be in the HVAC business.

The only changes at work are for the worse, which confirms predictions by the long-timers, who say that things are still going to get even worse before they get better. Caseloads are still going up, with no end in sight, and we're being asked to do even more with less. Just today I spoke with another Agent who I thought was a fixture at the office, but he has an interview on Friday with an agency a little ways up the road.

To that end, I've been doing a little negotiating myself, trying to develop a job in the private sector, and may have a contract coming up for some good, enjoyable work. Keep your fingers crossed for me :)

One of the things that has been bedeviling me lately has been a case a little north of us, up in North Carolina. I'm sure you've all seen it on the National news. Young Zahra Baker, 10 years old and already a cancer survivor. Lost part of her leg and a good bit of her hearing to the cancer. Then her father up and moves her from their native Australia to rural NC to marry some woman he met on the internet. She's currently missing, and presumed dead.

I am not ashamed to admit, that I was moved to tears when I first saw this story several weeks ago. This beautiful child who had already been through so much, and yet still was full of smiles in any picture you see of her. The indefatigability of youth I guess.

Then the ugly rumors started the next day. All of the neighbors came out to the news to say how they'd seen the Step-mother beat her any time they stopped by. How she went to school with black eyes from one of those beatings. How they new she was going to come to a bad end because the Stepmother was jealous of the attention her father gave her.

At that time, she was just missing, and I turned to my wife and said, "If they find that little girl, I'm calling the Sheriff up there and telling him she can live with us." No argument from the Wife on that one.

Then the angry started. All these "neighbors" who just knew something was wrong, and had seen the child beaten by the stepmother, and just knew she was going to come to a bad end. Every blessed one of them needs to be brought up on charges for failing to report abuse, and complicity in whatever they finally determine happened to that poor child. A few rides on a cattle prod wouldn't be amiss either for these lazy slime balls.

But as the seasons change, people forget, and the news moves on. Two weeks later, and you have to search for updates on the story, what they're doing, what they've found, what they're looking for, etc.. I hate that she's being forgotten already, mostly in favor of what some politician said about another, in the run up to November 2nd.

I don't know why I felt such an immediate connection with this little girl, but I hope it doesn't go away. I pray for her every day, and I think that it's particularly apropos, that on Sundays, I pray for Zahra Clare Baker, in the Monastery of St. Clare. I pray that she receives mercy, and I pray that those who have harmed her are brought to justice.

I pray that as the seasons change, I continue to remember that one little girl who overcame so much, suffered the ultimate indignity. I pray that maybe today, putting one slime ball away, might spare one little girl from a similar fate. That calling DSS about drug abuse in a home with children, might get the children out safely, before things get bad. That threatening one knucklehead with prison, who's not quite beyond redemption, might get their feet on the path they need to tread.

I try to hold my head up, and believe that what we're doing matters, but then one of these cases comes along, where we weren't able to protect the little child, and my head hangs with sorrow. This was not my case, not my jurisdiction, not even in my state, but the failure on our part wounds me all the same. It also stiffens my resolve. I will redouble my efforts here, to see that no such thing happens on my watch.

The seasons change, my badge is a little heavier, a little more worn, a few more nicks and scratches, but as yet, there is no tarnish.

Take care all,


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