Monday, October 25, 2010

Top 10 Unsolved Missing-Person Cases

From Criminal Justice Degrees Guide Online:
Unsolved crimes take on a whole new level of eerie attraction when it comes to missing-person cases: instead of the stone-cold whodunit murder with a body and clues, they revolve around unexplained disappearances and thus feel more puzzling than other crimes.  Circumstantial evidence often presents itself later, allowing family, friends, and investigators to mostly piece together what happened, but the lack of finality makes an unsolved missing-person case feel like a situation that will never be resolved, no matter what’s learned. Top 10 Unsolved Missing-Person cases:

1. The Springfield Three, 2. Maura Murray, 3. Natalee Holloway, 4. D.B. Cooper, 5. The Beaumont Children, 6. Ambrose Bierce, 7. Percy and Jack Fawcett, 8. Joseph Crater, 9. Michael Rockefeller, 10. The Roanoke Colony
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If you or someone you know was a victim of crime or is a missing person, consider visiting The Surviving Parents Coalition. From their site:

The Surviving Parents Coalition is a parent-driven, 501c4 organization committed to saving lives.  Our coalition’s founding demonstrates the power of survival and how suffering can motivate people to accomplish extraordinary things. We must defend the innocent. Child safety programs and the agencies involved need resources. We lobby for funding and legislation because they are essential to effective change. Our goal is to ensure young people mature naturally without abuse and emotional turmoil. The SPC is determined to grow and spread out nationally one family at a time. United together we become a mighty force for reform.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

"Survive and Thrive"

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month as established twenty three years ago in October 1987.   While many think we have come along way... I think we still have a long way to go. Today, statistics indicate that domestic violence is still quite prevalent and actually reported instances are climbing.

This past weekend, I was honored and blessed to be amongst runners, advocates, law enforcement, survivors, and supporters atthe Survive and Thrive Walk Event organized by This event, at the Orange County Sheriff Regional Training Academy, was beyond inspiring, it was downright exhilarating to see so many survivors, so much passion, and so much positive energy in one place.

As one of the featured speakers at the event I used the opportunity not only to be  a cheerleader for survivorship and empowerment but to educate and advocate. My issue for the day was about the power of language and the importance of  "word choice."  The crux of the speech was distinguishing between being a "survivor" and being a "victim." I also used the opportunity to chat about the problem of semantics in human trafficking as well and how the wrong words further perpetuate the problem.

One can be victimized (and referred to as a victim in a criminal case), but my dream and goal is for all victims to become survivors. Victimization is not just a word - it is an entire way of thinking. Likewise, being a survivor is also a way of thinking. Both a victim of abuse and a survivor of abuse have gone through the same trauma, but how they choose to 'label' themselves post the event makes all the difference. A victim stays in a victim role and never moves forward to change any behaviors that might influence the feelings that they are suffering from. While one who has been victimized by crime cannot change what happened, they CAN change how they will react to it. Once a "victim" makes the decision to recover, they become a survivor who has the power to go on.  Abusers do not have to win!

Words and misues of words can perpetuate crime, abuse, and misjustoice.  Another example is in the case of Baby Grayson Vaughn. There is a small but vocal minority of supposed "father's rights" activists out there who haven been blasting my assertions that a mother has the right to choose adoption as a viable option for her unborn child. The words "father's rights" are being used to mislead in the media, the public, and particularly men.

Just because one advocates for a child does not mean that they are fighting against a biological father.  In this case, I am not advocating against the biological father but rather advocating on behalf of the child.  I have cut both biological and adoptive parents out of the equation, and am only looking at what is best for Grayson Vaughn NOW regardless of all the screw ups and problems with the court system.  And unfortunately, when it comes to adoption you can't cut a kid up (split the baby so to speak), as only one person is going to be deemed custodial parent.  To me whatever the case was in the past, it is NOW about saving a child from being ripped from his home and loosing the only parents he has ever known for the three short years of his life. You can read more about this case in my posted articles.

So for October it is truly so important that we come together to recognize that protecting ourselves and our kids starts with us. This month we mourn with those who have lost loved ones because of domestic violence, we celebrate those who have survived it, and we connect with those who work to end violence and injustices for children and parents everywhere!