We’ve had a missing-child — children — case going here for about a week now, although everyone is now pretty much resigned to the fact it will not end well. As far as I can tell, as much as I can stand to read about it, the case involves an estranged couple and three little boys, 5, 7 and 9. Last weekend there was an Amber Alert issued with extreme prejudice, with a warning that the kids were in “extreme danger” in the company of a woman who had taken them at their father’s request. The father intended to commit suicide, and didn’t want them to see it. So he said.
A couple days later, the alert was canceled, and the police said there was never any woman. They also said they didn’t expect the search to end well. The father, who had been on a 72-hour psychiatric hold, was released and immediately arrested. Having beaten bushes all around the rural landscape near where the family lived, now searchers are combing the St. Joseph River. And every day, the faces of the three kids appear on the front page of the newspaper. Presumably dad killed them, but he appears to have been flattened by depression, and isn’t saying anything.
I wish I had a wider point to make here, but I don’t except to note, once again, that there’s no squalor like rural squalor, and there’s no soul more lost than the uninvolved parent in a case like this. I recall a similar one in Fort Wayne, a father killing his children and then himself, leaving his ex-wife to find the carnage — and that is the only word for it — when she arrived to pick them up after custody weekend. She issued a statement about the third day afterward, telling everyone they were wrong about her ex, that he was a “wonderful father.” Of course people responded the only way they knew how — by showering her with money. She paid for the funerals, and spent the change on a tattoo. It was on her back, and depicted her two little boys as angels. I know this because my neighbor was the tattoo artist; he worked from their school pictures.
I had far more interesting neighbors in Indiana — I’ll say that. Now I live surrounded by management consultants. And I wonder why our block parties are so boring.
I’ll say this, too: We certainly are well-acquainted with violence in this country. Two details from the story of the Ronni Chasen murder case in Hollywood, which took a turn yesterday when a “person of interest” wanted for questioning committed suicide. First detail:
(A neighbor) said she heard a pop about 6 p.m. that she mistook for a car backfiring.
When she went downstairs at 8 p.m., she said she got a brief glimpse of the lobby before the police hurried her out the door. “There was blood all over the floor, and it looked like brain matter,” she said.
When was the last time you heard a car backfire? I think I’ve heard that sound once in my life, and it was more than 30 years ago. In a city where real gunfire rings out daily, where every other movie and TV show features hails of bullets, someone actually hears some, and thinks: Car backfire. The car backfire is to shootings what freight trains are to tornados, and in this case something for witnesses to tell the police and excuse why they didn’t call 911. And yet, the same woman, in the very next paragraph, speaks authoritatively on what was in the gore spilled on the floor of the lobby of her apartment building.
Let me tell you something: I have heard gunfire many times in my life. (It didn’t sound anything like how I remember a car backfire sounding.) But everything I know about brain matter I learned from watching Quentin Tarantino movies.
Want some fun? Google the phrase “sounded like a car backfire.” Seven hundred thirty results. Seven hundred thirty-one, now.
Well, we are certainly circling the drain this morning, ain’a? Let’s do some bloggage:
And the lawyers took their third: Google pays couple $1 for putting their house on Street View. Looking at the picture, I’d say that’s the most glory that humble little abode every got, or will get.
eHow answers your question: How to stop a car from backfiring. First lulu: It’s a “common problem.” Second: Check your carburetor, then your distributor cap. I haven’t seen either one of those since I peeked under the hood of a 1975 Camaro.
I want to see “Black Swan,” but it looks like it has too many dirty parts for my teenager to accompany me. Someone who gets to these things on opening weekend, please report.
Now must run. Have a great weekend. I intend to try.