it sucked me in, yet again.

a few years ago for halloween i wanted to be something really hysterical. (before you read further you have to remember that i worked at a tv station in washington dc so pretty much, as news junkies, we cracked ourselves up over very non-hysterical material). at the halloween party i attended anthrax could be found and my roommate was even the newly uncovered cia agent valerie plame. so for the most part it was a pretty “dc-news friendly” get together.

my first choice of attire was to be mary kay letourneau. to pull this off i planned to wander around with a dazed look, and talking in a very high pitched voice, i’d force any and all to look at my boyfriend. i was searching magazines and newspapers to find just the right picture of an ethnic looking teenager. after running this idea by a few friends, i realized that only my news friends thought this was an incredible choice and i opted, instead, for something less newsworthy.

a few weeks ago a little girl went missing in tacoma. it was one of the kidnapping stories that immediately hits the airwaves giving everyone a wrenching stomach ache. the father had heard her cries and had seen a white van drive away. as the days stretched into weeks, hope was diminishing to find the young girl alive. i was reminded of all the similar stories that surface while working in a newsroom. i tried not to let the news affect me, but it did.

with two younger sisters i let my imagination and worry run rampant. i would call home and grill my littlest sister about what to do if someone approached her at the bus stop and if she knew what to do if someone was following her. i asked my parents to research where the sexual predators were in the neighborhood… then, enter “to catch a predator.” for some reason this dateline special is captivating on so many levels. it is like watching a car wreck… you try to change the channel but you are mesmerized. you are taken in by how bizarre the situation is. how brazen they are while chatting on line with supposed 13 year old girls or boys, how completely normal and everyday-ish some of them look- stopping by on lunch breaks, the lies and excuses that spill out of their mouths onto the tainted floor when caught, how desperate many are, with real families and jobs out there somewhere, to shield their faces from the blaring cameras.

another installation aired just a few weeks ago from new jersey. christian recorded it. we watched. i could only take so much. i was sick to my stomach, thoroughly confused by these broken men. searching for what they obviously knew was wrong to begin with. they disgusted me as much as i felt deep pity and sorrow for their choices… then there were the unbelievable few who return for a second time. baited by the same trap. enticed by what, i will never understand, driving for hours for ultimate destruction…

i shut the tv off to the sickness, and yet, the sickness continues. myspace and facebook have faced allegations of allowing space on their sites to thousands of registered sexual offenders. that little tacoma girl, was found, dead. her offender an illegal immigrant who had gone after children before. and my one time, almost halloween inspiration, mary kay… well she lives just south of seattle in my co-worker’s neighborhood. apparently she and vili are known to have wild keggers.

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