Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Sky Isn't Blue This Morning...

I guess the winds have changed again. The sky has that brownish-gray cast to it again and the air has sort of a smoky taste to it this morning. According to the Cal Fire website, the number of active fires has gone down to 331 uncontained fires, which is marvelous considering just last week we had almost 1,400 fires burning. I found the map below on the KCRA3 website this morning. (KCRA3 is a Sacramento TV channel that has done a good job of keeping folks up to date on what is happening on the fires.)

The map is color-coded by acres burned:
  • Light blue: Less than 1,000 acres
  • Blue: 1,000 to 5,000 acres
  • Green: 5,000 to 10,000 acres
  • Yellow: 10,000 to 20,000 acres
  • Red: 20,000 acres or more

View Larger Map

Crimes against Kids... Why?
In the news lately there have been a number of stories of crimes against kids. The stories are heartbreaking, to say the least, and some of them are absolutely baffling because there is no rhyme or reason to them. One of them was reported back on June 15th in the Modesto Bee, a story about a horrifying event that happened on a dark country road in Stanislaus County. A Modesto police officer shot and killed a Turlock man as he beat, punched and stomped a small child to death in the middle of a dark country road that Saturday night. The man was dead at the scene, and the child was declared dead after they rushed him to the hospital. WHY?

According to a follow-up article in the Modesto Bee says that the autopsy on the poor child revealed the initial cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head and face resulting in multiple skull fractures. The autopsy also revealed that the child was the son of the man who beat him to death, Sergio Aguiar. The child's name was Axel and his mother, Frances Lilian Casian, is a teacher at El Capitan Elementary in nearby Delhi. The most recent news in the Modesto Bee about the case say that the toxicology tests on the man have come in and he was not on drugs or drunk. The article also says that man had no criminal history or signs of mental illness, though witnesses on the night of the attack said Aguiar spoke of "demons" within his son. Demons? How can anyone explain what this man did to his child? The articles have guesses from a psychologist as to why Aguiar did what he did to his son, but that is all they are. Guesses. The mother of the poor child has to deal with the inexplicable death of her son and the heinous actions of the husband she recently separated from. The "why's" of the crime will most likely never be known, unfortunately.

Another crime against a child is in the Sacramento Bee this morning. Thankfully, the child is still alive as well as the person who harmed her, Christopher Shirley. Here's a snippet of the news article:

Shasta County sheriff's deputies arrested an Oregon fugitive at a Montgomery Creek campsite Saturday morning – a day and a half after authorities say he shot his girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter, then kept the girl, her mother and four other children from leaving the couple's camp trailer.

Deputies say the shooting was likely an accident, and that the girl – who was airlifted Saturday to Mercy Medical Center in Redding – is in stable condition.

Shasta County Sheriff's Office Capt. Dave Compomizzo said deputies found five firearms and an undetonated pipe bomb in the trailer where Christopher Shirley, 28, was allegedly holding his girlfriend and the children against their will.

Deputies believe Shirley and his girlfriend argued Thursday and that Shirley fired off several rounds.

They said one of the rounds hit the 3-year-old girl in the abdomen, but it is not clear whether it was a direct shot or a ricochet.

"We don't think he intentionally tried to shoot her, but he did," Compomizzo said.

Ok, this guy had a pipe bomb, a number of weapons and now he's locked up. Thank goodness. The guy had warrants out of Oregon, including one for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution. Authorities believe he left Oregon and arrived in the area eight months ago. I have to wonder what kind of prosecution he was fleeing from.

There are just too many crimes against children. The children that depend on us for their lives. Too many of them are dying. Like the poor 12 year old girl in Vermont, Brooke Bennett. And it's her uncle who is accused of murdering her after luring her into a sex ring and then killing her! Why on earth did Brooke's mother allow her daughter to be alone with a man that she knew was a sex offender? And the "uncle's" wife, Brooke's mother's sister... Why did she allow her own daughter to be alone with that man? The investigators are saying that Brooke wasn't this man's only victim. Where was the protections that those children needed? WHY was this man able to prey on those children?

Something in our system is broken. Very broken. It needs to be fixed somehow and soon. I wish I had an answer... Hell, I wish anyone had an answer to how it can be fixed so the children can survive.

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