Person of Interest, Edwin Roy Hall

I am not sure what perturbs me more, that this crime happened right here in town or that the sick “person of interest” in the case has a MySpace account where his general interest include “eating small children and harming small animals.”

Kelsey Smith was abducted around 7:00 P.M. on Saturday from the local Target. I heard about it on the news Monday morning and felt really bad for the family. Surprisingly there was a lot of information about the “person of interest” since he was captured walking out of the same Target after Kelsey did.

I never met Kelsey, but one of my friends has a babysitter that knew her personally. This is not just close to where I live, she lived a mile from my place, and I have visited that same Target plenty of times.

Tuesday afternoon a couple of girls were going door to door handing out fliers with pictures of Kelsey and her car, which was later found parked in an adjacent parking lot to the scene of the kidnapping. The kidnapping was also caught on camera.

Wednesday morning her parents were on the Early Show talking about their daughter and pleading for someone to come forward with some information about her kidnapper. While I ate lunch I watched the news and caught a word that alarmed me while listening to the Police officer give the news conference. He said the “late” Kelsey Smith. At that moment I figured that they had already found the body and were just waiting to get the guy before they released that information.

Wednesday afternoon they announced that they had found a female body, later confirming that it was Kelsey’s. Later that night they announced that they had in custody the person of interest everyone was looking for.

I am not sure what troubles me more, that he was married and had a 4 year old son, or that it happened so close to where I live. We all like to feel safe and one of my considerations when moving to a new place is that it is a nice “safe” community. Crime can happen anywhere, but it is really sick when it happens to someone that was just going to buy a present for a classmate to celebrate their high school graduation.

There is still a lot of speculation going on as to a motive. Her father used to be in law enforcement and it could have been a retaliation type of motive. While this might provide a clue, it would still never justify anyone taking this girl’s life.

TH to Just Cara for posting such good information. The power of the internet, you can even take a look at the official complaint (Murder in the First Degree and Aggravated Kidnapping) against Hall.

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Uneducated Constituents

I like to listen to everyone`s point of view. I do not regurgitate other`s views and call them my own, I try to make up a decision on what I believe with the information available to me mixed with some of my personal experiences. Most of my readers would agree with me, but then I ask… why are there so many people in this country that just listen to one radio show, one source of news or information and make up their political or moral views?

I know better than to believe what talk radio talks about, but I was interested on listening to what some of the people around me were listening to every day. I gave a listen and I most admit I was a little disappointed. I listen to the Michael Savage show and while his tirade on immigration is not much different than what other people are saying, I was a little troubled by one of his statements.

He said that the people behind immigration reform only want to bring uneducated constituents that can be dominated.

While the statement ignores that hispanics are graduating at a higher rate than any other minority from college, and that not every single immigrant from Latin America is uneducated it clearly ignores what I think the bigger problem is. America`s education system is turning out more and more uneducated people.

People are supposed to go to college not to just get a skill but to learn how to think, how to make decisions, how to solve problems. I have not seen that skill being taught much since some of my great teachers in highschool. People are not being taught how to think!

One thing that also scares me is that more and more the people that are breaking ground on science and technology even here in this country are people from other countries. Not immigrants but people that come and study here and then go back to their country of origin. I don`t think this is bad for the world, however it is bad that there are not many Americans leading research and development anymore. On top of that some of our laws are stopping research from happening here making it impossible for progress. When the breakthrough is done by a lab overseas and not here I think we lose what America to me always represented. The land of innovation.

American Culture

The more I write about culture, the more I realize I know very little about the subject. Culture is one of the most interesting subjects to me because even if we don`t like to admit it, it shapes who we are and how we react to what our senses tell us. Tasking dishes from all over the world has taught me that food should be judged by taste and not how pretty it looks. Reading about culture and discussing it has also told me that Americans do not know what their culture is.

Reading the American Heritage post by Josh Rosenau and having a discussion about language with some friends I have come to think that most Americans have no clue about what American Culture is supposed to be. I cannot even count how many times I have heard the “you have to speak English” tirade, and even though I agree with it I also believe in keeping my own culture alive.

I have dated white American woman and they could not be any more different from one another when it came to the definition of culture, family and values. It wasn`t until I started dating someone from my own country as an adult that I realized how much of my culture I was compromising and hiding under the being “American” banner.

I have also realized that American is a salad bowl and not a melting pot. Even though the quilt that it is American culture is very colorful there seems to be a need to keep it not just white, but white Christian fundamentalist protestant. When you think that American culture is just meat and potatoes and leave out enchiladas or chilli for that matter you are missing the whole picture. Any time that people talk about immigration as a problem because we are going to lose American heritage and language we seem to forget not only where the word lunch came from, but that almost everyone here knows what a taco and a burrito is… funnier even than in Mexico most people are going to think of a little donkey rather than an overstuffed flour tortilla.

While in my political views I do think that illegal immigration is a problem, I do not believe in someone saying that Latin American`s are attacking American Culture and heritage. I believe that what makes this country awesome is the mixture that I experience in Chicago where I could find awesome Polish food as well as several Colombian restaurants. It was also good to know that there was a little Italy, Greece, Mexico and of course Chinatown. I believe they are all American and keeping those cultures alive is just as important as making sure our education system becomes stronger.

If it was up to Jefferson, this would still be a country of only farming and all of the industry would have stayed in Europe. Some people should really watch the movie The Village, even though I hated it, and see that what they are shooting for is a sad reality where you just stick to your own and believe blindly instead of living and learning.

I once again challenge people to define to me American Culture as a single set of all encompassing rules that I should adhere to… however, I am not going to give up my own heritage to go live in a farm and eat meat and potatoes every day.

The Video Library is Closing!

While I do enjoy the cheap prices at Walmart, I do believe in supporting local shops. Whenever I find a local computer store I try to get things from their store rather than online, or if there is a local coffee shop I would rather go there than Starbucks. I always prefer an LFS (Local Fish Store) to a petsmart or petco for my fish.

I was so excited after a friend told me about The Video Library which is a local video rental store here in Kansas City. I really wanted to not just go there but post about it online… but then I met the owner. I’ve had horrible customer service experiences but this one was one of the worse.

When I first moved to the US and was still learning English one of the people that helped me the most in understanding idioms and meaning was the owner of a local video store. I used to hang out at Steve’s shop all the time renting movies and video games but also chatting about pretty much anything. He was very patient with me even though I did not know much English then and really made me feel welcome there. I think that is the way to run a business.

I expected some of the same from the owner of the video library but I was met with rudeness, one of the worse I have ever experienced. I almost felt like if I should feel honored to be allowed to walk into his store or something. He was also very vocal about hating his job. I felt almost sorry but then I figured he did not deserve any free publicity. I learned a while ago about the power of a simple blog post.

Even though I did not want to post about it, I still felt like I had to give them business over my belief in trying to support the local guy over blockbuster. That and movie rentals have gotten more and more expensive. I even went as far as to cancel my online movie subscription. I started to rent movies from there about once a week even though I would have to pass the local blockbuster every time I went there.

I was very surprised when I pulled up there this weekend and saw huge red signs saying closing sale. I walked in to see if you could still rent a movie with no luck. Everything is for sale and the store is closing as soon as everything is liquidated.

I am not sure if the owner finally had enough of the crazy schedule or if the local people considered him a den of perdition because he also carried porn. I do know that he was probably losing clients because of his awesome personal skills and brilliant customer service. I am a little sad that everything is going to franchises now, and will have to go back to blockbuster to get my movie fix.

Friday Feast, June already?

Appetizer
Name something you think is “the best.”
I think Heroes is the best new show on television, even though the Riches is not far behind.

Soup

On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 highest), how stressed are you today?
0! Life is good!

Salad
What kind of cleanser do you use to wash your face?
…er… soap???

Main Course
Tonight is a blue moon! What is something that you believe only happens “once in a blue moon.”
I clean my office! Woohooo! Peanut butter Jelly Time.

Dessert
When was the last time it rained where you live?
It did not rain yesterday until later at night but it has been raining all week!

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