Society's ChildS


Vanished without a trace - have you seen these missing people?

© The AustralianThese seven faces are among the 35,000 Australians listed missing each year.
  • Every 15 minutes, one Australian disappears
  • 35,000 Australians are reported missing each year
  • It's National Missing Persons Week
  • Australia's greatest missing person mysteries
It's your mother, your child, your partner, your friend. One day they are there and the next they have gone. It's as if they have disappeared from the face of the Earth.

For the first few weeks you jump at every phone call. In the pit of your stomach there is a nameless dread that the phone call will bring the news you've been fearing. Then nothing, endless days of nothing. Families and friends tell the same stories about their loved one who suddenly goes missing.

Years pass and they never give up hope, even if it is only the hope that the remains of their daughter, parent, wife or husband will be found, so they can mourn and accept their loss.

Every year, about 35,000 Australians are reported missing. Most are located, but then there are those who never return home, leaving the lives of those close to them in limbo.

Read some of their stories here.


Arrow Down

Boy, 12, robs lemonade stand with BB gun

Lemonade Stand
© Ryan Smith/Somos Images/CorbisHeartless: A 12-year-old boy is under arrest after police say he held up a lemonade stand set up by a 10-year-old and threatened him with a BB gun over $30.
Johnstown, Pennsylvania - Authorities say a 12-year-old boy used a BB gun to rob a 10-year-old who was running a lemonade stand in western Pennsylvania.

Johnstown Sgt. Patrick Goggin says the 12-year-old approached the stand Monday with what appeared to be a handgun in his pocket and threatened the younger boy. Goggin says the boys "got into a wrestling match over the money box" before the older boy took $30 and ran away.

Three other children chased the boy home and helped police track him down. That's when police determined the boy had a BB gun.

Police aren't identifying the suspect because he'll be charged in juvenile court where most cases remain confidential.

Johnstown is about 60 miles east of Pittsburgh.

Source: Associated Press

Arrow Down

Pressure cookers, backpacks and quinoa, Oh My!

Pressure Cooker
© DHSDepartment of Homeland Security 2010 warning on Pressure Cookers.
It was a confluence of magnificent proportions that led six agents from the joint terrorism task force to knock on my door Wednesday morning. Little did we know our seemingly innocent, if curious to a fault, Googling of certain things was creating a perfect storm of terrorism profiling. Because somewhere out there, someone was watching. Someone whose job it is to piece together the things people do on the internet raised the red flag when they saw our search history.

Most of it was innocent enough. I had researched pressure cookers. My husband was looking for a backpack. And maybe in another time those two things together would have seemed innocuous, but we are in "these times" now. And in these times, when things like the Boston bombing happen, you spend a lot of time on the internet reading about it and, if you are my exceedingly curious news junkie of a twenty-ear-old son, you click a lot of links when you read the myriad of stories. You might just read a CNN piece about how bomb making instructions are readily available on the internet and you will in all probability, if you are that kid, click the link provided.

Which might not raise any red flags. Because who wasn't reading those stories? Who wasn't clicking those links? But my son's reading habits combined with my search for a pressure cooker and my husband's search for a backpack set off an alarm of sorts at the joint terrorism task force headquarters.

That's how I imagine it played out, anyhow. Lots of bells and whistles and a crowd of task force workers huddled around a computer screen looking at our Google history.

This was weeks ago. I don't know what took them so long to get here. Maybe they were waiting for some other devious Google search to show up but "what the hell do I do with quinoa" and "Is A-Rod suspended yet" didn't fit into the equation so they just moved in based on those older searches.

Arrow Down

Armed agents raid animal shelter for baby deer

WISN 12 News investigates an operation raising questions about the use of government resources and the state policy that meant a death sentence for a fawn.

"It was like a SWAT team," shelter employee Ray Schulze said.

Two weeks ago, Schulze was working in the barn at the Society of St. Francis on the Kenosha-Illinois border when a swarm of squad cars arrived and officers unloaded with a search warrant.

"(There were) nine DNR agents and four deputy sheriffs, and they were all armed to the teeth," Schulze said.


New York woman visited by police after researching pressure cookers online

Pressure Cooker
© The Guardian, UK"What the hell is quinoa?" police asked when Catalano's husband told them what pressure cookers were used for in their household
A New York woman says her family's interest in the purchase of pressure cookers and backpacks led to a home visit by six police investigators demanding information about her job, her husband's ancestry and the preparation of quinoa.

Michele Catalano, who lives in Long Island, New York, said her web searches for pressure cookers, her husband's hunt for backpacks, and her "news junkie" son's craving for information on the Boston bombings had combined somewhere in the internet ether to create a "perfect storm of terrorism profiling".

Members of what she described as a "joint terrorism task force" descended on Catalano's home on Wednesday.

Catalano was at work, but her husband was sitting in the living room as the police arrived. She retold the experience in a post on on Thursday.

She attributed the raid largely to her ongoing hunt for a pressure cooker, an item used devastatingly by the two Tsarnaev brothers in Boston, but also used by millions across the country to prepare vegetables while retaining most of their nutrients.


Star Secret: What does giant pentagram mean?

© Google MapsThis strange pentagram, etched into the Earth's surface in a remote corner of Kazakhstan, can be seen on Google Maps.
Conspiracy theorists, start your engines: On the wind-blown steppes of central Asia, in an isolated corner of Kazakhstan, there's a large pentagram etched into the Earth's surface.

The five-pointed star surrounded by a circle shows up vividly on Google Maps. There are almost no other signs of human habitation in the area; the closest settlement is the city of Lisakovsk, about 12 miles (20 kilometers) to the east.

What is this bizarre symbol, measuring roughly 1,200 feet (366 meters) in diameter, doing on the side of a desolate lake in northern Kazakhstan? Naturally, many online comments have already linked the site with devil worship, nefarious religious sects or denizens of the underworld.


Best of the Web: Alcoholic mother, abusive father, bullied at school, kicked out of home for being gay, sent to illegal war, tortured by U.S. government, indefinitely detained in solitary... The conscience of Bradley Manning

He was a 'mess of a child' who was tormented for being gay, kicked out of home at 18 by his father and once threatened to stab his step mother with a knife.

His own mother drank too much, he could not hold down a job and once literally crawled up a wall because he felt his family were ignoring him.

Perhaps it was no surprise then, that Bradley Manning was angry at the world - angry enough to hit back at any figure of authority that was within his grasp.

He has now been convicted of leaking classified information but given the troubled life he led Manning was always a time bomb waiting to go off.

His family left him scarred, his school days left him feeling like a loner - meaning that when he enlisted he was deeply disillusioned with life already.

Comment: 'Cold-blooded' revenge is not something typically associated with 'a lifetime of rejection'. Reading between the propaganda lines here, it seems fairly clear that Bradley was a really sweet guy, despite growing up in an abusive narcissistic family dynamic and in two heavily ponerized countries.

If Bradley Manning is symbolic of the small frail conscience remaining in America, what has torturing and indefinitely detaining him done to the country's soul?

Bradley Manning - Theft or War Crimes?

Brick Wall

Femcare license suspended

An Asheville clinic that performs abortions had its license suspended Tuesday by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

DHHS says inspectors found nearly two-dozen health and safety violations at FEMCARE during a routine survey conducted July 18th and 19th

People 2

12.5-million Americans think lizard people rule the world, plus 19 other conspiracy theories

© Beawiharta/ReutersA Komodo dragon ponders your fate at the Komodo National Park in Indonesia on October 4, 2011.
"Do you believe that shape-shifting reptilian people control our world by taking on human form and gaining political power to manipulate our societies, or not?"


This was one of the 20 questions in a survey conducted by the American firm Public Policy Polling (PPP) and released yesterday (as in, not an April Fools' Day joke).

The remaining 19 covered a wide swath of conspiracy theories, from JFK's assassination (did Lee Harvey Oswald act alone?) to a potential link between childhood vaccinations and autism. You can find the full list here.

Comment: Interesting what efforts they employed to associate people who believe in shape-shifting aliens with those who are convinced that there was a conspiracy behind the murder of JFK and 9-11.

Arrow Up

Student receives more than $4 mln after being 'forgotten' in jail for five days

 Daniel Chong
© Youtube

A University of California student spent five days forgotten in a windowless jail cell without food and water, and was forced to drink his own urine to survive. Now, the US government is voluntarily paying the young man $4.1 million to avoid a lawsuit.

Daniel Chong, a 25-year-old economics student at UC San Diego, was one of nine people taken into custody during a drug raid in April 2012. Chong was at a friend's house when officers discovered 18,000 ecstasy pills at the home. He was locked in a Drug Enforcement Administration jail cell, but after questioning the young man, a police officer authorized to perform DEA work told the student that he would not be charged.

"Hang tight, we'll come get you in a minute," the officer told Chong, according to Attorney Eugene Iredale.

But the officer never returned, and Chong spent five dismal days in the 5 by 10 ft. windowless cell. The student, who was still handcuffed, had no food, water, or access to a toilet, and barely survived his living nightmare.

"It sounded like it was an accident - a really, really bad, horrible accident," he said at a news conference this week, in which he described how close he came to death.

After three days in the cell, the famished young man said he began to hallucinate. He imagined that DEA agents were trying to poison him with gases that entered his cell through the vents. Deprived of food and water, he started to accept the idea that he would not survive. He bit into his glasses to break them, and used a shard of glass to carve a farewell message to his mom on his arm.

"Sorry Mom," he tried to carve into his bleeding skin, but he only managed to write the "S".

In a last-ditch attempt to stay alive, he urinated on the metal bench in his cell and then drank his own urine.

To try to capture the attention of the guards, he then stacked a blanket and his clothing on the bench to try to reach an overhead fire sprinkler. Chong desperately tried to set it off by hitting it with his handcuffed hands. He failed.

On the fifth day, Chong screamed at the top of his voice, trying to get the attention of the agents outside.

"I didn't just sit there quietly. I was kicking the door yelling," he said.

He slid a shoelace under the door, hoping to garner the attention of the guards. He succeeded, and "five or six people" came to the cell and found him starved and lying in his own feces. Chong had lost 15 pounds, and was immediately hospitalized for five days.