Columbia, MO – “What is going on in your state?” The email was from a LinkedIn contact and reader from South Africa. “Murder, incest, nude photos, discrimination. Is it true about inbreeding?”
It is amazing that Missouri has hit the international news through the Internet and cable television five times in one week from the Associated Press, AOL News, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and other various sources. All online. Missouri is now infamous.
My dad called from Florida asking about Alyssa Bustamante by name. This murder occurred in Cole County Missouri, just outside of the capital, the City of Jefferson. Was she really only 15-years old? Did she really plan to kill the 9-year old girl and neighbor? Is she (Alyssa) really deranged? Is her father really in jail? He saw the story on CNN.
The nudity story is about a South Carolina woman, referred to as “Jane Doe” in court papers. The original St. Louis Post-Dispatch report indicated that the Creve Coeur, Mo. Riverfront Times ran a story in 2006 concerning cosmetic surgery, which discussed, in part, plastic surgery of the female genitalia. With pictures. Jane Doe’s picture. Without her permission. She did not sue the paper, but her doctors for releasing the picture. The photos are no longer available online.
The incest case involves six members of the Mohler family, including the 77-year old father, “charged with several felonies, including forcible sodomy, rape with a child younger than 12 and use of a child in a sexual performance. The allegations, which include bestiality, forcing children into fake marriages with relatives and making an 11-year-old have an abortion, date from 1988 to 1995.” All in Lafayette, Missouri.
Finally, the United States Supreme Court refused to hear a discrimination case concerning the Dillard’s department store in Columbia, Missouri. The thirteen believed that they were followed by security, denied services or otherwise ignored during their shopping experience.
A second story on racism, reported by CNN and the Missourian, concerns Heather Ellis’ actions at a Kennett Missouri Walmart. Video shows her disturbing the peace and fighting with police officers. She pleaded guilty, but others saw the incident as racially motivated, which Ellis denies.
It is not that Missouri, or any other state, or rural area is somehow immune from murder, incest, greed and maltreatment of minorities than other state, like New York, California and Florida. St. Louis and Kansas City have some of the highest murder rates in the country. They had become national and international stories because the media needs something to fill the growing 24/7/365 market they created through cable television and now, the Internet.
We have a growing fascination about heinous crimes of murder, incest and discrimination. The “CSI” and “Law and Order” series would never have been so popular along with their reality counter parts “Cops,” “Cheaters” and “America’s Most Wanted.” If there is not enough crime already, we can watch a minor hold-up in Abilene Kansas live on CNN, MSNBC, or any of the other 24/7/365 news stations on cable or online.
Years ago, an ethics professor warned me, “Never do anything that would get your name printed on the front page of the New York Times – above the fold.” Today, we live in a world where you do not want your name showing up on the home page of AOL, Yahoo, Google or any other ISP site. We live in glass houses and everyone else are throwing stones in our direction.
Question: can anyone actually live this angelic, perfect life? For one, I hope not. Like would be very dull. I just hope my own escapades do not appear on YouTube in the near future. Like sword fighting with straws at Denny’s.