Zippidy Doo Da

I'm not stupid, I'm from Texas!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Eye of the Needle

This story has been bothering me for a while:

HAWKINS — Judging from the matted grass alongside the tracks, they watched trains rumble by for a few hours that night before they tied on their blindfolds.

Seventeen-year-old Christopher Ladell Hill used a piece of sheet. Harry Tyrone Rutledge, two years younger, hooked his sweat shirt hood over his face and knotted the strings under his chin.

Then they lay down on the tracks.

A Union Pacific freight train, eastbound out of Fort Worth, was going 30 mph when it hit them. The engineer sounded his horn and leaned on the brakes. The boys curled up in the center of the railbed. They flinched or ducked to miss the onrushing wheels, or so it looked to a police officer on the scene.

"A moving train creates a suction, and it has pieces of metal hanging down," said Lt. A.J. Randell, chief investigator for the Police Department in Hawkins, a town of 1,300 residents about 90 miles east of Dallas. "Something snagged them and rolled them down the tracks."

Two green plastic circles nailed to the tar-stained ties mark where the two bodies settled some 300 feet from impact. They died instantly, Randell said, from massive blunt-force trauma to their heads.

From what he has seen so far, Randell says he thinks the teenagers, both deeply troubled youths who had recently run away from a group foster home near Tyler, committed suicide. Neither was restrained, and they were uninjured before the train hit them Sept. 21. The medical examiner in Dallas agrees with him, Randell said, although that finding will not be official until next month.

Randell's theory is met with disbelief from the boys' relatives, and by the director of Azleway Boys' Ranch, a privately owned facility that takes care of about 75 youths, most in the custody of Child Protective Services.

"You get a pretty good sense of kids," said Monte Osburn. "When you match this up with our experience, it seems unbelievable."

But for Randell, there are ample signposts pointing to suicide in the teens' psychological files, their harsh family histories and his detailed reconstruction of their final five days on the run.

"These boys were abandoned by their families. They were running from Azleway and from us," he said. "If you track their last days, they were living in the woods, eating nothing but a little candy and sodas. You can maybe see how they decided to end it all."

To me these poor children personify what this election is about. The photo graphic represents to me how clueless this state and nation continue to be about the plight of the weakest in society, and that we take for granted this stuff gets taken care of.

I am sick of excuses not to cover children's health needs with a crooked CHIPS program, and cuts in Medicaid; a system too complex and corrupt to be accessable to those who might qualify. Slashed reimbursement, and a rapid decline in providers. Very limited coverage and co-pays. A gutted CPS agency that can't keep up. Privitized and religion-based programs that can't replace a need for family intervention, drug abuse counseling and rehab, social workers, clinics and MHMR resources. An unresponsive, uncaring government that victimizes most in need.

This should not happen in a wealthy "christian" society. I refuse to accept the that the leading cause of death amongst teens is suicide.

Heaven help us.


At 12:40 AM , Blogger judge chief charly hoarse said...

Amen Daddy,
A fetus is sacred today, but once born, children are used, abused, ignored,& thrown away; they're raised to be consumers and cannon fodder, or else become material for our booming prison industry.


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