Sunday, May 30, 2010

RE: "Risk communication and disasters: just tell the truth" by DemFromCt

I have no clue who's home this Memorial Weekend and how many care about this subject.
I know I do with all my heart and soul.
So since I now have a medium, here is my message:

I am very concerned about the gushers on the Gulf Coast and whether they can ever really be contained.
I am also very convinced what we're seeing on the Gulf Coast is just the proverbial tip of just one oil slick iceberg.
We are merely seeing and skimming the surface.
The article I link you to at the end of this blog from the "The Daily Kos" is like a glass bottomed sub that takes you there.
There's a whole ocean, miles deep, of woe that  "DemFromCT"  does a magnificent job of investigating and writing about.
This profound blog post objectively and rationally plumbs the depths of an on-going oil leak the likes of which this country, or planet, has never seen.

This morning, over coffee, we were talking about all the environmental/world disasters happening lately.
I took out my investigator notebook and started to list them:

1. Softball sized hail stones in Oklahoma on two separate occasions in spring.
2. A volcano erupts and Iceland begins to melt
3. A second volcano named Katla on the Icelandic continent, is much bigger and more dangerous than Eyjafjoell, which was the first one to blow. Historically, Katla has always blown after the first one did. Typically, it erupted every 100 years and it has been 150 year since its last blow. That's why scientists may think a second eruption, from much more fierce Katla is imminent. Here's a link to that volcano Go here: 2nd Iceland Volcano Eruption?
4. Up to 300,000 people were killed in the Haitian Quake. Let's add the Philippine and China Quakes to the mix.
5. The Tsunami in Thailand, well.... just got to this link and all the stats are there. Click on impact and note statistics. Go here: Tsunmai Stats
 6. The financial collapse of Spain, Greek and Portugal. Not to mention the rest of the European world sinking fast.
7.Hurricane Katrina among so many others. New Hurricanes arriving this season to this east coast will have increase in intensity, severity and damage due to the effects oil has on hurricanes.
8.The US Economic Collapse: from the stock market; real estate; and Enron to Bernie Madeoff, bank, insurance companies and our governments haste to waste. The list goes on
9. More foreclosures than ever before in American history, states going bankrupt.
10. Highest unemployment rates since the  Depression

By the time we hit the unemployment and Depression stats, we were too depressed to continue the list all the signs of end times and decided to stop there.

Besides, I have cases to write up,  we all have a day to begin.
There is gas in my car, food in my tummy, coffee brewing,work to be done.
For that, I am eternally grateful. 
Yet, I just can't leave this Gulf Spill/Gusher situation alone.
It could very well be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

That's why I close for now linking you to an article from one of my favorite blogs, the "Daily Kos."
The post is written by "DemFromCT". I think it's the most complete, concise, precise, well-written and, easy-to follow explanation of the enormous challenges and impact we face there.

Dem takes us way below the surface of this issue to the dark depths of  the ocean floor.
Please click and read the link below.
And please, be safe and smart out there today.
Go here: "Risk communications and Disasters from "The Daily Kos"

Saturday, May 29, 2010

"Spy Mom"

This story isn't about me.
It's about another mom who who became a PI.... one of more and more moms joining the ranks every year of licensed P.I.'s everywhere. The article from PI Newswire will follow this brief intro.

When I first started my career as a P.I. many moons ago, I was one of few women in the field then.
The women tended to be more new school, thinking of themselves as "Legal Investigators".
The men were old school, ex cops, feds, tough guys, a few rare women, thinking of themselves as "Private Detectives".

Two separate investigation organizations now exist in WA state: WALI (Washington Association of Legal Investigators) and PNAI (Pacific Northwest Association of Investigators).

I feel particularly compelled to state here, that due the recent passing of our beloved Investigator Gene Robertson, former federal agent, surveillance expert, mentor and friend to many, myself included....
I think the time has arrived for the two investigative organizations in Washington, to unite and become one.
Gene spoke at both organizations and guest-lectured my class on surveillance at University of Washington up until he passed, tragically and unexpectedly, this year.

Gene told me and anyone who would listen how it is time to merge the two investigative organizations in our state into one.
I couldn't agree with him more and believe that's the best legacy we could leave him.
One united investigative front of licensed P.I.'s in Washington state.
Whether it will happen, remains to be seen.,

Meantime, more and more people are becoming P.I.'s.
It takes time, it takes great training, it takes a license and it takes not quitting your day job in order to move to this new career.
Not everyone succeeds.
Because being able to snoop is such a small part of a much bigger equation.
You have to know what is legal, what is not...
what laws your state has regarding investigations and what you are legally allowed to do as a P.I.
You need to understand licensing and insurance requirements.
You need to learn how to access data and how not to access other data the Feds do not permit you to have.
You need to develop customer service skills...
be willing to work with attorneys, victims, witnesses, defendants,  the potentially insane and talk yourself of some surly situations.
Most of all, you need to think fast and move faster, all within the confines of state and federal privacy and disclosure laws which are ever-changing.

All that said, I pulled this article off PI Newswire, one of my favorite blogs/Facebook pages.

This is one of the most popular of the PI Newswire posts and I hope it inspires someone to think outside the box and possibly pursue their passion. 
Follow this link!
Spy Mom: From Soccer Mom to Private Investigator

Friday, May 28, 2010

FBI, LAPD Investigate Video Sent to Oprah

While running my cyber rounds before heading out on my real world rounds, I discovered this AOL article about an idiot, and/or psycho who wanted his 10 minutes of fame.
Looks like he got that. And a little more than he bargained for.
The good news is.... if he truly has an intent to kill, he gave us a heads-up.

FBI, Los Angeles Police Investigate Video Sent to Oprah Winfrey

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Divorce Italian Style

The article I am going to connect you to at the end of this post goes into the "Are you kidding me?" file.
Only I kid you not.
Divorces, which have never been considered fair,  have now become a fair.
The  first  "Divorce Fair" was just held in Italy... a country where, many moons ago, I spent a lot of time working.

I loved Italy.
I loved sitting outside in ancient, tiny, walled village cafes at night, sipping wine, watching the townspeople strut in their finest clothes  down the circular road through town, mingling, chattering.
I loved the monasteries, the art, the antiquities.

One monk showed me what was allegedly the last stone bed St Francis of Assisi ever slept on in a remote, hilltop monastery. As I ran my hand across the cold hard stone, I asked if I could lay on it. He smiled, and whispered yes, though women aren't supposed to.

As a laid there, the only sound was a trickle of water that rain down a cold stone walls. "Those are his tears," The Monk said.

I loved the history of Italy so much, I didn't even mind the rats that ran along the waterfront in Florence.
It was all so Machiavellian.
And no wonder... Florence was where Machiavelli was buried.
To Machiavelli's Grave

I have so many fond memories of Italy.
I have gathered glass candies from artisans on bridges in Venice, the same city of water where I purchased several  traditional masks.
I spent time with the the warmest of people, dined with strangers who instantly became friends, drank red wine with monks and grappa with a hermit.
I saw the original Last Supper and the real Michelangelo's real  David.
Michaelangelo's David
I saw history like we don't have here in the states, we're  a country so young and aggressive.... among so many so old and tenacious.

Of course, Italy is also known for its innovation. In industry and fashion.
Think Italy... think style, design.
Think Sophia Loren.
Sophia Loren Archives
Or, Amanda Knox if you're from Seattle.
Amanda Knox Conviction
But who woulda' thunk the Italians would come up with the world's first Divorce Fair?

Word in the media wind is true Italian young men in their 20'3 and 30's, specifically the traditional ones with some serious mother son-bonding/border issues, never really leave home.
Even when they marry.
Some still have mom make lunch, do their laundry and eat all meals with them.
Perhaps this strong attachment to mom contributes to what I had no clue was such a high Italian divorce rate. I'd say, "only in America"....except its not an American thing.
Go here: From NY Times: Italy's First Divorce Fair

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Message From Baxter County Sheriff, John Montgomery

This article comes from the Baxter County Sheriff''s Office. It was written by Sheriff Jim Montgomery. An officer, a hero, a friend to us all.  I tried to cut and paste the original, but blogger won't have it. It chops off sentences and headers. So with Jim's permissions, here's his article.
RE: The Thin Blue Line -  Post written by by Sheriff John Montgomery

     The thin blue line was bent but not broken. What do I mean? What is the thin blue line?

     The thin blue line is a symbol that represents our law enforcement who stand between good and evil. No doubt you have seen signs, stickers or license plates that have the blue line in the middle with either white or black above and below. The blue represents law enforcement, and it is thin because there are so few law enforcement personnel who are out there to protect you and I against those that desire to do us wrong or harm us. The code of law enforcement is to protect and to serve, even if it means laying down your life to protect those you are sworn to protect.

     This week the thin blue line was bent when two West Memphis Police Officers, Sgt. Brandon Paudert and Officer Bill Evans, were shot and killed. Crittenden County Sheriff, Dick Busby and his Chief Deputy W. A. Wren were shot and critically injured. The two suspects, who were father and son, opened fire with AK47s after a routine traffic stop near I-40 in West Memphis, Arkansas.

     Law Enforcement is like a brotherhood. The men and women who put on the badge every day do so not because of the money, the pride or prestige. The pay is usually poor, and the hours are long and unpredictable. They put on the badge to protect you and me. They put on the badge to make a difference. They have courage. It is not that are unafraid, because courage is not the absence of fear, rather the conquest of fear. Reacting and doing whatever it takes in the face of danger. Officers run toward danger, to put themselves in harm's way so you can run away from it.

     Once of most horrifying sounds is when that voice comes across the radio saying ‘Officer Down' it sends a cold chill down the spine of every person who wears a badge, and down the spine of all their families and loved ones. When an officer dies in the line of duty, it brings a stark realization that it could be their family member next.

     I often ask that you say a prayer for the men and women who wear the badge, but today I am asking you stop for a moment, right where you are when you read this, and say a prayer for the families of these brave men and women. These families didn't get to choose their loved one's professions. They don't get to pick their hours, nor do they get to say no when their loved ones are called out in the middle of the night to an unknown. They worry every time their loved one leaves wondering if they will come home at the end of their shift. Their heart skips a beat when they hear the siren, or panic when the doorbell rings. No doubt the families of these two brave officers watched their loved ones go to work just like every other day. But that day was different. Sgt. Paudert leaves behind a wife and three children, two sons and a daughter. Officer Evans leaves behind a fiancĂ©e and two boys.

     The thin blue line gets bent every time an officer dies. We are one. We are strong. We may bend but we will not break. That thin blue line is scarred from the many who have died keeping the evil at bay. The thin blue line may stretch, but it will never be broken. It will never be broken because of those men and women who have the courage to stand up in the face of danger and put their lives on the line every day, for you, and for me.

Sheriff John Montgomery

I saw a cop today
he had a tear in his eye
a painful expression
for what I don't know why
He seem distant, rude and bottled up inside
You see I didn't know that his brother had died
a wife two kids and a family besides
a family whose husband and father left behind
A man who did not tremble
who did not run or did not hide
A true hero to us all
most not knowing at all the why
but to that officer
with the tear in his eye
an officer, a brother, a friend had died

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Breaking Point

She was a completely broken woman at 35 years old.
She sat curled up on the sofa in the trailer with a blanket around her, vacillating between sniffles and sobs.
She was the girlfriend of the man I was coming to see.

The quarters were way too close for me.
It felt like the room was filled with people when in fact, there was just me and three others in the living room. The rain was pounding against the metal roof of the trailer. I noticed a trail of black mold climbing up the wall to the ceiling.  I could also hear muffled sounds behind closed doors in the back of the trailer.

She was nothing new.
She was the inevitable, anonymous audience in the living room when the Privater Investigator stops by a small community to meet or interview someone.
She was one of the multiple sets of ears who listen in.
They say they are looking out for their injured friend's best interests
I often think they are also looking for a diversion from their daily lives.

I have no problem with family and close friends as observers. I am not the police and when I investigate accidents... which are considered unintentional and not criminal acts... I have no agenda except to separate fact from fiction, to gather and uncover the truth... and what are often multiple versions of it.
So I usually don't need to separate people unless they are witnesses to the same event. 

Many of my clients are victims. Some can't speak, write or walk by themselves. Some have taken hits to the head and  have had brain injuries. For sure, someone with a brain injury may not fully understand the process of a legal action.

That's why I have always felt injured people are best served by an advocate in the room when an investigator is gathering info about their case. Little details buried deep in the brain resurface with reminders from loved ones.

But in this one case I write of now, I found myself irked and that's unusual.
I wasn't irked at the drunk Defendant  that crushed the bones in my client's body.
I was irked by the victim's girlfriend who wasn't with him at the time of the accident, but wouldn't let the victim tell his story.
She wanted me to know how much the accident affected her because she sobbed over and over, "he is my everything". As she interrupted him, he yelled at her. The volume of their fighting escalated.

Thankfully, there was a third party in the room. A man who was a deeply religious, intelligent and humanitarian type, who  appeared fully stable and calm. He and his wife befriended the couple. They knew both were on disability for physical and emotional issues. This third party had some legal experience so he told his friends he would sit in on our meeting.

So there we were.
The victim, broken bones here and there...
his whiny, weepy girlfriend...
and the friend to  help the two sort out what happened to the victim and what to do next with the unknown -- the legal process.

I asked my questions.
Sometimes, I got straight answers from the victim..
Other times I got her...  her tears, her anger, her wails, her dismay at how he can't work now and what is she going to do.... and this.... and that.
What might normally take me about an hour to an hour and half, took three because of her interruptions and their fights.

It became apparent to me unless this woman, the victim's girlfriend, chilled, she would give her boyfriend, the victim, more stress than he could handle.
So I had a talk with her.
Direct, succinct, to the point.
I think she absorbed just about as much as any narcissist could.
Which was nothing.

Regardless, I told her how sorry I was her life is so bad, yet her boyfriend's is now worse and it is time for strength.

Eventually she sucked it up enough to let me finish my job and exit their cramped trailer.I got in my vehicle thinking how lucky I am, how lucky most of us are that our lives have not come to this.
Then, just as I thought I'd made a safe getaway,  there was a knock at my car window.

It was her, the girlfriend.
She said she wanted to apologize for talking so much time, crying so much.
I tried the" forget-about-it" approach.
It didn't work.
She said she couldn't help herself.
She said her behavior was the result of being beaten by an alcoholic single mother as child, forced into prostitution and pimped out by her mother's boyfriend when she was 14.
She dropped out of high school, said she'd been married twice.
The first husband broke her nose and was later murdered during a drug deal.
Her second husband shot himself after he split her skill and she pretended she was dead.
She said she's never been the same since.

I wasn't sure how to respond to that. I again told her how sorry I was for all she had to go through growing up. I said evidently she is strong, she is a survivor and somehow she made it through. I said the past is history and  suggested she turn the negative around...  maybe help other battered or abused women or children.

She didn't hear a word I said.
It was all wasted breath on my part. Some people are impenetrable. She was one of them.
Instead of considering the positive, she chose the negative.
She started to cry again and moan about her lot in life.
I turned the engine on, closed my window, backed out of their dirt driveway and looked at her through the rear view mirror as she wept and grew tinier with the distance between us.

There are way too many broken spirits inside the living these days.
Just last week, a local police deputy I met in the course of my work shot his mother in law and father in law, then himself.
Go here: Local  Deputy Shoots In-Laws and Self

You never now, ever, who will be the next to snap.
The lady in trailer....
or the local deputy on the police force.
Will it be the soldier who returned from Iraq....
or the middle aged man laid off from his job.

Know that you never know which human is going to blow,
I think the best approach to hostility, or insanity.... is calm, reason and respect.
The minute anger enters the equation, there is no resolution until the anger dissipates.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Night Shift

It's been way too long since I've blogged.
And it's way too late to write something profound.
I have a big day ahead tomorrow and another the next.
Every investigation I go to in the field, requires an immediate follow-up, written report.
So the work merely begins when I'm on scene. It finishes sometimes in the wee hours of the night....
or just as dawn is breaking.
The night shift is when the world is asleep.
The phones aren't ringing.
There are no text or emails.
Even Facebook posters have mostly gone silent.
Evenings are prime time for P.I.'s.
The darkness, the silence, the shadows hold the truths, and the time required to uncover them.
So as I am writing up cases tonight, cases I will deliver to an attorney tomorrow, I am thinking of the victims I am working for -- the people who are so injured, so wounded. --  that each wept while they told me the tragic series of events that became the basis of their respective personal injury claims.
I tell these people I admire and respect them for hiring an attorney who'll fight by their side for their right to be made whole again
They inspired me to share this quote on this blog tonight.
I've carried it with me forever.
It's by Teddy Roosevelt.
For those of you too young to know of him... he was a US president... not a bear.

"It is not the critic who counts, nor the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows great enthusiasms, great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."
       - Theodore Roosevelt 

Friday, May 14, 2010

Facebook Embarrassed By Privacy Mistakes

I originally had this on my FB wall.
In the 20/20 clarity of hindsight, I thought it better placed here.
I don't believe Facebooks intent is to deliberately violate or compromise people's privacy rights.
I think getting a handling on the privacy issues on a scale the planet has never seen before, is a huge challenge for any company.
As information flows and grows, privacy shrink exponentially.
And unfortunately, fraud runs rampant.
What Facebook and its management challenge, are the unavoidable effect of  new and heretofore, unknown, electronic infracture.
The co-mingling threads, people, places linking this vast inter web, the net, is prowled by spiders... some harmless. some venomous.
In creating such a world, some sort of barriers must be provided to protect to good guys from the bad ones.
I am impressed by Facebook's response to recent privacy protests and remain hopeful, they'll get a handle on their huge new virtual life form.
Check out this link .
Go to: Facebook PR Chief Takes the Heat

Tinkerbell Busted By Facebook

P.I.'s tend to travel under the radar.
It's like the Navy Seal school of business.
Wet suit on, leap into sea, swim to job,  avoid sharks, do job unseen, swim back to ship or shore, climb out of wet suit, blend back into crowd and disappear.
We are by nature Private Investigators, so we tend to dwell in the shadow lands.
I think of myself and my kind as "non-participant observers".

So when I first joined Facebook and started exploring friend's picture walls, I was blown away by the hundreds of pictures people would post on the net featuring them alone, them with others, them everywhere and anywhere.
It seemed to me, the ones in their twenties and thirties had the most.
Sometimes hundreds of photos of themselves on their pages.
I would go through the pages and study the person and study their life in pictures and think, sometimes...
"What if I were a predator? This is pretty risky stuff"

Many young girls want to look older. They dress skimpier. They pose suggestively.
Many young men want to look cooler, hotter, hipper.
Others, like Kevin Colvin, prefer the Tinkerbell look.

I'm not sayin'... it's not okay to post whatever you want on your Facebook photo albums.
I'm just sayin... please, don't be the space cadet this young man was.
Every single thing you post on Facebook exposes you to the world.
And in the world are people, like employers and P.I.s, who may be looking up information on you, whether you like it, know it... or not.
There are also predators out there, looking for prey to play with.

Know every action has a reaction. It is the law of the universe.
Drop even the smallest pebble in the water, it ripple outward in layers.
Every good action produces good energy and  good results.
Every bad action creates negative energy and negative, sometimes catastrophic results.

May Tinkerbell's banking career rest in peace after posting this photo and some ill-timed words on Facebook.
Be sure to read the comments by readers that follow the article.
Go here: Bank Intern Busted By Facebook.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Fugitive Busted Through Facebook Pleads Guilty

It is wise to be careful what you say and post on Facebook.
Just imagine anything you post ending up in front of an employer, lawyers, jury,  your mother...
or worse, the police.
I use Facebook and other social network posts in my investigations.
So do a lot of other P.I.'s.
There's a whole lot of potential evidence on Facebook pages.
For example, nothing hurts a DWI defense worse than a picture of the Defendant partying hearty on his or her Facebook page.
And nothing made one fugitive named Maxi Sopo easier to find when he couldn't stop posting on Facebook while enjoying his great escape to Cancun.
I think once you read today's news, you might agree --  Sopo takes stupid to a whole new level.
Link here: Fugitive busted through Facebook pleads guilty

Hero Of the Day

There are a heroes all around us.
They can be men or women.
They can be very old and very young.
Some of are easily identifiable because they wear uniforms.
Others, not so.
They're average, ordinary people who do extraordinary things.

I apologize in advance if the story I am about to link you to is one you have read before.
I just stumbled upon it on my way back from the pity pot.

I was at the pity pot not for myself, but for some others, who were recent clients.
Their cases are now closed.
They were given what I believe is compelling and convincing evidence about the people they choose to associate with.
And they are choosing to ignore said evidence.

They are, instead, so afraid of being alone..they've opened up their  homes, back account, assets, lives to predators disguised as friends, handymen, caretakers,confidantes, companions, lovers, whatever.
I tell them, "you're dancing in a minefield."
One snaps back, "Well at least I'm dancing."
Ticks me off.

I can see the crimes coming before they happen.
I've tried talking. Arguing. Convincing.
I've handed over reams of paperwork, piles of documentation, photos.
Nonetheless, the weaker the mind,  the bigger the sea of denial it floats in.
I walk away from such encounters frustrated at first.
Then anger sets in for a spell.
Soon the anger dissipates to pity.
Eventually, I forget and move onto the next case.

Every now and then, a P.I. has days like this...
where you do your job well  and do nothing to convince your client to step off the tracks because a freight train is coming.

That's why, when coming upon the story I am linking you to, it reaffirmed my belief that the human instinct for survival does extend beyond ourselves.
What so many do for others, day in and day out, is extraordinary in terms of sacrifice.
And once again, a hero has restored my faith in humanity.

There are many strong, healthy, wonderful  people out there who do the right things, make the right decisions. instinctively, instantaneously.
These heroes are average people you may never notice until the universe beckons.
Andrew Leitch is one such man.
Go To: To Heroic Dad

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mind Boggling Mystery - The Starving Yogi

This one's kind of hard to believe.

An 82-year-old Indian yogi, named Prahlad Jani, claims that for the past 70 years he has had nothing  to eat, not one single calorie and not one drop of liquid to drink.

Allegedly, this yogi has found a way to tap into the powers of the universe and survive on some substance... one story referred to as "energy... to stay alive for seven decades.

True, we communicate and function on levels we haven't even tapped into yet.
My big question is.... if it is for real, how does this guy do it?

I've searched the net to see if this is a scam and if so, where it originated.
Oddly it doesn't trigger the huge amounts of  scam hits I would expect from such a story.
Still there's a mountain of both skeptics and believers out there.

Viscerally and intellectually, it makes no sense,
My gut screams scam. My gut has been wrong before.

The skeptic in me witnessed ill people who were pulled off life support and were withdrawn food and water before death. It was only a matter of time.... days, a week. Of course, illness factored into the equations and decisions.

I don't known anyone who'd willingly choose this path except anorexics.

So what's up with  this yogi? Seven decades without food or water?

Sure it could be a scam, a prefabricated media story.

But if its true... wow. And how?
What would  it say about the power off our mind... the potential of our bodies... and the ability to harness energy from outside ourselves and pull it within?

Is it a scam or real?
You decide.
Here's the main story.
Click Here: To The Case Of The Starving Yogi - Ten decades... no food or water?

It is  fascinating subject.
And the subject hits just a little close to home.

A couple of weeks ago I met another investigator  before a class I teach at night. He was guest lecturer.
I said ,"You want to meet for dinner beforehand? Or coffee?"

He said, " Coffee. I don't eat dinner. Truth is I hate to eat."

"All your life?" I asked.

"All my life," he said.

Trust me, I  interrogated him. And I know I'm not the first.

He's lean, mean, tall, good looking and a fully-armed, licensed private detective, agency owner, body guard, tough guy, former government investigator,  who has been shot and stabbed multiple times.
Married, has kids, grand-kids.
Still works full time.
And unlike the starving yogi, my friend said the one food he will willingly eat is pizza.
And he will drink coffee, but that's it.
The staving yogi doesn't, allegedly, eat squat.

If you are anything like me, in exploring a case like this, you go to extremes.

So in this link, which is a sort of in that  gray space between extremes,  the scientists make a strong case for the starving yogi cynics here. I found the believers in the message thread that follows the article intriguing.
Go TOo Here: Science Responds To Starving Yogi

The most cynical of all responses to the starving yogi is running on message threads all over the web and world.
Most in response to the two-week surveillance.
Here's one from
Who says skeptics have no sense of humor? Some of the comments are a hoot.
The Skeptics Respond to Yogi Surveillance

Writing this blog has made me hungry and thirsty before I hit the road for the day.
A good starving yogi I would not make.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Electron Boy

I don't know if you've heard about him yet.
Evidently, he's an international sensation.
His origins are here in the Pacific Northwest.
He's Electron Boy.

He's a little boy with a big problem, a life threatening health condition.
And when Make A Wish Foundation stepped into his life... Seattle, Bellevue, Western Washington, the country and now the world... are stepping it up to make one wish a larger than life reality.

Electron Boy's story gives me great hope for humanity.
Not just in what Eric Martin wished for... his last wish being to be super hero who helps others.
The hope also comes in the way his wish became a magic spell...
he made a wish that enchanted and transformed our jaded community back to the sparkling gem, the Emerald City, that drew most of us here in the first place.

Tonight my blog is short.
It is simply a conduit, a circuit... to introduce your to a powerful little super hero and a whole lot of big ones.
Go To: Electron Boy in Seattle Times


Sunday, May 9, 2010

One Bad Mama?

Ma'  Barker, AKA Kate Barker was allegedly one of the baddest mama's in American history. This site has three tabs on it. If you click on the photo link there's a fascinating quote there. Evidently Ma' can't receive flowers.
Go To: Find A Grave Ma' Barker

Though over time, Ma's role remains debatable.
While some say she was the mastermind of her son's criminal gang, she retained an alias of Donnie Clark in Arizona. Usual; people with alias are hiding something.
Others suggest she was a victim of a J  Edgar Hoover Witch Hunt.
(Rumor has it, J. Edgar didn't like women, but that's another blog post).
Go To: One Profile of Ma'

Others say sweet old Ma was misjudged by her 'trailer trash'  background and her no-good, gang-banging sons who caused a whole heap of trouble. Proponents of Ma' say she never killed anyone and was deemed guilty by association. Her murder, allegedly, was set a set-up.
Go to: Ma' Barker the Scapegoat?

When a crime happens so long ago, you'd think hind-sight would provide 20/20 vision.
Not so in this case.
In my opinion, the jury is still out and will remain so in Ma's Barker's case.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Leap From The Golden Gate

Just after posting the story below, A  friend of mine in my real world sent a link on my Facebook wall..
The link was to a radio piece her friend Jake produced.
There's both a written transcript and a radio button so you can choose either and/or both... listen and read.
I did both because the story blew me away.
Mainly becauase it is so well-written, raw, visceral and  touches on questions I've never dares ask anyone but myself.
One one thousand...
Please, Go Here: "Chasing Death:Undertsanding a Friend's Suicide:" 

Suicide By Bridge

Investigators spend a lot of time on the road.
Yesterday I covered 180 miles.
We cross many bridges, which pleases me because I have a structural and psychological fascination with bridges. And a morbid fascination with those who willingly jump off them.

One bridge I cross almost daily in the Seattle, the Aurora Bridge, has had many suicides lately. Some have even become political issues.
Go To : One Jumper.
Recently a local man who chooses to walk the Aurora Ave bridge in the hopes of talking someone down  decided to do something about jumpers and saving their lives. 
He spear-headed an effort to stop people from jumping of the Aurora Bridge by  building steel  barriers along its edge.
His theory is jumping/suicide is an impulse decision that can be deterred by physical and verbal means.
Last I heard, bridge construction was delayed for technical reasons.
Go to: Aurora Bridge Suicide Barrier Delay 

 I recently watched a documentary about jumpers from the Golden Gate Bridge.
Go to: Controversial Golden Gate Jump Documentary
This film is disturbing.
You actually see people going over, while the film maker ponders the fates of these lost souls.
I have mixed feeling about this film because intervention was not the filmmaker's intent.
He was non-participant observer  who felt his job was to observe and report.
The Golden Gate officials who gave him permission to film the bridge for a year felt they were duped by him.
Go To: Angry Golden Gate Officials

There are all kinds of theories and studies re: bridge jumpers. This short study is of one particular bridge in Instanbul. from Science direct.
Go To: Instanbul Jumpers 

So yesterday I think it no coincidence the very moment I was crossing the new span of the Tacoma Narrows bridge... wondering what it must be like to decide to pull over and leap... I flipped my radio on to one of my favorite shows.
Ira Glass' " This American Life" on NPR -  National Public Radio.

The following post is a quote from the website that comes from this NPR favorite.

The whole show was about bridges and this paragraph is one one three acts in the program.

"There is a four mile long bridge in Naan-jing China, famous for how many people jump off to commit suicide. In 2003, a man named Chen Sah began spending all of his weekends on the bridge, trying to single handedly stop the jumpers. Reporter Mike Paterniti tells his story of meeting Mr. Chen."

I went to find Paterniti's article and try as I might, couldn't find it on line. I'm guessing they want us to buy the magazine,

Though I listened in rapt attention to Glass' discussion with Paterniti about his encounter with the odd and cantankerous Mr Chen and the bridge in China you probably never thought about until now.  Mr Chen is an average citizen who does nothing all day except patrol the bridge on his scooter, somehow ID jumpers and talk them down.

Mr Chen's approach to talking people down is unbelievable. You'll need to go to go to National Public Radio to hear the story, provided it's up now. It's episode 407
Or try to find the article Mike Paterniti wrote in GQ Magazine.

According to one event Paterniti witnessed, Mr Chen took the potential jumper's picture, said he was going to to punch him in the face, then switched to nice guy who listened to jumper's sad story, told the jumper why it is not right for a Chinese man to jump and made an appointment with him the next day.
This approach points out clearly... and shockingly... the differences in  cultural approaches to negotiating critical sitiuations.

What follows is a link to Mr Chen's actual blog, about his experiences in his own words, direct from China via NPR and translated.  As stated on the site I take you to...
"These are some posts from Mr. Chen Si's blog The Bridge Diaries, where he documents his experience trying to stop people from jumping off the Yangtze River Bridge in Nanjing, China."
Go To: Mr. Chen's Jumper Blog

There is an old saying, " leap and the net will appear"
In the case of suicide by bridge, the net is not likely to appear.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Fourth Craiglist Killer Caught

He was home the whole time.
He "played Uno, Yahzee and watched TV" while the police and an angry, haunted community they were looking for him.

Clabon T. Berniard was A Hurricane Katrina survivor who was once hailed  a hero by local police and our community for saving two women from an house fire.
He also has a rap sheet that includes 21 arrests and a triple murder in a drug deal.
And what you see on a rap sheet often only barely scratches the surface.

He was not a good guy.
Even though he may have done good things in his life, like saving lives....
imho the bad, the taking of lives takes precedent.
Now, thankfully, he is in police custody. And the link that follows does a good job telling the story.

I have this theory that we are all a whole lot better than our last bad act.
All theories have exceptions.
Clabon T. Berniard would be such an exception.
I think at the very least, they should lock this dude up for good and truly destroy the keys.
I will not put in print what I think would be the very best thing to do with him.

First must come the indictments, defense attorneys, the discovery, interviews, the lies, and the placing of blame.
Bottom line: four young people who thought it cool to be thugs, engaged in a heinous act that rapidly descended into hell.
May they, the accused, never rest in peace.

4th Craigslist Home Invader Caught! Go here to get to story!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

How To Reclaim Your Facebook Privacy - Simple Help

This link was sent to me by a dear friend who is very protective of her privacy.And worried about everyone else's... for good reason.

Facebook is making changes daily and not necessarily announcing them. The more recent of these changes  --  FB's "Open Graph" --  altered your privacy settings and can  make you vulnerable when you choose not to be.

I  believe if you go to this link, print it up, and follow the steps, you will  regain privacy and control over your Facebook  domain. It is one of the best and simplest explanations of how to do this that I have seen so far.

How to reclaim your privacy by disabling Facebook’s “Open Graph”

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


To those  readers who live in Washington state, chances are this blog post will be old news.
However, many of my Facebook friends and blog readers are from states and countries other than my own.
And many of them use Craigslist.

So for those folks, I wanted to provide an update on this case before I head out on my investigative rounds. Today this private investigator has many miles to cover on the concrete seas called freeways.

It was a traffic stop on one such freeway  far south of here that got the three Carigslists suspects into California police custody. One... the female.... bailed out of jail, hit the streets and much later turned herself in.

So three of four of the alleged Craigslist home invader/killers are off the streets.
The big focus right now is getting the fourth male suspect in custody.
I suspect, if police don't have him as of this posting, they will tonight when I return home.

 One of the first things I do when I hear of cases like this is run through the database in my head to see if any of the suspects could be people I have encountered in my years at this business. It has happened before.

I do all kinds of work. My favorite kind is helping injured people.
The more injured they are, the less likely they can come to an attorney's office,
Instead, an attorney sends me to their family home, their hospital, their nursing homes.
Sometimes, family members take me to the scene where they died, often marked by a roadside cross, flowers, balloons, cars, poems, prayers.

Today, I have mixed feelings as I post this before heading out on my rounds.
I'm happy they found two of the bad Craigslist boys and the one girl, who by the way, is a very bad girl indeed.

I am profoundly unhappy however, for Jim Sanders and his family who have yet to fully absorb Jim's murder and loss.
Beyond that, the family has to live with memories  I'm not sure I could live with myself.

A mother with a gun held to the back of her head.
A son pistol-whipped in front of his father.
A father so strong, so angry, so defiant....he ripped through the plastic zip ties these criminals used to restrain his wrists.
That is a hard, painful thing to do.
That is a primal, protective, courageous, adrenalin and testosterone fueled response.
He was shot fighting to save his family's life.

In this investigator's opinion, Jim Sanders was  a working class man who is now  a world class hero.
 I wondered as I drifted off to sleep last night, how Jim Sander's family will ever again feel safe again.

Here's a link to the most recent update.
CraigsList Home Invaders/Killers Update. Go here.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

More Trouble For Craigslist

The list of crimes on Craigslist keeps going, growing and escalating.

A couple of days ago, Craigslist led  a team of home invaders right to their victims, in one case on this blog, just scroll down, you will find the case of  a father, Jim Sanders, killed  in front of his wife and two sons.One of whom was pistol shipped. the 911 calls of mother and son are available on the web now. As are the mug shots of the perps.

Here's a link to the most recent update on the case.
 Update On Local Craigslist Killer Hunt

And the beat goes on. What was intended to be an oasis of possibility has turned into a mecca for maniacs.
Crminals Love Craigslist - click here

Now it appears the subpoenas have officially arrived.
Craigslist Subpoenaed In Online Prostitution Investigation - click here

Hopefully all these links will work as I head out now on my rounds...

To those in Washington State, especially the Kent Auburn area, look hard at the mugshots, the female susect described as beautiful; the tattoo on one of the guys. There are four people, three guys, one gal.
Last pings on one victim's discarded stolen cell oringated at 277th in Hwy 167. Sim card was also found discarded.

My hunch is the police will have these guys by weeks end.

Meantime, a whole new crop of Craigslist creeps will  bloom.
So please... be ever vigilant.
Call 911 if you see anyone or anything suspicious.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Death By Eel

Let me apologize in advance for posting this story on a Sunday.
Feels almost ungodly to do so.
It's also distasteful, literally... and figuratively.

However, due to my dark sense of humor, I simply could not resist posting it here after it was shared with me by the most of reliable of sources.

None of us gets out of here alive, that is a fact.
From the moment we are born we are traveling the yellow brick road to the end.
Some people exit by choice, most odf us depart unwillingly, unknowingly, reluctantly, defiantly... until the end.

In this case, in the end, the eel did it.
Though I don't think the eel had any say in the matter.

Go Here: Death by Eel

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Craiglist Killers

Craigslist started off with good intentions and I was one of  its biggest fans.
Friends and family were buying and selling like crazy.

I recall being at one relative's house for  dinner, when the doorbell rang.
It was someone who wanted to buy something that a resident of the home was selling.
I recall looking at the unkempt, bearded, odd stranger and thinking..." geesh, how dangerous is this?"
I didn't feel it was my house, I was guest, so I kept my mouth shut.

Fair enough.
Back then Craigslist was as much fun as the early days of the internet bubble.
An joyous, prosperous ride until... the bubble burst.
And I am here to say, I believe Craigslists' bubble done burst and it's leaking blood.

Yet most people are still  oblivious to the fact that there are no safety defaults built into the system.
Anyone can sell... anyone can buy... anyone can post on Craigslist.
And in this tanking economy, Craigslist is keeping so many people financially afloat.

Lust know, even when your Craigslist  business can be done by email, snail mail or phone, there is still a huge fraud factor to consider.
The list abounds with misrepresented products, false checks or payments that never arrive.
There are houses being advertised for rent that are duplicate ads of real ones that real people place.
The duplicate ads place a better price, capture your money.... and leave the legitimate landlord or seller  up the creek.

The intent of the Craiglist criminals are to capture your interest and then take your money, property, identity...or your life.

There are jobs being advertised on Craigslist that ask you to run and pay for your own credit report and send it, along with your resume, to the "alleged" employer. I say alleged, because in those cases the employers are crooks, scammers, thieves.
Do not do this. Do not run your credit report, pay for it and send it to someone on Craigslist.

If a job you are applying for require you pay and application fee, I'd grab the nearest 10 foot pole and vault away.

It's like those strange letters we get emailed every now and then -- the ones that say:
"You've won the lottery just fill out this form, deposit our $1,000,000 check and send us just 4k back"
Or ,"I am the King's daughter and need help cashing a check."
Every minute, every hour, someone bites at the baited hooks on Craigslist.
Sometimes you see the bait, sometimes you don't.

But now things have escalated.

Only recently are we hearing about murders directly linked to Craigslist. One made the national news when a college guy with great parents, good  looks and limitless professional potential, repeatedly abused and  killed women/escorts he lured to hotel rooms by pretending to be a customer.

Maybe that didn't shake people up enough.
Maybe they thought only hookers get killed,so if you're not a hooker, Craigslist is just fine.
This is not the case.
Recent events here Western Washington have shown the bad guy factor is growing exponentially on Craigslist.

Just days ago, a very good man who lives here in the Northwest, James Sanders, was gathering extra money for a vacation by selling things on Craiglist. James is also called affectionately called Jim or Jimmy by those who knew and loved him.

James was a very decent, hardworking guy, w wonderful husband and fabulous father of two sons. He had a great sense of humor and a great deal of compassion.
He was loved by many.
He was more kind than rich.
And all he wanted was extra cash to  make his family's upcoming vacation even more special.

So he advertised on Craiglist and James was killed in front of his two young sons and wife when a troupe of killers came to his home.

One of James son's was pistol-whipped in front of his dad. It was dad's instinctual defense of his kid, I suspect, or simply a lust for killing, that likely contributed to two bullets fatal to dad, one in the head.The family watched dad die.

The 911 calls were released yesterday to the media. First there is the call from one stunned son. Then, his mother James'  wife calls. They are horrifying to hear.

I am using this blog today to do a couple of things.
First, to advise you to trust no one you do business with on Craigslist.
Many will disagree with me and I don't care.
This is one deadly serious "Buyer/Seller Beware" warning.
That would be: Place a Code Red on Craiglist.

Many will argue there are huge benefits to Craigslist... that the good outweighs the bad... and nothing I say will keep anyone from using it.
I can however, offer these suggestions to stay safer.

When you sell something on Craiglists, invite no one to your home. Meet them, if you must, in a highly visible public place. I'd choose the parking lot of a police station personally.

When you buy something on Craisglist, the same principle above applie.s

And when you apply for an job, or find a place to rent or sell on Craigslist, do not provide anyone with any credit reports.
Do not pay any job fees.
You've got a computer if you use Craig list. Go to your county assessor's or recorders office online to find out if the owner is who says he/she is.
Above and beyond all else, do not do anything your gut senses isn't right.

This is a link to an article about the most recent local Craigslist home invasion/robbery/killing.
This case is linked to another here. Pictures of the perps are floating all over the net.
Study the faces,hair style, clothes,tattoos.
You may recognize, know one of them.
Or maybe someone you just saw looks like  them.
The second you think you've sighted any of these people, turn them in by calling 911 or CrimeStoppers.

Please open your eyes and be ever vigilant.
Maybe you could be the person who spots one of these killers..
It's often the community who turns in criminals.
And it's often the families and friends who provide safe harbor for unsafe people  because some rationalize, others prefer to float in their rivers of denial.

Here's a link to a recent story about James Sander's killers who are still on the loose as of this posting.

Click here: Link to Fatal Craiglist Home Invasions