Hidden Camera—Basketball

We met because our children played in the same basketball league. My son and his daughter were on a team where the coach was stretched too thin. I volunteered my older daughters as coaches and every week we tried to be there for extra support and practice.

One game stands out in my memory. The opposing team had ringers and parents so focused on winning that they badgered and heckled our team.

I approached one of the league officials and asked her to intervene. She refused.

Our kids lost and we comforted them with words about how hard they had played and how unfair it all was.

Now it just seems like a metaphor for all that was yet to come.

Hidden Cameras Prologue

It was at his youngest child’s birthday party that I saw what at the time was one of E’s distinctive “celebrity” qualities—he used his pitcher’s arm to lob a beach ball into the splash pad pour bucket—ball, plunk, fill, pour, repeat. The crowd of summer park goers reveled his ability to beguile and entertain.

At the time I took his boyish self-confidence as the contributing factor—he had an athletic gift and had been praised and admired for it for years.

Why not use it for harmless fun?

I look through all of this with grief and anger now. All I did not see or understand about him that day, who he had been for years, and what was to come.

What would you paste to doors of cathedrals?

Over a year ago we found out that a family we knew had been devastated when they discovered that their child had been the victim of rape at the hands of a former MLB pitcher.

The rapes were recorded and shared. There is strong anecdotal evidence that other children were harmed this way as well.

The local police bullied and intimidated the victim, made no arrest, and closed the case.

As did CPS.

The FBI ignored requests for help as did the office of DPS and the Texas Rangers.

Oh, and President Biden too.

I have begun to think about Martin Luther and letters pasted on the walls and doors of cathedrals.

What would you say or do if you were haunted by the damage done to one child? Dozens?

When no one comes to save us

More than 10 years ago I decided to write a book almost no one reads after 2 years of fighting for consequences for Charles.

He had dodged mandatory sentencing when the local DA chose to not charge him with any of the more serious allegations against him—multiple, aggravated sexual assaults.

We had been lied to and our victims’ impact statements disappeared.

Only one of dozens of public officials I contacted tried to “look into” our case.

We moved and I told myself I should just expect no help the next time.

I wrote a book so that the story would be there for others. I warned people it was not a fun book to read.

A year ago a friend called me and told me her young daughter had been brutally and repeatedly raped by a former MLB player who began coaching children when he retired from baseball.

The victim told a clear story of assault, abuse, and video recordings of abuse. She has always struck me as a very truthful person. The story she tells is cogent and strongly suggests she was not the only victim and that other young girls were raped and their rapes were recorded and shared.

The local law enforcement never arrested the alleged assailant. He was never charged with a single crime.

The local FBI cautioned the victim’s mother that she should not bother the local police with the story.

Here was an outcry which strongly suggested multiple minors had been raped and those rapes had been filmed and disseminated.

Nothing happened. The alleged rapist still coaches children.

After Uvalde I called the head of DPS and his receptionist sent me to a voicemail of the Texas Rangers. I have had no success in trying to help this family. They moved to another state but the trauma and threat remain.

And what about all the other potential victims? What about the possible footage of the rapes?

What should we all do

When no one comes to save us?

Mary Joanna Lee

Mary was born on January 1, 1993. She was born to ________ and _______and is survived by _____________________________________. She had kids with__________, who preceded her in death by a handful of months, days, minutes, hours.

Her children are bright little lights, and I want to gather all of them to me, sing with them, raise them onto strong shoulders, proceed with them in a march more wedding than funeral, acknowledge that no life is actually just a handful of years, months, days, hours, minutes, things smaller than that, things that can only be measured by Hands torn for

For her, for me

He precedes us in life, in death, in life again

Walk out of that grave, girl, walk into life

All because of Him

Mary Jo

If I am honest, you were often a pain in the ass. Your attachment disorder meant that I was the primary target of your anger when you were growing up, which was not fun, but good for me.

I remember you when you were little, I remember the stress, chaos and exhaustion. We would look at you and Charles when you were asleep and say, they are cute when they are asleep.

find myself trying to construct an old play fort out of this gray day, the sky folded into the quilted tent

This is heaven, I tell myself, this is Mary, she was college-aged, after all. She could be here, Heaven could be this, the thin line between the realms could be as gossamer as time itself–

Yesterday you were among the living

And now I return to the prayers I prayed when I held you as a child, fierce ball of anger

Oh, God,

Make us real

Make us vivid

Wipe away the tears, the past, the unbearable

All things made new

When the heartbeat in question means the whole world

I don’t have time to write this blog. My house is chaos, I am behind in my “day job,” and my adopted granddaughters live with us now.

Both girls have been through fires, literally and figuratively.

As I see headlines about the Texas heartbeat law, I cannot stop thinking about what an appalling loss to me and the world entire it would be if they were not here.

They, like all my kids, light up my world. If one were missing, the loss would be unbearable.

That is what the rhetoric hides–each child saved from abortion is a

Little girl twirling in a princess dress

A little boy looking for spiny lizards

A child who knows grownup words long before they should

An irreplaceable light in the darkness.

(Part 2)

Matthew 25:35-39 KJV

[35] For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: [36] Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. [37] Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee ? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? [38] When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee ? [39] Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

When Charles went to juvenile detention for a plea bargained mitigation of a monstrous charge, he received support, letters, cards, an outpouring of support.

I attributed this odd behavior from “good people” (rewarding a child abuser) thus–

  • They did not trust our report?
  • They did not full understand the devastation of his felonies
  • Or Matthew 25 oh, somebody in prison? I better get in on that reward!

Could have been something else, but whatever the motivations, his victims often did not get the same level of support he did. The people who comforted Charles did not comfort his victims.

Only two people outside our family confronted him on his sins.

To this day he does not acknowledge

What he did was wrong

There are lots of hard parts within the gaps between what the

Lord and the Righteous see

Machine Translation

The old woman and the older woman sit down across a flimsy folding table. Between them there is a plexiglass barrier, the kind you might encounter now at a doctor’s office or the checkout line at the grocery store.

This time we all know we are contagious, right?

They type into complementary machines–one English to Korean and the other Korean to English

Do not forgive these Korean letters, forgive something else if you will.

The devastating depths men may plunge to

If the womenfolk fail to speak.