February 18, 2014 will not, for some reason beyond my ken, live in infamy.
For me, it was a safe and warm night with friends, and I cannot scrape that from my skin. The Amber Alert came, and loudly, like a tornado siren through the living room, and I texted the details to all of my friends. Zach was arting. I was writing. We figured it was a custody battle gone wrong, or an accident. Then the alert repeated–two or three times more as the evening pressed. 2008 gold Ford Ranger. 1YF454. For a single, absurd moment, I consider going out and looking around. Instead, I boot up Civ.
At work the next day, as the shift comes to an end, my supervisor tells us what happened. I’d never gone to the news, and had basically forgotten the alert. A little girl, Hailey Owens, was abducted in broad daylight, with witnesses to see, and then ultimately slain. It sank in very slowly. While I was playing a video game, a child was being tortured. The full extent of my effort against this thing was a handful of text messages.
I hid in the restroom to cry.
The rage I have for this is not a thing that can become words. The tongue and the pen together cannot tread the levels of hellish betrayal that this so-called man biled upon she who should have been his ward.
The effective community involved in this abduction was so large; and that is what truely fuels my despair. The Amber Alert–GOLD FORD RANGER 1YF454–spread to people from hundreds of miles around. Police knew exactly who and what to look for. Neighbors set chase, even, by some accounts.
The combined power of human technology and love and bravery failed, and lost to something small, and which deserves no language but will receive it anyway.
Mark the day. February 18, 2014. That is when darkness won.
Requiescat in Pace