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Sat Apr 6, 2019, 12:39 PM

No Throwaway People, A Society of Increasing Compassion and Decreasing Violence. A Murder.

My dreams as a child, my understanding of the world, were full of expectations that progress would happen and that more voices would be heard. I felt a particular affinity for redemption stories and for stories that recognized the worth of every individual, no matter their background, whether impoverished or sinful or just different. The Prodigal Son, The Littlest Angel. Each person’s story was important.

It hurts to see cases of brutality and disregard. The onslaught of public messages and stories that are the opposite of compassion feel like a tsunami burying our culture. With newspapers on shoestring budgets or simply gone, I believe that individual stories get lost. A person is murdered, a brief story about the murder may or may not be written, and there’s no chance to tell the story of the victim’s life, unless they were famous, deemed noteworthy, or perhaps rich.

A murder in Houston. A man apparently strangled his wife, and tried to incinerate her body using a 100 lbs of charcoal. They had a child. He has been arrested, confessed. Her native hometown of La Plata Missouri covered the murder with a brief article about the fact of the murder, but nothing about her life. End of story. A story of the murder is written about on local news sites — 300 words, nothing describing the victim except “No immediate neighbors seemed to know the victim very well..”

Who was this victim, Mara Vestal? Age 29. And what else.. an obituary for her mother from three years ago shows that she was one of ten children. She left La Plata Missouri around 2010 — must have been 20 years old. An article from September 2017 in a Missouri paper quotes her briefly — as a “Heartland Native” living in a neighborhood flooded by Hurricane Harvey, quoted describing her neighbors’ plight as “heartbreaking”. A petition for bankruptcy for the couple last May.

And then I find a very interesting reference. She was listed as a speaker — a “sex trafficking survivor” — alongside an FBI agent Theo Williams in April of last year at a conference on “victim issues” in Texas.

In my searches, so many stories of sex trafficking victims appear. I am caught up reading a few. Girls trapped into prostitution, beaten or threatened or drugged. The money going straight to the pockets of those who control them. And legislation in some states trying to make it that girls “younger than 16” won’t be charged with prostitution. I think of the girls aging past that. Is the 19 year old who was trapped at 15 seen as more guilty, less of a victim? Or less worth saving?

What was her life story? Her story. How it ended: She and her murdering husband came home from a strip club together and then he killed her. One wonders. A return to a painful past? Pressure for money?

Ironically, the “heartland” is flooded now, while billionaire dreams of “floating cities” made it into the Washington Post today. The future of compassion seems a bit dark at the moment. This wasn’t where we were supposed to be, by now.

The Houston prosecutor said on TV that 2,000 nonfatal strangulation cases are prosecuted in Houston annually. Prostitution? Sex workers with no other options? Human trafficking victims?

Save them all. Our damned, rich, high tech society ought to be able to save them all.


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Reply No Throwaway People, A Society of Increasing Compassion and Decreasing Violence. A Murder. (Original post)
lostnfound Apr 6 OP
SWBTATTReg Apr 6 #1
lostnfound Apr 6 #2
SWBTATTReg Apr 6 #3
lostnfound Apr 6 #4
SWBTATTReg Apr 6 #5
ck4829 Apr 6 #6

Response to lostnfound (Original post)

Sat Apr 6, 2019, 01:11 PM

1. Good post highlighting the plight of so many from the rural areas of this country...

Last edited Sat Apr 6, 2019, 02:03 PM - Edit history (1)

who probably started out moving away to find better jobs, good homes, etc. and instead only finding horror and death. What an all too common tragic and sad story.

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Response to SWBTATTReg (Reply #1)

Sat Apr 6, 2019, 01:45 PM

2. What article are you referring to? Nt

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Response to lostnfound (Reply #2)

Sat Apr 6, 2019, 01:48 PM

3. Your article. I should have said 'post' but forgot to. nt

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Response to SWBTATTReg (Reply #3)

Sat Apr 6, 2019, 02:08 PM

4. Oh sorry, I get it. Thanks.

I don’t know if she left Missouri before or after being trafficked. It seems like there’s a LOT of trafficking IN Missouri.

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Response to lostnfound (Reply #4)

Sat Apr 6, 2019, 02:24 PM

5. I wouldn't be surprised. I lived in MO all my life and there are rural areas which are ...

Last edited Sat Apr 6, 2019, 02:57 PM - Edit history (1)

desperately poor, no jobs, no medical facilities unless you drive literally 100 miles to/from appts, etc.

There are really no jobs unless you want to work in a McDonald's / fast food place (if there are any, which is doubtful in a lot of areas) or a minimum wage job among all of the tourist traps in the Lake of the Ozarks or Branson areas. Point is, you can't survive on such wages (you already know this).

It's really sad when we go visit family on a rare occasion when we get the time and see them. Most of them don't even work in the area where they live (there is nothing there) so a lot of them are truck drivers and the like. My former next door neighbors in Bennett Springs MO lived in a couple of school buses, and they (according to them) were doing good and were happy. I still correspond with them every month and keep up w/ the news (they brought my land and mobile homes from me).

I'm sure that this is true in a lot of areas in the country, where rural areas are lacking in just about everything, and those that come out of these areas end up moving away, for they really have no choice.

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Response to lostnfound (Original post)

Sat Apr 6, 2019, 06:06 PM

6. Disturbing

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