An original short story written by Edward Fagan

 Missing child abducted close to her parents

Missing their abducted child, the Riley’s are doing everything in their power to get her back in their custody. The Rileys experience is one of shock, loss and utter pain.

Crystal Riley 7, frequently plays in the park not far from her home. She, however, only plays in the presence of her parents John and Maria Riley. The Riley’s are usually vigilant in keeping a watchful eye on their only child. On this occasion, Crystal’s parents stand their usual several yards away from her, but they are speaking with a couple. This conversation lasts about half an hour.

The couple with whom the Rileys speak receive a phone call and suddenly depart. They are polite while leaving and bid the Rileys good bye.

The Riley’s then attempt to take their daughter home; but Crystal is nowhere in sight. At first the Riley’s don’t think that Crystal is missing. They look everywhere in the park, speaking with adults and children expecting to find Crystal. After about 45 minutes, the Rileys become convinced that Crystal is indeed missing.

The Riley’s immediately call the police who respond very swiftly.

Missing child and parents, about

Looking At Love To Understand Its Nature

The Rileys (each is an Ivy League graduate) both work in law enforcement. They think that this might be a contributing factor to their daughter’s plight.

Maria Riley 35, is a skilful prosecutor of some ten years experience. She served as an Assistant District Attorney for five years. She has been serving as a District Attorney following her appointment to this post five years ago. Maria Riley’s sound arguments in court have resulted in the prosecution of many accused persons.

John Riley 38, is an erudite state court judge. He also has six years experience in this position. John Riley is a former District Attorney of several years experience; and he has successfully argued against many accused persons. His rulings as a state court judge have also resulted in the prosecution of many accused persons.

Crystal Riley 7, the abducted daughter and only child of the Rileys, is doing exceptionally well at school. She is also very good at remembering faces, names, phone numbers and addresses. She knows her parents’ names, phone numbers, and home and work addresses.

The Riley’s are hoping that somehow, their daughter can use her cleverness to help them find her.

Missing child and the investigation

Police are investigating the abduction around the clock. Police and the national guard are searching to locate the child and acquire any evidence of, and apprehend, the abductors. The media are announcing information relevant to finding Crystal and apprehending her abductors. They are asking persons to come forward with any information that can help in the investigation.

All parties involved in finding Crystal Riley, such as the police and media, continue working briskly to find her. The Riley’s and the police prepare for calls from a likely kidnapper. The Rileys offer an attractive reward to anyone who provides information that leads to finding Crystal.

Persons formerly prosecuted by one or both Rileys are the chief suspects for the police. The police have questioned some such persons and released them for lack of evidence against them. The police are seeking other such persons in connection with Crystal’s disappearance.

Missing child and a turn in the investigation

Sergeant Paul Lashley, a member of the investigating team, thinks contrary to the other members of the team. He has a completely different suspect in mind. He questions the Rileys about the couple to whom they spoke in the park. Sergeant Lashley thinks this couple, to whom the Riley’s spoke, performed a role in Crystal’s disappearance.

“Why were they checking their watches so frequently while speaking with the Rileys? Why did they end the conversation and departed so suddenly after a phone call to which they responded “OK, fine” ? What was that phone call about? From whom did that phone call come?” Sergeant Lashley asks himself in his notes.

The Blackburns probably are still performing some task in connection with the custody of Crystal. They, perhaps, are in contact with her abductors, Sergeant Lashley thinks.

Sergeant Lashley notes a few things about the couple, Jane and Richard Blackburn. They mentioned their names to the Rileys and drove away in an empty car. They parked in an open area before driving away, easily revealing their registration plates.

He observes that the Blackburns display freedom from fear of suspicion. He thinks this can be helpful in leading the investigation to Crystal’s abductors; and he conceals all evidence of police suspicion from the Blackburns.

Missing child, the investigation continues

Sergeant Paul Lashley continues working determinedly to find and free Crystal Riley and arrest her abductors. Toward this end, he does a background check on the Blackburns which turns up clean. It also reveals they are owners of a successful retail business.

He then asks and receives the Rileys permission to show around photos of Crystal to selected persons. These persons, hopefully, might have information that could lead to her location. He shows around such photos for almost a week without a helpful response.Then something happens during the following week.

Missing child and the hope of finding her

A middle aged lady who sees the photos says that she saw Crystal walking reluctantly with someone to a car. Crystal was walking with a man in his forties. She says it was clear that Crystal was sad, unhappy and fearful of him. This lady says she noted the car and took its registration number in case this could be of help later.

Several other persons give vivid eye witness accounts similar to this one. Two other persons give similar accounts which indicate this man taking Crystal to the Blackburn’s retail store.

The vehicle’s registration number leads to a James Wickham who perfectly fits the eye witnesses description of the vehicle’s driver. The police arrest and question James Wickham and check his background. His criminal record shows that he has abducted children in the past for hire.

The police question him about the Blackburns; and he strongly denies knowing them. The police tell James Wickham about his phone call to Jane Blackburn on the day of Crystal’s abduction. James Wickham then says that he knows the Blackburns. He also says that the Blackburns paid him to abduct Crystal. The police charge him with Crystal’s abduction and custody.

James Wickham says that he does not know where Crystal Riley is. He says this because he handed her over to a couple whose name and address he does not know. He says he handed her over on a lonely country road a week after he abducted her; and the Blackburns set up the handing over of her to the couple.

Missing, the police find Chrystal alive 

The police arrest Jane and Richard Blackburn and question them in connection with Crystal’s disappearance. The police, however, do not tell the Blackburns that they arrested and questioned James Wickham. Officers question Jane and Richard Blackburn about James Wickham; and they deny knowing him.

The police then tell them about the phone call he made to them during their conversation with Crystal’s parents. The Blackburns admit to knowing James Wickham. They then admit their involvement in Crystal’s abduction. Jane Blackburn and her husband hired and paid the abductor. The money, however, was provided by the couple who received Crystal. The police charge the Blackburns with their involvement in the abduction and custody of Crystal.

Jane and Richard Blackburn say that they were just trying to assist a couple who truly love children.

This couple, they say, desire to have children but are incapable of becoming biological parents. The couple are always unsuccessful whenever they try to legally adopt a child. They have exhausted all legal avenues for adopting a child, without any success.

Richard Blackburn, gives the police the names and address of the couple to whom James Wickham gave Crystal. Mark and Janice Stuart received Crystal from her abductor, James Wickham. The police raid the home of the Stuarts, taking Crystal and arresting the Stuarts.

In police custody, the Stuarts reiterate all that the Blackburns told the police. The police, likewise, charge the Stuarts according to their part in the abduction and illegal custody of Crystal.

Missing child happily reunites with parents

Crystal returns to her parents who delight at her presence and receive her with much joy, and tears. John and Maria Riley are effusive in their expression of physical and other affection toward Crystal.

Crystal says that the Stuarts treated her like a princess, but they prevented her from using the phone. She says that the man who took her also treated her kindly. She says that she fears him because he is a stranger who took her without her parents consent.

A medical practitioner examines Crystal and finds her to be without any injuries; also, a psychiatrist assesses Crystal. The psychiatrist, similarly to the medical practitioner, says Crystal has not suffered any adverse effects during or after her abduction.

By Edward Fagan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honesty is a subject about which I hold strong views, even though it’s an unpopular subject these days.

Honesty is a very important quality to have; it is also a very important practice to keep on a daily basis through out one’s life. My thoughts are strong on this subject whose practice, it seems, has never been more necessary than it is now.

Why should our public servants, responsible persons in business, commerce and industry, and everyone else have and practise this quality? Can every normal person effectively have and practise this quality irrespective of their social and economic standing? What are the benefits of having and practising this quality?

Honesty should be practised because it is necessary for the enjoyment of fairness by all parties equally, who are committed in any transaction involving the exchange of property or the offer or use of services.

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Yes, every normal person can effectively practise honesty irrespective of their social and economic standing. Normal persons who do not practise honesty choose not to practise it.

The benefits of practising honesty fall within a wide range. Some of these benefits have national social and economic implications; and some are more private and personal in nature. Some of these benefits are mentioned below in more detail.

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Those who are in public life, or hold responsible positions in business, commerce and industry should be very careful to practise honesty in their respective fields.

The practice of honesty as private citizens is important for the reasons mentioned above, and because this is the pool from which public servants and those in responsible positions in the private sector are drawn. At the private level, we have all, at some time, experienced a sense of deprivation of justice and property at the hands of dishonest persons. Petty thieves, muggers and burglars also remind us of the need for honesty in private life.

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 The benefits of practicing honesty include: Fairness: The practice of honesty ensures fairness of behaviour in situations which involve: the collection, storage, or distribution of goods, and the provision of or the benefitting from services.

Example: An international lending institution once said that a certain kleptocratic country could repay its national debt in full, if its leaders returned the country’s money that they stole and deposited overseas.

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Under colonial rule, the country was well run and had a very promising economy. Following independence, the country became a notorious kleptocracy. This resulted in its having to incur a huge national debt which unfairly fell on the backs of the mass of the people.

During this period, the cost of living increased greatly and the standard of living decreased to an even greater extent correspondingly, among the mass of the people. The small ruling elite and their senior civil service supporters enjoyed a degree of unfair opulence at the cost of the unfair suffering of the rest of the population.

After conviction and sentencing to prison, following a court trial, such dishonest politicians and other public figures should be required to write a piece titled, “Honesty: My Thoughts.

 

Economic prosperity: The practice of honesty in situations involving economic activity contributes to the economic prosperity of those involved by allowing them full access to their fair share of goods and services. The relationship between honesty and economic prosperity is well known but often overlooked for the sake of expediency. The story that is mentioned after the word “Example” above, indicates some of the economic deprivation that can result from the absence of honesty in public life.

The connection between financial dishonesty and failure at the micro economic level is also well known. Most of us know of a case where a business failed due to the absence of the practice of honesty in some aspect of its financial activity. Such failure to practice honesty has resulted in instances of investors loosing large sums of money and experiencing financial ruin.

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 Political stability: The practice of honesty in the political economy helps to prevent persons from being unfairly deprived of their fair share of opportunity for socio-economic advancement. It also helps to allow them full access to their fair share of goods and services, according to the capacity of the economy to produce them. These conditions foster a sense of understanding of and sympathy with the efforts of those in power. This in turn helps prevent the growth of dissent, social unrest and political disruptiveness.

Spiritual growth: Constant practice of honesty, which is the eighth commandment in the Bible, as well as the practice of the other nine commandments (Exodus 20:3-17), will contribute greatly to our spiritual growth and development.

 

Honesty always serves the fair advantage of all concerned. Dishonesty always serves the unfair advantage of the few and the unfair disadvantage of the many. The choice is clear whenever there is a requirement to choose between honesty and dishonesty by persons in the public sector, those in responsible positions in the private sector, and private citizens.

By Edward Fagan

They need help sometimes following release from penal institutions and except in certain cases, we should accommodate them.

They need help sometimes following their release from penal institutions. When our relatives and friends seek our help and support after their period of incarceration ends and they return to society, except in certain cases, this help should be given to them; and when it s given, it should be given selflessly.

The nature of the offence committed and the known disposition of the offender are important points to consider when deciding whether or not to offer help. These and other points will determine whether or not help is offered, the type of help that may be offered and the duration of any help that is offered. These and other points will also determine the terms of any help that may be offered.

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Those who are offered help are going to be first time offenders only. They are going to be persons whose offence did not involve any kind of violence except in a case of self defense within the law.

They are also going to be persons who display an ability to control their temper and navigate situations involving minor tension and conflict between others and themselves. They are going to be persons with a known disposition toward normal behaviour. For example, the type just mentioned is going to be capable of performing in a job at the checkout point of a relative’s or friend’s retail business. (One’s self control is sometimes tested in this kind of situation.)

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 Those who are known to be honest and whose offence did not involve stealing money. Those whose offence did not involve sexual misconduct and whose past behaviour did not indicate a disposition toward that kind of misconduct.

The type of help offered can include food, clothing, shelter, employment, personal transportation, a spending allowance and money for start up business.

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The period of time during which this help is given will be determined by the needs of the recipient, the nature of the help offered and the terms under which the help is offered.

The help mentioned here is supposed to be of a temporary nature only and may be offered on a short or long term basis. It is intended to help recipients achieve a level of stability and basic self reliance and allow them to live normally without a permanent need for this help.

By Edward Fagan

 

 

Farmers and the authorities can take these simple steps to greatly reduce the present level of praedial larceny.

Farmers and the authorities working together and significantly reducing the current level of praedial larceny across our communities is testing but not impossible. There are some simple steps that we can take through legislation and its enforcement that can significantly reduce the level of this type of theft.

Our vegetable farmers play a very important role in our community and the wider society. They produce food for our consumption thus helping us to become more self sufficient in the area of food production.

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They are hardworking and dedicated people. They make many sacrifices and often undergo much hardship and difficulty. Some of this hardship and difficulty is caused by vegetable thieves who often reap and make off with whole crops. The thieves sell these crops to unsuspecting buyers for easy profit. The farmer suffers an even greater loss.

We can not afford to lose our farmers through their giving up on agriculture because of this problem; we need to act now.

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We need to legislate for and enforce the following approach to deal with this problem:

Registration of each of the following categories of individuals and businesses who are involved in vegetable retail and or wholesale and who:

  • Produce to retail (Register of Producers who Retail)
  • Produce to wholesale (Register of Producers who Wholesale)
  • Buy to retail (Register of Buyers who Retail)
  • Buy to wholesale (Register of Buyers who Wholesale)

Individuals and businesses can be registered under more than one category and at more than one address and location if necessary.

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Registration of individuals and businesses must include registration of their address and location. The address and location of individuals and businesses must be inspected and verified before registration can be completed.

Registered individuals and businesses will be issued with documents of registration and identification cards. These documents and identification cards must be shown on demand to businesses, government officials and law enforcement officers.

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It will be a criminal offence for anyone to even attempt to retail or wholesale vegetable produce without being registered and in possession of the relevant documents and identification card. It will also be a criminal offence for anyone to purchase vegetable produce from a retailer or a wholesaler who is not registered and in possession of the relevant documents and identification card.

The type and extent of punishment of offenders under this new legislation is left to the legislators and law courts.

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This type of legislation and its enforcement are similar to the type of legislation and enforcement that serve to register and regulate drivers and motor vehicles.

It is necessary to create and share a database of registered individuals and businesses who are involved in producing, selling and buying vegetables. Prospective and unknown sellers can be checked against the database information. Information on known offenders can also be stored and accessed on this database.

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Drones should be used to increase security of cultivated areas during both day and night. Drones can be fitted with lights and very powerful cameras for easy and accurate detection and video recording of people and other objects. This recorded information can then be passed on to the police.

Enacting into law and enforcing the suggestions offered above will assist our farmers in their attempt to be free of the menace of praedial larceny. Our farmers, our communities and our economy stand to benefit when this happens; let us therefore look forward to the day when the suggestions offered above are written into law and enforced to the benefit of all.

By Edward Fagan

Black lives have the God given right to exist free from the threat of racially based homicide. 

Black Lives Matter, as well as National Action Network and Concerned Student 1950, to name a few, share the same goals and objectives as that earlier segment of the black civil rights movement which was led with distinction by prominent activists such as Rosa Parks, Dr. King, Dr. Maya Angelou and others.

Antagonists of Black Lives Matter say that the movement should not use “Black” in its name but instead should use “All”. They also say that the movement should not place emphasis on black people in its messaging and activity.

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The Black Lives Matter movement, the antagonists further state, by its name, is suggesting that only black people’s lives matter. The word “Black” in the name, and the movement’s emphasis on black people in its messaging and activity are supposed to be the reasons for demanding the change of name of the movement and a change of emphasis of the movement’s messaging and activity. Could there be other reasons for demanding such a change of name of the movement and a change of emphasis of the movement’s messaging and activity? Who will benefit from a change of name of the movement and a change of emphasis of the movement’s messaging and activity? Will black people, the intended recipients of the outcome of the movement’s messaging and activity, continue to be such recipients following a change of name and a change of emphasis of messaging and activity.

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Who, other than blacks, needs the urgent intervention of Black Lives Matter and similar movements to act on their behalf? How dare Africans to even think that their lives matter and that they should view themselves as human and ask to be treated thus!

Some of those same anti civil rights reactionaries, who secretly or openly stand against the civil rights achievements which have resulted from Dr. King’s life, work and martyrdom are conveniently paying lip service to the cause for which he lived and died; and are even seeking his and his movement’s help from the grave in their battle against Black Lives Matter. They are saying that Dr. King and his message are so much more preferable to Black Lives Matter and what they have to say.

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Why should Black Lives Matter change their name to an ambiguous one, and pursue an equally ambiguous course of action or no course of action at all? Why should Black Lives Matter address itself to ill founded fears and imaginary problems of its enemies or to problems for which it was not created to solve; problems whose attempted solving by the movement will dissipate its time, energy, money and human resource; and render it unable to serve the blacks who so urgently need its help ? Why should Black Lives Matter abandon the purpose for which it was created, and cease addressing itself to the pervasive problems of police physical and other forms of brutality against, and senseless murder of, black people?

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In the United States, there is a reactionary element that fatally practises “black lives do not matter”; simultaneously, that reactionary element also practices “all other lives matter”. The Black Lives Matter movement is an urgent, natural and spontaneous response by black people, to the fatal practices of that reactionary element and seeks, by non-violent means, to bring about an end to those fatal practices against African-American people. This work is a continuation of the work of Rosa Parks, Dr. King, Dr. Maya Angelou and others; and the reactionaries need to understand that Dr. King’s movement and Black Lives Matter, as mentioned above, share the same goals and objectives and that one is the progeny of the other.

By Edward Fagan

Refugee entry into certain countries should not be allowed under any circumstances.

Refugee entry should be made illegal by the United States and other western nations. These countries should only grant asylum to members of the Peshmerga and other ethnic Kurdish groups, and members of the Syrian and other regional Judeo-Christian communities.

It is important to note that all persons fleeing Syria and neighbouring countries are not refugees; many are mere opportunists seeking to take advantage of a situation that allows them a chance to settle in a country that offers an easier way of life and a higher standard of living.

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There also is the prospect of ISIS supporters posing as refugees, and joining the refugee mass and entering unsuspecting countries to carry out attacks later. There have been suspected cases of the occurrence of that situation, even recently, in Europe.

There also is the possibility that in the future, some of these same so called refugees or their offspring might become radicalized and take up arms on behalf of ISIS in the country where they have settled.

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What then is the alternative to allowing entry to those fleeing the crisis, and granting them temporary or permanent settlement? The United States and other western nations could encourage the Muslim countries in the region to accept the refugees into their countries for temporary or permanent settlement. This encouragement could be at all levels and could include linking the acceptance of refugees by the Muslim countries of the region to the granting of aid to those countries by the United States and western nations.

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When the Muslim countries agree to accept the refugees, the United States and other western nations could then commit the money and other resources they currently use to settle refugees within their borders, to be donated as aid to those Muslim countries who agree to accept the refugees. That aid could then be requested by those Muslim countries who accept the refugees, according to the needs of each country, in the form of money, shipping, air transport, personnel, technical and military assistance, various types of equipment, information technology, data, advice and other forms of assistance that might be considered necessary for the safe and trouble free transport of the refugees to, and settlement and temporary maintenance of the refugees in, those Muslim countries who accept them.

By Edward Fagan