stupid people, true crime

Wacko women with weapons…

Good morning, all. It’s been about 43 hours since I got Moderna shot number two. So far, I’m still doing better with it than Bill did. All I’ve suffered is sore arms. Yes, plural. I got my first shot in my left arm and the second one in the right. I had more of a reaction on the left side with the first shot. I got soreness and redness and a big blotch that is mostly faded now, but still slightly visible. The right side is sore today, though not as sore as yesterday. Weirdly enough, my left arm was also sore where the injection was, but isn’t sore today. Now, I have the red blotch on the right side, a little swelling, and what feels like a slightly enlarged lymph node. But I’ve had no issues with fever, headache, or exhaustion. I think it’s interesting how different people respond to the COVID-19 vaccine. Bill was laid out for a day when he had his second shot. He had a fever, soreness, headaches, and exhaustion.

Now, on to today’s topic, wacko women with weapons. Yesterday, I read a frightening story about a 24 year old mother in Houston, Texas who decided to shoot her small caliber pistol at someone’s escaped Boxer puppy, a six month old pooch named Bruno. Angelia Mia Vargas has been charged with deadly conduct – discharge of firearm. Her five year old son is currently in the hospital in stable condition. Why? Because instead of successfully shooting the puppy on Saturday, Vargas fired her weapon three times and one of the bullets ricocheted off of the pavement and into her son’s abdomen.

At the time of the shooting, Vargas, her son, and another family member were riding their bikes. Bruno, an adorable Boxer puppy, slipped out of his home when his owner cracked open the door, thinking his brother was there. The dog’s owner followed the puppy outside to the front yard, where Vargas and her family members were passing on their bikes. Bruno evidently never even left his yard when Vargas opened fire. The dog’s leg was grazed by a bullet, but the most damage was done to Vargas’ own son, who now has to live with the fact that his own mother is responsible for the permanent scar on his stomach. The entire incident was captured on the dog owner’s ring camera. Vargas fired the weapon across a public roadway, in the direction of two houses.

I watched the above video about the case and am pretty flabbergasted that the dog’s owner is so calm. If it were me, I would be absolutely livid, and you bet your ass I would be demanding to know what the fuck Vargas was doing firing a weapon in a neighborhood like that. Why was she trying to shoot a puppy, especially when he was in his own yard? Why was she carrying a loaded weapon while riding a bike with her child? There’s just so much wrong with this situation, I just can’t wrap my head around it. The dog’s owner says that Vargas didn’t even seem to aim; she just pulled out the gun and started shooting.

I used to live near San Antonio, Texas. We lived there for a year before we moved back to Germany in 2014. During that time, our dog Zane escaped the backyard, because the pool guy neglected to close the gate. It happened to be my birthday, too. Bill and I went after Zane and he ran into some guy’s yard. I asked the guy to grab his collar– Zane was super friendly and sweet. The guy just shrugged and walked away like an asshole. Fortunately, we were able to catch Zane when he got distracted by some bushes and wandered into an area where we could corner him. I guess I can be glad that at least our former asshole neighbor didn’t pull out a gun and shoot Zane.

By contrast, when we lived in our last German village, Arran once got out and several people in the neighborhood helped Bill catch him. And not a single one of them was packing heat!

Stories like these make me not want to move back to the States. There are too many wackos with weapons there, and too many of them have an itchy trigger finger that can lead to unexpected injury or death to innocent people. Hopefully, Vargas’ son will recover with no serious permanent effects to his health… and I hope child protective services does a thorough investigation of his mother, who seems to have a screw loose.

When we do move back to the USA, I think we will avoid Texas, especially since Governor Greg Abbott plans to sign a law that would allow Texas residents to carry firearms without a permit, background check, or special training. At the same time, he’s also signed a law that forbids women to have abortions after six weeks’ gestation. The obsession some people have for having total access to guns seems pretty opposite to having respect for human life. I guess Abbott would rather kids die when they are fully developed and conscious of what’s happening to them.

The dog’s owner was issued a citation for not having the dog on a leash.

book reviews, true crime

Repost: Kathryn Casey’s Deliver Us…

And here’s one more repost of a review I originally posted in April 2015, Kathryn Casey’s Deliver Us.

For the past several weeks, I have been trying to read Kathryn Casey’s 2015 book, Deliver Us: Three Decades of Murder and Redemption in the Infamous I-45/Texas Killing Fields.  I used to be able to rip through books in a matter of days, but I think I’ve gotten too attached to Facebook games, beer, and wine.  I get distracted and my reading habit suffers. 

Since Epinions is no longer around to give me a sense of urgency, I put off getting through books, even when they are especially interesting.  As it stands right now, I have several books waiting to be read, some of which are actual books and not on the Kindle.  Anyway, I finally finished the Kindle version of Ms. Casey’s latest this book this morning.  This will no doubt excite one of my Epinions friends now turned one of my Facebook friends.  He actually knows Kathryn Casey.  

Deliver Us is a book about more than twenty women and girls who were mysteriously murdered on a fifty mile stretch of highway.  These murders took place over a span of three decades and were within the journey from Houston to Galveston, Texas.  Rather than focus on one murder case, Kathryn Casey has researched and written about the large number of victims and put it into one impressive and well-written volume.  Some of the stories are fascinating.  All are heartbreaking, as the victims were uniformly young and beautiful and much loved by friends and family.

While I usually like to read true crime books that focus on just a single case, I do think Deliver Us works well in its multi-faceted approach.  However, the fact that this was about so many different cases may be the main reason why it took so long to finish the book.  I would read a chapter dedicated to a victim, then put the Kindle down to sleep.  Since each chapter pretty much covers a case, I wasn’t left wanting to know what would come next.  It was easy to put off my reading.

I would have thought this book would have been about a single killer, but in fact, there were several criminals hunting in the “Texas Killing Fields”.  While it’s not always pleasant to read about the unsavory people who stalk and kill others, I have to admit that Casey does a great job outlining the cases.  In one chapter, she writes of a man who killed a teenager in Texas.  The murder went unsolved for a long time before the killer got arrested in Louisiana on a felony charge.  In Texas, DNA samples are only collected in cases of sexual assault or murder, but in Louisiana, they are collected from anyone accused of a felony.  The killer’s DNA was collected and he was finally linked to the Texas murder.  The young woman’s family finally saw him brought to justice and got some closure.

In another heartbreaking story, she writes of a young girl who lost her mother to breast cancer when she was just a toddler.  The girl was adopted by her father’s second wife and was enjoying an idyllic upbringing in a rural area near Houston.  She was well on her way to becoming a ballerina when one night, just a couple of days before her thirteenth birthday, she decided to go for a jog.  The land near her formerly rural home was being developed as many people were moving to Texas for work.  Lots of strangers were in the neighborhood, doing construction on the new homes.  That fact would lead to the girl’s tragically early demise.  Having just left San Antonio last year, I could easily imagine the housing developments Casey wrote of.  I have seen (and lived in) them myself.  At the same time, how sad that this family was so tragically affected by progress.  Would the girl still be alive if the area had stayed rural?  Maybe.

I liked Deliver Us for all the usual reasons I enjoy Kathryn Casey’s books.  She’s very good at conveying the human side of stories.  It’s that human side that gets people to read true crime; when it’s missing, all you have is a gory story about someone meeting an unfortunate end. 

Having recently lived in Texas and driven through Houston and the surrounding areas, I could easily picture the landscape Casey writes of.  I think that was another reason Deliver Us was appealing to me.  That, and I like the fact that Casey keeps a conversational tone.  I feel like she’s actually communicating with me through her writing, even though we don’t know each other.  Maybe I feel that way because I have read most of Casey’s other books.  At one point, she mentions another book she wrote about serial rapist, James Bergstrom.  I read that book in 1994, when it was first published as The Rapist’s Wife.  It has since been re-published under the title Evil Beside Her.  Casey mentions that case because James Bergstrom was able to get away with rape for many years due to his ability to switch jurisdictions and fly under the radar.  Nowadays, it’s not as easy to do that.    

I always make a point of reading Kathryn Casey’s excellent true crime books.  I think of her as the Ann Rule of Texas.  Most of her books highlight murder cases that happen in Texas, specifically Houston.  They are always well-researched and respectful to the victims.  Some readers may find Deliver Us to be harder to get into because of the volume of cases covered.  There is less detail provided to each story because there are so many of them.  On the other hand, some people may like that there are many stories in one book.  It does make finding a stopping point easier.     

I would recommend Deliver Us to true crime lovers.  Just remember that this is not one person’s story.  It’s many stories that come from a common area in Texas.  And now that I’ve read this book, if I ever drive along I-45 in Texas, I will be extra careful not to break down!

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