Sunday, 13 March 2011


or The emperor ... ain't got no clothes.
Up, Down, Appendices, Postscript.
Here's to the Elephant's Child. :-)Thanks to some guidance from Rudyard Kipling (via The Elephant's Child) I have been exploring Alzheimer's from a positive point of view. Here are some additional 'vantages I have come up with:
'Vantage #2: The process is gradual and indeterminate - you can't really even be sure it's happening - so you can, at least at times, totally relax into it and use the time to savour and appreciate the ride 'in its fullness'.

'Vantage #3: Older memories stay longer and they also seem to re-play themselves more often, so you get to visit old scenes, experience again what you have not thought about for oh so long, and, from a different viewpoint. Granted, some of them are unpleasant and uncomfortable, but - see corollary.

'Vantage #3 (corollary): When old memories rise to the surface they become 'newer' simply by virtue of being remembered and re-experienced, and so tend to come up a few times, but with decreasing frequency ... until they are gone forever.
I was thinking of my mother a while ago. Somewhere I have a picture of her, curled and sleeping so peacefully in her very last days ... there is a big box of photographs; I will try to sort through and find it.

Patrick White 1980 William YangOn the Nobel site this photograph is captioned 'A face consumed by wondering.'

Barranugli and Sarsaparilla are fictional suburbs somewhere in Australia invented by Patrick White. They figgure in his 1966 novel The Solid Mandala which I mentioned before and am now re-reading.

Here is Arthur's dance:
"Half clumsy, half electric. He danced the gods dying on a field of crimson velvet, against the discords of human voices. Even in the absence of gods, his life, or dance, was always prayerful. Even though he hadn't been taught ..."
A humorous tangent goes off from 'half electric' through Whitman's I Sing the Body Electric and fetches up with a squish and a thump on Barack Obama's recent letter to his daughters 'of Thee I Sing' which I also read this week and which we can only hope will permanently disestablish both Whitman and Obama from their nonsense literary pretentions.

There is obviously no connection, none, absolutely none whatsoever (!) between events in Cleveland Texas last Thanksgiving as reported in the Houston Chronicle and NYT newspapers; and Maria Aragon 'performing' with Lady Gaga in Toronto a week or so ago as seen on YouTube.

If you can see past the 'vicious assault' rhetoric (of course it was a vicious assault!) to: 'a 19-year-old boy invited the victim to ride around in his car' and 'retiree Joe Harrison noticed an 11-year-old girl as he walked past an abandoned trailer' and 'the group fled through a back window' and 'over the next two days, the recordings went viral around school' then (maybe) the scale and dimensions of this 'vicious assault' will begin to come uncomfortably into focus.

I fucking well hope it makes you uncomfortable.

I look out of my window and I see a society increasingly unable to deal with its issues, increasingly unable to even talk sensibly about the issues. One of the threads is atomization - individuals increasingly viewed as ends in themselves. Another is what I call 'delamination' - thinner and thinner social layers increasingly separated by trivial (but insurmountable) barriers to communication.

"Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world," (in Yeats' limited definition of anarchy).

Jeffrey TurnbullOr maybe just a callous and uncaring health system loosed upon k-k-Canada - as described by someone who should know, Jeffrey Turnbull, President of the Canadian Medical Association: CPAC video, webcast & transcript at the CMA.

Ain't it wonderful that some of the yeast who rises top-ish retains his ability to speak truth?

Still, a word that seems to have something to do with it all echoes out of Northrop Frye's Anatomy of Criticism - 'parody'.

But all I get from the OED is, parody: 1. A composition in prose or verse in which the characteristic turns of thought and phrase in an author or class of authors are imitated in such a way as to make them appear ridiculous, especially by applying them to ludicrously inappropriate subjects; an imitation of a work more or less closely modelled on the original, but so turned as to produce a ridiculous effect. 2. A poor or feeble imitation, a travesty.

'Ridiculous travesty' does not quite cut it; doesn't seem to be nearly serious enough? It's not often that the OED lets me down this way ... and Wikipedia is no better in this case: parody.

So ... off to The Anatomy of Criticism to see what's what. In the third part, 'Comic Fictional Modes,' of the First Essay comes this:
"The next step is an ironic comedy addressed to the people who can realize that murderous violence is less an attack on a virtuous society by a malignant individual than a symptom of that society's own viciousness. Such a comedy would be the kind of intellectualized parody of melodramatic formulas ..."
Still in the comic realm along with the OED, but at least a bit more serious eh? I like to get 'murderous violence' & 'malignant individual' coupled so nicely.

Then in the Third Essay he gets around to demonic imagery:
"... the release of fact into imagination. It is consistent with this that the Eucharist symbolism of the apocalyptic world, the metaphorical identification of vegetable, animal, human, and divine bodies, should have the imagery of cannibalism for its demonic parody."
And the 'demonic erotic relation' too, a demonic parody of marriage.

So ... a little light shed and a little heat embodied, not very much ... no one to talk to about these notions ... oh well ...

Steve Jobs & Bill GatesI suppose I will have to insert 'increasingly' as a keyword on this post ... but computer technology is so increasingly lame.

On the hardware side there is an obvious disconnect since none of these programs can figgure out if they are connected to the Internet or not except by waiting for the modem to time out. And that is just about exactly where we were in the mid 70's writing assembly programs to connect StarDyne to a GUI.

And the software!? Trying to search for 'parody' in Anatomy of Criticism; the search feature (top left) simply doesn't work; not all of the pages of text are loaded at one time so you have to go through each chapter with CTRL F one by one by one until you find what you are looking for or lose your mind - whichever comes first.

Ash Wednesday has passed ... and Easter is comin' on I guess.

As soon as 'demonic' entered the picture I began to think of communion (?) go figgure. And this hymn came to mind (which is not a communion hymn at all, go figgure again!).
Believers and adherents wear their ashes up front where anyone can see, but the Pope gets his sprinkled into his hair where they can't be seen at all.

Ash Wednesday for the hoi polloi
Ash Wednesday for Pope Benedict
   The strife is o’er, the battle done.

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

The strife is o’er, the battle done;
The victory of life is won;
The song of triumph has begun: Alleluia!

The powers of death have done their worst;
But Christ their legions hath dispersed;
Let shouts of holy joy outburst: Alleluia!

The three sad days are quickly sped;
He rises glorious from the dead;
All glory to our risen Head! Alleluia!

He closed the yawning gates of hell;
The bars from heaven’s high portals fell;
Let hymns of praise His triumphs tell! Alleluia!

Lord, by the stripes which wounded Thee,
From death’s dread sting Thy servants free,
That we may live, and sing to Thee: Alleluia!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

The YouTube link is provided to get the tune; it is tricky to get the first three Alleluia's right ... and the whole point is to mention that the final Alleluia in each verse has a dirge-like quality for me; there is a touch of the lamentation about it.
The strife is o’er, the battle done.The strife is o’er, the battle done.

Comic Strips for the 10's
Are you ready to direct the company with ethics, humanity, and respect for the planet, Matthew?
Certainly I am Daddy.
You said nothing Daniel? The job is yours.

The mental furniture around here is mostly from Tourette's second-hand store: "Fuckin' CUNT!" and "God DAMN!" and "FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! SHIT!" I'm sorry about that. Nobody sets out to wind up like this do they? Setting a bad example for the youth and carrying on disgracefully ... oh well.

I don't know a damned thing about any of it. Some vague idea about what happens when the parody becomes the real thing, overtakes & replaces it so to speak - does Northrop Frye have a word for that state of affairs I wonder? Can't read music (which Northrop Frye obviously could) so nothing much comes of looking at those lines & treble clefs ... searching for clues in a song I learned when I was a boy.

Not bad for an old lady eh? :-)A friend of mine sent this picture of her breast. Not bad for an old lady eh?

And so gentle reader I am well. May you also be.

(and a hearty curse on George Hudson, the originator of Daylight Saving Time, and a collector, like Clegg in John Fowles' story)


Eisenhower 1953Eisenhower 19531955IAEA 1957Eisenhower 1960Just a sliver of the history of it; and the very end of Ike's speech:

"... to devote its entire heart and mind to find the way by which the miraculous inventiveness of man shall not be dedicated to his death, but consecrated to his life." Dwight Eisenhower 1953.

'Consecrated' he says ... sure, and I grew up believing this shit. Eventually getting snagged & bogged down in the details ... what to do with the ten-thousand year waste? what about the increasing (there's that word again) concentration of power & control in the capital able to build the things? And so on ...

By my observation it was three days into the Japanese earthquake before anyone in the 'news' mentioned Chernobyl. Why is that? It seems an obvious comparison. And even as photographs of an obviously massive explosion are coming out of Fukushima they insist that little or no radiation has been released - say what?!

Lake MichiganThe photographs on the left came to me from two colleagues, well educated and with long-term successful careers, in an email explaining that they were taken by a friend in Mackinaw on Lake Michigan. So ... I guess you could say "anything goes." Feed them any shit at all and the Muggles will believe it. If that's Lake Michigan, then I'm Jack in the Beanstalk.

Indeed, concerted web searching turns up Oyvind Tangen who took the pictures in or near the Antarctic and published them here and there in 2008, including the Telegraph.

Fukushima DaiichiThe image on the right is of the Daiichi nuclear plant at Fukushima in Japan. It is the best I can find at this moment (Sunday 13th) and you will notice that it is blurry - because it is nothing but a screen grab from a BBC news video which looks to be the only source. Why is that would you say?

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano says, "If measures can be taken, we will be able to ensure the safety of the reactor.” That's comforting. Safety officials insist that radiation leaks outside the plant remain small and do not pose a major health risk. Right.
Yeah I'm a consecrated boy.
I'm a singer in a sunday choir.
I say now "Who do? ...
Who do you think you're foolin'?"
Paul Simon, 1973.
I will tell you the truth dear reader. My first thoughts when I heard about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan were ... 8 Richter, wow, that's 10x bigger than Haiti ... and then ... I hope it cracks one of the nuclear plants, then they'll see.

Not very nice eh?

Oops! ... meantersay thanks again to Angela at Greenspiration and the Ontario Clean Air Alliance for early links to substantive information:
World Nuclear News, and a fact sheet at the Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS).
A donation to any of these organizations would not go astray.


1. The Solid Mandala, excerpt p 264 ff.
2. Girl's sex assault rocks Cleveland, Cindy Horswell, March 7 2011.
3. Vicious Assault Shakes Texas Town, James McKinley, March 8 2011.

The Solid Mandala, excerpt p 264 ff.

       Till in his turn Arthur suddenly realised what was intended of him.

       "I'm going to dance for you, Mrs Poulter," he said. "I'm going to dance a mandala."

       He knew she was preparing to laugh, but wouldn't, because she had grown fond of him.

       "The mandala?" she said, soberly enough. "I never heard of a dance called that. Not any of the modem ones."

       He did not attempt to explain, because he felt he would make her see.

       So Arthur Brown danced, beginning at the first corner, from which he would proceed by stages to the fourth, and beyond. He who was so large, so shambly, found movement coming to him on the hillside in the bay of blackberries. The bands of his shirtsleeves were hanging open at the wrists. The bluish shadows in the less exposed parts of his skin, of his wrists, and the valley between his breasts, were soon pearled over.

       In the first corner, as a prelude to all that he had to reveal, he danced the dance of himself. Half clumsy, half electric. He danced the gods dying on a field of crimson velvet, against the discords of human voices. Even in the absence of gods, his life, or dance, was always prayerful. Even though he hadn't been taught, like the grocer, to go down on his knees and stick his hands together. Instead, offering his prayer to what he knew from light or silences. He danced the sleep of people in a wooden house, groaning under the pressure of sleep, their secrets locked prudently up, safe, until their spoken thoughts, or farts, gave them away. He danced the moon, anaesthetized by bottled cestrum. He danced the disc of the orange sun above icebergs, which was in a sense his beginning, and should perhaps be his end.

       While Mrs Poulter sat looking, playing with the tips of her dark hair. Sighing sometimes. Then looking down.

       In the second corner he declared his love for Dulcie Feinstein, and for her husband, by whom, through their love for Dulcie, he was, equally, possessed, so they were all three united, and their children still to be conceived. Into their corner of his mandala he wove their Star, on which their three-corner relationship was partly based. Flurries of hydrangea-headed music provided a ceremony of white notes falling exactly into place, and not far behind, the twisted ropes of dark music Waldo had forced on Dulcie the afternoon of strangling. There she was, the bones of her, seated on the upright chair, in black. And restored to flesh by her lover's flesh. The inextinguishable, always more revealing eyes.

       Dulcie's secrets, he could see, had been laid bare in the face of Mrs Poulter, who might otherwise have become the statue of a woman, under her hair, beside the blackberry bushes. Though she was swaying slightly as he began to weave her figure into the appropriate corner. In Mrs Poulter's corner he danced the rite of ripening pears, and little rootling suckling pigs. Skeins of golden honey were swinging and glittering from his drunken mouth. Until he reached the stillest moment. He was the child she had never carried in the dark of her body, under the heart, from the beat of which he was already learning what he could expect. The walls of his circular fortress shuddered.

       Mrs Poulter was at that point so obviously moved, she would have liked to throw the vision off, or stop him altogether, but he would not let her.

       He had begun to stamp, but brittly rigid, in his withering. In the fourth corner, which was his brother's, the reeds sawed at one another. There was a shuffling of dry mud, a clattering of dead flags, or papers. Of words and ideas skewered to paper. The old, bent, over-used, aluminium skewers. Thus pinned and persecuted, what should have risen in pure flight, dropped to a dry twitter, a clipped twitching. He couldn't dance his brother out of him, not fully. They were too close for it to work, closest and farthest when, with both his arms, he held them together, his fingers running with candle-wax. He could not save. At most a little comfort gushed out guiltily, from out of their double image, their never quite united figure. In that corner of the dance his anguished feet had trampled the grass into a desert.

       When Mrs Poulter leaned forward. She was holding her hair by handfuls in knots of fists, he could see - waiting.

       Till in the centre of their mandala he danced the passion of all their lives, the blood running out of the backs of his hands, water out of the hole in his ribs. His mouth was a silent hole because no sound was needed to explain.

       And then, when he had been spewed up, spat out, with the breeze stripping him down to the saturated skin, and the fit had almost withdrawn from him, he added the little quivering footnote on forgiveness, His arms were laid along his sides. His head hung. Facing her.

       He fell down, and lay, the rise and fall of his ribs a relief, to say nothing of her eyes, which he knew could only have been looking at him with understanding for his dance.

       Arthur must have dozed, for when he got up, Mrs Poulter was putting the finishing touches to her hair. Her head was looking so neat, though her nostrils were still slightly flared, from some experience recently suffered.

       Then Arthur knew that she was worthy of the mandala. Mrs Poulter and Dulcie Feinstein he loved the most - after Waldo of course.

       So he put his hand in his pocket, and knelt down beside her, and said: "I'm going to let you have the mandala, Mrs Poulter."

       It was the gold one, in which the sparks glinted, and from which the rays shot upward whenever the perfect sphere was struck by its counterpart.

"Ah, that's good! Isn't it, Arthur?" Mrs Poulter said, inclining over her open hand. "I would like to have a loan of that!"

"I want you to keep it. Wouldn't you like it?"

She looked up, and said: "Yes."

Girl's sex assault rocks Cleveland, Cindy Horswell, March 7 2011.

11-year-old is in foster care and 17 men and boys face charges. The list of suspects could grow

CLEVELAND, TEXAS - All Maria wanted was to see her 11-year-old daughter.

Weeks ago, the girl had been hushed away to a "safe house" for her own protection - after the phone calls started, and the disturbing, sexually explicit videos began surfacing in this town of 9,000 about 50 miles north of downtown Houston.

Seventeen men and boys, including a middle school student and adults in their 20s, have been charged with sexually assaulting Maria's daughter, a sixth-grader, in a dingy trailer. That number could grow to 28.

Last week, while hospitalized for an illness, Maria finally received a brief visit from the girl. "My daughter was crying and crying and hugging on me," Maria said. "She didn't want to leave. She misses her family and wants to come home."

But the family's tiny gray wooden home off a long, dark forested road on the outskirts of town is no longer considered safe for the 11-year-old. Child Protective Services put the girl in a foster home for her protection and restricted her family from even speaking to her, the family said.

Local officials say the attack has devastated this close-knit community, leaving many to wonder who will be charged next. There's talk that a star athlete at Cleveland High School was seen sexually assaulting the girl on the video. The son of a local school board member is involved, too.

Someone has been making phone calls to Maria's house. Police fear they're coming from people seeking retribution. "They keep calling and asking for her," said Maria, whose last name is not being printed to protect her daughter's identity. "They don't believe me when I say she's not here and cuss us out. They're trying to find her. This is the time when she needs us the most."

Music blaring

Cleveland, a town whose history dates to 1836, is nestled near the picturesque Sam Houston National Forest. Timber, cattle, farming and oil fuel the town's economy. Normally a quiet place, the community recently has been in an uproar over a looming election to recall three City Council members accused of mismanagement. When the sex assault story broke wide open in recent weeks, the town gained further unwanted attention.

The editor of the Cleveland Advocate, Vanesa Brashier, who has kept her hand on the pulse of this community, said, “Feelings are raw as these things keep happening and then there’s no time to heal. Our town has been in the spotlight too much lately.”

Some Cleveland residents, like Kisha Williams, are critical of the 11-year-old’s parents. “Where were they when this girl was seen wandering at all hours with no supervision and pretending to be much older?” she asked.

Several churches have organized special prayer events for the town.

Carter Williams, 64, seated at a small card table playing dominoes inside a local grocery, does not think laying blame is the right response to the sex assault. “This is a praying time for the young men and the young girl,” Williams said. “Seems like everyone in this whole town needs some God in their life.”

Inside a trailer

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, retiree Joe Harrison noticed an 11-year-old girl as he walked past an abandoned trailer to play dominoes with friends in what locals call "the Hood."

He thought the girl looked older than her years with her long hair and dark makeup. She was standing near the aging brown trailer, which was partially covered by a blue tarp and had remained unoccupied since Hurricane Ike except for an occasional drug user who would sneak inside to smoke crack.

Later, Harrison heard loud music blaring from that same trailer on Ross Street. But he thought the girl had already been picked up by her mother. He never realized anything horrible might have happened until weeks later when the arrests started. "I have a granddaughter that age and can't imagine anything like that happening to her," he said. "Whoever did this should pay for it."

Cleveland police say the 11-year-old was sexually assaulted inside that trailer and a small blue house with white trim around the corner.

The assaults happened Nov. 28 after a 19-year-old with prior drug convictions persuaded the young girl to leave her house and go "riding around" with him and two other young men, according to a Cleveland police officer's sworn statement.

They first went to the blue house, where she was ordered to disrobe. If she refused, the statement said, she was warned other girls would beat her up and she would never get a ride back home. Soon she was having sex with multiple young men there, the statement said. Someone used a phone to invite four more men, who soon arrived.

Not long afterward, the group fled through a back window when they heard a relative of one of the teens arriving at the blue house. The 11-year-old left behind her bra and panties as the group moved to the nearby abandoned trailer, where the assaults continued. As the men had sex with the girl, others used their cell phones to take photographs and video, police said.

Familiar faces in video

Over the next two days, the recordings went viral around school. One student who recognized the girl and several of the young men, including star athletes, in the videos, alerted school authorities and triggered the investigation.

So far, 17 suspects have been charged, ranging in age from a middle-schooler to a 27-year-old. Seven are high school students, including two members of Cleveland's state-ranked basketball team. Another is the 21-year-old son of a school board member. Several have prior criminal records for drug sales, aggravated robbery and manslaughter.

James D. Evans III, an attorney who represents three of the defendants, insists: "This is not a case of a child who was enslaved or taken advantage of." Investigators note an 11-year-old can never legally give consent.

On her Facebook page, the 11-year-old tells whomever she befriends that she's aware people have probably heard about her, but she doesn't care what they think. "If you dislike me, deal with it," she wrote.

Sometimes she comes across like a little girl, such as when she talks of her special talent for making "weird sound effects" and "running in circles" to overcome nervousness. But she also makes flamboyant statements about drinking, smoking and sex. Yet her vulnerability pokes through the tough veneer as she tells of "being hurt many times," where she "settled for less" and "let people take advantage" and "walk all over" her. She vows to learn from her mistakes.

While Maria said she never saw any of her daughter's Internet postings, she believes her 11-year-old might have been seeking misguided attention.

Earlier signs of trouble

Shortly before the video recordings surfaced at school, there was a sign of trouble. Her daughter had borrowed her father's cell phone, and afterward Maria discovered a lurid photo of a young man that had been e-mailed to it. "I asked about it, and she said she knew nothing. So I told her I was taking it to the police, and I did," Maria said. "They still have the phone. And I've not heard anything back."

Meanwhile, not only has the girl been forced from the town where she was born, but authorities also want the entire family to relocate. "The police think we may be in danger. Because if they can't get my 11-year-old, they might take out their revenge on us," said Maria, as extra patrols are making rounds down her street.

Neither Cleveland police nor Child Protective Services would discuss the safety issue or a closed-door hearing with the family held Friday in Coldspring. State District Judge Elizabeth Coker said a gag order has been issued.

Struggle for children

Maria's two older daughters, who are in advanced placement classes and the band, and her 9-year-old son have all cried about being uprooted. However, the 11-year-old, who was withdrawn from Cleveland schools when the videos surfaced, is enrolled in gifted and talented classes at her new school and is "doing fine," Maria said.

Yet life for the children has been a struggle, as their father cannot find carpentry work and their mother earns very little by cleaning houses. The mortgage holder recently notified the family that they were being evicted but gave them extra time because of the family crisis.

The stress has grown so intense, the 16-year-old daughter said, that her parents considered separating, while the 11-year-old is having regrets about following through with the case.

But Maria wants those who stole her daughter's childhood prosecuted. She said her daughter was threatened with beatings or death if she refused to cooperate. "These guys knew she was in middle school," Maria said. "You could tell that whenever you talked to her. She still loves stuffed bears."

Vicious Assault Shakes Texas Town, James McKinley, March 8 2011.

CLEVELAND, Texas — The police investigation began shortly after Thanksgiving, when an elementary school student alerted a teacher to a lurid cellphone video that included one of her classmates.

The video led the police to an abandoned trailer, more evidence and, eventually, to a roundup over the last month of 18 young men and teenage boys on charges of participating in the gang rape of an 11-year-old girl in the abandoned trailer home, the authorities said.

Five suspects are students at Cleveland High School, including two members of the basketball team. Another is the 21-year-old son of a school board member. A few of the others have criminal records, from selling drugs to robbery and, in one case, manslaughter. The suspects range in age from middle schoolers to a 27-year-old.

The case has rocked this East Texas community to its core and left many residents in the working-class neighborhood where the attack took place with unanswered questions. Among them is, if the allegations are proved, how could their young men have been drawn into such an act?

“It’s just destroyed our community,” said Sheila Harrison, 48, a hospital worker who says she knows several of the defendants. “These boys have to live with this the rest of their lives.”

The attack’s details remained unclear. The police have declined to discuss their inquiry because it is continuing. The whereabouts of the victim and her mother were not made public.

The allegations first came to light just after Thanksgiving, when a child who knows the victim told a teacher she had seen a videotape of the attack on a cellphone, said Stacey Gatlin, a spokeswoman for the Cleveland Independent School District.

The school district’s security department interviewed the girl, 11, who is a student at Cleveland Middle School, and her mother. The security department determined that a rape had taken place, but not on school property, and then handed the matter over to the police, Ms. Gatlin said.

On Dec. 9, the police obtained a search warrant to go through a house on Travis Street and a nearby trailer that had been abandoned for at least two years. An affidavit filed to support the search warrant said the girl had been forced to have sex with several men in both places on Nov. 28 and cited pictures and videos as proof, according to The Houston Chronicle.

The affidavit said the assault started after a 19-year-old boy invited the victim to ride around in his car. He took her to a house on Travis Street where one of the other men charged, also 19, lived. There the girl was ordered to disrobe and was sexually assaulted by several boys in the bedroom and bathroom. She was told she would be beaten if she did not comply, the affidavit said.

A relative of one of the suspects arrived, and the group fled through a back window. They then went to the abandoned mobile home, where the assaults continued. Some of those present recorded the sexual acts on their telephones, and these later were shown among students.

Residents in the neighborhood where the abandoned trailer stands — known as the Quarters — said the victim had been visiting various friends there for months. They said she dressed older than her age, wearing makeup and fashions more appropriate to a woman in her 20s. She would hang out with teenage boys at a playground, some said.

“Where was her mother? What was her mother thinking?” said Ms. Harrison, one of a handful of neighbors who would speak on the record. “How can you have an 11-year-old child missing down in the Quarters?”

Cleveland, a town of 9,000, lies about 50 miles northeast of Houston in the pine country, near the picturesque Sam Houston National Forest. The town’s economy has always rested on timber, cattle, farming and oil. But there are pockets of poverty, and in the neighborhood where the assault occurred, well-kept homes sit beside boarded-up houses and others with deteriorating facades.

The abandoned trailer where the assault took place is full of trash and has a blue tarp hanging from the front. Inside there is a filthy sofa, a disconnected stove in the middle of the living room, a broken stereo and some forlorn Christmas decorations. A copy of the search warrant was on a counter in the kitchen next to some abandoned family pictures.

The arrests have left many wondering who will be taken into custody next. Churches have held prayer services for the victim. The students who were arrested have not returned to school, and it is unclear if they ever will. Ms. Gatlin said the girl had been transferred to another district. “It’s devastating, and it’s really tearing our community apart,” she said. “I really wish that this could end in a better light.”


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