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I get many e-mails asking that we air some good news, as well as the bad news. In thinking about our show last night, I realized that some of it was good news, but I admit the bad outweighs the good.
For instance, last night we reported that the family (wife and two children) of CNET.com's editor was found, but we also had to report the bad: he is still missing. We first reported the story last week and we worried, of course, whether any of the family would survive the stormy freezing snow conditions in Oregon. The facts that are coming out show an amazing story of survival for the mother and her two children, but until the father of the family is found alive, the story is a tense one. When I hear of stories like this, and I assume you are the same, you think that if you are ever on a long distance road trip you will take along some items that could help should you get stranded.
We had Duane "Dog" Chapman on our show last night. His story is a strange one. Andrew Luster, accused of dozens of rape charges (more than 75?), vanishes (jumps bond) during his trial and goes to Mexico. Chapman goes over the border into Mexico and gets him — which is against the Mexican law — and brings him back to the United States to answer to the rape charges and now Luster is in prison. Presumably, Mexican women are now safe, since Luster — from facts presented at his trial — is a serial rapist. The problem? Mexico is furious that Chapman violated their law. They asked the United States to arrest Chapman (the U.S. did) and bring Chapman back to Mexico to answer charges (not yet done... Chapman is currently on release while the matter gets reviewed.)
The lawful, by-the-book way to handle Luster's flight would have been for the Mexican authorities to arrest Luster and turn him over to the United States and the United States return Luster to California to finish his trial and answer to the verdict. Since that was not done by the U.S., bounty hunter Chapman took over the matter. So here is my question to you: What do you think of this? Should Chapman be sent to Mexico to answer to the charge?
The Chapman story has a fascinating international political and legal element to it. I am curious what our State Department will do — if anything. Of course this is complicated by the fact that it is Mexico — we do have big immigration problems with Mexico and other issues with them. Victims of the rape should get justice and people need to be protected from criminals, but can we have Americans going into other countries nabbing even criminals? There are many issues raised by this story.
And here is a thought: If the U.S. decides against sending Chapman back to face the Mexican allegations, will Mexico do some 'self help' (Chapman style) and send a bounty hunter into U.S. to do the same? And then what? You tell me — e-mail me.
Check this video out — and don’t blame me, it was sent to me by my assistant. Her father sent it to her.
Now for some e-mails:
E-mail No. 1
Greta, or whom it may concern,
I was watching "On the Record" last night (12-4-06) when a Spanish commercial came on. I live close to San Antonio but I don't care, since this is an American show I don't want my time wasted by this commercial that I can't understand. To put it bluntly, I'm 50 years old, lived about 4/5th of my life in Texas and have never been to Mexico (I'm on a roll). If I were going to learn a 2nd language, it sure as hell wouldn't be Mexican.
I would appreciate it if you would have these commercials stop being aired during YOUR show otherwise I will cut you off and start watching something else in your time slot.
ANSWER: I have not idea what this viewer is talking about. Did anyone else see this commercial? Must be the local cable provider commercials...
E-mail No. 2
Counter programming is a great strategy. I tend to be a contrarian, I'd rather do the less popular thing, or travel the less popular way.
As for Iraq, I'd love to hear more about the victories that are occurring, rather than the atrocities. I'm nearly finished reading Col. North's "War Stories" book "Operation Iraqi Freedom". In it he states that, "...much of the 'Good News' from Iraq dried up when the embedded news teams came home."
I know our guys there are doing an awesome job. I'd love to hear more about the good stuff they are accomplishing.
On a more general note, I know that, on occasion, you do great positive stories, but it seems to me that we hear a lot more of the ugly stuff, and not just from "On the Record." My wife hates watching the news just before bedtime, because it is so depressing. Maybe your researchers can take some of those stories that have been beaten into the ground during the day, and find the good side to them. It will take more work to find, and it might not be obvious for a while, but there almost always is something good or hopeful that comes out of seemingly bad situations, and sometimes a chain reaction of good things occurs.
Thanks for asking... and listening.
Hope that was helpful,
E-mail No. 3
Dear Ms. Van Susteren,
I have followed your continued coverage of Natalee Holloway in Aruba with a great deal of interest. However, I would like to bring your attention to a case just as mysterious right here in the United States. On December 13, 2004, a young man by the name of Stephan Adams disappeared off the face of the earth... as did his truck. Next week it will be two years since he has vanished without a trace.
As a resident of Muskogee (where Stephan worked) and a student at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah (where Stephan attended college), I am concerned to think that not only has Stephan never been found... and his family still remain in a daily state of frustrating limbo... but that the individual who harmed Stephan is still out there somewhere... running free... and the next person he/she decides to vanquish might be me... or MY loved one.
I do hope you will consider bringing the national spotlight to the Muskogee/Tahlequah area, even if briefly, so there may be some hope of reconciliation for Stephan, his family, and the area residents.
ANSWER: It is stunning how many people just vanish off the face of the earth. I wish I could help every family with this crisis. Before I started doing these segments, I had no idea how many families this happened to. Each day I get e-mails like the one above. It is so tragic and the families wait and wait and wait... and no answer about their loved ones.
E-mail No. 4
Does any one know of all the good work being done throughout Afghanistan and Iraq? The training of citizens in real trades they can use, to develop there countries and economies? Working for an engineering unit in eastern Afghanistan, we have trained many local people in many trades. I'm sure the same is true in Iraq. We are here to help the countries were in. some like the glamorous headlines, the support teams (both engineer and see bees) in both countries train and rebuild (hate that word) infrastructure utilities and workers to man and use what we take for granted. I appreciate your column (and TV show) and hope to see it again when redeploy back to the States.
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