I read part of this story in yesterday's Globe and Mail, but it's been in most national US newspapers and likely on TV as well. It's the story of Anthony Stockelman, who raped and murdered 10 yr old Katie Collman in January 2005 and is now serving a life sentence in Indiana. He was "mysteriously" tattooed on his forehead by inmates with the words "KATIES revenge". This while he was in protective custody. I have to smile...sorry, but I know how jails and prisons work. Some guard had to have left his cell door open, and his back turned, for enough time to elapse for that to happen. I tried to upload the picture of his sorry looking face, but couldn't, so you'll have to imagine a shaggy-haired, cold-eyed young man with capital letters KATIES and in smaller letter "revenge" in black ink covering his entire forehead.
I googled farther into the story and found a website http://www.crothersville.net/playground/index.htm called Katie's Playground which was started by her parents, her school, and classmates on August 3, 2005. It's 8,000+ square feet, and the students made a list of everything they dreamed of having in a playground. The design was done by an architectural firm Leathers and Associates. It was all put together by volunteer labour, with volunteer day care provided. Amazing! A list of the play equipment and the cost of each piece was put up on a website page, and gradually things were bought and paid for.
The playground hosts events that are listed on the site. There are directions to the Playground. It's become a living memorial in a small town. A memorial to a little girl who didn't return from her short walk to the dollar store one January day over a year ago.
This is why I can never write about children or abducted children in my books. As a parent, I can think of nothing worse. I praise and admire the Collman's for their brilliant idea to make this playground as a testimony to their beautiful little girl. (An apartment building that housed a meth lab was torn down to make the space - all the more fitting to put up a children's playground)
As for tattooing Stockelman - he's lucky that's all they did to him. Anybody who checks in here even once a month knows I put out our Amber Alert for the little guy who was abducted in a small town in Saskatchewan. The pervert was caught, the two boys saved, and all of this could've been avoided if the police force out east had been on the ball enough to put it on CPIC that he was at large again. I think we need to do more than let communities know we have sexual offenders/child molesters living amongst us. Tattooing their forearms seems like a good idea to me - we could all see it - even tattooing their knuckles would save many children who could recognize it and run and scream away from them. If I sound like a neo-Nazi, well, sorry, but I was a cop, remember? :) I've dealt with several sexually assaulted children and you never forget - and regardless of what my PhD SIL believes, bless her, I don't believe the perps can ever be cured.
So let's tattoo them where it shows. Let's protect our children with such stringent laws that eventually there will be no more Katie Collmans, or Cynthia Luengs abducted and murdered.
And grace to Katie's parents, who must look at that playground some days with a heavy heart, but who have shown great courage during the worst year of their lives. Now some strangers they've never met have sealed their tormenter with "the mark of Cain" and he'll never be able to rest if and when he does get parole. Justice has been served.