A fascinating podcast about a child’s kidnapping, assault, and murder which eventually brought us to Megan’s Law. But the story extends far beyond that one crime into a look at other murders, assaults, rapes, and crimes in this same rural area. Stories of law enforcement’s inadequacy and mistakes that allowed murderers and rapists and assaulters to continue their evil. Rush to judgment that had them chasing the wrong people and ignoring clues. A total lack of openness to examine new ideas and which inhibited the investigation. Law enforcement which for the most part refused to admit errors or learn from them or initiate better training or apologize to the many people who were hurt far beyond the crimes. I listened in empathy as Jacob Wetterling’s family took call after call from people who advanced theories or alleged sightings of their son. People who did not seem to have any idea of how painful those calls must be offering a shred of hope for truth. I listened in disbelief at the ineptitude of supposed professionals. I learned about the autonomy of some sheriffs’ departments in this country. I listened ruefully thinking that growing up in a rural area somehow protected families from the crime of the big city.
And every story has lessons to keep for the future.