Friday, June 01, 2007

Still Looking for Madeleine McCann

Warning: Please do not read this if you are of the McCann family or friends.

During The First Gulf War in late 1990 at a dusty base on the Saudi Peninsula, I picked up a donated paperback out of a cardboard carebox full of them from the States. That musty-smelling little book changed my life by opening my eyes—not to goodness and light, but to darkness and evil.

It wasn’t a self-help book—in fact, it was anything but uplifting. The story within its faded covers was about a hideous horrible pseudo-man named Fish. For the two or three days it took me to get through it I could hardly eat. The thought that men of his ilk walk among us sickened the appetite right out of me.

The story I cringingly read was about the perverted life of Albert Fish. He was a psychopath, probably along the same lines as Ted Bundy. Their similarities were more numerous than their differences. The slick talking, good-looking Bundy bit, tortured and murdered women; while ugly Albert kidnapped, tormented and consumed children. Both were confidence men who satisfied their sick cravings through their magnetic charm and sly lies. They made people trust them, and then they betrayed that trust in the most unspeakable ways.

Even now, just the thought of Albert Fish makes me queasy. So, how did reading about this sicko change my life, and what does it have to do with the missing Madeleine? It’s obvious really. I first became a father in 1979 to a precious baby girl, and I was blessed with several more children after that. Of course, when I see pictures of little Madeleine and read of her family’s anguish I think of my OWN children. To me, lost children belong to ALL of us. WE must find them! And sadly, now that she IS missing, and for so long, I am once again reminded of Fish.

I also remember my own childhood, when I was 4. Back then, we lived in a trailer park in the middle of the woods just walking distance from Mud Lake, Maine. In 1961, I don’t think my parents had ever heard of Albert Fish, because my little sister and I pretty much wandered about and played anywhere we had a mind to. I know for certain that there were times that my mother did not know where the heck I was. But things were different back then. People were more trusting, perhaps naively so; because people like Fish have always been around, living among us, and waiting for an opportunity to strike.

After finding out about evil beings like Albert Fish, I have never looked at anyone quite the same again, especially while considering the love and responsibility I felt and feel for my own kids. My first batch of children are long grown and on their own. Just the same, Madeleine’s disappearance is very poignant to me because as I write this I have two little girls depending on me to see them through—they are 4 and 6, and I watch over them like a hawk. Admittedly, I wasn’t nearly as mindful of my “pre-Fish children,” but post-Fish, I became super-protective and super-vigilant—NO ONE is going to hurt my girls!

I know if the McCann’s could go back in time to that fateful evening, they would never have left their children in a strange house alone and unprotected. But I would never consider blaming them; because pre-Fish, I might have done something similar. It’s a hard thing to ponder—that there are sub-humans out there that would hurt our kids. Nevertheless, thanks to a book about a monster named Fish I became nauseatingly aware of them.

In 1936, Albert Fish was put to death in the electric chair at Sing Sing. Through some pretty good detective work he was arrested, put on trial and found guilty of the 1928 murder of 10-year-old Grace Budd. If you can believe it, after meeting with her parents just twice, they agreed to let her go with the grandfatherly benign-looking 58-year-old Fish, supposedly to his sister’s birthday party. They left hand-in-hand and then, nothing. She was gone forever. As far as what happened to her, what he told the police is unutterable for me.

Once sentenced to death, with nothing to lose, he described ad nauseum the life-long personal history of his attacks, killings and molestations. He was into a wide gamut of perversions, things that I never heard of; but I couldn’t care less about that. His sick fetish for torturing, killing and cannibalizing children is what turned my stomach and turned me into a whole new dad—a very very wary one.

Learning about this guy made the world a dreadfully menacing place for me, but knowing about “the dark side” of people can also be useful, if it keeps one from becoming complacent.

Keep your children close, and keep praying for little Madeleine.

See also Finding Madeleine McCann


Nick Ballesteros said...


That is a question that cannot be satisfactorily answered when these gruesome things happen. And it becomes all the more disturbing when it happens to children.

We keep a collection of Reader's Digest of various issues and I tentatively browse through them in Baguio. I read about this kid who was left at the video games for about 10 minutes only and he disappeared. It lead to a nationwide search. The kid was found, but the state at which he was in was unspeakable. He was identified only through his dental records. It, too, made me afraid for my kid and keep an alert eye over him when we go out.

Ed said...

Other than her initial disappearance, Maddy has largely disappeared off the American news screen. I think in a way, we are becoming desensitized to the frequency of child abductions.

PhilippinesPhil said...

I take you for a CNN man, and probably a hater of all things FNC. I still see plenty of news of Maddie on the BBC and FNC. From my sitemeter I can tell you that there is still a lot of interest in Finding Maddie throughout the UK and Europe, while Americans hardly care. No one in Asia has ever done a search for her (on the internet). The interest in finding her is dependent on where one lives.

Amadeo said...

As is poignantly said, suffer the little children. . .

The most innocent and vulnerable of our species.

And I still have 3 gandkids who are still in that very vulnerable stage. Thus, we, too, help out in assuring they can grow properly and safely.

Ed said...

Sorry Phil, I don't have cable (with CNN) and don't know what FNC is. My news is the NBC evening news and newspapers.

Ed said...

Wait, FNC probably is the Fox News Channel which I don't get either and never have seen so I guess I have no opinions on it one way or the other.

PhilippinesPhil said...

I'm sorry to say that ABC News is one of the most left leaning news organizations in existence, rivaled by NBC. Maddie was probably accosted by one of the known pedo rings that operate in that part of the world. Liberal news like ABC prefers not to cover those sorts of things. Its not on their agenda. If you want to see a world after the progressives have their way then go to Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Holland, etc... where its anything goes. Or, you can just make a quick trip over to Boulder, Colorado.... ABC prefers their viewers not dwell on what a society turns into once it loses most of its traditional moralities.

I guess you don't get cable out there. I NEED my cable. I'd go nuts if all I had was was ABC nightly news. I'd probably just use the Internet instead.

Ed said...

Oh we get cable out here, I just choose not to have it. I also choose not to have a cellphone which is looked upon as odd too in this day of age.

I suppose all news is biased somewhat is which I read some from the left and some from the right and try to figure out which is right, at least in my mind. I think anybody who uses just one media source for all their opinions is uninformed.

PhilippinesPhil said...

Keep listening to me and you'll be plenty informed! chuckle...