I've had a few long investigative stories that I read this week stuck in open tabs on my computer for a bit. I keep thinking, I've got to put this on Slog. Then trying to post means I'd have to think about the story for more than four seconds, and they're horrible, so I just set 'em aside again. Now that it's afternoon and you've had some time to wake up—maybe you even had a cocktail at lunch—I've decided to just do a Horrible News Roundup. So enjoy! Or whatever the opposite of enjoy is.
The practice is called "private re-homing," a term typically used by owners seeking new homes for their pets. Based on solicitations posted on one of eight similar online bulletin boards, the parallels are striking.
"Born in October of 2000 – this handsome boy, 'Rick' was placed from India a year ago and is obedient and eager to please," one ad for a child read.
A woman who said she is from Nebraska offered an 11-year-old boy she had adopted from Guatemala. "I am totally ashamed to say it but we do truly hate this boy!" she wrote in a July 2012 post.
Another parent advertised a child days after bringing her to America. "We adopted an 8-year-old girl from China… Unfortunately, We are now struggling having been home for 5 days." The parent asked that others share the ad "with anyone you think may be interested."
It began with a broken door. On the second floor of the Gillette House dorm at Vanderbilt University, a door had been knocked off its hinges and bent in the middle as if it had been kicked open, seemingly the kind of run-of-the-mill collateral damage that results from drunken hijinks on campuses all over the country. But officials reviewing security footage from the night the door was broken saw something suspicious, even sinister. Multiple men went in and out of one particular dorm room. Then Brandon Vandenburg, a highly rated tight end who’d just transferred to Vanderbilt’s football team from junior college, emerged and threw a towel over the hallway camera, and it went dark.
Still, Williams was angry. When she told men in her unit about the incident, they said she'd joined a man's military and asked what she expected to happen. "It definitely made me feel guys who were sexually harassing me, who were violating the rules, who were doing the wrong thing—that guys felt they were more important as soldiers because they were men." Williams, now a Truman National Security Project fellow and the author of Love My Rifle More Than You, didn't want to be a victim, so she stopped joking around and came off as unfriendly, she says. It was a lonely decision with potentially steep costs. "It's hard to be in a combat zone when I'm expected to rely on these guys for my life, but [I] no longer felt I could trust them to not sexually assault me if I let my guard down."
After the jump, a video of adorable baby cheetah cubs at the Dallas zoo to cleanse your brain. (But also, saaaaad when they snuggle a big fake mama cheetah!)