The Lost Ones

"The Lost Ones" close up details

Months ago I decided to make Etsy.com my internet browser’s home page, not because Etsy is the Alpha and Omega of my web journeying (although once upon a time it might’ve been, LOL) but because my former home page – MSN.com – was continuously flooding my screen with horrific tales of child abductions, and murder suicides where families were torn apart by a father’s jealousy or uncontrollable debt.
It was depressing to have a daily reminder of the cruelty of mankind, when I’d rather be giggling over the silly pom-pom scarves featured on Etsy’s Front Page.

Reading these murder cases did not immediately cause me to fear for my own family’s safety – no material loss or emotional insecurity would cause either of us to inflict harm on our innocent children, and I’m fortunate to be free from evil voices in my head. Although, if there were voices telling me to murder my family, I would tell said voices to “Go drown thyselves.” Stubborn as I am, I listen to no man, woman, or demonic spirit.

These true stories of tragedy, however, pained me in my soul… for the loss of one child’s life is too much, especially betrayed by the very parents who were put on this earth to love and protect and nurture their offspring. It’s sickening enough that we cannot trust our neighbors to look after our welfare anymore.. that sexual deviants lurk in abandoned buildings, ready to snatch a 7-year-old child from the sidewalk a few blocks from her home.
I remember those care-free days of my youth… a mere quarter century ago… when I frolicked in my backyard without fear, and watched as my peers walked home from school, envious of their independence – my parents chauffeured me to and from my private school. My friends and I traveled about like a pack of wild dogs on bicycles… and if child molesters and aspiring murderers lived among us, they never revealed themselves. We were the lucky ones, I suppose.
Of course, I don’t recall Child Services being so vigilant back then either… my next door neighbor was a SAHM who made pocket-money as a daycare provider. Oy! A classmate of mine was one of her unfortunate charges, and her methods reminded me of a villain straight from Dickens. I witnessed her picking a child up, off the ground, by an arm (to carry him into the house) … and dragging another inside by his ear.

I digress… my usual habit.

My attempts to avoid subjection to the terrible events blasted across the news were hardly successful. We still own a television with Dish Network access.
Recently, while flipping channels, we lingered too long on 20/20… and quickly got swept away by the survival story of Carmina Salcido.
Her father, Ramon, went on a bloody rampage back in 1989… killing 7 people, including her mother and two young sisters. He attempted to kill 3-year-old Carmina, but she survived having her throat cut… and waited beside her sisters’ dead corpses, in a dump, for 36 hours before she was found and taken to the hospital.
(I don’t feel like recounting all the gruesome details here on my blog – but Googling Carmina Salcido will bring up all relevant links, for anyone interested)

Salcido-sisters

Carmina (in the middle) with her sisters, Sophia and Teresa

Yes, it’s a miracle she survived! … The warm fuzzies only last moments, however, when the weight of Ramon’s actions settle in your mind. I watched as she told reporters of her visit (to see her father) years later. She was hoping for some emotion on his part: grief, apologies, an explanation, anything… He gave her nothing.
No excuses. No reasons. No apology.
Apparently, he’s also “found God” (surprised?), has been ordained and preaches to 300 inmates. Good for him. I guess he’s using 2 Corinthians 5:17 as his personal crutch, as so many “sinners” do when they wish to claim past deeds were committed “by another man”… “I’m a new creature” (i.e. that wasn’t me).
I’m sorry, you sick asshole, but you murdered 4 children and 3 adults… God may have forgiven you, but you’re still responsible for their deaths. At the very least, you owe your living child an apology and some genuine remorse for the physical, emotional, and psychological scars she’s endured for the last 20 years. To not acknowledge your wrong-doings is disgusting, and frankly, not Christian… for isn’t “repentance” a requirement?

I personally fell into a minor depression – reading article after article, and gazing at Salcido family photographs… It was such a meaningless waste. I can’t honestly think of a worse crime against man or nature, than to destroy innocent young lives. It seems to be a disease – this slaughtering of children – from abortions and dumping living babies into garbage bags… to microwaving an infant to death because Mommy’s boyfriend was jealous… or a mother allowing her children to be tortured by their step-father (what the hell for?! Is keeping an abusive husband happy more important than a child’s safety?) …
I began to allow my anger for these people fester. There may also have been some additional circumstances that brought me into this dark place, but this murder case certainly was the proverbial straw.

I was having some difficulty climbing out of my wallowing hole, until my webmaster Trevor posted a contest on the Foundmyself.com forums. The director of the soon-to-be-released computer animated movie, titled “9”, was calling for artists to design original characters based on the sapient rag-dolls from his film, set in post-apocalyptic times. These worn rag-doll creatures, struggling to survive the aftermath of a global holocaust that wiped out the human race, eerily reminded me of abused children cast down by unloving parents. In fact, the individual who found Carmina said he initially thought they were three large dolls lying on the ground. And then one moved…

Inspired by this dark vision of orphan rag dolls, I painted my acrylic portrait of the two lost little kittens. They represent not only Teresa and Sophia, but all children in this world who were treated cruelly by their guardians. One has a tear in her arm, with stuffing coming out. I just wanted to take them home, stitch them back up, spot-clean them and dress them in new jumpers… and give them to my own children to play with and cherish.

It might not be one of my more popular pieces – not like “Mr. Darcy” or “ARMY Cat” – it might not even be technically good, seeing as I rushed to complete it within the deadline given for the contest. But for me personally, it’s the most meaningful piece I’ve created in a long time… I allowed myself to feel something, and poured all my anger and grief into it. (I guess, on reflection, it would explain why the image is a blend of bright reds and deep greys)

For days afterward, I didn’t even look at it, because seeing their faces brought back the awareness of the loss. I couldn’t even think of a title. When I uploaded it to my Flickr photostream, I called it “Are We Loved?” but that title didn’t really speak to me. I’m leaning now towards calling it “The Lost Ones” because they truly are lost to us.
Even if their souls are in a better place, they are still lost forever to this life. They will never experience the joys of growing up, choosing careers, making friends, owning pets, falling in love, raising their own children, or expressing their creativity. We will never know what their potential contributions, achievements, or talents might have been. And they, who were born and raised into fear and torment, will never know the love they might have had with a different family. That men are born unto monsters is tragedy enough, but these poor souls never had a chance to become men (or women), or to discover the greater world outside of their confined hellish existence.

So I pray my heathen’s prayer, each night, that these poor victims of abuse may truly “rest in peace” after death… and not be tormented even further in their afterlife, or I’ll be forced to kick Satan’s ass with my flaming feet when I get there. >:)

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