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Spirit Lake Nation In North Dakota: A True Story of Injustice

Updated on November 3, 2014

“In looking at this information, it is important to view violence against Native American women as a continuum of crime…crime experienced from birth through death. Babies hear the domestic violence in the home, and are assaulted or abused; children are molested, beaten, neglected and abused; teens suffer date rape or date violence; young women are raped, abused or assaulted; married women suffer all forms of domestic violence and sexual assault; and seniors face elder abuse and financial fraud.”

Ms. Roi Holt, Victim Assistance Coordinator, U.S. Department of the Interior, Indian Affairs.

A TRUE STORY

North Dakota is considered by many to be the third safest state in the nation with regards to violent crime. It is also, because of the Bakken Formation, rapidly becoming one of the go-to places in the United States for employment. A place of safety….a place of prosperity….this is North Dakota in 2012.

The Spirit Lake Tribe reservation was established by a treaty between the United States Government and the Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux Bands in 1867. The reservation lies in East Central North Dakota and comprises a total of 245,141 acres of which 26,283 acres are tribally owned.

This is Northern Plains country, flat terrain and rolling hills, with wooded areas sprinkled across the vast landscape. Devils Lake provides an oasis in this windswept region and the Sheyenne River flows along the southern boundary of the Reservation for fifty miles on its way to the Red River and ultimately Manitoba, Canada. Slightly less than 7,000 people live on the Reservation today, many of whom are descendants of the proud Sioux tribes of the 18th and 19th centuries. The Sioux tribes of yesteryear were proud people, fierce warriors, and people of compassion and wisdom. They were respected by friends and foe alike for their bravery, intelligence and strong sense of community. Sadly the same cannot be said today.

THE STORY UNFOLDS

On the afternoon of May 21, 2011, Spirit Lake Tribe’s child case worker,Betty Jo Krenz, was called by Tribal authorities and asked to report to a home on the Reservation. She quickly responded and at approximately four p.m. she entered a home in the town of St. Michael, where police and ambulance crews were already on the scene. I will let the words of Betty Jo speak for themselves:

“At 4:00 p.m. I entered the home where I was told there was a three-year old survivor, a dead nine-year old girl and a dead six-year old boy. The young boy came running out of a back room. The boy was covered in blood. The smell was something I will never forget. Rotting flesh, dried blood, old garbage all rolled into one. I turned around to see a room full of bloody handprints about two feet off of the floor with scratch marks to the floor. Both children had been stabbed repeatedly; they had been dead for some time as the bodies had started to decay. The little girl and boy had been violated. The boy had cigarette burns all over his broken body. The little child that survived told me he hid in the cupboard while the bald man cut baby Travis and Destiny.”

The home where the children were found is in a housing development where there are neighbors twenty feet away. The murder scene was in no way isolated. Surely someone must have seen or heard something the day of the murders. Surely someone in this once proud nation, this once compassionate and caring nation, must have questioned why these three children were home alone, why their parents had left them, why no one was there to protect them from this vicious attack.

THE QUESTIONS MOUNT RAPIDLY

Dead were nine-year old Destiny DuBois and her brother, six-year old Travis DuBois Jr. They had been reported missing several days earlier by their father, Travis DeBois. The nightmare for the children had ended. The nightmare for the community had just begun.

Spirit Lake is an autonomous nation within the United States, and as such is a breeding ground for jurisdictional problems. The ruling body of the Spirit Lake Nation is the Tribal Council, led by Tribal Chairman Roger Yankton. The majority of crimes on the Reservation are investigated and handled by the Tribal Police, but felonies are handled by the FBI. The murders of these two children became a political and jurisdictional football, kicked around by the Tribal Police, the FBI, the BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) and the IHS (Indian Health Services).

While the football was being kicked around questions mounted. Why were the children alone in the house? Where was the father? Where was the mother? Why had no neighbors heard anything?

On the same day that the children were discovered, the father was arrested and taken into custody. He pleaded guilty to public intoxication and reckless endangerment, and would remain in jail on those charges a full year after the murders.

The mother, Mena Shaw, was not living with the children at the time of their murder. She had been recently separated from her husband and she herself had misdemeanor convictions for possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia.

FOURTEEN MONTHS THEN PASS

On Monday, July 23, 2012, U.S. Attorney Timothy Purdon announced that Valentino James Bagola, age 19, had been arrested in the slayings of the DuBois children. He is being held on four counts of first-degree murder and his tentative trial date is September 24th.

Purdon issued this statement following the arrest: “This investigation included the thorough examination of a great deal of forensic evidence and law enforcement interviews of many, many individuals.”

On the surface, a happy ending to a horrific event; the community can finally breathe a sigh of relief!

Or can they?

THERE IS SOMETHING ROTTEN IN DENMARK

Fourteen months! Talk to people on the reservation and they will tell you that very little was done in the way of investigating. Canvassing of the neighborhood where the children were killed, a fairly common police practice, did not occur in this case.

The man eventually arrested, Mr. Bagola, has a full head of hair and can in no way be mistaken for bald.

A registered sex offender who lives on the reservation, oneRobert Herman Jr.. (who is bald) was never questioned. It is worth noting that Mr. Herman is the nephew of the Tribal Chairman.

While on the subject of the Tribal Chairman, those living on the reservation have told this author that the Chairman rules the reservation like a dictator and his corruption is widely known. Those who speak out against him have lost their jobs and in some instances had their homes burned to the ground.

THE STORY CONTINUES TO DETERIORATE

The United States Indian Health Services state that alcohol dependency is six times greater for Indians than for the rest of the population in this country. Alcohol related deaths comprise 11.7% of all Indian deaths compared to 3.3% for the rest of the citizens of this country. Drug abuse is on the rise, abuse, parental neglect and rape are at epidemic proportions, and the true nightmare of this story is that there is no solution in sight.

Betty Jo Krenz, the Spirit Lake case worker who was called to the murder scene, went to the FBI and BIA with accusations against the Tribe for misuse of Federal funds and for seriously negligible practicesregarding the safety of children. She was fired the next day by the Tribe. She has since received death threats and been forced off of the road several times while driving her car.

The Tribe psychologist, Dr. Tillus, was transferred to another area after he wrote a letter of concern about child and family safety on the Reservation.

On July 11, 2012, a 2-month old child died from neglect on the Reservation. Deborah Anderson died shortly after her family was denied help from Social Services. Federal officials say other family members reported child neglect to Tribal Social Services; the child’s mother, Rainey Anderson, had also been reported for suspected drug us and allegations of neglect of her other children.

On June 14th Thomas Sullivan, regional administrator for the U.S. Administration for Children and Families, called for a state of emergency at Spirit Lake. In his letter to state and federal officials, he stated: “The children of the Spirit Lake Reservation are being subjected to actual abuse or the threat of such abuse due to the actions and inactions of adults who have responsibility to protect them from such abuse.” He added, in a condemnation of Tribal Chairman Roger Yankton, “They have hung signs at the borders of the Spirit Lake Nation, ‘Pedophiles Welcome,’ They have made these signs operational by firing professional, qualified staff, directing their replacements to ignore reports of abuse and neglect, refusing to prosecute the most egregious cases of abuse, even the murder of children, by demonizing those who speak out on behalf of these children.” He went on to call for charges to be brought against Yankton for felony child abuse and endangerment.

Chairman Yankton has cited staff turnover and inadequate federal funding for the tribe’s problems.

The North Dakota Department of Human Services states that they have limited jurisdiction and has acted where it can.

North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple has stated that where the state can act it has acted.

U.S. Attorney Timothy Purdon says he is proud of his office’s record in prosecuting criminal child abuse and neglect at Spirit Lake.

CLEARLY THERE IS A DISREGARD FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

So those are the facts. Nothing printed in this article is supposition and all facts are verifiable and a matter of record.

Which leaves us with the inevitable question WHY?

Why were those two murdered children alone in that house that fateful day?

Why was the investigation into their deaths so sophomoric in scope?

Why are those who speak out against the Tribal Council either threatened, fired, or harmed?

Why were two children murdered in a neighborhood and no one heard or saw anything?

Why have abuse and neglect become the norm at Spirit Lake?

Why have the people, sworn to protect children and women, failed at their jobs?

Why was a known sex offender, with a history of violence, not looked at by authorities? Nepotism?

Why has the Federal Government allowed a weak and ineffectual Tribal Council to continue on?

Why….Why….Why?

I have no obvious vested interest in Spirit Lake Nation. I do not live there. However, I am a human being, and as such I believe my interest in Spirit Lake should be the interest of anyone who claims to be compassionate. As a nation that has led the charge for human rights around the world, and in fact gone to war because of human rights issues, I have to ask why human rights violations are ignored in our own country? How can we spend hundreds of millions in Africa and Haiti and not spend a little bit of time policing North Dakota?

One resident of Spirit Lake summed it up beautifully: “In the middle of one of the safest states in the United States, one of the wealthiest states whose reputation is one of good old-fashioned morals and ethics, is a sovereign nation where women and children are a commodity. These children live in a constant state of fear. Hunger is a constant issue; rape is as common among children and women as the flu. It’s not a matter of if you will be raped but rather when it will happen and how many times.”

How is this all possible? For one, lack of information is a crucial factor. What goes on in an Indian reservation in North Dakota is not common knowledge. It is a small sampling of a small state, and as such it is not big news. Awareness will increase as more and more people speak out against it.

For another, complacency is a factor. We have become a society that cares only about our own lives and our own comforts. We have forgotten how to stand up for others because we are too busy building our own protective fortress and taking care of our own needs. This has to stop! What happens to our weakest happens to us.

Then there is fear! Fear has a grip on the people of Spirit Lake, and it is understandable for sure. When your life is threatened, when your livelihood is threatened, then the natural reaction is to stay silent. However, fear has no grip on those of us who do not live in Spirit Lake Nation, and it appears that it is up to us to help those who live in fear. The Tribal Council at Spirit Lake has no hold on me, and in a free society I have the ability to speak out against injustice. I am calling out the thugs for what they are….thugs no better than any other gang hierarchy who prey on the weak for their own gratification and benefit. These are bullies plain and simple, and as such they need to be called out and exposed for what they are, and like all bullies throughout history, they will slink back to the hole from which they came when they are confronted.

I call on the United States Government to step in and protect those people you have sworn to protect.

I call on the good people of Spirit Lake to protect the innocent and not allow them to become prey.

I call on anyone with a conscience to share this article and spread the word about injustice.

In the time it took to read this article, another child has been abused at Spirit Lake Nation. How many more need to suffer? How many more need to die?

The Sioux people of years gone by were a proud people, a compassionate people, a people honored and respected by their peers. How would the revered chiefs of old feel about the Tribal Council of today? Are the traditions of the past being upheld today, or are those honorable traditions being re-written by those who are only concerned with the advancement of their own greed, power and evil?

I mourn for the children of Spirit Lake Nation! My greatest fear is that Travis and Destiny died, and life at Spirit Lake will go on like nothing happened.

UPDATE

The public defenders office has contacted me and others, preparing for the trial of Mr. Bagola. The state and Federal officials have convened several times on the Reservation, and changes have been made in the Social Service Dept. as of 9/29/2012. This story is ongoing, but improvements in the care for foster children have been made. Stay tuned for further updates as they happen.

2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)


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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Soon to be, thank you for your comment. I happen to agree with you, the first responsibility is always the parents'...but when the parents fail, the system must do their jobs....in these sad cases, the ball was dropped by everyone and children suffered because of it.

    • profile image

      Soon to be educated women from Spirit Lake 2 years ago

      I read this article and it's not Spirit Lake Nation as a whole that's at fault for this horrible crime. If that was the case let’s take Amanda Berry's case for ex. Amanda was missing for over a decade living in her kidnapper's Ariel Castro home. She and two other girls went unnoticed for over a decade. The neighbors, community, family, and friends of Ariel Castro had no idea of what he had done for over a decade to those poor girls. You have no idea what is going on in someone's home so you can't blame a whole community. Ultimately justice was served "Valentino Bagolo" was convicted of first degree murder. This horrific crime was not swept under the rug.

      "North Dakota man accused of sexually assaulting 8-year-old

      Posted: Mar 02, 2015 11:22 AM HST Updated: Mar 02, 2015 11:22 AM HST HAZELTON, N.D. (AP) - A warrant has been issued for a 29-year-old North Dakota man accused of sexually assaulting an 8-year-old child.

      "The Bismarck Tribune reports that the child's mother reported the alleged abuse to the Emmons County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday. The woman told authorities that the man fondled the child while the child was at the man's Hazelton home. Emmons County Sheriff's Deputy Myron Rankins in an affidavit reported that the child was taken to a hospital where the results of an examination were consistent with the alleged abuse that was recounted to authorities. Records show that the child's account during an interview also supported the nurse's findings. The man hasn't been formally charged. A judge has issued an order forcing the man to provide a buccal swab for DNA testing purposes." (http://www.kxnet.com/story/28241198/north-dakota-m... How could family or the community not know what this lady was doing to her kids? Another example I have given. It's not just Spirit Lake Tribe that suffers from alcohol, drugs, rapes, and abuse.

      In my personal opinion the parents are at fault not a "whole community." It's a parent(s) job to protect their children sadly they neglected and drugs or other things took priority. It's not only Native Americans well in your case referring to this article just Spirit Lake Tribe. Devils Lake community suffers from drugs and alcohol as well.

      http://widelantern.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/... According to the annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that 39 percent of white teens between the ages of 12 and 17 admitted to using substances in the past year, compared to just 32 percent of blacks and 24 percent of Asians.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for stopping by Whocares!

    • profile image

      WHOCARES 3 years ago

      HOW DARE YOU

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I understand, Paula. I think change is happening, but these things take a very long time. In the meantime, kids are suffering...but we do what we can by raising awareness. Thank you for caring.

    • profile image

      Paula 3 years ago

      What can I do? There are obviously plenty of us who care. Perhaps together we can do something...?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Doc, there is just too much suffering by innocents in this world. This sort of thing should never happen; children must live lives without this kind of horror. Thank you for caring.

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      lovedoctor926 3 years ago

      Hi Bill, this story is horrific and heart-breaking. Thank you for spreading the word. I love your compassionate heart:) You did a great job covering this story especially in your video.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      JMV9, thank you for your kind words. I wish this story did not have to be told; I wish this kind of abuse didn't happen, but happen it does in epidemic proportions. Yes, I have seen the PBS story.....the word you used...appalling...is exactly the right word. Thank you for caring.

    • JMV9 profile image

      JMV9 3 years ago

      Horrifying story but extremely well written. I don't know if you are familiar with a PBS two part story called "Kindhearted Woman" it covers a young woman's life on the Spirit Lake Reservation. Her story is very sad but so powerful. Any violence against children and seniors just gets me boiling. The shortcomings in our system to protect children is overwhelming and appalling. I too would like to be a part of the solution. Thank you for advocating for these beautiful babies.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      White Desert Flower, thank you for the visit and your words. Let us truly pray for peace for Spirit Lake. It is a troubled community and I hope they find the strength within to do what is right for the children and woman of that proud tribe. Blessings to you!

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      White Desert Flower 3 years ago

      To Vigilant Squawking Hawk; You have earned that name well. I have always been very fond of and respectful of the Native American culture. I am white...Norse and Finn; I once dated a young man that was Sioux/Cherokee (if my memory serves me right). It was his Great, Great Grandfather that named me. This was a family that was deeply rooted in their beliefs and honored the child, honored the elder and deeply respected the woman. They ended up moving and thus our relationship ended. I never forgot all that I learned from them as a "white woman". I was named "White Desert Flower", I honored with that name because of my deep feelings for their family and love for their son and scent of a woman that I brought to their family. Sadly, he was killed by a drunk driver. I'm sooo saddened to hear of this happening at Spirit Lake. Devils Lake is where my family originates from. I will keep all in my prayers and hope that this culture can be saved and peace can reign again within their tribes.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      SLTLostCause, I am in agreement with you. Thanks for sharing your passionate thoughts.

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      SLTLostCause 3 years ago

      There doesn't need to be a future of this occurring if someone would just look into the BIA and realize that they shouldn't exist! They are worthless on reservations and impossible to get fired because everything is such a long process with them. That is the problem for that reservation it is the law enforcement who enforce nothing! No reports get sent to the tribal court no rape kits ever go anywhere it is pathetic! Fire the BIA and let tribal police take over then maybe you will see this crime stop. Until then expect it to happen the BIA is a disgrace to law enforcement they shouldn't even be allowed to wear a badge.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Shyron, there may not be a happy ending to this situation. It appears the solution is many years in the future and until then many will suffer. It truly saddens me.

      Thank you for reading about these horrors; I appreciate it.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago from Texas

      It is a shame that we have reservations, this land was their land before the white man came and took it away. I agree with SLTLostCause.

      I like the famous slogan about who you know, but I think sometimes it is "its no what you know, its what you know, but what you know about who you know.

      I am saddened by what is happening at Spirit Lake. I am glad my gggrandmother married a white man and got off the reservation.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      SLTLostCause, I really appreciate your opinion. There is no doubt that the BIA carries much of the blame for what is happening at Spirit Lake as well as other reservations in this country. As is always the case, the government is fully capable of making things worse rather than better....and that usually applies to any governing body. This is a mess and there are no easy answers. Thank you again!

    • profile image

      SLTLostCause 3 years ago

      Everyone will always have negative things to say about the Spirit Lake Reservation because nothing ever gets done! I've seen it first hand and instead of blaming the Tribal Council Washington needs to step in and look into the BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) they only take calls they want and never prosecute anything. With a law enforcement staff the way it is out there nothing will ever change they either are out having affairs or watching out for their family members. They are lazy and worthless call Darren Cru and the head of the BIA and have him look into it. The Council has no say on what cases they take but they do have a say on whether they want the BIA or to change to tribal police. My opinion they need to change to tribal police because than the council can actually oversee there work ethic and see that they are working. The reservation will never change for the better until BIA is out of there! They know they can't be touched and the officers know it will take a long time yet along a good enough reason to be fired from the BIA the famous slogan as a BIA employee is "its not what you know its who you know!" So all the officers can do what they please because as long as they know someone that has a good standing higher than them they will be OK! Get rid of the corrupt BIA Law enforcement if you want change!!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Empathetic, thank you for a comment that speaks volumes. I agree, we need cross jurisdictional recognition and responsibilities or this will continue to happen year after year. Thank you and welcome to HubPages.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      sligobay, oh yes, with more to come. There always seems to be more of this horror.

      Thank you for the visit.

    • EmpatheticAdvisor profile image

      Ruth Laughery 4 years ago from Montana

      Biilybuc,

      I don't know if you are tribal or not. However I have lived on or near reservations almost my entire life.

      To those familiar with the "Rez", it does have it's own rules. Those who live there must abide by these or become victims sooner rather than later. Hopefully if one keeps their head down, maybe nothing will happen at all.

      Silence is the commodity that protects those that are committing the crimes in addition to political connections.

      The jurisdictional issues is part of what keeps things like this from being resolved, as the concept of law on most reservations is a joke, with most people laughing sarcastically when asked about about laws. The response is usually " what law, this is the Rez".

      The only real solution would be cross jurisdictional recognition, with both BIA and local laws being applicable to those on the reservations.

      Otherwise how can there be any enforcement when all one has to do is to make a run for the reservation border in order to be safe on the Rez.

    • sligobay profile image

      sligobay 4 years ago from east of the equator

      Excellent article about a shocking event with more to come.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      justgrace, I'm sure our government would have a valid reason for supporting other countries....global economies and protecting our security interests....personally I don't care. I'm tired of our own getting the short stick. :)

      Thank you for the visit my friend.

    • justgrace1776 profile image

      justgrace1776 4 years ago

      This is an excellent hub. A genuine call to action for a heartbreaking cause. Good questions - the US should clean up at home first before supporting causes in other countries. Let's leave that to the nonprofits, and start investing in our own!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you LongTimeMother! It is an incredibly sad story of abuse and fear. The Tribal Council is corrupt and in the end this is just another story of greed and corruption of power. Thank you for caring so much.

    • LongTimeMother profile image

      LongTimeMother 4 years ago from Australia

      This story breaks my heart. As a foster mother I worked day and night to help a beautiful young girl gain perspective and accept herself after being abused. It was hard but worth the effort. She learned to be proud of herself and her achievements and to step out into the world with pride and confidence.

      Who will help the many broken children of Spirit Lake? Who will offer them the hope and promise of a better future and help them to achieve it? If I lived closer I would help you in your quest, billybuc. From this distance all I can do is encourage you to get as many people involved as possible. Young lives should never be allowed to be wasted. It sounds as though entire generations of native americans have been denied the chance to feel loved and respected. Such a tragedy. Where are all the people who could help???

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Shiley, in a logical world that would happen. Unfortunately, at Spirit Lake the tribal council is corrupt....sad but true. Thank you for caring and the visit.

    • Shiley profile image

      Karen Shiley 4 years ago from Washington

      As a mother it is unbelievable to me that this kind of thing could be happening. It seems like at the very least the reservation community should step up and take care of their children and ask for help from the outside if they are afraid or overwhelmed.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mesometimes, bless you! People like you give me hope; there are good people out there, and I need to remember that. When I do an article like this one, it takes a lot out of me emotionally. Like you, the horrors that are committed on little children are beyond anything I can imagine. As a parent, I look at children as precious gifts, and I simply do not understand how these things can happen.

      Thank you for your comment; bless your son.

    • profile image

      Mesometimes 4 years ago

      I live in the UK and stumbled across this via a parenting website. I rarely comment on things but your story has both horrified and upset me deeply. Before I had my beautiful little boy I lost twins, I was told I'd never be a mother. I know the pain of losing a child, and I read stories like this and it astonishes me when people who are lucky enough to have children do not realise how fortunate they are to have a such a gift. The idea that anyone could harm a child, that they could view them as anything but a gift that needs nurturing and love is beyond me. I so so hope that the children on the reservation you wrote so heartbreakingly about can be helped, that they can find loving safe homes with people who realise just how precious they are, and that they can learn to trust. Tomorrow would have been my twins fourth birthday, I'm going to spend it with my son and remind him how much he is loved, how proud I am of him and how thankful I am.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sara, the reason I wrote this article is because I don't live in the state and I can't be threatened. I have no concerns about threats; my only concern is the children. Thank you for speaking out on this. Let's hope something changes soon.

    • profile image

      Sara 4 years ago

      I live just 7 miles from this reservation and I am glad word is getting out about it. It's terrible for the children out there. There is no hope for them, it is a never ending cycle of abuse. The head people of the tribe control all of their people with fear. Those children deserve justice but if they never get it, they too will end up just like their parents and grandparents. It's sad to see but if people try to step in and change it, they will threaten you or kill you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Barbara, this is as sad a situation as I have heard about in a very long time. Yes, it begins with parenting....it always begins with parenting. Bless you for understanding that and for raising children who know they are loved.

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      go-barbara-go 4 years ago

      Bill,

      Oh my, reading the story had me all the more promise to be with my child 24 hours a day. I cannot forgive myself if something like that happened to my child while I was away enjoying other things.

      Problems like this deeply roots back to the parents who should be the first bastion of protection for helpless kids like destiny and Travis.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Waldo, it is a completely impractical situation and is doomed to fail, or so I believe. The concept might be a good one, but the practice has failed miserably.

      Thank you!

    • Waldo Numbly profile image

      Waldo Henry Hiram King 4 years ago from Mountain Wilderness

      The whole concept of a sovereign nation within the United States is absurd. Be American. Abide by the laws of the nation. This is the only way to protect your children.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you writinglover....sad for sure, but the situation is improving. :)

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      Jennifer 4 years ago from Lost...In Video Games

      Very sad, but engaging. Good work!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Funom! I appreciate the visit.

    • Funom Makama 3 profile image

      Funom Theophilus Makama 4 years ago from Europe

      Fantastic hub and practically an engaging one. It is nice I came here. Hoping to read more of this.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Tammy, thank you for caring enough to check back; I just posted an update on this case.

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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Stopping by to check for updates on this important matter. You are doing a wonderful service here and I haven't stopped thinking of these poor children since you wrote this.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Aussey, thank you for the comment and your compassion. There actually is a reward established....I'll have to go find the website.....the locals seem to think it is now being investigated properly....we shall see.

    • profile image

      Ausseye 5 years ago

      Hi Billybuc: Hey Billy: This needs to go wider, it is worse than Child Soldier issue and must be taken to the people. Put a price on their heads make the world react by proposing a slush fund to track the killer, pay a private eye or hire a good lawyer……give me an account where I can contribute. Hell you are talking about basic human rights in a nation that has an oath to everyone’s rights. Need help to set up an account I’ll help and we’ll do a wiki on your reservation. This is so poor that it needs just us the people to take action, given your commitment, you’re the guy to lead any who wish to contribute……catch the killer. Free and fair and justice are yours to and ours to have a go at…..maybe succeed…..worth a try wouldn’t you say.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hyphen I actually like your explanation, that politicians become immune to suffering. Not a valid excuse but it makes as much sense as any why someone in power could ignore this kind of abuse.

      Thank you for caring so much!

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      Brenda Barnes 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      My heart just bleeds all the time for the children of our world. The accounts of abuse and murder are endless. Politicians and officials so often become addicted to the power of the office and become hardened and even immune to suffering. Abuse of office will always result in abuse innocents. I cannot answer the whys but I can pray for change, stand up when I personally am able to right a wrong or protect even one child. Spirit Lake lacks the spirit of love. People like you do not.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Mr. Happy! We seem to be making some headway with this problem, but we are a long way from "fixing" it. I appreciate your sharing and caring!

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      Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      malex@spiritlakenation.com - This is the email to Marty Alex, the Tribal Administrator at Spirit Lake. I encourage people to write some letters. Or contact congressman Rick Berg (http://berg.house.gov/#dialog) - putting pressure on politicians especially in an election year can certainly help.

      Thank You for raising awareness on this issue Mr. Bill! I will share this article.

      All the best.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Rema and enjoy your weekend.

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      Rema T V 5 years ago from Chennai, India

      Thanks Bill. Will wait for your updates. These things - especially slaying of innocent little children are very disturbing.

      Rema.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rema, thank you for your humanity. Changes are happening; I will be writing about them next week. We may see significant improvement soon.

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      Rema T V 5 years ago from Chennai, India

      Bill, a very sad story indeed. I feel so sorry for the children who died and even more sorry for those who live in that region and similar places where "humanity" seems to have died.

      Let's hope that people become aware of the dreadful conditions under which they live and finally do something concrete about it. But how can they when the law enforcers are not willing to cooperate? What can the innocent masses do?

      My heart goes out to the people out there and I really wish things improve. Thanks for letting us all know about this. Sharing it as it is a must-read for all.

      Cheers, Rema

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Ann! It is a difficult subject for sure.

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      AnnaCia 5 years ago

      Bill, as always, thank you for the article. THis is a real difficult article to read, but the reality exists without words. I can just say, "I am sorry".

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Tara my dear, of course it's okay. I'm just trying to raise awareness and stir things up a bit. It is despicable and it has no place in a so-called "civilized" society. Thank you for sharing and for caring!

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      Tara Carbery 5 years ago from Cheshire, UK

      Bill, this is despicable and has made me very angry and very disillusioned. Each day, the more I hear about so called humanity, the more depressed I get. I'm sharing this on my fb and twitter page if that's ok. Brilliant hub.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Alecia, thank you! This is a complicated mess of jurisdictional disputes, and the disputes are preventing children from getting help. I understand the autonomy that the tribe clings to, but I don't understand allowing children to be hurt.

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      Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      I think the problem with the crimes of the reservation not getting its share of protection and attention from the authorities has to do with the mentality of being out of sight and out of mind. But for these people who deal with basic needs not being met, it is not that simple. Children are the innocent parties in this situation, but everyone involved needs help and counseling. It is good that you are spreading the word out so we are aware of what is happening in our own country. Thank you for sharing this important story with us.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Daisy, you are very kind to return. I am discouraged about this; the people who need to supply me with information so that I can write a follow-up article are not responding out of fear....so I'm a little torn about what to do. I'll make up my mind shortly and figure something out. Thank you my friend!

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      Daisy Mariposa 5 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

      Bill,

      I came back for a second read of your very important article. This issue cannot be forgotten.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruchi, it is a very tragic story. Thank you for caring enough to read it.

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      Ruchi Urvashi 5 years ago from Singapore

      That is a tragic story and such brutal murders of children are disgrace to society.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Your Cousins, as soon as I have more news about it I will write the next hub! Thank you for caring and commenting.

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      Your Cousins 5 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      What a tragedy at Spirit Lake; so sad about Destiny and Travis. I will be looking forward to your follow-up on the story.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rajan, I sincerely thank you! This is disturbing beyond words and the battle will continue for quite awhile until enough people know about it and force a change. I appreciate you sharing this; you are a good man, a compassionate man, and I'm proud to call you a friend.

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      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      This is a very disturbing read Bill. It is a shame that something so despicable is happening in the 21 st century. For all the might, power and advancement the country boasts of, if these rapes, murders and violations are still continuing, then the government has to rethink its priorities.

      More people have to made aware of these internal going ons to be able to put pressure on the powers that be to make efforts to put an end to the horrendous happenings.

      Bill I'm glad you wrote this article and took the initiative to raise awareness about this entire issue. I'm sharing this on all the networks as my share in your efforts to reach as many people as possible.

      I pray that your efforts bear fruit.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mr. Happy, thank you and you are so right! The fact that few know about this speaks volumes. All I can do is raise awareness; I hope it helps.

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      Mr. Happy aka White Wolf 5 years ago

      The living standards on many reservations are atrocious and what is most disturbing is actually the fact that many people are not aware of this (people who live off the reserves). I encourage people to do some research on Native Reserves - Pine Ridge always comes to mind ...

      Thank You for raising awareness on these matters Mr. Billybuc. I appreciate it.

      May Wakan Tanka guide all our paths.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Integrity! Much appreciated!

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      IntegrityYes 5 years ago

      WHOA! That is an extremely powerful and emotional one. I voted up,Billy.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Joan, it is a disturbing subject for sure; I really appreciate you taking the time to leave a meaningful comment and I understand it completely. I do this only for the kids; I cannot sit idly by and ignore this.

      Thank you my friend and have a lovely weekend.

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      Joan Veronica Robertson 5 years ago from Concepcion, Chile

      Hi Billybuc, this is a sad comment to write. I have just finished reviewing all these pages of comments, and I am shocked, disgusted and elated all in one. My negative feelings are due to the horrible story itself. My elation is due to my position as an outsider. I feel I have had the privilege of looking in on a civic reaction and behavior that makes me proud to be part of the New World. As several other fellow hubbers have stated, the basic cause of all this tragedy is to be found in the colonization processes of our respective countries. In Chile we also have situations with the members of the original native tribes, that make me feel ashamed to be of European descent. But the activities of the small initial group of crusaders are a true expression of the power of "we the people" and the original heart of the American nation. I feel enlightened. Words fail me, but I felt the need to try and put my feelings down in this comment. I wish you all the best in this crusade!

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Charles, and to repeat, I really do agree with everything you said.

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      Charles Hilton 5 years ago

      Right on, Bill!

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Nicely said Charles and I agree with you....and I also know that changes you suggest take a very long time...so in the meantime, I'd like to see a bigger bully on the block come in and help the kids while there are still kids to help.

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      Charles Hilton 5 years ago

      Bill and Susan, unfortunately it is a race issue in the sense that the Native American communities are invisible to the outside world---for all practical purposes---and the Indians live a somewhat cloistered life, which allowed this situation to fester apart from larger scrutiny from the outside world in the name of tribal autonomy.

      Race issues are also human issues and this being a human issue doesn't preclude it from being a race issue and vice-versa---it is both and needs to be addressed accordingly for a proper solution.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Susan, I have known about this now for about ten days and I am still outraged. I don't know what it will take to wake people up to the point that you made....this is a human issue, not a race issue. If we allow this to happen to any child, no matter their race, then none of us are safe.

      Thank you for your compassion and sense of humanity.

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      Susan Holland 5 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Bill, this is a horrific story. I hope the awareness you are building is creating hell for those who are standing in the way of justice. This is a human issue, not a race issue. Who could turn their backs on the way these children were abused and killed? Nepotism?? Some young man is sitting in jail, possibly for a crime he didn't commit while the real murderer walks the streets preparing for the next young victim.

      It seems some people do not look at the death of a child the same as the death of an adult. Children can't pay an attorney for protection against screwed up parents, children can't control an adult with more physical strength, so does this make children less valuable to some? I don't get it at all. The system has failed them.

      My heart aches for these children and any others who have gone before or after them.

      God bless you and your sense of compassion and humanity.

      Susan

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sharilee, what a beautiful person you are. Thank you!

      As you pointed out, this is just the tip of the iceberg, and even if we do stop the abuse there are so many problems with the Indian tribes....where to begin? How do you give them their culture back? How do they fit into society? Those problems are for someone much smarter than I am...I just want the kids safe.

      Thank you my friend; the world needs more people like you.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kathy, I love your passion and thank you! I am working in tandem with Betty Jo Krenz who lives near the reservation...she is mentioned in the story....she is working all the angles you mentioned. I have submitted the story in my area and she is working the North Dakota and national scene....we are getting the word out....just today one of the whistleblowers who had been fired from his job was given his job back....that is a huge step for awareness and change. But these things come slowly and we will keep plugging away.

      Thank you for being who you are.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kathy, I wish I could meet you in person.

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      Sharilee Swaity 5 years ago from Canada

      Bill, I read this when it came out, but have been waiting to write a comment because I am trying to find the right thing to say.

      First of all, this is so eloquent and compassionately written. As you mentioned in your comments, you are a simple man only interested in the fact that children have been hurt. I like that you kept that as your focus throughout.

      Thank you for speaking out. This is the right thing to do and I am so glad that you had the courage to speak out. Speaking out against evil takes great courage because the ones that are involved do not like to be exposed and will often spare no expense to keep things covered up.

      I truly hope that things change at this reservation. It will take many people standing up to affect long-lasting change. It will take people who live there, banding together for right, and not being afraid of their leaders. It will take compassionate workers from the Nation who go to school to become teachers, nurses and social workers and work hard on the behalf of their people.

      Bill, I have a lot of experience with Native people in Canada, and I have seen a lot of situations first hand. My husband is Native, and so is my brother-in-law, and nieces. I have taught on reserves and lived close to the people.

      There have been similar situations to this in Canada. Abuse and violence happens on certain reserves. People are hurting and the children suffer.

      It is so wrong and so heart-breaking. And those who have done wrong must be brought to justice. But even more, the people must feel hope again. So that they can fight wrong, stand up to bullies and take care of the wrong things that are sometimes allowed to happen from a sense of passivity and helplessness.

      Native people in Canada were stripped of their culture and are still subjected to great prejudice by Canadian society. It's no excuse for wrong, but it must be understood in context.

      I also believe that by you standing up with your writer skills, and speaking boldly, you are helping others to feel courage, too. You are standing in the gap. And I, for one, am proud to know you and proud to be a fellow hubber.

      Great blessings to you, Bill.

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      Kathy 5 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

      Billy...I just finished reading and I can see that you are doing SO MUCH with this.....you are amazing...and wonderful. I still suggest; if you haven't done it yet; please submit to newspapers, online news outlets in your area and (can't remember but....) maybe appeal to the greater coalition of tribal nations ; perhaps there will be a will & desire to protect the good name of American Indians by stepping in w/peer pressure to get Spirit Lake to straighten up and FIX the problem....many highest regards, Billybuc....Kathy

      Shared on FB

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      Kathy 5 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

      BILLYBUC!!!!! I capitalized to call your attention: I am not finished reading this but, must break in at this point to ask you:

      1) Have you made multiple digital or hard copies of this and sent it to ALL the "proper" authorities?

      2) Have you submitted this to ALL the local and regional newspapers as an Editorial Opinion?

      3) Have you sent this synopsis / chronological 'eye opening -due to all inclusive information condensed and impossible to ignore - written 'witness' to the Legislative bodies? To the Governor of the state?

      4) Have you published this on FaceBook and presented it to the ACLU?

      5) Have you submitted this CONCLUSIVE evidence of neglect, abuse, misuse of and by the powers that be (which should be protecting those children) to the District Attorney?

      I HOPE that these suggestions are not seen as "rude." NO NO...I only wish to help and am trying to think of any and all methods/avenues you can use to spread this far and wide because it is so excellent a source for prosecution...

      If I were you; I'd send this to any/every/all even remotely connected in any way, institutions, etc. which might be able to take up action.

      Perhaps, Billybuc, you've done this already...again; I am so disheartened, shocked, and saddened by this that I just feel the need to contribute, somehow...maybe a petition through the online petition site??

      Love ya' You are awesome for trying and for feeling for these unfortunate, poor little ones.

      Now, I shall finish reading.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      hecate...thank you so much for sharing. This opening salvo is about raising awareness. More to come.

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      hecate-horus 5 years ago from Rowland Woods

      Thank you for making people aware of this horrible, HORRIBLE crime. Sharing.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rosemay, I have no words to describe the utter disgust I feel for the Tribal Council or the U.S. Government. Thank you for sharing and for caring.

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      Rosemary Sadler 5 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      Reading this has made me sick to the stomach. The US go to war for such inhumanity in other countries. is it not about time that the government looked to cleaning up their own backyard. Its easy for them to say they don't have jurisdiction but they don't have jurisdiction overseas either and yet they step in.

      Thank you for bringing this tragic topic to the fore.

      Sharing

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you my friend; I really appreciate you taking the time to read it.

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      Bill De Giulio 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Bill. I don't know what to say or write. This is unbelievable and heartbreaking. Thank you for reporting it.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Trinity, thank you! I hope some good comes from this; I do know that this hub has stirred up quite a bit of reaction in North Dakota. I am fairly well known right now on the Reservation. LOL My fifteen minutes of fame!

      You are kind and I appreciate our friendship greatly.

    • Trinity M profile image

      Trinity M 5 years ago

      This is truly heartbreaking Bill. I pray that the newspapers that have picked up this story will force someone in the right government department to take a good hard look and more importantly DO something about this.

      You are an inspiration to us all and by example lead the way to everyone of us becoming better people. I know that Destiny and Travis can now rest in peace because finally someone did do something. Much love to you my dear friend for having the heart and the courage to DO something.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Spy, it is very sad, and it will continue until the evil is stopped.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Charles!

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      IAmForbidden 5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      I had goosebumps reading how the children were murdered. They're so small and fragile and ohhhh it feels like my heart is crushed. this is very sad...

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      Charles Hilton 5 years ago

      pennyofheaven

      I love your metaphor and your expounding of it was profound and beautifully articulated.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for the reference goego!

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Penny, where there is hope.......blah, blah, blah.....we'll just keep doing whatever we can. :)

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      goego 5 years ago from Loserland

      B. frank my friend, thanks for writing.

      https://hubpages.com/literature/B-Frank

    • pennyofheaven profile image

      pennyofheaven 5 years ago from New Zealand

      Yes, me too. Sooner rather than later would be preferable and would mean less children will suffer or die. It is a very, very sad day when innocent lives are lost.