Thieves Have Found A New Low

A new warning from police about a trend so despicable, even veteran detectives are stunned: Thieves are now using funerals to rob families blind.

It doesn’t get much lower than this: Bands of thieves are targeting families at their most vulnerable. Here’s how it works: When you lose a loved one, you post an obituary in the paper, along with details of the funeral. The criminals know you won’t be home, and that’s when they strike… while you’re at the cemetery.

They are well-planned attacks: Thieves poring through local obituaries, and picking out the homes of grieving relatives.

When you leave for the funeral, the thieves move in. And they are heartless.

It happened to Cindy and Dennis Higdon. Their son Christian was tragically killed. But while they were at his funeral laying him to rest, thieves were ransacking their Kentucky home.

“It’s like, you already felt like you’re at the lowest point you could be and … it’s like I just fell to the ground,” Cindy Higdon said.

Police say the thieves found the family through an obituary in the local newspaper listing their full names, their hometown, and the date and time of the funeral. Investigators say two men, now charged, hit the house during the service, giving them hours to steal everything from expensive jewelry to computers to sentimental items from Christian’s own room.

“They took everything away from us; they put us into another level of low that we didn’t think could ever exist,” Dennis Higdon said.

We said: “You thought you were at the lowest –”

“Yes. Yes. Till we found out there’s still a long way to go.”

And police say it gets even more extreme. Near Seattle: 10 homes burglarized while the families were at funerals. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in possessions stolen.

“It’s heinous,” said lead investigator Margaret Ludwig. “It’s reprehensible.”

Ludwig busted three crooks, now in prison. They were running an obituary crime ring so sophisticated and organized, even seasoned investigators were stunned.

“They had their computers set up to where they would receive email notifications of the new obituaries that were coming into the local paper,” Ludwig told us. “Lots of planning, lots of preparation, a lot of thinking went into how they were going to pull this off.”

For victims who’ve already lost so much, it’s the ultimate invasion.

“It’s like, please, have a heart,” Cindy Higdon said. “I mean, think about the people you’re doing this to, what they’re already going through.”

The family is so traumatized, they’re planning to move out of the house. It just doesn’t feel like home anymore. Police say we can all learn from this, and there are ways to protect yourself.

Here’s the takeaway: If you have to write an obituary, don’t print your full name or your hometown; that makes it easy for criminals to find you. If you can, have a friend or neighbor stay at your house during the funeral to keep an eye on things. And if that’s not possible, park a few cars in your driveway to make it look like someone is home.

Obviously, losing a relative is hard enough, and it’s a shame we even have to think about this. But as we’ve seen, the criminals will stoop to any level to steal from you.

 

Source: Today

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Suicide Has Become an Epidemic

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When Thomas Joiner was 25 years old, his father—whose name was also Thomas Joiner and who could do anything—disappeared from the family’s home. At the time, Joiner was a graduate student at the University of Texas, studying clinical psychology. His focus was depression, and it was obvious to him that his father was depressed. Six weeks earlier, on a family trip to the Georgia coast, the gregarious 56-year-old—the kind of guy who was forever talking and laughing and bending people his way—was sullen and withdrawn, spending days in bed, not sick or hungover, not really sleeping.

Joiner knew enough not to worry. He knew that the desire for death—the easy way out, the only relief—was a symptom of depression, and although at least 2 percent of those diagnosed make suicide their final chart line, his father didn’t match the suicidal types he had learned about in school. He wasn’t weak or impulsive. He wasn’t a brittle person with bad genes and big problems. Suicide was understood to be for losers, basically, the exact opposite of men like Thomas Joiner Sr.—a successful businessman, a former Marine, tough even by Southern standards.

But Dad had left an unmade bed in a spare room, and an empty spot where his van usually went. By nightfall he hadn’t been heard from, and the following morning Joiner’s mother called him at school. The police had found the van. It was parked in an office lot about a mile from the house, the engine cold. Inside, in the back, the police found Joiner’s father dead, covered in blood. He had been stabbed through the heart.

The investigators found slash marks on his father’s wrists and a note on a yellow sticky pad by the driver’s seat. “Is this the answer?” it read, in his father’s shaky scrawl. They ruled it a suicide, death by “puncture wound,” an impossibly grisly way to go, which made it all the more difficult for Joiner to understand. This didn’t seem like the easy way out.

Back home for the funeral, Joiner’s pain and confusion were compounded by ancient taboos. For centuries suicide was considered an act against God, a violation of law, and a stain on the community. He overheard one relative advise another to call it a heart attack. His girlfriend fretted about his tainted DNA. Even some of his peers and professors—highly trained, doctoral-level clinicians—failed to offer a simple “my condolences.” It was as though the Joiner family had failed dear old Dad, killed him somehow, just as surely as if they had stabbed him themselves. To Joiner, however, the only real failing was from his field, which clearly had a shaky understanding of suicide.

The entire article is a big read, but definately worth it! Check it out here on Newsweek

 

 

Can I Use My Phone During a Funeral?

A recent study by Co-operative Funeralcare in the UK under 2,000 people over 18 who had attended a funeral, found that funerals considered to be the most inappropriate function where a mobile phone may be used. Second and third were weddings and while driving. However one in six people actually do use their phone during a funeral anyway. Apparently even the Duchess of York was caught texting while attending Margaret Thatcher’s funeral.

 The study also showed that 40 percent of the respondents would not turn off their phone, albeit that a third of that sets their phone to silent. Most however claim they have left their phone on inadvertently, much like people forget to switch off while on a plane. One in six people also said they had seen people (frantically and embarrassed) trying to switch off their phone once it rang.

 In a different study, under funeral directors, it became apparent that one in five funerals gets interrupted by a mobile phone ringing. One ironic anecdote said the ringtone was “If You Are Happy and You Know it Clap Your Hands”.David Collingwood, operations director of Co-operative Funeralcare, said the use of mobiles had “become commonplace at events which would have been considered unthinkable only a few years ago. We are witnessing a cultural shift in society’s stance on funeral etiquette “.

 

It seems like we have double standards when it comes to using our phones at seemingly inappropriate moments and functions.

Source: The Guardian

What Happens When Tributes Are Made Too Soon..

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A father learned that his 13-year-old son had been killed in a road accident when the boy’s public school announced it on its website.

William Avery-Wright had been knocked down by a Land Rover as he crossed a main road on his way to rugby practice.

He was taken to hospital after the accident at £30,000-a-year Worth School in Crawley, West Sussex, where he was later pronounced dead.

His father, Christopher, was contacted but was only told that his son had been injured.

But as he was being driven by police to hospital, he was inundated with messages of condolence on his mobile phone from well-wishers who had read about the death on the school’s website.

Staff had posted a hasty tribute to the youngster before the 48-year-old insurance broker had been informed that he had died.

William’s mother, Lisa, was already at the hospital, but had been advised not to break the news of his death to her husband until he was there.

She said: ‘I was taken to hospital by the police. They said not to tell Christopher what had happened on the phone and that it was an appalling way to break the news.’

But the Roman Catholic boarding school wasted no time in announcing the pupil’s death online, publishing a tribute and sending out an email to parents.

 

Read the entire article HERE

We are the heroes, they are the cowards

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During his press conference following the Boston Marathon bombings, President Obama denounced the perpetrators as “evil” and “cowardly,” contrasting their behavior with the heroic first responders who rushed to aid the injured: “What the world saw yesterday in the immediate aftermath of the explosions were stories of heroism and kindness and generosity and love.” He praised the “good people of Boston” as well as the virtues of the American spirit: “If you want to know who we are, who America is, how we respond to evil, that’s it: selflessly, compassionately, unafraid.”

The unity we presently feel doesn’t represent a kind of self-deception. Splitting under these horrific conditions allows us to weather the immediate trauma.

Obama’s words echo those of George W. Bush speaking on September 11, 2001: “Today, our nation saw evil, the very worst of human nature, and we responded with the best of America, with the daring of our rescue workers, with the caring for strangers and neighbors who came to give blood and help in any way they could.” In the face of a grave external threat, our leaders rush to offer us the same assurance: we may have been confronted by “the worst of human nature,” but Americans embody its finest virtues.

We are the heroes, they are the cowards.

We are motivated by love, kindness and generosity; they feel nothing but hatred.

We are good, they personify evil.

Leaders in other countries no doubt rely on similar language to comfort their people when facing an existential threat. It encourages unity on the home front and inspires patriotic feeling. It identifies the domestic goodness worth defending and mobilizes aggression against the enemy. While personal or political squabbling might dominate during times of peace, we put our differences aside when we face an external enemy. Praising the citizenry of Boston yesterday on MSNBC, Governor Deval Patrick said that “there’s something about America that causes us to come together” at times like this. True, but citizens in many other nations “come together” in the same way when facing a crisis.

 

Read the entire article on The Atlantic