Less than a week ago, an unusual amount of rain started to fall in-and-around Boulder, Colorado. And over the span of the next four days, an area accustomed to 1.63 inches of average rainfall experienced a whopping 14.62 inches—almost nine times more than usual. Light winds allowed the storms to linger and, needless to say, the entire area flooded.
Unfortunately, rain continues to fall and the flooding has spread to at least 15 counties. The good news is that as of Wednesday night, only four fatalities had been confirmed—one in El Paso County and three in Boulder County. This number could rise, though, because as many as 1,000 people are still unaccounted for.
And the physical damage to the area, as you might imagine, is extensive. The latest estimates are in the hundreds of millions, but even that number is likely to rise as the waters recede.
Living through a flood is a horrible experience and one I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I know because my area was hit by Hurricane Floyd in 1999. And the subsequent flooding crippled eastern North Carolina for months—even years—to come.
The hurricane itself was nothing to write home about. Despite living in town with some friends, I decided to stay with my parents in case I got stranded—they were much more prepared for such things and could afford more groceries. My fridge looked like the culinary representation of some vast desert of nothingness: a ketchup bottle here, some spoiled leftovers there and a few random, mismatched items scattered about.
I could also keep my eye on the parental units to ensure they survived the storm, which was my true purpose for staying there, of course.
The night Floyd finally arrived, I found myself crashing on the sofa in our upstairs playroom. Sheets of rain slapped against the window all night and winds swirled and hummed, but overall it wasn’t much of a storm. Sure, the rain kept coming and coming, but I never saw trees falling and as far as I can remember, we never lost power, either.
The word anticlimactic would have been an understatement given all the “wrath of God” weather forecasts we suffered through as Hurricane Floyd approached. The next morning—and since everything outside looked wet, but otherwise normal—I bid farewell to my parents, pillaged some groceries and chicken nuggets and set off for home.
I got about a quarter of a mile down the road before I realized the real consequence of the storm: flooding. The entire highway had been cut off by waters that continued to rise. I had no choice but to turn back and look for another route. Fortunately, I grew up here and knew lots of different ways to get where I was going.
And nearly every single one of them was underwater.
Hours passed as I drove down one road, turned around, tried another, turned around and repeated the process over and over again. By the time I finally made it home—and after going miles out of my way to cut back around to my neighborhood—I found myself short on food (aside from what I had with me), without power or water and, worst of all, alone.
My roommates had basically decided to follow my lead and to head home to be with their parents, too.
Eventually, power was restored and I was able to stock my fridge again, but this was small consolation given all the other “ripple effects” of the storm. The restaurant where I worked was located in an old power plant next to a river, so its entire first level got pretty much wiped out. The walk-in cooler in the kitchen split off from the building and started shifting towards the river. And all the downstairs windows were busted out, allowing all sorts of junk and debris to float through the dining room.
Rumor had it some dead bodies even floated through there—victims upriver who made their first post-mortem visit to the restaurant—so that added a creepy effect once the place reopened later… a lot later.
Like many of my friends and countless others in the flood-damaged area, I spent the next six months collecting unemployment and struggling to make ends meet. What’s worse, a storage unit I had filled with furniture, electronics and all sorts of memories—including some autographs from famous celebrities and athletes—was completely washed out. I lost everything.
It’s been said that time heals all wounds. And in many ways, it’s true. The memory of Hurricane Floyd, the flooding and everything I suffered through are just that… a memory. But the scars of that difficult time in my life remain, as I’m sure they will for the people of northern Colorado.
Of course, the flooding, damage and death are still happening in Colorado, so it will be some time before life there returns to normal. I am obviously not a very religious person—those of you who are might consider sending some prayers to these folks—but I can sympathize and will certainly be sending some positive vibes to my brethren in the west.
Hopefully the rain will stop falling soon so the difficult task of “drying out” can begin. And that in itself is pretty damned challenging…
“You will pay.”
That was the message sent by 18-year-old Isabella Guzman to her mother—47-year-old Yun-Mi Hoy—through Facebook last Wednesday in Centennial, Colorado. And this just one day after an argument with her mom ended with Isabella spitting in her face and storming out of the house.
No one knew the cause of Isabella’s rebellious behavior—many credited it to the growing pains all teenagers experience—but Hoy was worried. She called the police and told them her daughter “had threatened to harm her,” so officers spoke with Isabella and told her Hoy could throw her out if her bad behavior continued.
Though this seemed to help, Hoy took no chances and reached out to Robert Guzman—her ex-husband and Isabella’s father—who immediately came to speak with his daughter.
“We sat down in the backyard… and I started to talk to her about the respect that people should have for their parents,” Guzman said later. “I thought that I made progress, but obviously it didn’t do nothing.”
What it did—judging from what happened next—was set Isabella off. Apparently all of the lecturing from parents and police lit some kind of fuse deep within the rebellious teen. And when she exploded, there was only one person in her path: her mother.
Ryan Hoy, Isabella’s stepfather, was downstairs Wednesday evening, enjoying some dinner while his wife prepared for a shower upstairs.
Suddenly, he heard some strange thumping sounds coming from above him, followed by the faint sound of his wife calling his name.
Ryan rushed upstairs and could hear the shower running, but when he tried to open the bathroom door, he discovered it was blocked. He tried to nudge it open, but felt something—or someone—pushing back against him. Just before the door closed and locked, he caught a glimpse of the person responsible.
It was Isabella.
Blood started to pool under the bathroom door, so Ryan scrambled for his cell phone and dialed 911. After telling the operator that his wife was being attacked, he rushed back upstairs and heard his wife whisper “Jehovah” just as the bathroom door opened.
Out walked Isabella, covered in blood and with the knife still in hand, arm resting at her side. In complete silence and with a blank stare on her face, the young killer walked past her stepfather, down the stairs and out of the house.
Ryan immediately rushed to his wife and followed the dispatcher’s CPR instructions, but it was too late. Her throat had been slashed and she simply lost too much blood.
An autopsy would later reveal that Hoy had been stabbed 79 times in the face and neck… by her own daughter, no less.
Late Thursday morning, someone noticed a body in a car parked in a garage on South Parker Road. Police investigated and discovered a number of items they believed to be connected to the homicide. A K-9 team was called in and a short time later, Isabella walked out of the garage and right into the hands of the authorities.
She is currently being held in Arapahoe County Jail.
No one knows what drove Isabella Guzman to brutally murder her mother—not even the close family members who knew her best. She had been sent to live with her father for a time at age seven—mostly to give her mom a break from the constant arguing—but Isabella eventually returned.
And what daughter hasn’t argued with her mother, especially during the turbulence of her teenage years?
Of course, rebelling against a parent and hacking them to death in the family bathroom are two very different things. Maybe psychologists and psychiatrists can determine why Isabella chose such a drastic response—a response that effectively ended two lives. And maybe then we can prevent a senseless tragedy like this from ever happening again.
On November 6, 2012, an amendment to Article 18 of the Colorado state constitution passed with more than 53% support from state residents. Colorado Amendment 64 allows adults age 21 and over to use marijuana for recreational purposes. And since then, there has been a cloudy haze over the middle of the country.
Unfortunately, that haze grew even larger on Tuesday when firefighters were called to 4430 East Garfield Avenue in Denver to extinguish a blaze. Only this wasn’t a typical fire in some run-of-the-mill structure.
A marijuana growing operation was burning. And to make matters worse, all of the fortifications in place to protect the budding product—from steel doors to bricked-in windows—made it more difficult for firefighters to put out the blaze.
Eventually, though, the fire was extinguished, but it was too late to save any plants and the building itself was damaged pretty severely.
This story caught my eye for a number of reasons, which are best shared in one of my favorite formats, a bulleted list:
- Honestly, I was surprised the fire was put out so quickly and can only assume gas masks were utilized. Otherwise, the structure likely would have burned to the ground when all the stoned firefighters dropped their hoses and went searching for food to satisfy “the munchies.”
- The same could be said of anyone living or working within a 5-10 block radius of the fire, which amounted to little more than a huge blaze out session. Hell, even second-hand smoke could have produced a nice buzz for passersby!
- The cause of the blaze is believed to be electrical—since grow operations use so much power—but for a minute there, I suspected one of the “farmers” left a roach burning too close to the harvest.
The good news is that none of my suspicions were correct. And aside from the damage to the building, the only real consequence will be the emotional toll on potheads who must now look elsewhere for their next fix.
Happy hunting, my herb-loving friends!
One of the worst things about violence in America is that when one terrible incident occurs, it is normally followed by a host of other troubling incidents around the country.
Speaking biblically, I guess you could say that “violence begets more violence.” And copycat criminals tend to come out of the woodwork, too.
This story doesn’t involve a copycat of the killers in Colorado or Connecticut, but it is no less disturbing. About the only similarity is that this incident also occurred in Colorado, a state plagued by high-profile violence ever since the shootings at Columbine High School in 1999.
On Thursday morning, police in Colorado arrested 35-year-old Richard Sandberg for attempting to trade explosive devices for cocaine with an undercover ATF agent. He is now being held without bond pending a detention hearing next week.
More than a week ago, Denver police received a tip from a reliable informant who had been in Sandberg’s suburban home and reported seeing numerous firearms and explosives, including military-grade hand grenades. The police informed the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, who immediately began an undercover sting operation to investigate the matter.
An undercover agent contacted Sandberg, who claimed to be a former Marine with a special operations unit, and inquired about the trade. Sandberg told him that he could provide M67 grenades for $300 each, as well as homemade “cricket” explosives he created with materials from a local hardware store.
On Tuesday evening, the undercover agent met Sandberg at his home and learned quite a bit more about the would-be terrorist. In conversation, Sandberg expressed contempt for President Obama and the American government. He claimed to be a former demolitions expert who served in Iraq, Pakistan and Somalia, as well. Whether or not this is true, I have no idea.
During the visit, Sandberg also showed his prospective buyer a thick, steel door with gun turrets cut out of it. He told the agent he had thousands of rounds of ammunition and would use them if the authorities ever came calling.
By the end of the visit, the agent had purchased two pipe bombs and one of the cricket explosives. And before he left the house, Sandberg claimed he could obtain C4 explosives and blasting caps if the agent so desired.
A test of the materials obtained from Sandberg revealed that they were indeed highly explosive and could be classified as “destructive devices” under federal law. Two days after the visit, authorities caught up with Sandberg as he was heading to work and took him into custody.
Despite having a “Fire Obama” sign in his window and sporting a Marine flag in his yard, Sandberg seemed to most of his neighbors like a normal guy. Sure, he could be heard working metal late at night, but most thought this was some kind of hobby and never felt threatened by it. At least not until now.
“It’s so scary,” neighbor Michelle Chalupa told CNN earlier. “I’m thankful that whatever operation found [the bombs] before someone was hurt.”
Amen to that.
Unfortunately, authorities don’t always catch criminals in time and we end up with elementary school shootings, movie theater massacres and a host of other violent events. Sure, it’s great when future violence can be prevented, but allowing even one madman to slip through the cracks is enough to result in even more tragedy and death.
Of course, what bothers me the most is something I have expressed here before: for every homicidal maniac we detect and arrest, there is likely another we don’t even know about. And as much as I hate to say it, plotting for the next tragic and violent event may already be underway.
Here’s a great article about the war on marijuana from CNN’s Roger Roffman that uses a public health model to support the need for legalization. He makes some pretty interesting points in light of recent legislation in Washington State to legalize recreational use of the drug. Very compelling…
A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has tapped Colorado as the skinniest state in the nation. There the obesity rate bottoms out at 20.7 percent.
I wish I could say this came as a surprise, but I’ve spent a lot of time snow skiing in Colorado and know it’s great for weight control. Of course, I’m sure there are lots of other factors that “weigh in.”
I would be fatter… I mean flattered… if North Carolina were on this list…
Double Tragedy for Colorado Shooting Victim: Pregnant Mom Miscarries Days After Her 6-Year-Old Dies | Parenting – Yahoo! Shine
The tragedy of the Aurora movie theater massacre just won’t let up, and this particular story gives new meaning to the word “heartbreak.”
A week after losing her 6-year-old daughter in the massacre, 25-year-old Ashley Moser, who was critically wounded in the attack, just miscarried her unborn baby.
It hurts me to think that even if Ashley survives, her life will be in ruins and she will likely never recover from these deep emotional wounds. The thought of anything happening to my son crushes me, so I can only imagine what Ashley will face once she is finally released.
And when you consider the fact that she might also be paralyzed, things get even more sad.
I’m not a religious person, but I know Ashley and her family will be in my thoughts. And I strongly urge anyone out there praying for someone to add Ashley, her family and her poor daughters to their efforts.
It really does break my heart.
Accused Colorado movie theater gunman charged with multiple counts of murder | The Lookout – Yahoo! News
James Holmes, the killer in the Aurora movie theater massacre, was just charged with two dozen counts of first-degree murder as well as more than 100 other violent offenses. This brings his grand total to 142.
Prosecutors have not yet decided if they will seek the death penalty in this case, but here’s hoping they do.
Yes, I am a liberal Democrat, but capital punishment is something I fully support. To me, if you take someone’s life in cold blood, then you should expect to sacrifice your own since let’s face it, that’s the only fair thing to do.
Granted, I don’t necessarily find it best to respond to one death by adding another, but sometimes you just can’t avoid it. And when someone like Holmes so flagrantly disregards the lives of his victims and their loved ones, I certainly feel the death sentence is warranted.
Or should Holmes be forced to live with what he did? There are some pretty good arguments for that side, too. And I can see it’s appeal.
I’m very curious to see how this case plays out. And this seems like a pretty good start. We simply cannot allow people like this to walk among us. The world is a dangerous enough place already.
I guess it was only a matter of time before the residents of James Holmes’ booby-trapped apartment building decided to head for greener pastures. If things had worked out as Holmes planned, after all, most if not all of them would already be dead.
What I find disturbing about this is that the Paris Street building has now become something of a macabre tourist attraction. People keep driving by and taking pictures of a structure that, if this killer had his way, wouldn’t even be standing today.
Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems in bad taste to do this kind of thing while the victims struggle with their losses and the survivors are still recovering from their wounds. There is time for all this once the case has been closed, after all.
Colorado shooting victim’s brain condition helped her survive, pastor says | The Lookout – Yahoo! News
It’s about time that something good happens to a victim of the shooting in Aurora, Colorado.
Petra Anderson is a 22-year-old violinist who sustained multiple gunshot wounds during James Holmes’ movie theater attack. One of the bullets traveled up her nose and into her brain. Under normal circumstances, this would be a kill shot, but a brain condition Petra wasn’t even aware of ended up saving her life.
Petra’s doctor described the brain defect as “a tiny channel of fluid running through her skull, like a tiny vein through marble, or a small hole in an oak board, winding from front to rear.”
The bullet that entered Petra’s nose was small enough that it entered this channel, traveled through her brain and eventually lodged itself in the back of her skull. And you know what? It didn’t hit any significant brain areas. Petra is even expected to make a full recovery.
My wife is fond of saying that “everything happens for a reason.” I’m not sure if I agree, but then I read a story like this and I start to wonder if she could be right.
If not for her brain condition, Petra would surely be dead. And though I’m not a religious person, I can’t help but think if this is another example of the Lord working in mysterious ways.
Whatever the reason, I am glad that Petra survived and hope she is able to emotionally recover from this horrible trauma someday. I’m pulling for you, Petra!