Bits and pieces

My friend, Paul, called via Skype from Tokyo last night. I had just finished dinner and he was eating breakfast. Sometimes I think Paul keeps up more with what is happening here in the U.S. than I do. That said, he raised an interesting concept that I will try to write about, perhaps, when I am off work Friday or Saturday.

Paul said it is difficult to tell what is real and what is not in our stateside political world these days. He was mostly speaking, of course, of the race for the Republican presidential nomination. I agree and only have to point at Herman Cain’s ill-fated candidacy. Cain said his farewell address was from the “Pokeman” movie but it actually was from a song from the hot stuff disco lady Donna Summer who wrote the song for “Pokeman.” Too weird. Paul has called for some comments on his concept on his Facebook page. I will wait and see what kind of comments he gets to add these into the mix.

20 questions

A former co-worker with whom I keep up through Facebook has asked some strange “20 Questions” of her friends. Most are really interesting, thought-provoking questions such as what religion do you find interesting besides your own or if you have none and another, which tech innovation that has become mainstream do you most like. I put Catholicism for the first. I find it fascinating for many reasons. As for the latter, I wrote the PC with the cell phone camera No. 2. I added that I remember my family’s first TV.

A Who-Done-It Needs Solving

I live in a city of about 115,000 people and metro area of nearly 380,000. Although we are only 80 miles from Houston, I still live in a relatively small city. When a murder takes place in a city of Houston’s size, it being the nation’s fourth-largest city, it usually doesn’t make the front page of the Houston Chronicle unless it is a very out-of-the-ordinary type killing. It’s a little different here in Beaumont, for the most part and especially so when the case when it is something more than a domestic or a fight that got out of hand (cops sometime refer to these derogatorily as “misdemeanor murders.) I think I can also say a murder that stands out here as well is a who-done-it in which the victim is a white person, especially an elderly white woman. Is that racist? I don’t know, but such a murder generates a lot of interest if only because blacks make up a majority in this city.

One story that has received “front-page,” a.k.a. prominent media play, is the homicide of 72-year-old Robbie Rae Allen, who was found dead Dec. 16 in her West Beaumont apartment in the 6700 block of Prutzman Road. Relatives and neighbors described her as outgoing and even sort of the spunky type. She did have meals brought to her and received home health care. It has only been revealed recently that she was smothered to death.

Police have just released a video from a Fast Lane convenience store at Major Drive and Phelan Boulevard in West Beaumont — slightly more than a mile from Allen’s apartment. The video was taken about 48 hours before Allen was discovered dead and shows a woman wearing a red coat and blue jeans and a white hat who used the victim’s credit card. I initially thought this might be the victim herself but it is an unknown black woman.

All murders, for the most part, need solving but especially so this type of homicide. This type of killing is a source of dysfunction for a community. Sure, this thing happens all the time but thankfully not here. I have mentioned before that I don’t think a majority of our area’s news media is particularly adept at “investigating.”  There are various reasons for this that I won’t get into. I only say that because, often, we don’t know a lot and some of what we do not know, just maybe, we should. Some police, in my experience and I do have some experience as a police reporter, sometimes feel as if information they glean is theirs and the public has no business knowing anything whatsoever. This is especially true when a murder is involved. That isn’t to say police shouldn’t keep some investigative information close to the (bulletproof) vest. I’m just saying, more details may often be told and it can even be in the interest of the cops to release it.

I do give props to Beaumont police since new Chief Jimmy Singletary has taken charge in the area of public information. They seem to be making a good effort to help both the public and their agency with respect to crime information.

Now I hope cops and citizens can do their thing to help solve this crime. It sure as hell needs solving.