Things I Read That I Love #2: Law & Order Edition

Hello! Welcome to ‘Things I Read That I Love,” a column I invented last week. It has been said that long form journalism is “making a comeback” and as more and more essays, feature articles and investigative reporting appears online, the more and more I enjoy being alive as a human on this earth.

So in this segment I share with you some of my favorite things that I’ve read recently. This week has a THEME and that theme is CRIME. Last week I offered to do a “Law & Order” edition of TIRTIL and you all voted “YES” on that, which means you promised not to think I was crazy for it.

I think it was maybe a year or two ago that I realized the stories I always flipped to first in New York Magazine or Rolling Stone were the stories that usually involved some kind of terrible violent crime. I don’t really read crime reporting, but I find that any crime stories worth more than 2,000 words are usually ones that feature either some kind of ideological conclusion or a crime being solved. I guess I like a good mystery/detective story, even when it involves um, child abuse!

Rebecca Coriam: Lost At Sea (2011) – The Guardian UK – Rebecca was working on the Disney Wonder cruise ship when she vanished, becoming one of the 171 disappearances across all cruise lines since 2000 (Disney’s first). Apparently when this happens, the cruise company tends to hinder any possible investigations, keeping everything on the downlow. UNTIL NOW.

The Lazarus File (2011) – The Atlantic – 23 years after 29-year-old Sherri Rasmussen’s murder case was declared cold, new forensic evidence surfaced enabling the Los Angeles detectives to “finally assemble the pieces of the puzzle.” All signs now pointed to “one of the most unlikeliest murder suspects in the city’s history.” [includes video, so it’s better to read online rather than a 1st-gen kindle]

The Day Treva Throneberry Disappeared (2002) – Texas Monthly – A case from the eighties involving a girl who kept re-appearing in new towns, pretending to be someone else, and attended high school as an adult under the guise of being a teenager.

Non-Prophet – (2011) – Texas Monthly – A “ringside seat” to and the full story of the trial of rapist cult leader Warren Jeffs.

At Trail’s End (2011) – GQ – In Cleveland, Texas, eighteen men have been arrested and charged with rape of one 11-year-old girl. This is that horrific story, which is also a story about poverty, racism, sexism and rural decay.

Robin Hood of the East Bay (2008) – San Francisco – This one hit close to home, actually, and I don’t mean because I live in the East Bay, but because I also knew someone sort of like Carol Huang and a lot of the people affected by Carol said things I’ve said/heard, too, about our person  — “Carol Huang’s arrest in 2003 knocked the wind out of one of the East Bay’s most intriguing subcultures. For 10 years, the commu­nity of aesthetes, artists, craftspeople, and their patrons at places like Oliveto, Chez Panisse, and Tail of the Yak had been in Huang’s thrall. She was a local legend: seemingly self-effacing and yet as flamboyantly generous a person as anyone had ever met. But it had all come crashing down.”

Sex & Scandal at Duke (2006) – Rolling Stone – College culture, frat culture, rape culture –> “On A night in late April, barely a month after the rape allegations that have rocked the campus of Duke University, the brothers of Delta Tau Delta, one of the school’s top fraternities, are having a party at Shooters…”

The Lost Boys (2011) –  The Texas Monthly – A thing I think about a lot is Stockholm Syndrome, or how easily a person can be brainwashed by another person or people. I think about this mostly as it relates to politics and hate groups and reality TV shows, but this story made me think about that too. How did “the most prolific serial killer the county had ever seen,” back in the 1970s, not only kill 27 young males while living quietly amongst his victims’ families, but lure two teenage boys into being his accomplices?

Murder by Text (2011) – Vanity Fair – Kim Proctor was 16 when she was brutally raped and murdered by two really fantastically deranged sicko teenagers. This article “reports on the teenage nightmare that British Columbia police uncovered when they peeked behind the digital curtains of Kim’s supposed friends, Kruse Wellwood and Cameron Moffat.”

What Happened to Mitrice Richardson? – (2011) – LA Magazine – We’d been following the Mitrice Richardson story for a year by the time we saw it get this level of mainstream press. This thorough report is absolutely the best I’ve read and contains new information beyond what we knew the last time we wrote about it.

Riese is the 37-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker, low-key Jewish power lesbian and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2698 articles for us.

31 Comments

  1. I’ve just read ‘murder by text’ and it’s so, so horrible.

    Are there things you read that you love that could restore one’s faith in humanity? I guess I’ll need something to cheer me up by the time I’ve finished reading this edition.

  2. Dammit, I just know I’m going to spend this Friday night huddled under a blanket mesmerized by true tales of twisted minds. Oh well, beats going out to a bar and actually encountering them.

  3. Ok, so I haven’t read any of these yet, and I will because I love this stuff, but I just wanted to say that the summary for that first piece gave me a story idea in a big way. People disappearing off of cruise ships? refusing to let people investigate? That’s some awesome base material for a good mystery/conspiracy/portal into another world type story! So many ideas!

    • yes! i read it a couple of weeks ago and that’s exactly what i thought! if you haven’t read them, then ian rankin’s ‘rebus’ series is kind of based around stories like that, and they are so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so good; i wish i hadn’t read them so that i could read them again. i really hope i’ve made you understand how good they are because they are very good really very very good

    • I was fascinated and saddened by that one too and looked it up. It seems she was set free in 2004ish and still maintains she is Brianna Stewart. I couldn’t find anything about her after that though. The sad reality is that as an adult, there’s really nothing anyone can do for her if she doesn’t want help. She doesn’t appear to be unstable enough to warrant a 5150. And I read a quote from one of her sisters that said something along the lines of “if she thinks she’s living a better life, then I’m happy for her” which is both heartwarming and depressing at the same time.

      also, i really shouldn’t have read that murder by text article at 2am. so horrifying.

  4. If you’re into terrible, true stories, I recommend Tiger, Tiger: A Memoir by Margaux Fragoso. She doesn’t get into the legal aspects of the story, but it’s still really unsettling. It’s based on the author’s childhood, and her relationship with the man who molested her from when she was 5 up until she was in university.

  5. It seems a bit problematic to link to an article that talks about the Duke lacrosse case without acknowledging that the real scandal there was prosecutorial misconduct. Really enjoying this column, though.

    • well if i tell you then you won’t need this column anymore BUT i will! Mostly i find them through byliner. also altweeklies.com, arts and letters and givemesomethingtoread.com are also great resources. instapaper also recommends things i might like based on what i’ve already liked/read. that’s good.

      i read new york magazine, the new york times magazine and rolling stone (all the parts that aren’t about music, interestingly enough) every week and at least flip through gq, vanity fair and esquire every month. i also pay attention to what comes out in n+1, the atlantic, the new yorker and harpers (via google reader and twitter). usually any really fantastic noteworthy features in a major publication will get mentioned by jezebel or gawker, which i obvi read. but anything from like, the ny review of books or the columbia journalism review or LA Mag or something, that’s via byliner or longform.

      also the texas monthly i found via longform but now i check myself, because they always have good stuff b/c apparently people are always doing fucked up shit there.

  6. The Lost at Sea one makes me think of Lonely Tourist Charlotte Charles, which makes me want to re-watch Pushing Daisies. I assume this is not the correct response to a bunch of scary/depressing stuff, probably because I’m a robot.

  7. The problematic thing with your new column is that I spend the entire day reading every single article. Every. Single. One. And then I google more information about the topics. This happened to me last week too!
    Please keep compiling these!

  8. thanks so much for the warren jeffs one. i’m fascinated by him & the trials and this is the best piece i’ve read. the sex tapes are always referred to but never detailed. this is the furthest i’ve seen a journalist go in describing them. and he backed away from the one with the 12 yr old, but maybe that’s protected as evidence. clearly he is a crackpot.

    the greens from big love = the jeffs. (i think?)

  9. Just getting my vote in that I love this series. You’re finding things I never would have discovered from some magazines I read long ago in the days of paper. 🙂 Thanks.

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