May 29, 2003

A waiter fond of poet Ralph Waldo Emerson attends morning prayers at his church, steps across the street and hijacks a school bus. Owing $15,639.39 in back taxes, wielding what he says is a bomb, Catalino Sang shields himself with disabled children.

Follow my orders, he says, or I will kill the kids. “No problem, I will,” says driver Alicia Chapman, crafty and calm. “But please don’t hurt the children.”

The saga of Dade County school bus No. CX-17, bound for Blue Lakes Elementary, begins.

“Terror Rides a School Bus” by Gail Epstein, Frances Robles and Martin Merzer
The Miami Herald, November 3, 1995

The past came to claim Aleksandras Lileikis this week. It knocked on his door on Sumner Street in Norwood, shattering his quiet present and shocking the friends and neighbors who thought they knew the man in the yellow house. It knocked on all of our doors, pointing to the genocide of more than 50 years, demanding that we hear the stories and seek the truth.

“A summons from history” by Susan Trausch
The Boston Globe, Sept. 23, 1994

JERUSALEM, Nov. 4—A right-wing Jewish extremist shot and killed Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin tonight as he departed a peace rally attended by more than 100,000 in Tel Aviv, throwing Israel’s government and the Middle East peace process into turmoil.

“Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin is Killed” by Barton Gellman
The Washington Post, Sunday, November 5, 1995

Her weight’s gone up. Gray hairs have sprouted. She’s gotten used to flat shoes instead of heels and eggplant-shaped dresses instead of the gowns and furs she used to wear. But after a decade in prison for having her husband killed, Betty Lou Haber, closing in on 50, is still as polite and sweet sounding as ever.

“There’s never a night that I go to bed and don’t say my prayers,” she said last week. “I just do the best I can.”

And that’s why Albert Haber’s surviving children are worried.

“A murder story” by David Finkel
St. Petersburg Times, May 26, 1985

HAVANA—This is the moment when, in my dreams, I begin to cry. And yet, I’m strangely calm as I go up the stairs to the apartment of my childhood in Santos Suarez, the only place that, after all these years, I still refer to as la casa, home.

“A sentimental journey to la casa of childhood” by Mirta Ojito
The New York Times, Feb. 3, 1998

Karubamba, Rwanda—Nobody lives here anymore.

Not the expectant mothers huddled outside the maternity clinic, not the families squeezed into the church, not the man who lies rotting in a schoolroom beneath a chalkboard map of Africa.

Everybody here is dead. Karubamba is a vision from hell, a flesh-and-bone junkyard of human wreckage, an obscene slaughterhouse that has fallen silent save for the roaring buzz of flies the size of honeybees.

“Only Human Wreckage Is Left in Karubamba” by Mark Fritz
Associated Press, May 12, 1994

A healthy 17-year-old heart pumped the gift of life through 34-year-old Bruce Murray Friday, following a four-hour transplant operation that doctors said went without a hitch.

“It Fluttered and Became Bruce Murray’s Heart.” By Jonathan Bor
Syracuse Post-Standard, May 12, 1984

SAN QUENTIN—In the end, Robert Alton Harris seemed determined to go peacefully, a trait that had eluded him in the 39 violent and abusive years he spent on earth.

“After Life of Violence Harris Goes Peacefully” by Sam Stanton
The Sacramento Bee, April 22, 1992

At 12:30, my husband and I were having a pleasant lunch in a restaurant. At 1:30, we were back home, sitting at the kitchen counter planning a trip to Vienna and Budapest with cherished friends. At 2:30, I was walking out of the hospital emergency room in shock, a widow, my life changed forever, beyond comprehension.

“Facing the void of a life and a love lost in a moment” by Joan Beck
Chicago Tribune, July 12, 1993

Let’s talk about tattoos.

“Tattoos and freedom” by Michael Gartner
The (Ames, Iowa) Daily Tribune, Oct. 7, 1993

BELFAST, Northern Ireland—The specter of the Shankill Butchers, an infamous sectarian murder gang that ravaged Roman Catholic ghettos a decade ago, is rising again on the pitiless streets of North Belfast, where fear and grief are running heavy from fresh homicide raids.

“Communion, tenpence, and terror along the wall” by Francis X. Clines
The New York Times, May 27, 1988

MANILA, Ark.__It killed first, then it came into town.

“Tornado sneaks into Manila, killing 2 kids just as sirens wail” by Bartholomew Sullivan
The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal, April 17, 1998

Hide the school-age children and call out the American Civil Liberties Union and the People for the American Way. The Bible is coming to television, right out in public where everyone can see and hear it__or, anyway, that version of it to be aired on Arts & Entertainment for four nights beginning Sunday (8-9 p.m., EST).

“The ‘good book’ on prime time by Dorothy Rabinowitz
The Wall Street Journal, Dec. 14, 1992

MOUNTOURSVILLE, Pa.__They knew them as the girl who spilled the fries in the car. Knew them as the boy who shot baskets and lighted the candles at church. Knew them as the girl who wrote poetry and played the piano.

“Small town grieves 21 dead” by Ken Moritsugu
Newsday, July 19, 1996

It was about 8:45 Thursday morning when I walked into the Hermosa Beach Police Department with two dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts and a 12-pack of Coors Light.

“A few Coors Lights might blur the truth” by Steve Lopez
Los Angeles Times, June 29, 2001

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Christopher “Chip” Scanlan (@chipscanlan) is a writer and writing coach who formerly directed the writing programs and the National Writer’s Workshops at Poynter where he…
Chip Scanlan

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