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An Earthquake Sky
Lights and tremors down under, corruption in Illinois
My generation of Australians grew up confident in the knowledge that although our country was prone to bushfires, and the Melbourne spring could be annoyingly rainy, we were safe from dramatic natural disasters that occurred elsewhere in the world.
Three earthquakes in two weeks later, that confidence is shaken.
It started in 2021 when a magnitude 5.9 quake erupted 200 km from the city. The tremors in Melbourne were impressive. It had me wondering what a semi-trailer was doing in my backyard. The event was so singular, most of us assumed it was a one off. Now it appears the state sits on an “blind” fault line that no one has really looked into before.
Last Sunday night’s magnitude 4 quake was similarly dramatic, waking people at 11.40 pm when it rumbled out of an epicenter that was only 29 km from the city and a mere 2 km deep.
Hundreds reported it on Twitter in real time. The occasional plaintive tweet also mentioned lights in the sky.
The lights never made it into news reports, but it’s a real thing, known as earthquake light. There’s no scientific consensus about why it happens, but since the year 869, humans have reported blue, green and other color lights, dancing orbs, even a strange kind of reverse lightning, before and during a quake.
It sounds beautiful, I wish I had seen it. But the implication — not even the sky is safe — is probably what will stay with me. I nervously await the next one.
Illinois Attorney General Report
Another year, another attorney generals report about the abuse of children and its cover-up perpetrated by the Catholic Church.
In May, the Office of the Illinois Attorney General published the results of a multi-year investigation, which started in 2018.
Investigators read more than 100,000 pages of diocesan documents, interviewed many witnesses, victims and diocesan representatives, and they received survivors’ emails, letters, voicemail messages, and phone calls.
Although a number of credibly accused abusers had been named by the Church before the investigation, the process resulted in the Illinois Dioceses “publicly listing an additional 231 substantiated Catholic cleric and religious brother child sex abusers across all dioceses.”
The implication is clear: If law enforcement had not pursued the issue, the abusers would not have been named.
After the process, one of the survivors told investigators, “I still have my struggles, but at least now I am not alone.”
There are many news reports on the story. The Office of the Illinois Attorney General also published the report with an excellent readable introduction. It’s worth a look, here.
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