By Erika Hills
After over twenty years, a South Carolina family is able to have closure thanks to the help of some resourceful Internet sleuths.
Known only as “Grateful Doe” for two decades, Jason Patrick Callahan was involved in a fatal Emporia, VA car accident in June 1995 while following The Grateful Dead’s 1995 tour.
According to The Washington Post, authorities were able to quickly identify the driver but not the passenger.
Due to the extent of Callahan’s injuries, it prevented them from accurately sketching or describing him. Callahan was hitch-hiking along the East Coast, WSOC-TV reported, which further increased the difficulty in identification.
On Dec. 9, the Virginia Medical Examiner’s Office and the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUS) confirmed that Grateful Doe was 19-year-old Callahan from Myrtle Beach.
Volunteers and amateur detectives on the true-crime forum WebSleuths began working on Grateful Doe’s case in July 2005.
Ten years ago users on the site started cross-referencing the case with hundreds of entries in the missing persons’ database, The Washington Post reported.
WMBF-TV reported that following an updated facial reconstruction of Grateful Doe this past year, the case caught fire once more. This time, users on Reddit and Facebook joined the efforts to give him a name and his family closure. On the Grateful Doe subreddit and Facebook page, many people came together to post tips, updates, photos, and even the original newspaper article describing the accident.
Information indicating that Grateful Doe may be Jason Callahan was received on social media a year ago. It led to the Myrtle Beach Police Department working diligently alongside other agencies to link both cases by collecting DNA samples.
As they waited in anticipation, many people following the case expressed their elation in the mere possibility of it being solved after so long.
11 months later, upon the news of Callahan being identified, people from different corners of the Internet united.The relentless support and hard work of countless strangers, in a mission to bring a name to the nameless and closure for a family, has finally paid off.
“Rest in peace, Jason Callahan. I am so thrilled you have your name back,” a Reddit user commented on Dec. 10.
Cover Photo Credit: Grateful Doe Facebook Group
What Do You Think?
You Might also like
I’m a firm believer that interactive media can elicit stronger emotional effects than just reading a book or watching a movie.
But can playing video games change someone’s perspective on war and the refugee crisis?
Many video games feature war or armed conflict as a central inclusion to their story arc. War facilitates a reason to shoot people, defend a base, or just kick some ass.
And you’ll almost always be completing your objectives as part of the in-game military or government.
This War of Mine: The Little Ones uniquely puts you in control of those most vulnerable during war, the civilians.
Without much instruction, the game thrusts you into an abandoned house, one where you and your randomly selected group of survivors must hunker down until a ceasefire.
The problem is, you don’t know when that day will come.
Through my three playthroughs thus far, none of the groups I was given made it to the end.
The difficulty spikes in the game come from the unexpected nature of every encounter.
One night may be completely calm and routine, but following the next day, half of your group could be lethally wounded by raiders that also stole most of your supplies.
The setting of This War of Mine is all too real.
It’s inspiration comes from the Siege of Sarajevo, a battle for the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina that represented the longest siege of a capital in modern history.
Lasting for 1,425 days between 1992 and 1995, the siege claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people.
This War of Mine recreates the danger the Bosnian war presented by blocking off previously loot filled areas with fights and sniper fire.
The Little Ones add-on even subjects children to these perils.
The horrifically recognizable sniper alley of the Siege of Sarajevo manifests itself in “sniper junction” an in-game scavenger location, and tragic odes to the real-world travesty are seen everywhere in the game.
While slightly underutilized, the inclusion of children into the game hammers home one of the game’s central selling points; “In war kids are still kids”.
I often used their inclusion in the game to warrant the atrocities I committed. I didn’t want to add to the bodies littering the city, but I soon realized I had to kill in order to live.
I found no joy in robbing an elderly couple in order to feed my group of survivors. I tried to morally justify it by saying that they had lived a long life and that my group was still young.
I often risked too much for a simple set of bandages or basic crafting supplies, and got my best scavenger killed in the process.
I gathered toys for the children instead of feeding my group for the day, causing one of the adults to become immobile from starvation for several days.
I chose not to intervene when a soldier was attempting to rape a woman.
I decided the supplies were more important and the risk of being shot was too great.
And those were the choices I had the most control over.
I didn’t get to choose who would attack me on sight.
I made no decision as to whether I would be raided multiple nights in a row.
I especially had no choice when my first playthrough ended because my final survivor killed himself.
This War of Mine: The Little Ones is not a fun, light-hearted romp.
It is a grossly realistic look into the human element of war, including the often forgotten or downplayed numbers of civilians trapped by shelling and snipers.
While the Siege of Sarajevo took place more than 20 years ago, present day wars still ravage humanity in places like Aleppo, Syria.
Video games existed two decades ago, but their arguably mainstream appeal today would allow games like This War of Mine: The Little Ones to have a widespread impact on our collective thinking.
Will one game alter the perspectives of everyone who plays it?
I doubt it.
But games like This War of Mine have created a new entry point to dialogues on touchy subjects such as the refugee crisis.
You can’t solve a problem without first addressing its existence and I see video games as a way to shine light on the iniquitous pieces of humanity, whether they dwell in the past, present or future.
This story was originally published on ThePolyglot.net.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.
Photo Credits: 11 bit studiosPost Views: 1,097
What Do You Think?
By Natalie Alatriste
High-speed rail is not exactly an issue that is at the top of many millennial minds these days. But a few local college students are working to change that reality.
Two brothers—Darius and Demetrius Villa—and their friend, Aleksandr Khalfin, founded the High Speed Rail America Club (HSRAC) at Florida International University.
The club researches and promotes high-speed rail trains, also known as bullet trains, in America. Bullet trains, which average more than 150 mph, don’t exist in our country, and it’s a fuel efficient and quicker way to travel, according to Demetrius.
“Half of my family lives in New York City, so about every year, we would take the Amtrak from Miami [to visit]. The train ride, however, takes an embarrassing 32 hours; it used to take 25 hours back in the 1930s,” Demetrius said. “During a visit in December 2012…as soon as I got to NYC, I started searching up other countries’ rail travel in the hotel.”
And this is where it all began.
Demetrius said he started doing his own research and became passionate about the issue—so much so, he applied for TEDxFIU in 2013 to present his idea of revolutionizing American rail.
TED is a “nonprofit organization that is devoted to ideas worth spreading,” according to its website, which will partner with independent organizations, like FIU, to “spark deep discussion.”
Because he wasn’t an experienced speaker, he wasn’t able to present in 2013. However, that didn’t discourage him from informing others on high-speed rail.
People started hearing about it, and now High Speed Rail America Club has 676 members on Facebook. The club is also opening two new chapters at other local universities—the University of Miami and Miami-Dade College.
HSRAC doesn’t solely focus on bullet trains; it also focuses on inner-city transit. The club wants to solve common transit issues, especially in Miami, where public transportation is not as strong as other metropolitan areas.
The group says that they are determined to bring Miami a Maglev train-rail system, which is a transportation system that uses powerful electromagnets to create the high speed, according to HowStuffWorks.com.
HSRAC is working with three private companies—Texas Central Railway, American Maglev Technology and All Aboard Florida—with hopes of creating a national vision.
The club works closely with All Aboard Florida, though, which is a passenger rail project connecting Miami to Orlando. All Aboard Florida’s website says the project is scheduled to begin this service in 2017.
The HSRAC introduced the Miami Maglev idea to All Aboard Florida, and hope to continue working closely with this already-established organization for the initiative.
The Miami Maglev system would supposedly connect FIU’s Modesto Maidique Campus with Miami’s South Beach. The students in the club have been hosting events at FIU, such as the Future of Transportation Day, where members raised awareness for high-speed railways and unveiled the idea of the Miami Maglev to students.
And the members say that they are not stopping until their visions become reality.
One member, Tolga Erbora, the director of railroading and public relations for HSRAC, said he’s confident his position will be taken to a professional level once he graduates.
“The High Speed Rail America Club is an opportunity to take action and fix the issues that come in the way of travelers today,” Tolga said. “It is also a great way to network with politicians and related businesses.”
The club is in the process of making a documentary called “The American Train.” Its release date is scheduled for sometime in October.
“With this documentary, we want to spark the conversation throughout FIU and nationwide. It will include interviews from FIU deans, local historians and executives from All Aboard Florida,” Demetrius Villa said. “With this, we’ll continue to make it a reality and get everyone on board.”
To show support or for more information on the High Speed Rail America Club, visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/hsrac/.
This story was originally published on www.risemiaminews.com.
Cover Photo Credit: Thomas Lok/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)Post Views: 1,111
What Do You Think?
Mexico has a long and historic tradition of welcoming refugees from all over the world and unlike its closest neighbor to the north, it is still living true to that tradition.
As a gesture of support to reinforce the international community’s confidence in Mexico’s advocacy for peace, the country welcomes Syrian refugee students through its “Project Habesha“.
Project Habesha is a humanitarian initiative with the main goal of welcoming 30 Syrian students to Mexico for the purpose of providing them with a college education.
Welcoming Syrian students also provides Mexico with the opportunity of promoting intercultural dialogue as an inspiration for development and creating an atmosphere of understanding and sympathy within Mexican society.
Habesha has already brought 10 students to Mexico.
With the support of private universities and organizations, these students will receive a full scholarship as well as medical insurance and a monthly allowance for their personal expenses.
Last week, after a long flight and a rigorous selection process, Silva Namo and Jackdar Mohammed arrived to Mexico City.
“Thanks to Habesha, we have hope again and something real for the future,” Mohammed said, two days after arriving to Mexico City. “Habesha has helped us and, just as Habesha has helped us, I want to help countries that are in war. There is nothing impossible.”
Since 2011, millions of people have fled from the country as a direct result of the conflict in Syria and its neighbouring regions.
This has led to the greatest humanitarian crisis in decades.
Namo, a 22 year old student from the Syrian province of Malikiyah, reflected in an interview with RISE NEWS how the war in her homeland has affected her life.
“In the beginning, it was really difficult to live in refugee camps,” Namo said. “We were forced into another way of life with people we didn´t know. You lose everything. You lose direction and you don’t know what you’re going to do with your future; you walk around without thinking or knowing what the next step is.”
In only two days after Namo and Mohammed’s arrival in Mexico, they said that they felt big and positive changes in their lives after experiencing Mexico’s culture.
“A big change for me is the food,” Mohammed said. “In two days I have eaten a lot of things. The food is really good and spicy. I like it.”
Before attending college in Mexico, Namo, Mohammed and the other Syrian students will spend six months studying Spanish in the state of Aguascalientes.
“This is our chance to learn and to do as much as we can to be stronger and provide something in the future,” Namo said.
Mohammed’s studies were interrupted due to the increasing violence and development of the war in the Syrian capital, Damascus.
Today, he looks forward to starting his economy degree again.
“[The] Economy can help me and my country,” Mohammed about the field he is interested in pursuing. “It can have a great impact in Syria’s future. [The] Economy will be needed for rebuilding the country, creating factories and jobs and working on development.”
Namo’s goal is to make an impact not only in Mexican communities, but also in Syrian communities too.
To achieve this, she will study Business Administration.
“Everything is developing so quickly. Syria will need technology and development,” she told RISE NEWS.
For Namo and Mohammed, coming to Mexico is not only a personal achievement.
They plan to use their studies to aid Syria in its uncertain future.
“Syria needs us,” Mohammed said. “We are the generation that has a chance to complete their studies outside of the country. That’s the people Syria needs right now for its future. We, as students, are the hope for Syria’s future.”
It’s part of Mohammed and Namo’s goal to return to Syria.
“This education is not just for me, it’s for all Syrians,” Mohammed said, “I want to learn and have new experiences so I can go back and transmit it to those who may not have a chance to complete their studies.”
Project Habesha is providing Syrian youth with an opportunity to receive a college education.
Mexico is providing these Syrians with a place to call home.
“It’s an amazing feeling to come into these people who are really nice and friendly,” Namo said. “People have welcomed us and have let us know that this can be our home too. I’m away from my country but I feel safe and I feel at peace.”
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.Post Views: 1,345
What Do You Think?