!My dad told me that the scariest point in his life was this time that he was in Texas.
@What happened in Texas?
!He ran out of gas way out on the interstate and had to walk for help.
@I'm not sure I understand.
!That's not the full story. But it's less about what happened and more about the fear of what could happen. At that point in time there was a bit of a scare going on... There were these... Cowboys? Cattle drivers? Something of that sort, yeah. Anyway, whatever they were, they were posing as friendly guys to hitchhikers and stranded people. They'd pick people up and abduct them, they'd take them to some secluded ranch.
@Trafficking ring?
!Personal slavery.
!You want to know the twisted thing?
@I'm not sure I do.
@But I also feel like I'm too far into this conversation to back out now.

!Your choice.
@Go ahead then.
!They documented a lot of it with tapes and stuff... I dunno if it was for the purpose of official "documentation" or whatever or if they were just fucking around with cameras and stuff, but like... there's real footage of their existence, and you know, you could say that about a lot of things. Like you know, there's footage of mass suicides, there's footage of police brutality, there's footage of whatever twisted thing you could think of. But making a conscious choice to document your modern slaves? It must stem from the same perverted kind of mindset as child pornographers.
!Documentary tapes and stuff like that are inherently intimate on some level, you know? It's like the closest thing you can do to get someone's literal view in a moment, you are seeing the same thing they saw. A diary is preserving thoughts in time but a tape is a vision.
!I don't think any of this sounds too insane yet. My bumblings, I mean.

@It's fine.
@You can keep going if you want.

!The intimacy thing. What does it say about you when you fill tapes with nothing but abuse and murder of other human beings? You don't even bother to do something like the Columbine tapes where you give some kind of fucked up explanation for what you're doing. Does it come from belief that you won't get caught? Do you just not care?
!I'm having trouble articulating exactly what I'm trying to say.

@That's okay.
@I'm not going anywhere.

!Do you want to know what one of the last chronological tapes had on it?

@I don't, particularly, but I can tell it's eating at you.
@So tell me, if you have to.

!Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire.
@Is that it?
!There's a lot more, but I think it's important to lead with that.
@Is this just dramatic effect?
!One of the last tapes has a video of one of their abductees being burned alive. They've also got a bunch of their other captives out, they're all chain gang'd together by the way, and they're forcing them to sing that song while they do it. They have cattle prods and they're zapping people who stop singing until they start singing. And they're recording it all. And they just keep going.
!I can't listen to Ring of Fire anymore. There isn't a song called Ring of Fire to me anymore. It's all that tape.

@I'm sorry about that.
!It's okay.
!Well, it's not. It's a bit selfish to complain about that when there were people enslaved by them. I think I got off easy with just a bad song association.

@I think that just says more about the ripples of suffering.
!That sounds kind of poetic.
@I didn't know how to phrase it better.
@It's the same principle as drug abuse.
@Actually, I don't know if that's correct. I'm sure many would say that things like those people were doing were harmless to the self.

!You're actually getting at one of the points I was trying to make with bringing this up.
!Especially evil acts and people don't just affect in direct contact with them.
!It's like you said, ripples. Except they go on forever and ever. They touch people and they touch them in ways that they wouldn't otherwise be able to normally.
!My dad was scared because he was out there when the news was reporting on it all.
!It's like how mass shootings on the news make you hyper-aware of when you're in the same venue as a recent one. Or any possible one, I suppose, if you're exposed to it long enough.

@A terribly long reach indeed.
!I just want the song to be normal again.