Towns Named Meridian in Twelve US States

Excerpted from The History of America in My Lifetime.

Dozens of former truckers have been imprisoned in America for multiple murders. They’ve been incriminated via several means: credit card receipts, GPSes affixed by their trucking companies, records of tolls paid by E-ZPass, FasTrak, and other electronic toll collection (ETC) systems, including SunPass, TxTAG, Peach Pass, Good To Go!, K-Tag, MnPass, Palmetto Pass, Pikepass, and GeauxPass. Of course, the single most potent technology used in the apprehension of these mobile killers has been surveillance footage, and the ability to remotely access and search this increasingly high resolution footage with growing computer power.

Joint statement from the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA):

Highways are the lifeblood of America, and truckers, if you will, are a key part of the respiratory system that carries oxygen (cargo) to America’s bloodstream. Nearly all American truckers are certifiably decent, hardworking individuals in love with the open road and the American Dream. Though a twisted few are indeed dangerous, they do not represent the views of truckers in general, and are a miniscule portion of our overall industry. At last count, there were over 3.5 million men and women employed as professional truck drivers in this great nation. In addition, according to an article in Scientific American, the FBI puts the number of active serial killers in the U.S. between twenty-five and fifty. If all serial killers operating in the U.S. were indeed professional truck drivers (a dubious assertion at best), this would mean that only 0.00001429% of truckers embodied pure evil. That’s a little over 1/1000th of one percent! Furthermore, speaking more broadly, the aforementioned article asserts that “serial killings account for no more than 1 percent of all murders committed in the U.S.” Think about your odds of getting murdered in the first place. OK. Now divide that by 100! Pretty good, huh?


Ray couldn’t remember the name of the street. He knew it was one of the most common street names in America, but it wasn’t Maple, wasn’t Elm. Here he was, driving a gray panel van with a ladder secured to the roof and the words “Ray’s Painting” in faded letters on the side, trying to find a street he couldn’t remember. The current street (Market Street) intersected the street he was looking for. Ray was fairly sure it was named after a kind of tree.

Ray wasn’t there to paint. He wasn’t even a painter. His name wasn’t even Ray. His plan: park the car down the street, approach the house, knock on the front door. If no one answered the knocks, bang on the front door. If no one answered the bangs, try other entrances. If someone opened the door, things could proceed naturally. It should be dusk when he arrived.

Ray was wearing a navy blue zip hoodie over an orange safety vest, to which a red button bearing the logo of a local utility company was affixed. There was a clipboard in the passenger seat he planned to bring with him to the front door. He had just taken his youngest daughter to a diner, where she ate the Pretty Lady Special (waffles, strawberries, eggs, hash browns, and toast) and he ate the Hungry Man Special (French toast, bacon, sausage, eggs, hash browns, and toast). He couldn’t remember if he told his daughter that things were going to change, or that things weren’t always what they seemed. He said he’d be on the road for a while. His wife had custody.

Was it Walnut? He thought not. Ray tried to remember the name of the street, then relaxed in the hope that if he didn’t think too hard, things could proceed naturally.

Brooks Sterritt is the author of The History of America in My Lifetime.

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