Wednesday, July 06, 2005
The message the media has missed
The Dutch government is sending three F-16's to Aruba for recon over the ocean, in a continuing search effort to locate Natalee Holloway. I'm sure you will agree that at it's minimum sustained flying speed, an F-16 could fly over a "Girls Gone Wild" beach party and never even see it.
I wish to address the issues that the media has repeatedly missed in the case of the missing Alabama teenager. First, my disclaimer: I'm tired of this story. That's why I'm writing about it. If the missing individual were a 49 year old man with a chronic back pain, I doubt we would have ever heard his name.
Allow me to begin with an example. If a person hid his or her life savings under a mattress, and it turned up missing, most people would not give much sympathy to the victim. The individual made a foolish choice by putting something of great value in a place where it was at a very high risk. Obviously, contrary to the laws of the land, someone stole the money, but that would have been nearly impossible had the money been safely stored in a locked safe, or even better, a bank.
I must say that I cannot begin to imagine the desperate feelings of hopelessness and loss that Natalee Holloway's family must be experiencing. If I were responsible for the disappearance of my own child, I would be very upset as well.
Let's review some facts. Natalee was drunk, she's by herself with three complete male strangers in their car, on their turf, at 1:00 AM. She's making out with one of the strangers in the backseat.
And then she goes missing. Is anyone actually surprised? I'd have been more surprised if she came home unharmed.
Don't get me wrong; the individual(s) who carried out the evil acts resulting in Natalee's disappearance are absolutely to blame. But there are many people, including Natalee, who made a series of poor choices, and all share responsibility for what ultimately happened to Ms. Holloway.
I have yet to hear the media share some points which I heretofore thought were common sense. For example, when in a foreign country (like Aruba, or Alabama), don't go off alone with people you don't know--even if you "think" you know who they are. In addition, if you're 18, you must realize there is a wide disparity between what you "think" and the way things really are. And if you are naive enough to get into a car with three men who you don't know, certainly don't get yourself liquored up beforehand. This would be an excellent opportunity to teach other naive blond bombshells from small towns about what they should and shouldn't do when they find themselves away from home and the watchful eyes of mommy and daddy.
Individuals can make decisions which will increase or decrease their likelihood of becoming a crime victim. You either make decisions for yourself which increase your likelihood of remaining in control, or someone else will make such decisions for you.
Natalee's careless actions are certainly not a justification for any person to take advantage of her. By the time Natalee got into a car with three strangers, she could have been wearing a bulky Christmas sweater hand knitted by her granny. It was too late. She had made her last decision, even if she didn't foresee the consequences. Natalee recklessly put herself in a dangerous situation.
Natalee's parents were reckless for deliberately putting Natalee in a risky situation. If I had a pretty, 18-year old daughter, I can safely say that paying for her to spend a week drinking and partying with other hormone charged youth would not be high on my list of priorities. Any parent who sends a teenager (minor or otherwise) into such a situation should be prepared for the brutal realities of "consequence".
So while Natalee's mother blames the Aruban government, and accuses three young men who are quite possibly involved, she should also be reminded that a series of myopic decisions led to the disappearance of her daughter. It started with Mom and Dad, the parents who paid for and authorized the travel. It continued with the 7 chaperones who were responsible for 130 hormone-crazed teenagers, unleashed in a new culture with very different laws regulating drugs and alcohol. It extends to the young, pretty girl who made some terrible choices in trusting three complete strangers with her life. And it ends with the person or persons who know what happened to this young woman.
This is indeed a sad story. What is truly sad, however, is how this could have all been avoided with an ounce of common sense on the part of any number of people.
I now return to my adventures in capitalism.