Friday, February 08, 2008

Natalee Holloway

WARNING: Language

OK... I'm about to piss people off... and I know it... but I'm going to say it anyway...

I am SICK of hearing about Natalee Holloway.

She went on a trip to celebrate high school graduation and choose a place where the drinking age was 18 so she and her friends could drink. She got drunk. She hooked up with some random guy - guy who you can take one look at and know he's someone to avoid, although at 18 you may not have the experience to know that. (Parents - litle tip - don't protect your kids too much - they do need to gain some life experience.) It would appear they had sex - perhaps consensual, perhaps not. Obviously, something very bad happened.

Van der Sloot seems like a real scum bag - no question about that. And who knows what really happened. We've now got these tapes where he "confesses," but in a legal sense this is very circumstantial if I remember my one law class from college. If things really happened this way - and it may well have - then one other person knows - the guy who dumped the body.

It's a sad case. It's always horrible when someone dies - particularly in what appears a violent way. And I am truly sorry for the loss to Natalee's family and friends. And she certainly didn't "deserve" to have anything bad happen to her. But can we at least agree that she needs to accept some responsibility for being drunk and hooking up? You take a chance when you do either of those things. I'm not saying it means he had a right to do whatever he did - I'm saying if different decisions were made the situation wouldn't have existed. No one abducted her. She went willingly. If we are to believe him on all counts, she approached him. If we can't believe him on all, then we can't believe him on any. You don't get it both ways - he's telling the truth or he's not.

The reporter is saying that young people don't just die from drinking too much. That's not true. Young people die all the time from drinking too much. So do old people.

OK... I'm a person who has made a lot of decisions in my life that could well have resulted in something horrible happening to me. Just ask my friend, Leah, who thinks I take far too many unnecessary risks. I don't think I do, but that's a matter of perspective. I do know I've been fortunate many times. But I've also exercised some judgement.

For example, I would not mix mind-altering conditions and randomly hooking up -  it's not a good combo for making the best decisions. If you need to get drunk before you want to hook up with a guy, he's probably not a guy you need to be with. Also, another little tip - bars are not the best places to meet the best guys. If you have to drink yourself into oblivion in order to get past your inhibitions, then honor your inhibitions. Oh, yeah, and a guy you meet while consuming large amounts of alcohol is not likely to be the man of your dreams. Not even the man of your dreams for tonight. You don't need to be shit-faced to stomach being with the man of your dreams - that's one way you'll know.

He says his semen will be in and on her body and accurately describes her underwear. People act shocked. Please, what do you think drunk 18 year olds do on the beach in Aruba? They're not there for long discussions about theoretical physics. What do you think girls who are inviting guys they don't know to take jello shots off them and then telling them they have to buy them drinks are planning? Trust me, they're not interested in the guy's intellect. They may not be planning sex, but they're not planning NO sexual contact either.

Part of my distate for the whole situation is the "Missing White Woman Syndrome." It's not Natalee's fault that she fits the profile of the type of woman the media is interested in finding out about. But it pisses me off, anyway. Thousands of people go missing and we hear about very few of them to any large degree. Chandra Levy, JonBenet Ramsey, Laci Peterson - they're all part of our lexicon. But, if they'd been non-white, poor, or "less deserving," we wouldn't know their names.

That, ultimately, is the issue. I'm sick of hearing about Natalee because it's unfair to other families in the same situation. It's very sad for her family but it's no more sad for her mother than any other mother. I don't want us to forget the others.

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