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Stupid People Who Go Missing - Carelessness, Complacency & Callowness in Action
By Larry Cox
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You have all seen it time-and-time again — hikers, mountain climbers, campers, students, etc., who get separated from the pack, out in the wilderness, or in urban situations, of their own ignorance. Scenarios that could easily have been prevented by two simple four-word phrases: “Hey guys, wait up” or “Hey guys, come on.” Join me on a tour through some tales of the human lost & found.

I was watching CNN this morning. The entire morning’s content was occupied with the most recent Boy Scout disappearance, supplemented with other current, and past, stories of missing Boy Scouts and students.

The main story was the rescue of twelve-year old, North Carolina Boy Scout, Michael Auberry, who had been missing for three days. It’s an old story with a different face and name. I used to watch the same stories every year when I was a kid. I remember them well — stupid kids who went missing. Some were rescued, and some died. What I don’t remember is ever being out in the middle of nowhere, and then just walking off all by myself, for no good reason, not telling anyone, with no supplies whatsoever. To the best of my recollection, I was equipped with a brain, and guided by quality parents who clearly taught me the appropriate lessons of right, wrong, and common sense.

As the story progressed, CNN News anchor Tony Harris stated, “Wow, well we are all excited about the great news of Michael being found and we are all impatiently waiting for that first picture of him as he emerges with his rescuers.” Uhmm, I have a suggestion Tony . . . how about putting up that silly looking photo of Michael that you have been displaying on the television screen sixty-seven times per hour for the last three days. Take a look at that photo and imagine him on the stretcher being carried by rescuers. He looks just like that. As far as “impatiently waiting,” I agreed with that one. I had been impatiently waiting for the kid to be found, alive or dead, so that I don’t have to hear about the story every ten minutes anymore.

Then Lou Dobbs chimed in with his trademark lisp, “Michaelth’s disthappearanthce hasth united a country.” Well I am sure about that one Lou, kind of along the lines of 9-11, or a Space Shuttle disaster you think? Hardly. The only things that this story united were the commercials before and after each sorry segment. Also, can anyone tell me why news networks hire on-air personalities with speech impediments?

Michael’s dad, Kent Auberry (it was now apparent why the poor kid is a dope), stated, “Michael is a spirited little boy with an adventurous heart and a mind of his own.” I don’t know about you folks, but to me that translates into “spoiled little brat that never does what he is told.” Dad followed-up with, “His mother and I started to think about who to thank, and then we realized that the list would be maybe even in the thousands” — yeah, no kidding Kent. Your spirited adventurous boy, with the mind of his own, cost authorities hundreds-of-thousands of dollars. If you really want to say thank you, bust out your checkbook, and put Mister Spirited on time out for about three months.

Mr. Auberry also later stated that Michael had told him that he got homesick and was walking to find a highway to hitchhike home. Dad stated, “We’re going to have that lecture about hitchhiking again.” Unbelievable — no wonder the kid is an idiot. How about having a lecture entitled If You Get Homesick Out In The Middle Of Nowhere, Tell The Scout Leader To Call Me and I’ll Come Pick You Up.

The news anchors also reminisced about the last high-profile missing Boy Scout — eleven year old Utah Boy Scout Brennan Hawkins. That was another Scout who walked off alone with no food or water when he disappeared. His family had said that he did not have a good sense of direction. Now that is just laughable. Has this kid even read the handbook, or listened to what anyone told him?

After his rescue Brennan’s Dad, Toby Hawkins, stated, “Brennan continues to amaze us,” in reference to his son’s ability to survive the ordeal. So, one can only imagine how amazed Toby would actually be if Brennan did what he was told for a change, or how amazed he would be if he received a bill from authorities for $1,110,247.63 for services rendered in locating and rescuing his son.

Brennan said that he saw searchers on horseback, but was scared and didn’t want to come out of hiding, because he didn’t know if they were “scary people.” Now how ludicrous and mind-boggling is that? Let’s get with the Boy Scouts of America and see if they can get this added to the Boy Scout Handbook:

Chapter 731    Don’t Be A Retard When The Searchers Reach You

If you are stupid enough to disregard what you have been taught, and you wander away from the group anyway, with no supplies whatsoever, get lost for days, starving and dying of thirst, and you see some people, it’s best to take your chances with the “scary people” and yell out “Hey, help, over here!” while waving your arms furiously and running towards them.

Better yet, I’m going to write a book that deals specifically with this silly, recurring, getting lost problem once and for all. I think the key is preventing the boys from even walking off in the first place, NOT telling them how to conduct themselves if they do. I have it all worked out, and here it is:

Title: Never Wander Off Alone — A Boy Scout Guide To Staying With The Group  by Larry Cox
Page 1: Never Wander Off Alone!
Page 2: The End

And where are these Scout leaders during all of these episodes that we constantly hear about with missing Boy Scouts. One Scout leader that was interviewed on the news stated, “We don’t have enough help to possibly keep our eye on all of the kids, all of the time.” Well here’s my advice . . . get enough help, or stay the hell at home. Dumb-asses.

It seems that wandering off and putting yourself in danger isn’t completely relegated to poorly-supervised eleven and twelve year old boys, but also not-so-intelligent students from uppity private colleges.

Here is that story in a nutshell. A Purdue University student had been missing since January 13, 2007. As it turns out, it seems that he walked to a nearby dormitory to retrieve his coat after a fraternity party, opened a door, walked inside a dark room, and was electrocuted. However, his body was not located until March 19, 2007, by a maintenance worker who was investigating reported “pinging and popping” sounds coming from a transformer room. Two months later?? For more on that see my upcoming story entitled Blind Incompetent Handymen.

The young man was nineteen year old, straight A student, Wade Steffey, who was on a full-ride academic scholarship at Purdue University. Apparently Wade missed the class on How To Not Wander Off In A Drunken Under-age Drinking Stupor From A Fraternity Party and Mistake A High Voltage Transformer Room For A Dormitory Entrance.

Award-winning CNN news anchor Heidi Collins didn’t disappoint me with her best dramatic journalist lets-hype-the-story-out-of-proportion style, by stating, “Imaging opening a door, stepping into what you think will be a closet to retrieve your coat, and then having that door slam closed behind you, locking you inside, as you fumble around in the dark, and are suddenly electrocuted.” Yes Heidi, I bet that sure came as a shock to poor ol’ Wade (sorry . . . couldn’t resist). However, when witnesses stated that Wade was on his way to retrieve his coat, that doesn’t mean that it was a closet that he thought he was entering. He was on his way to a friend’s room to retrieve his coat that he left there. Also, the unlocked door didn’t all of a sudden lock itself behind him. Nice try though Heidi. That type of drama may work for split-second news reporting, but how about you don’t take up print journalism anytime soon.

In another amazing display of foot-in-mouth disease, Deputy Coroner Martin Avolt stated, “Wade apparently gained access to the room, and, in trying to find his way around, was accidentally electrocuted.” Sorry Martin, Wade DID gain access to the room. His charred lifeless body inside of the room was pretty conclusive don’t you think? Not only does Martin not know the meaning, and proper use, of the word “apparently”, he is also apparently (proper use of the word) a talented psychic. Every Coroner’s Office should have such an eloquent investigator.

School sources stated that there was no alcohol at the frat party, that Wade was not they type of young man to have been intoxicated, and that he probably mistakenly thought the door was an entrance into the dorm — again, laughable. Hmmm, smells like let’s-avoid-a-lawsuit rhetoric to me. No alcohol at a frat party? And how else would you explain a straight A, full-ride academic scholar, mistaking a high voltage transformer room, located in an obscure location on the building, for a familiar well-lit dormitory entrance, staying inside that pitch black dark room, with humming transformers, stumbling and feeling his way around, instead of just going back out the door behind him? Oh wait, that’s right, according to Heidi Collins, the door locked behind him. Maybe the school sources and Heidi Collins should consider heading up the American Civil Liberties Union.

Friends and family had previously stated that Wade wasn’t the type of kid that would just up and disappear. Sorry folks, it seems that Wade was, because he did. Regardless, at best, Wade was the type of kid who would wander off, intoxicated, and mistake an obscure, poorly-lit, high voltage transformer room for a clothes closet, oops, sorry Heidi, I mean a familiar well-lit dormitory entrance. I wonder if his friends and family were aware of that he was the kind of kid that would up and do that?

Now, in expected fashion, the family is setting up for the potential lawsuit with the “why was the transformer room door unlocked in the first place” scenario. I mean, what would a dead-kid story be without the family trying to capitalize financially on the kid’s death? Maybe Heidi Collins can testify at the trial about the door that was unlocked when the kid walked in, but then locked itself from the inside, so that the kid couldn’t get out. They can also tap into the Deputy Coroner’s psychic abilities. I mean, I’m sure there are many people at fault here — you know, the school administration, maintenance staff, the frat house pledges, the State of Indiana, the transformer manufacturer, the general contractor for the dormitory, the Dolly Madison delivery guy who fills the vending machines, etc.

Better yet, how about this. Maybe everyone should just say, “What a terrible shame, poor Wade sure screwed up,” and then get back to living their lives. Maybe Wade, the straight A, full-ride academic scholarship, Purdue scholar, should have acted responsibly. Maybe he should have refrained from taking part in under-age drinking, and then wandering off alone. Maybe he should have had the sense to not get so intoxicated that he was incapable of proper judgment, and couldn’t tell the difference between a familiar lighted dormitory entryway and a dark obscure transformer utility room. It is tragic, yes, but it is only one person’s fault — Wade’s.

As with Wade, Brennan, Michael, the many that have preceded them, and the countless who will follow them, their fingers, and the fingers of their loved one’s,  will always be pointed, and excuses made for their ill-fated actions. People who act carelessly and irresponsibly, and the people responsible for them, rarely accept culpability for the outcome of such actions, and the collateral effect forced upon those who must deal with the mess that they have created. And shame on the media for glorifying such ineptness of human nature.    

© Copyright 2007 Larry Cox  All Rights Reserved

Any reproduction of this material, in whole or part, without the express
written permission of Larry Cox is a violation of copyright laws.
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