One advantage to having a blog is that you can write about any topic you choose, another is that you can express your personal opinion--politically correct or not. I would like for most of my posts to be positive with enough humor that people will come back occaionally. This is not one of those posts. This one is filled with anger.
My anger is mostly over the actions of one warped individual but the flames are being by good-hearted, well-meaning individuals. This is about the hiker that disappeared New Year's day in the north Georgia mountains. Specifically, she was last seen on the Appalachian Trail on Blood Mountain near Vogel State Park. Many of the readers of this blog are family and know very well that these are OUR mountains! Vogel has been a vacation retreat for Wishums for 4 decades. My brother, Keith, and I splashed in the freezing Wolf Creek as kids. We camped with cousins in the camping area and my parents began a new era by taking our kids with them to stay in a cabin when they were very young. Our extended family has rented a cabin there every year for most of the lives of my children. Mark proposed to Lindsay next to Wolf Creek not 25 yards from the spot of numerous TV news releases concerning the missing hiker. She was 24 year old Meredith Emerson and she had been hiking alone with only her dog as company. She was kidnapped, murdered, and her body dumped in another wooded area by Gary Michael Hilton, 61.
Why does this anger me so? First, the idea of a man in his 60's killing a woman to attempt to steal money via her credit card speaks volumes about how depraved he is. Second, I selfishly resent that he chose such a beautiful part of God's creation to choose his victim. Vogel is probably the most kid-friendly park anywhere. People there act like they have known each other for years just because you know the character of folks that choose a quiet, non-flashy environment for family vacations. Third, it appears that this nut has killed a couple in their 80's in North Carolina and possibly a woman in Florida. My suggestion is to release him at the base of blood mountain. But before releasing him, issue a press release to Ms. Emerson's family, all hikers who enjoy the Appalachian Trail and have worked to keep it clean and safe, and to all the volunteers who scoured the woods in hopes of finding her alive. Alert all these good people of the date and point of release and invite them to bring their hickory hiking sticks. I suggest this because, fourth, our "justice system" is seriously flawed. I do not know anything about this man's past, but I dare say that when the complete story develops we will find that he has been incarcerated before--probably many times.
One more thing. These feelings of anger are fanned in me by those who say "That attractive, young woman should have known better than to be out there by herself." WHAT?!! She has as much right to hike by herself as you do to drive down the interstate or go to the mall or to church. My guess is that he offered to give her a ride to wherever her car was parked. Who knows? The point is this; we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes good judgement. And having made that decision, a female has the RIGHT to hike by herself. PLEASE do not criticize this woman for getting exercise and taking time to reflect in the woods of a beautiful mountain at the beginning of a new year. Let's focus all our disappointment where it blongs--on a man who likely had 6 decades of opportunites to become a better person but chose to spend them looking for ways to take the short cut and benefit from someone else's effort.
I feel better now with that off my chest.