The local and national news has been full of the Kelsey Smith abduction story these past few days. This is the girl who was forced into her car in a local Target parking lot last Saturday night and had been missing since. Her body was found today at a local lake. That location is about a half mile from where I grew up and is the community where many of my relatives and friends still live. Too close for comfort.
My mom and I were talking tonight about the story and we both agreed that you can’t be too careful these days. But what can a person really do to prevent someone from abducting them if the perpetrator is determined enough? This girl was pushed into her car in a crowded parking lot, during daylight hours, and driven to her death. How vigilant should a person be? Do we spend our lives looking over our shoulders, just in case?
I started thinking about my separation and divorce in 1999. It was a very bad scene, complete with stalking, a restraining order, numerous calls to the police, an assault charge and conviction, two home break-ins, and a broken picture window – all resulting in a very fearful existence for me. I lived my life as if I was going to be killed or hurt 24 hours a day, constantly looking around and being fearful for my safety. Our divorce was so bad, the decree stated that the exchange of our child was to occur at the local police station. My home now has an alarm system, and my doors are always locked, and locking the doors after I come home is just something I do automatically. Ken is forever having to ring the doorbell to be let in because I even lock the storm door without even thinking about it.
I took a self-defense class in 2000 which lasted for seven weeks. The class where we were thrown to the ground and straddled by the instructor completely freaked me out. Talk about your post-traumatic stress syndrome. Some days I try to remember what to do if attacked – assume the fight position, move in close, gouge eyes, bite, kick, pinch – but I’m still not confident I’d remember any of the training I received if the situation arose. And if someone was holding a gun to me, I’m not sure my mind would work at all.
Maybe that’s what happened to Kelsey. Maybe her stranger held a gun to her, or knocked her out – because I can’t imagine the daughter of a police officer allowing a stranger to drive her away. Being the true crime afficianado that I am, I know that a car is the last place you want to be with an attacker. A car takes you to the abductor’s kill location. Once you’re in the car, you’re practically out of luck.
I hope they catch the guy who did this. It’s a sad but true fact that we’re not really safe anywhere. How vigilent are we willing to be? When is it ever safe to let up your guard, and what kind of life is it when a simple shopping trip can end up being a killer’s perfect opportunity?
Be safe, ladies.
An update on Observant’s wayward son: Son has decided to go back to school, retake the classes he fucked up, fix his GPA, and get his state tuition benefit reinstated. Son and mother are doing much better now. Thanks for all your words of wisdom and support. Don’t think this will be my last plea for parenting help, though, as I’m sure there will be more trials and tribulations to come in the future. I’m not above sharing my pain with y’all, so don’t you dare go anywhere…