UPDATE: All below still applies, but my recent follow-up to this story is here.
I didn't have anything to say about Natalee Holloway's disappearance until a recent saturation of media input made me realize this story highlights questionable priorities across the board. I'll assume you know the basics. If not, bone up here.
1) I'm getting this out of the way early. Nothing pardons crime, however, sending your underage children to another country without pretense of scholastic value or edification, but merely to party on foreign beaches with a tiny cohort of non-parental chaperones may not be the greatest idea if you intend them to remain sober, unmolested, uninfected, etc. It's not my place to say what people should do with their own children and their extra money, but it's excessive for my taste. Whatever happened celebrating high school graduation with a nice party and a watch?
2) FoxNews' Greta Van Susteren did a long interview with Natalee's mother to ask how she feels. Unless the situation is surprisingly nifty and fun, this doesn't exactly meet the definition of news. Having a child go missing with the probability of at least foul play and likely murder must be a living nightmare. Perhaps a soul-sucking ordeal of fear and pain and horrible fantasies? You need only be human to imagine that. Broadcasting a mother's helpless tears and pleas for ten minutes is not news, it's facilitating exploitative rubber-necking. How does this help anyone find the girl?
3) This case is operating at a snail's pace among the Aruban constabulary. The Attorney General, explaining the two-week delay in searching a suspect's home and car after his detention, says that they can't just "go in there like a cowboy." This not-so-subtle swipe at our own commander-in-chief displays local frustration in having American citizens and law enforcement breathing down their necks. The implication is that their system better protects the innocent, however, it's their own very civilized regulations that allow them to detain anyone for 116 days without charges! Obviously, it's this Carribbean bias against haste that means no one thought it logical, after detaining suspects, to do anything but interview them... for days... and a week... then again. While locals push back against turf encroachment, where is the girl?
4) In another example, last night, Fox News found a retired island police investigator to interview. Offering zero facts about the normal approach or course of investigations, he assured viewers briefly that the police were doing "their utmost." Of course he knows the suspect's father, but wouldn't call himself a friend. No, this man's overriding and passionate concern was the airing of suspects' photos on American TV. He was disturbed by this outrage against their Geneva Convention rights, and demanded that the investigation be more correctly directed toward the Holloway family and their publicity of their daughter's disappearance. He was visibly offended that the interviewer did not allow him to expand on his theme, though he wedged in repeated mentions of how the FBI ought to spend its time. If criminal charges are ever filed, perhaps such items can be debated in the ICC at The Hague where we're going on which dusty year of the Slobodan Milosevic trials? But in the meantime, would a real investigator's focus be on media coverage of an uncharged suspect or on the girl?
5) He's not alone, though. The MSM in America also took this case as an opportunity to look at itself, specifically whether a missing teen who's a pretty blonde gets more coverage than, say, an unattractive member of another race. This might seem like a legit question to some, but my question is why the story always returns to the media's submersion in its own importance as the organ of information? It's not about you! It's about the girl!
6) There are multiple polls and stories circulating about whether you'll be less likely to visit Aruba after this and how it may affect their tourism. Various boards are offering statements about how safe and cozy it is on their island. It may be true, but- in the parlance of a stright-shooting pal- I don't give a whore's fart for their press releases until they FIND THE GIRL!
In whatever sad state she may be, Aruba must provide tangible proof of Natalee Hollway's fate. It's the only thing that will make Americans relax their pressure, it's the only thing that matters, and the only issue I want to hear about from our homegrown tragedy-mongers or Aruba's convention bureau.
WACKINESS HERE: If you're just here for the oddities, there's an overflow of awesomeness today. Thanks, Dr. Sanity, for this week's Carnival of the Insanities. Number 17 pointed me to the 50 Worst Hairstyles of All-Time (with captions). Another can't-miss is Phat-Phree's 50 Coolest On-Screen Rides.