I was fixing to write something all lighthearted and fluffy today, but I just can’t. I turned on my computer and read about the fate of this poor woman, kidnapped and killed from a coffee stand. Sometimes I just can’t stand it. I can’t stand that predators like this are out there in the world, and that as women we have this special fear we carry with us like an unwanted weight. When we run, walk down a street, or sleep in our own houses, that fear is always there, even if we don’t think about it all the time. Men will never know this kind of fear.
I don’t know about you, but I have never felt this fear in the woods. As a general rule, killers don’t backpack, although there have been exceptions. A couple of years back we sent in the fire crew to escort one of our female wilderness rangers out of the woods when someone mistakenly saw a hiker he thought resembled a man on the run. (Would we have sent in the crew for a male wilderness ranger? I’m not sure about that. I hope so, to make all things equal.) The woods and mountains have always been a peaceful place for me. Sure, I worry about random snags hitting the tent, or bears, or avalanches, but all of those can be mitigated with precaution. Even my lightning paranoid friend knows that she can reduce her danger of being struck. Those risks seem tolerable, the cost of being outdoors. I can accept those.
In contrast, the streets teem with people with hard faces. You just never know. It is the uncertainty of it that makes me glad I live in a small town, although I recall years back when I helped search for a little girl who vanished from a town as small as this one. Small towns are no hedge against the psychotic.
There’s no answer to this one. It’s just a rant against something that is scary and unfair. An eighteen year old girl will not get the chance to go out in the world and live her life because a man had the power to take it. It’s enough to make me want to pack up and live as far away from “civilization” as I can get.