Learn The Lesson in Meredith’s Misfortune

Normally, I would not have posted about this story. Normally, I am not so disturbed or vexed by stories like this. Normally, I would be more inclined to post about a missing African American woman because, let’s face it, mainstream media flood the airwaves with missing white women stories giving black women very little coverage, if any. However, this isn’t a normal missing person story for me.

meredith2.jpgThis missing person has a six degrees of separation element to it. Quite simply, I work with a very close friend of Meredith Emerson, Bruce. Not a case of working for the same company, we’re in the same department, on the same team – a team of 7, including myself. On a team as small as ours, you sometimes get to know about people’s lives outside the workplace.

Because of my interest in and a brief foray into Tae Kwon Do, I had several conversations with Bruce, a black belt in the art, in which Meredith’s name was mentioned. Most of the team knew of Meredith or had met her on occasion. The day Bruce was informed she was missing he was in the office and was visibly upset. Needless to say, he left immediately to help in the search.

From the police updates and news conferences, it doesn’t look favorable for finding Meredith alive. You can read more about it here and here. In that vein, I extend my sincerest condolences to her family, friends and loved ones.

Now, to what has bothered me. Although Meredith was smart in leaving a note for her roommate on her whereabouts the day she went missing, she fell short on good judgement by going alone. A shortcoming that appears has cost her her life. Many of her friends have been quoted saying even though Meredith was only 5’2″, 120 lbs, she was a “tough girl“, she was a “black belt” that could take care of herself  and ‘if anyone could survive something like this it was her’.

I politely and humbly beg to differ. In most cases a woman can not physically overpower a man. Don’t care how many belts you (a woman) have acquired in martial arts, if some deranged nut (a man) means to do you bodily harm – he will.

My intent is not to blame the victim but as women we are vulnerable and should take every precaution for our safety.

Do not go to isolated places alone – adhere to the buddy system. Remember Natalie Holloway? The bar wasn’t isolated but I’m still asking where were her friends? Not to mention the chaperones. Never talk to strangers. When those little hairs on the back of your neck stand on end, listen to the small still voice telling you that it isn’t safe. This is your gut instinct trying to protect you. TRUST IT! Even if it means you have to be rude. Wouldn’t you rather be rude than dead?

I’m not suggesting that we women should live in fear but we should remember we are not invincible. Use common sense. Exercise caution lest you share the same fate as Meredith and the many, many more women prior to her.

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20 thoughts on “Learn The Lesson in Meredith’s Misfortune”

  1. Amen. It sounds like Meredith was a sweet girl, and it’s unbelievable she was probably murdered. However, she showed an appalling lack of common sense. I just hope many others will learn from this tragedy so that they may avoid the same fate. That way at least some good can come out of this senseless tragedy.

  2. How shameful that your opinions do sound as though you are blaming Meredith. We need to rememeber that this world has become violent & more dangerous as the years go by. We need to start demanding tougher sentences for these cold hearted acts. Why should anyone have to be afraid to take a walk, & by the way most nature lovers, hikers, campers, etc, are very kind helpful people. For instance the person who had the good sense to take note of this mans tag # which probably got the ball rolling alot faster. I pray for the family of Meredith & wish gods speed to them in bringing them comfort.

  3. How shameful that your opinions do sound as though you are blaming Meredith. We need to rememeber that this world has become violent & more dangerous as the years go by. We need to start demanding tougher sentences for these cold hearted acts. Why should anyone have to be afraid to take a walk, & by the way most nature lovers, hikers, campers, etc, are very kind helpful people. For instance the person who had the good sense to take note of this mans tag # which probably got the ball rolling alot faster. I pray for the family of Meredith & wish gods speed to them in bringing them comfort.

  4. Hey Choc,
    It appears that no matter how many of these types of stories we see and hear about, the same scenario continues to happen. It saddens me that we are not safe to come and go as we please but it saddens me even more that people are still not being mindful of the many dangers out there and taking the proper precautions.

    My prayers go out to her family and to your friend as well.

    Blessings, Regina

  5. @ Sam – Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave your comment. I share the same hope that women will learn from this. And if anything good can come from this tragedy is that the accused “nut job” is off the streets. Officials are looking into possibilities that he may be linked to another murder and disappearance in the Atlanta area and a murder/disappearance in N.C. A possible serial killer – a frightening thought.

    @ Barbara – Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to leave your comment. I imagine you felt so strongly you posted twice. 🙂 I agree with your point that “We need to rememeber that this world has become violent & more dangerous as the years go by”, thus my opinion that Meredith made and error in judgement by hiking alone. I Googled the general saftey rules for hiking and guess what? On two of the three sites I visited, it recommends that you don’t hike alone. (Great Smokey Mountains National Park and George Washington and Jefferson National Forests).

    You asked the question: Why should anyone have to be afraid to take a walk? Again, I refer to your very own statement: “We need to rememeber that this world has become violent & more dangerous as the years go by”. It is fair? Is it right? No. But it’s the reality of the times, unfortunately. I don’t doubt that most nature lovers, hikers, etc are kind helpful people, as is the majority of the general population. However, that small percentage of mentally ill and sociapaths make it so that you must be CAUTIOUS of everyone. Because of this, I don’t think harsher sentencing for such crimes will serve as a deterrant to those who would commit such crimes primarily because they don’t think the rules apply to them and don’t think in terms of consequences for their actions. If they did, they would be like you and me, presumably sane. 😉

    So, I have no shame in stating an obvious truth. Meredith’s mistake didn’t warrant her to be kidnapped and possibly murdered. She didn’t deserve that! No one does. But it was a mistake nonetheless.

    @ Regina – after speaking personally to 2 female hikers, who routinely did it alone, that have resolved not to go it alone anymore. This has opened their eyes. Change comes in baby steps huh? 🙂

  6. I have to say I am BEYOND at a loss for words for those of you who are saying that Meredith should have taken special precautions on her planning to go on a simple hike with Ella. In this day and age it is so sad to say that we can basically not walk out our doors and live a “normal” life of freedom that we were born into this by this country. We and that means MALE and FEMALE should really not have to look over our shoulders every second of our lives in order to have a simple and safe life… How dare the race card be brought up.. Wheather a male OR female is Afro-American or Caucasian should not have anything to do with it. It is out of the mere RESPECT of each individual and of the direct person of the victim involed to have the sole feeling of safety and respect from other individuals like yourself and myself.These family members and friends need others to support and care for their needs at this time. Do not go and google the hiking precautions, and throw up what Meredith should or should not have done in this matter. What should be said is that you are there in prayer and your heart felt feelings go out to Meredith and her family and friends. After all, NONE of us are perfect! We all live life how we feel we should. Meredith made the choice to go for a hike with her loved pet to start and enjoy the new year of 2008, not knowing that this horrible incident would occur. So it does not matter now what Meredith should have or should not have done. What matters is the fact that she wanted to have a beautiful day with her Ella. She obviously did not see any “bad” in anyone she came across… It would be nice if more of us were like that these days.. The only regret I am sure she had that day was if she only did not stop to talk to this indivual… Remeber she was only human… and some of us out there, well they are NOT human.. I pray for her family, and I cannot express my deepest sympathy for all of the lives that Meredith had touched…Be a peace Meredith, you are loved by those who know you and those you have never met…

  7. Aimee, you’re an idiotic bleeding heart with no logical thinking ability. People like you, and Meredith, die because you’re so stupid that you DON’T look for the bad in other people. It’s always there. Always. Not looking makes you ignorant, and dead.

  8. Fyuck Offf…
    Only an idiot would reply to me then. So I am an idiot for having an opinion just like you. You are the STUPID one for saying the nasty and IGNORANT words that you do. Instead of bashing someone look in the mirror and see the NASTY and UGLY person YOU ARE! Get an education and learn more about people instead of being so SELF CENTERED that you cannot show compassion for someone other than your own self. You should be ashamed for the UGLINESS of who you really are… Pointing the fininger is always what people do that are shallow and self centered. Pointing the finger at people for being themselves and NOT LIVING to YOUR STANDARDS is what the world has become and it is filled with ignorant,selfish,scum filled,heartless,non living,colorless,and a waste of breath and living space person like yourself. It is funny how someone cannot express their feelings and OPINIONS unless they are approved by scum sucking yellow belly sap suckers like yourself… (look it up it is a NON RACIAL OPINION) Grow a heart, get a brain, learn how to live a life, and MAYBE just MAYBE you will let people state their OWN OPINIONS. Because I sure as hell would never like to live or think like you do.. but that is only how I feel. I am sure you would be a normal and decent person if you had a heart, and were compassionate for someone other than yourself. You make me sick… Good Riddens and FYUCK OFFF!!!!!!!!

  9. Pointing out common sense measures is not blame. We women have heard it so much that it has become cliche…don’t go to secluded places alone. Why do we still do it? I recently went biking alone on the Silver Comet trail and passed the memorial of Jennifer Ewing who was murdered last year. In retrospect, that was not a smart thing to do. Even though it was during daylight with many other people on the trail, a psychopath could have killed me too. I am anticipating the report of Hilton’s police record. Most times in crimes like these, the killer was previously incarcerated. When will we stop releasing psychopaths back into society? How many murders does it take to convince lawmakers that rapists and molesters cannot be rehabilitated? If these people are released, they should be tracked like the animals they are. Their address and tag numbers should be made public. They don’t have the right to privacy and if government won’t keep them incarcerated they should wear their crimes like a scarlet letter.

  10. It is very sad that this has come down to calling people names when all it really was about is Meredith. Plain and simple. Random acts of kindess is what is suppose to transform, and that is what Meredith must have thought/felt. Now it is all about stupidity and being ignorant on my part and hers… Please let me know what planet everyone is from for being so negative, because I will be the first one in line to ask for a refund…. I am at a loss for words by the person named above, and I have stoopped to that person’s level. I apologize to all of those who have read this, and to Choc. I did not know it was not right to state an opinion, being that is what, at least this is what I thought was the chance to read how people think/thought and to state the same.

    Best Wishes to Meredith’s family and to all of you out there

  11. My condolences to the family on this terrible tragedy. Regarding the story about women alone being carefull – as a woman I agree. I doubt that anyone is blaming Meredith. It is a fact through tat in this day & age that you have to be careful and hiking alone unfortunately puts a woman in a dangerous spot. Yes, the laws should be tougher, yes we should put these people away for life but the fact remains that we also have to be very careful and if possible try not to put oursleves in dangerous circumstances. I know you can’t live in a box. It is just so senseless and a real shame

  12. Aimee, apology accepted. I will only say this towards your first comment. I didn’t bring up nor did I play the race card in reference to Meredith’s case. If you take a moment to re-read it without the emotion, you will read the following: I would be more inclined to post about a missing African American woman because, let’s face it, mainstream media flood the airwaves with missing white women stories giving black women very little coverage. I stated a fact that members of the media have admitted to. There was a special on CNN, I think, about this very thing not long after Natalie Holloway’s disappearance. Yes, I do prefer to give voice to those African American women that go missing whose stories do not receive the type of coverage by the major networks or cable stations. Why? It’s simple really. I see my face in theirs. My sister’s. My niece’s. My MOTHER’S. My friends.

    However, THIS IS NOT THE FOCUS, of my post. The focus IS and SHALL REMAIN….women’s safety. Take heed. Take caution. Take care. 🙂

  13. “Normally, I would be more inclined to post about a missing African American woman because, let’s face it, mainstream media flood the airwaves with missing white women stories giving black women very little coverage, if any. However, this isn’t a normal missing person story for me.”

    Just wanted to chime in on the situation. First, to me, this has nothing to do with race. It is a stated fact that the airways are flooded with stories of white women being raped, murdered or missing and it is very rare that you hear about a news story regarding an African American woman with the same crimes committed, making the front page of the paper. Of course if those stories actually made the papers, that would be an obvious topic of discussion. But it wasn’t. The purpose of this article was not to point of the fact that Meredith was white or that black stories are least likely to make the news. The point was to stress the importance of safety. And the only reason it was discussed in the first place was because there was a personal connection to the victim and the author felt the need to discuss it.

    Secondly, saying that Meredith should have taken more precautions by traveling with someone does not point the blame. It’s just stating the obvious. Yes, we all wish we lived in a world with beautiful flowers and pretty green grass with no crime and nice people all around, but let’s face it, those days are long gone. Yes, she should have been able to walk freely without the fear of being harmed, but realistically, that thought process is what can cause you your life. You have to think realistically and the fact is, the world is NOT safe. We can not walk around thinking nothing will ever happen to us. I fear for my life daily. Do I continue to live it? Yes. But I also take extreme precautions. I know there are times that I slip up or make a bad choice of judgement, but the majority of the time, I am on my P’s and Q’s. I think Meredith made a poor decision in befriending this nut case. No, that does not put her at fault for losing her life, but yes, it should be a wake up call to other people who don’t take precautions because if you run around thinking you are protected by the free world we live in, you are dreaming, and that could cost you your own life too. My point, just be safe and be careful of your surroundings. Of course there will be situations where you can’t avoid being by yourself. That’s understandable. But if you can avoid it, don’t be stupid. Take someone with you or don’t go. It’s that simple.

  14. Regina wrote: “@ Sam – Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave your comment. I share the same hope that women will learn from this. And if anything good can come from this tragedy is that the accused “nut job” is off the streets.”

    And hank you for your insightful comments, Regina. Yes, that’s one bright spot–this guy won’t be free to kill anybody else. 😦

  15. OK, another goof. It turns out that chocl8t is the one who wrote what I had attributed to Regina. Sorry about that. And thank you, choc8lt, for your comments.

    OK, I’ll try to quit while I’m somewhat ahead. 😉

  16. Goodby Merrideth. One look at your picture and i can see that you loved life and were a compassonite person. You will be dearly missed by everyone who’s life you touched.
    As far as women hiking alone is concerned, i believe that a person needs time alone in nature to grow spiritually. It’s easy to give into fear, blame the mentally ill for acts of fear, violence and hate and hide indoors seperated from mother nature.
    It can be a scary world and there are people who will do terrible things to you if given a chance. If you want to live free of fear, learn Ninjitsu, carry a razor sharp blade, and sharpen your sences.
    I can only speak for myself; i have lived in fear and spent time hidden away. Life like that is not worth living.

  17. @ Jeff – thanks for stopping by. Seeing my co-worker deal with the effects of her missing and now murder is very…sobering. Her family and friends loved her to pieces and that is more than evident. I’m happy you’ve stepped out of your shell and are not hiding away in fear. My hope is that everyone has the courage to do that but at the same time EXCERCISE CAUTION and be safe. The suggestions you metioned on learning Ninjitsu, etc. are good pointers but may not be enough for a woman. Meredith was a Blue Belt in Tae Kwon Do and very good at it from what I’m told. Unfortunately, because of the times we live in, it is most imperative that women take extra steps to secure their safety.

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