Deus Ex Siria

Filed under:Cool — posted by Anwyn on March 21, 2007 @ 8:32 am

Over the weekend I followed the story of the Boy Scout lost in Doughton Park, North Carolina. He was found alive and well yesterday. It took the searchers four days and was a difficult trick–though Doughton Park does have some open space, as seen from the summit of the Blue Ridge it is a crease in the land, solidly paved with trees. Relief that the story ended well gave way to my mother’s exasperation for a kid who’s supposed to have sense wandering off from his group in the mountains.

It’s been a rough year here for rescue operations in Oregon, with the boy lost and presumed dead at Crater Lake, the death of James Kim amid the successful rescue of his family, and the three climbers lost on Mt. Hood. Though they’ve had plenty of success as well, the stories of grief are what stick in the mind.

Why would the kid–any kid, let alone a 12-year-old Boy Scout–wander off from his group? Or, in the case of the Crater Lake child, eight years old, from his father? They’re old enough to know better. I realize that kids have minds of their own no matter how well they’re trained, but it makes my hackles rise nevertheless. Kent Auberry, father of Michael Auberry, Boy Scout:

“He was homesick,” said Kent Auberry, father of Michael, at a hospital news conference Tuesday. “He started walking and at one point when he was walking he thought maybe he’d walk as far as the road and hitchhike home.”

“We’re going to have our lectures about hitchhiking again,” the elder Auberry added. “We’ve had them in the past, but with a special vigor, we’ll go over that again with Michael.”

Is it usual for a 12-year-old to think hitchhiking is a good idea? Regardless, Mr. Auberry, if four days in the wilderness doesn’t teach the kid his lesson about doing his own thing under inappropriate circumstances, I’m afraid your “special vigor” will be unavailing.

Well, enough of my spleen. The best part of the story next to the sparing of Michael Auberry’s life? It was a dog who found him–according to the radio report I heard yesterday, the dog and his trainer, Misha Marshall, had only joined the search lately when the dog picked up Michael’s scent and went straight to him.

The dog’s name? Gandalf. Nice.

(H/t TORn.)


  1. Adventure.

    What good is trapsing around the forest after a bunch of other tweens and a couple parental “ok, everybody over here now. stay in line” types?

    I promise you this kid did not learn the ‘lesson’ you suggest. In fact he probably learned an entirely different and superficially contrary lesson.

    “Being safe” is a mother’s concern to a kid, especially a 12 year old boy with the great beyond staring right at him from ‘just off the path’.

    Yep. Glad he’s safe. But I’ll bet most anything that his take-away is an awful lot different than anyone would hope.

    Comment by Mad William Flint — March 21, 2007 @ 9:20 am

  2. If it were my dad, “special vigor” would probably include a horsewhip.

    I would ALWAYS and INEVITABLY get separated from my dad on a hiking trip, hunting trip, trip to the mall, whatever. It was always just a failure to communicate. One time he told me to keep following a fencerow, and I did…for about five miles. Another time he took out looking for me and fell in a hole and put a ding in his rifle barrel and barely restrained himself from abject fury.

    But he was always patient because I had plausibly misconstrued his instructions when stuff like that happened. However, had I led him on a wild goose chase because I’d deliberately said “screw it, I’m going this way because I’m lonesome,” there would have been no more hunting trips or hikes.

    Because of the wheelchair.

    Comment by see-Dubya — March 22, 2007 @ 10:36 am

  3. Love the construction of “plausibly misconstrued.” That’ll be one I want to remember as The Bean gets older.

    Comment by Anwyn — March 22, 2007 @ 10:53 am

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