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.)

image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace