Wednesday, April 18, 2007
My brother in law had contacted the corporate headquarters of the rental car company. Which led me to go see the manager this AM and demand to look at video from the time I rented the car. Once I finally got to see a manager with some authority, he was very helpful. Using the time I got off the bus till I rented the car, we were able to use the camera shots to determine within what I believe to be 5 minutes of when my bag was taken. Under prodding from the corporate offices they called 9 different rental car customers. Not all were available-voice mail for about half-so I'm not optimistic that anyone will come forward. Especially the two guys dressed like they were ready for a 50 Cent video who look like they were loading luggage into a van from the spot where my bag was. Does that make me a racist? I don't feel like one, but its hard to understand why, if they made an honest mistake, they had not called to correct it by now. The camera is a wide angle and attempts to sharpen the image to see faces and break out individual bags out of the blob that was there, were not successful. At least it gave me a great deal of detail to give the police. The manager also indicated that this kind of thing happens more than they care to admit. Which makes me wonder why they don't use a different system for herding people to check out cars and why thy don't upgrade their camera system. After all, you can see the pissed off look on my face pretty well when I came away from the counter.
I doubt I will see my bag again. And if I do, it will be lighter-although I doubt Mr 50 Cent and his pal will be able to wear my shoes or pants-and my 220 volt transformer will be gone I'm sure. Again, I thank my lucky stars that all the things I need for work and money were in my briefcase and backpack. The folks at my meetings will just have to get used to me being dressed casually. They will get over it.
It's also an eye opener to see just how quickly using camera angles, and correlating info you can narrow down to see likely candidates. That's also kind scary and reassuring in a way. All it proves though is that we can watch the crimes while they happen-not prevent them it seems.
I have a lady from the Tulsa headquarters assigned to my case. Good news about that is I can talk to real person with out going through hoops on the phone. The local manager also takes my ohone calls very quickly. However with out an exact idea and or an effort by the police, to determine exactly who or if, they took my bag all we will know is approximates. Which are probably not enough to charge anyone.
And set against the back drop of recent events, my little tragedy is a pretty small one. I've got all the big things I need, there is nothing that cannot be replaced in time, and I can walk and drive and eat with out having to use a feeding tube. In both Virginia and Iraq today, there are people who cannot make that claim. I remind myself over and over again that I need to be thankful for that.
The level of media coverage on this, the 3rd day after the shootings really surprises me. I don't think CNN has talked about any other news since Monday. Not to diminish the significance of the tragedy, but in Iraq today over 200 people died today and as Juan Cole points out:
The profound sorrow and alarm produced in the American public by the horrific shootings at Virginia Tech should give us a baseline for what the Iraqis are actually living through. They have two Virginia Tech-style attacks every single day. Virginia Tech will be gone from the headlines and the air waves by next week this time in the US, though the families of the victims will grieve for a lifetime. But next Tuesday I will come out here and report to you that 64 Iraqis have been killed in political violence. And those will mainly be the ones killed by bombs and mortars. They are only 13% of the total; most Iraqis killed violently, perhaps 500 a day throughout the country if you count criminal and tribal violence, are just shot down. Shot down, like the college students and professors at Blacksburg.
But wait this is America you ask, this type of thing is not supposed to happen here. Neither are people supposed to get robbed in the course of daily business either-yet both happen with increasing regularity. To me these are signs of what needs to be fixed in American society. I've travelled over 7 years in Asia and never had to worry the way I now have to worry when I am over here. It builds bad habit patterns and that burned me to be sure. You can be sure I've learned that lesson well.
I guess what I am getting at is that somewhere somehow, the people have lost that concept of basic respect for each other. Once that is gone, all things no matter how stupid, seem acceptable. Which leads to a South Korean student going off the deep end. People will analyze this till the cows come home- I don't have an answer. As an aside, I wonder how long it will be till the South Korean media blames all this on the presence of the 2nd ID in Korea.............
Just like I can't explain why Sanjaya did not get sent packing till this week. Nobody ever said the world had to make sense. It is what it is. I'm tired.