Archive for November, 2012

Why Emilee Irsik’s Family Owes The Public An Explanation

I’m not sure if anyone kept up with the Emilee Irsik “missing person” case. If not, let me recap it.

First, Emilee approached her parents about visiting Germany because she wanted to do a semester abroad there. Her family said no.

Then, over a two-day school break, Emilee books a week-long trip to Germany. Quietly. No one knew. No friends. Not family. Not even her boyfriend. Bought a ticket with cash. Traveled alone.

Her family didn’t even miss her. Rather, her roommate contacted the school when she didn’t return to class after the break.

Somehow, the family tracked down flight info. Discovered she would return later that week.

She didn’t return.

The family starts bringing the public into the middle of the drama, starting a Facebook group, asking everyone in the world to share and share again and again and again. Seemingly closed off to people who were trying to help, or annoyed by suggestions, but still asking everyone to help “find” Emilee.

When Emilee finally shows up three weeks later, the Facebook group has over 9,000 members, and thousands of others emotionally and actually involved in the case. People who hung flyers in Germany, people who called or reached out for favors, German police, easily over 10,000 people affected.

The irony is someone on Facebook found out Emilee was “back” before the family knew. And once it was confirmed, suddenly this is a private matter. Suddenly it’s no one’s business, when a day earlier, not only was it our business, it was our obligation to share, to hang flyers, to make this our first priority.

First, how does anyone ever learn and grow from these things if families putting on a front of perfection doesn’t share what they’ve learned? This isn’t atypical of American families. We’d rather pretend to be perfect than learn and grow.

It’s also not strange for Americans to be selfish, and assume as long as they got what they want, they owe no one anything else. Nope, you owe those who helped you an explanation. End of story. You don’t want to owe someone? Don’t ask anything of anyone. You want privacy? Don’t go public.

Finally, it’s infuriating all of these people enabling this bullshit. Next time, I won’t help. I won’t pay attention. I won’t care. Each time something like this happens with no explanation, it makes the next, real disappearance have much less credence. We’ll see how much the German police pay attention next time. Or how many people share a missing person group.

And so it goes.