On Friday, Carolyn Ann Watkins, 62, of North Carolina crashed her car into a deep ditch. The airbags deployed. A trooper sent to the scene could not find the driver and ordered her car towed. On Monday, when Watkins did not show up for work, her son reported her missing. Upon investigation, her body was found IN the driver's seat of the car that had been towed. She had been killed three days before and no one noticed.
This story is awful for so many, many reason it is hard to even begin to list them. Obviously, first and foremost, this is a tragedy for her family. But, it is also a tragedy for humanity. It is not entirely unlike that horrific story two years ago at a public pool in Boston where a woman's body sat at the bottom of a pool for days while people swam and was ignored.
Are people just not looking out for one another any more?
Trooper M.D. Williams filed the erroneous report and has been placed on paid leave. The whole thing is just disturbing in the extreme and raises so many questions: Could she have been saved if they had noticed earlier? Was she unable to speak and so unable to make noise? Was the trooper on drugs or drunk? Was he simply lazy?
It just makes no sense. Living in a society means trusting people. In the case of a public pool, we trust others to notice if we go under and possibly try to save us. We expect people to notice if we are being robbed or killed or hurt and intervene if necessary. But time and again, we are shown that they do not.
So where does that leave us? In this case, we can't even trust someone whose work depends on his diligence and attention to detail. He failed Watkins. But he also failed us all. In a society we depend on one another. Like it or not. Even the most independent person in the world has to depend on someone sooner or later. We just hope that when we need them, they step up to the plate.
So even if you are not an officer of the law, look around. Look at people. Really LOOK. Care. It is our duty to one another as members of society. If there is one lesson I am taking from this horrific incident, it is that.
My heart breaks for her family and I hope they can find some peace in this tragedy.
Do you look out for strangers?
Image via Patrick Hoesly/Flickr