Jo Elliott-Blakeslee and her friend, Amy Linkert, both women in their 60s, went missing while hiking at the Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho. They were missing for several days before one of the women's employers realized that something had gone terribly wrong. Not long thereafter, Amy Linkert's body was found. Jo Elliott-Blakeslee remains missing.
Here's where an already gut-wrenching story takes an even rougher turn. The women went missing in a national park. This park and others like it fall under the government's partial shutdown. That means that -- even as volunteers -- the park's employees are suspended from continuing their search for Elliott-Blakeslee's body.
The search hasn't come to a total halt. The families have asked experienced hikers to volunteer and help with the hunt. But to say that the chances of finding their loved one have diminished in the face of the government's shutdown is to put it lightly.
This story really underlines the severity of our present situation as a nation. It's easy to be annoyed or, more properly, outraged when you hear that Congress's inability to overcome partisan politics has impacted young cancer victims or the CDC's ability to track and prevent the flu. But the story of Elliott-Blakeslee makes it not just a story about how the government has failed us all, but how they failed one family in particular -- with potentially deadly consequences.
What do you think of the government's shutdown?
Image via Alaskan Dude/Flickr