Sept 6, 2007
Blog note: This is not necessarily a political blog. It is a description of a personal incident that raises certain sociological and anthropological questions that I will try to partially address in my own inadequate way in an epilogue.
Life in the US of A
I’m headed east on I-10, driving a brand new white 1999 rental Suburban with an eight cylinder that I picked up in Phoenix. I don’t normally drive eight cylinder vehicles and I’m enjoying the power.
The speed limit is seventy-five and I’m doing eighty and eighty-five just to keep up with the traffic, and oftentimes faster.
Near Sacaton, where the interstate cuts through the Maricopa Indian Reservation, I’m coming up on a 70’s or early 80’s Lincoln in the right hand lane when it swerves to the left.
I hit the brakes, not sure I want to pass it because I don’t know what is happening.
I’m a couple of car lengths behind the weathered metallic gray car and nervous.
There seems to be a struggle going on in the car. From what I can tell there are three people in the car. Things are happening fast and I’m observing this in a flash.
As I watch a person goes flying out the passenger side front window.
The car doesn’t even touch the brakes, and I notice a puff of blue oil burning smoke as the car accelerates away.
I hit my brakes, get onto the shoulder and back up to the body lying on the side of the interstate.
I’ve already switched my emergency lights on, throw the Suburban into park, and race back to what I discover is a young blonde woman.
Amazingly enough, she’s not chewed up. I notice some gravel embedded in the palms of her hands, but other than that you wouldn’t know that she had just come out of a car window at seventy-five miles an hour.
She lying face down and trying to raise her upper body up with her arms. I tell, “Don’t move,” knowing she could have internal injuries.
She has bleached blonde hair in a Dutch-boy haircut, and bright red lipstick on a pale heavily made-up face.
She looks at me with big blue almost un-seeing and uncomprehending eyes, thick with mascara and eye shadow. I know she’s going into shock.
She’s wearing a short violet almost transparent miniskirt and she has no panties on. She has a small black purse still hung over her shoulder even after her flying pitch to the roadside. The purse’s snap has busted open and I note that it is stuffed full of condoms.
By this time someone else has stopped from the continuing stream of vehicles rushing by.
A young clean cut college student looking young man comes up and asks what happened.
I briefly explain. He has a cell phone and calls for help. He asks, “Is there anything more I can do?”
I tell, “There’s really nothing you can do. I’ll wait.”
He gets in his car and takes off after I’ve thanked him for stopping and calling for help.
I go over to the woman, and when she tries to move again, I take her right hand in mine. It seems to calm her.
She looks at me, and I have no idea what she sees.
We end up waiting that way for about fifteen minutes until a tribal police car arrives.
I imagine the woman to be in her late teens or early twenties, though she could be as old as thirty.
I explain to the officer what happened and give him a description of the vehicle she exited.
I tell the officer, “I can’t tell if she was pushed out the window of the car or they were trying to hold her back from jumping out.
They didn’t even touch the brakes.”
Officer Ochoa with the dark full red brown skin and a large belly nods his head sadly and says, “Thanks for stopping and waiting.”
I give him my name and number and take a card from him and say, ‘Let me know what happens.”
I go back to the Suburban and realize my hands are shaking.
Ochoa has his light bar flashing, pulls out into the right hand lane and gives me a chance to enter the heavily traveled highway.
I don’t know what to think. I haven’t been this upset since I was in Vietnam.
I’ve driven tens of thousands of miles across the country and this is the first time anything like this has ever happened.
I hope with all my heart that this girl, this woman will be all right.
Maybe, I should have told Ochoa, I could see that they threw her out. Though, it would have been a lie.
I couldn’t tell. It happened too fast, almost like in a firefight where everything was going down and you were aware of it on one level while at the same time not being sure what was happening.
If I had told Ochoa that I could tell that they threw her out, I know it would never hold up in court, and who knows if they would ever find the Lincoln anyway.
I drive down the highway at seventy, no longer interested in the rush, power and speed of a large motor in a new vehicle.
I receive a call from Ochoa about four the next afternoon. He tells me that they were able to stop the Lincoln, but that they claimed that they were trying to hold the girl, and keep her from jumping out the window.
“Sure,” I say, remembering that they didn’t even touch their brakes. “How is she?”
There is silence on the line for a few seconds, and he gulps and says, “She died.”
I feel sick.
He continues, “She had massive bleeding from the brain.”
I think, you never could have known from looking at her. There was no blood coming out of her mouth or ears. That’s how we used to be able to tell in Nam.
“You find out who she was?” I ask.
“Yes,” Ochoa says with a sad grave voice. “Her name was Molly McKenna from St. Paul. She ran away when she was thirteen. She turned sixteen two weeks ago. A month ago she was picked up for soliciting in Phoenix and she gave her age as twenty-three.”
He adds, “She was also a junky.”
I don’t know what to say, though I manage to mumble, “Thanks for calling.”
As almost a reflex and self-preservation reaction I go to the library and start researching about runaways.
I discover that tens of thousands if not more young girls run away from their families every year in the US of A, and that a fairly large percentage of them end up working as prostitutes, though there are not accurate statistics on this for obvious reasons.
I don’t know what to do with the information I discovered, nor do I know to this day, though I am well aware that something is drastically wrong.
This incident raises numerous questions about out modern US society.
A few of them are:
*Why do we as a society fare so poorly in child raising practices that so many of our children run away from their families?
Is it because with the state of our economy, both mother and father are forced to work?
Or, is it because we have allowed technology to take over the role of human child rearing?
From birth to death, US society now parks their children in front of a television where they become immured to death and violence.
No other society in the world has the large number of runaways as that of the US. This is in absolute numbers as well as percentages.
*How is it that US society so ill equips their children to deal with life’s problems that they feel they must turn to drugs for escape, as opposed to self reflection and internal examination?
To answer this question one must ask how many advertisements any one individual has seen for over-the-counter drugs and prescription “medication.”
If something ails you physically or mentally there is a pill you can take that will always help the situation.
What is not mentioned is that none of these pills cure an illness, but merely mask the symptoms.
*Why is it that our society cannot prosecute someone that threw a prostitute out a car window?
Our legal and “criminal” justice system has become so complex that it is no longer able to distinguish between right and wrong even when it is quite obvious.
Is this because the largest percentage of politicians in this country come from the ranks of the “legal” profession?
*Would it be different if O. J. Simpson threw the woman out of the car, or if the woman had been Paris Hilton or Brittany Spears?
I suspect it would be because American society has developed a fascination for “celebrities.”
They’ve nurtured this obsession while being able to walk past street people and the poor without seeing them.
I did a little research on Molly McKenna. Her father is a very successful Gynecologist/Obstetrician and her mother is an English professor. She was the oldest of three children and at 10 claimed to have been molested by her father.
*What type of society allows adults to molest children and get away with it?
The answer to this is American society and life in the U S of A.