Let’s leave her alone

Like every other person, I want to know all the details about what happened to Jayme Closs, who was found alive yesterday after apparently escaping the person who kidnapped her after killing her parents in Barron, Wis.

These are the types of sensational crimes that have captured and certainly will continue to capture our attention, as the press gaggle at any news conference today will show. Reporters will rightly ask their questions and do their job over the occasional objection of listeners and readers who will fib and say “isn’t it a shame what they’re putting that girl through.” The overnight web traffic statistics will reveal the truth of our level of fascination.

The first TV station to get an interview with her will reap a ratings bonanza. It’ll take lots of phone calls to the family. It’s not fun to make them; getting them borders on being stalked.

It’s human nature; We can’t get enough of this.

And yet, a single paragraph in this morning’s Star Tribune is a call to us to leave her and her family alone, at least for awhile.

This one:

Standing with her was a skinny, dirty girl with matted hair, wearing shoes too big for her feet.

“This is Jayme Closs! Call 911!” the neighbor said.

Jayme was quiet, her emotions “pretty flat,” Peter Kasinskas said.

The neighbor said it was like seeing a ghost.

We can’t begin to imagine what’s left of Jayme Closs now or what it will take to put her back together, if that’s at all possible.

The family, understandably, is ecstatic. Reporters will do their job and document the joy. You will do yours and — despite the occasional public declarations otherwise — consume as much as you can. That’s how these things work.

And yet, we need to keep the image of a ghost uppermost, of a girl whose parents are dead and whose emotions are flat.

And we need to think of ways to do our jobs while leaving her alone.

  • Gary F

    Give this girl all the time she needs. She will have to tell her story to law enforcement and that should be enough. Please leave her alone.

  • MrE85

    It’s a nice sentiment, and a very sincere and human reaction. That said, I’ll be very surprised if any of the news outlets heeds your call.

  • Barton

    I hope grandma takes that dog to the hospital so Jayme can have some comfort & unconditional love – I’m sure the administration will understand.

  • Rob

    If wishes were horses, we’d ride. But in our benighted, hollow and ghoulish culture, it’ll be the usual media sharknado.

    • it’s not happening in a vacuum.

      • Rob

        True. Hence my noting our benighted, hollow and ghoulish culture.

    • RBHolb

      The media sharknado is driven by consumer demand.

      Do you remember all the finger-wagging about the paparazzi after Princess Diana died? The scolds overlooked the fact that they were also to blame by creating the demand for personal glimpses and photographs. Everyone who bought a copy of People magazine for the exclusive shots of the Princess and her sons shared the blame.

      As Bob says, it doesn’t happen in a vacuum. If viewers didn’t tune in to or read the voyeuristic stories, they would go away. The media isn’t doing it to be mean.

      • Rob

        You must have missed the part of my comment wherein I remarked on the coarseness and vampirism of our culture.
        As in, no vacuum was expressed or implied.

        • RBHolb

          No, I got that and I agree with you. The paradox is that the coarseness and vampirism is fueled by many of those who spend their time condemning it.

          Seeing Oprah Winfrey deliver a tirade about how the media should leave celebrities alone when they are facing hard times made me ill.

  • Lois Gaetz

    This is the last news item I will read about her until they have something to say about the person who did this to her and her family. Her road is long and rocky spend your time thinking good thoughts/praying for her.

  • The Resistance

    Here’s a suggestion for the media. Spread the attention around. I’m glad that Jayme Kloss’ disappearance got lots of media attention. But hers is not the only story.

    Consider the plight of 14 year old Henny Scott, a young native woman who went missing last year. Her parents filed a missing persons report with the local BIA/FBI law enforcement who refused to file a missing persons report and advised them to start their own search.

    The parents were able to convince the BIA/FBI on another reservation to file a missing persons report, which eventually led to the equivalent of an Amber Alert in her state–two weeks after she was reported missing.

    Her body was later found weeks after she was reported missing by a self organized search party. She was murdered, left for dead by a frozen creek.

    There are lots of stories packed in Henny’s murder. Who did it? Why did the BIA/FBI not act or offer explanations for their inaction? Did the shutdown, which has hurt native populations harder than most, have an effect? Why does this keep happening to native women? Why did Republicans hold up the Violence Against Native Women Act? Why did the state Attorney General not act?

    But we’ll probably never find out because the media is AWOL on Henny’s story and lots of (coincidentally mostly brown and black) young women. If they’d get out of the line to get the first interview with a girl who needs to be left alone they might find other compelling stories that beg to be heard. Henny’s community has been reduced to marching and banging on pots and pans, to get attention.

    I’m very glad Jayme was found. I hope many other missing young women get the attention their cases deserve.

    • Jeff C.

      Thanks for spreading the news about this. It is indeed very troubling. I want to share one excerpt from one of the stories that I found very shocking:

      Native American women in Montana disappear at an alarming rate and are rarely found. At a Congressional hearing Dec. 12, Montana U.S. Sens. Jon Tester and Steve Daines pointed out that two dozen Native American women in Montana have disappeared in 2018. Only one was found alive. Another was found dead. Scott’s disappearance, which occurred the day after the hearing, was not included in the discussion.

      “We need to know what’s happening and what exactly can happen to solve this problem. Because these are people, these are families, these are communities that our law enforcement agencies need to look out for,” Tester said at the hearing. “Where’s the problem? Is it with BIA, is it with the FBI, is it with tribal law enforcement? Why are we not finding these people? We have got to find a solution to this. We have to.”

      The hearing included testimony from Kimberly Loring-Heavyrunner, whose sister, Ashley, went missing in 2017. Daines pointed out that Ashley was missing for two months before the Bureau of Indian Affairs started investigating.

      Source: https://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/montana/volunteers-search-for-teen-in-montana-where-native-american-women/article_4f3efafc-7170-54d0-9045-dac1fc5d9d65.html

    • The Resistance

      BTW, in my rant I got the name of the bill wrong. If you choose to call or write your congressperson to demand that it get passed in the 116th congress it goes by the colloquial name of Savanna’s Act, named after Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind from the Spirit Lake reservation.

      With Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) in and Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) out as chair of the House Judiciary Committee it’ll stand a much greater chance of seeing daylight.

      Savanna’s Act won’t solve the problem of violence against women, but it’s a step in the right direction.

      Consistent media attention is also key. There’s a Polk and Pulitzer worth of stories to be told about forgotten young women like Henny.

      • kevins

        Would also be good if ND’s three elected reps to Washington would support Savanna’s Act.

        • The Resistance

          This is a time when North Dakota could use its over-representation in congress for some real good. Every bill needs a strong advocate to get it over the finish line. Unfortuntately, Heidi Heitkamp was that person in this case. Armstrong, Hoeven, and Cramer have given vague statements of support which often means a slow, lonely death of a bill in congress. But they are all strong advocates of the wall so that’ll keep everyone safe.

          • MrE85

            I’m going to miss Sen. Heitkamp. I didn’t think there was a bigger Trump lapdog than Cramer, until I learned more about Armstrong.

          • bpost

            As a resident of ND, I can pretty well attest to the fact that many of us are completely voiceless when it comes to the Congressional delegation. Unless you are white, male, and involved in the oil industry, all three of them have no interest in anything you have to say.

          • The Resistance

            We’re only completely voiceless when we’re silent. I know that sounds like a hollow statement, but for my sanity I need to believe that it’s true.

            Keep contacting and shaming your representatives into action, or at least accountability.

  • Brian Simon

    I’m all for leaving Jayme alone, but admit I’m interested in the Gordan aspect. I’m familiar with the area; have family nearby & am wondering whether the perp was local.

  • lusophone

    Very conflicted last night watching the news reports. Imagining what this girl has gone through over the past 3 months and then seeing the anchor people with smiles on their faces. It was hard to process. Obviously I understand the joy involved that she is alive, but man…

    • Jerry

      There is no happy ending here, only less bad ones.

  • Brian Simon

    And, to stir the pot, I see this site has the dtory front & center on the main page. “Watch live at 10 a.m.: The latest in the Jayme Closs case”

    • Nothing wrong with that. The story has to be covered. It was a good news conference with some valuable information and perspective. There are no calls here to ignore the story.

  • JamieHX

    A”gaggle” of reporters. So that’s what it’s called. Good post, Bob.

  • Rob

    Interesting/disappointing to see MPR News use the rationalization of the Closs case as being high profile to breach its own ethics regarding not naming suspects until they are charged.

  • AL287

    I think everyone is grateful and thankful Jayme was found alive but many like Henny Scott and Jacob Wetterling are not.

    Everything in me wants to believe that Jayme will recover from her ordeal but the social media universe needs to let her. The fact that she had the resilience and persistence to escape makes me think that she will.

    We wish you all the best.

  • JonasGrumby

    Bless this brave strong girl.