She Believes St. John Is a Safe Place

Hello, my beautiful, safe and lovely Virgin Islands. As a woman who travels alone frequently, there are some common sense do and don't actions associated with safety anywhere, not just the U.S. Virgin Islands. Since this man is from Chicago, and is used to taxis being available in the middle of the night, after the bars close, he should have also been aware—there are bad apples in almost every barrel. I was born on an Alaskan Island, so I know how Islands are. I have lived on the South Side of Chicago. I know what Chicago is like, in the middle of the night after a few drinks, and the scarcity of taxis on Rush Street. As my father used to say, "Janie, there are some very bad people out there, and you don't want to run into them." No kidding!
If he had been a she, and the bars were closing, and she decided to walk home alone, in the dark, after having a "few" drinks, one would have to wonder if common sense had departed with the last drop of liquor consumed. Since he is a man, I guess we are just suppose to assume that he is entitled to walk alone, in the dark, after having a few drinks. Our thought should be "poor fellow". There is no gender equality on this subject. I can double damn guarantee you, that if I did this as a woman and it happened to me, or worse, the thought would be, "What an idiot. She got what she asked for!"
Since, we don't actually have a witness to the attack, or his actions that night, we are left to wonder if perhaps the events of the night are not so simple. Quick steps in the night, closing in from behind, are a bit of a stretch. If it was indeed an unprovoked, random attack, then I seriously doubt it happens very often. If St. John is anything like my island is, before the kid who beat him with the shovel hit the threshold of his own home that night, his mother already knew that her son wielded the shovel. By now all the other mom's of the group of boys standing around watching the attack know too. If St. John was an unsafe place, all the boys would have taken a swipe at the guy and killed him.
The way I read it there is more to the story. It is being told via the grapevine this afternoon circling the Island for perhaps the tenth time. A bit to the story is added here, and a bit added there to make it more interesting to the teller and the listener. Here is my version…."Hey, Sally! Did you hear about that guy from Chicago who went down to VI, closed down the bars and decided to walk home in the dark alone? He said he was shocked that they didn't have taxis in St. John at that hour. He was further shocked, by the fact that he was attacked by a guy wielding a shovel…and with no provocation! Hey Sally, did you know St. John was America's Paradise? Over two thirds of it is National Park. Do you think they have taxis up in Yellow Stone National Park after the bars close? I wonder if most National Park and resort areas have taxis? Sally, I don't recall seeing any when we went to the Grand Canyon, do you? Speaking of Yellow Stone, Sally, do you remember what happened there in 1970? Let me refresh you–
"I've got a problem," said the full-bearded young hippie. "I'm a cannibal." The policeman who had just arrested him looked at him incredulously. The man reached into his pocket and pulled out a number of small bones. "These aren't chicken bones. They're human fingers." The conversation sounds like something out of a bad horror movie, but it took place on the afternoon of July 13, 1970, near Lucia, California, and the speaker was 23-year-old Stanley Dean Baker. The case had started two days earlier, when a fisherman saw a human body caught in the reeds of the Yellowstone River, north of Yellowstone National Park in Montana. When police waded into the river to recover the body, they realized this was no case of drowning. The corpse was clad only in underpants and it had neither head nor arms. The legs had been severed at the knees. Where the heart should have been there was an ugly hole in the chest. Later in the day a coroner established that the man had been stabbed 25 times. According to Stanley Dean Baker, the body was of Peter Schlosser, 22, who had offered Baker a lift a few days previously. In the middle of the night, Baker shot his companion twice in the head with a .22 then stabbed him numerous times with a hunting knife. He then cut up the body into six parts, severing the head, the arms and the legs. Baker alleged that he cut out the heart and ate it. Then, dropping a few severed fingers into his pocket, he threw the parts of the body into the river and drove off in the dead man's car. (Crimes And Punishment: The Illustrated Crime Encyclopedia, Volume 4).
So, like I said…there are bad apples even in the middle of the isolation and beauty of Yellow Stone. Let common sense prevail here. In retrospect, I have one thing to say, "You are 33 years old, man! I hate to break it to you at this late date, but there are indeed some very bad people out there, and you don't want to run into them. Further more…there are animals…lots of them capable of eating you in the dark—- when you are alone. Not only that sir, it is a National Park…do you know the history of the Park? Let me tell you….
The island was initially colonized by people from South America. By the second century AD the area was occupied by the Arawak tribe. Evidence of Arawak settlements have been found on the north and northwest sides of the island. The Arawaks lived contentedly in the islands until the 1300's when they were supplanted (and exterminated) by the fierce Caribs (meaning "cannibals:) who were in possession of the islands at the time of the arrival of the white man.
I seriously doubt it was a hate crime based on race, because 80% of white America has black ancestry, and the Caribbean has been bi-racial for generations. This is not the 60's. It is rather silly to imagine hating your grandmother because she is white, and your father, because he is black. How would that hate transfer to some hapless person walking home in the middle of the night? You know my theory? Probably…just probably, someone wanted to barbecue. The locals had heard the legends, but never actually seen a tourist bagged, so they were not running to your aid because they could not believe what they were seeing.
Oh yes…Gail Norton, former Secretary of the Interior, required taxi companies to pay an umbrella fee to operate in the National Parks, I think that rule is still in place. Taxi's are not typical in National Park areas. The next time you go to the wilds of the Caribbean, don't expect taxis after the bars close.
I have a place in Colorado. I thought you would like to see one of our gangs in action… Remember, males+after the bars close+boozed up= trouble. So do bears in daylight, but please, take my word for it. If you see bears, don't walk into their path. Again…common sense. Yes, I know…one woman's common sense, is a man's hard earned lesson.
Jane Blake Moore

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