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Thanks for responding, Scott.
   
  I was a UVA student in the late 1960's and early 1970's. Nuff said? I know a little about college and the false sense of "anything goes". Times are VERY different now.
   
  Her parents were in town!!!  For Parents' weekend. Was it really necessary to get shitfaced? Perhaps she could have shown a little consideration and taken a break from the Bacchanalian routine to spend the weekend with them? Then she'd be alive now. 
   
  And before you accuse me of blaming the victim, I'm NOT. The lowlife should have been off the streets forever. In fact, he should have received the death penalty for his previous crimes there (at the risk of starting a flame war; yes! I believe that some crimes are reprehensible enough to kill the perp over). Safety is a bigger bigger deal. I don't know Burlington and I appreciate your description--similar to downtown Charlottesville when I lived there. You correctly identified red flags. And even a male student in her own age group could have been a psycho killer, but perhaps less likely?
   
  Bottom line: two parents went to visit their daughter at college and ended up burying her because she was in the wrong place with the wrong person at the wrong time. Efforts should be made to minimize the chances of it happening again.
   
  Miguel

Scott Braaten <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
  I haven't read most of the other posts today but have been thinking about 
how to respond to Miguel's first comments for a few days now...

On Sat, 14 Oct 2006 05:17:52 -0700, Mike Weinstein 
wrote:

>The Associated Press account of the unfortunate tragedy in Burlington 
>states:
After a night of drinking, she had become separated from her friends and 
>met Rooney -- 
>a stranger -- as she walked along heavily traveled Main >Street, which 
>runs between 
>downtown and the campus.


>Excuse me for showing my advancing age, but HELLO? WHAT WAS THIS GIRL 
>THINKING????

College students think binge drinking is oh, so cool, but they >literally 
take their 
lives in their hands when they exhibit such poor >judgment.

Miguel, I am deeply sorry for your loss. No parent, guardian, family 
member, or friend should have to bury a loved one, especially not because 
of irrational violence.

Now, I would like to try to respond to your first statements, from a UVM 
student's point of view. None of this is intended to instigate a large 
off-topic debate on binge drinking, politics, or whatnot, but rather to 
explain why this is not just a "what were they thinking" incident like we 
so often discuss on this list (ie. many Mount Washington stories). Also, 
I would like to say that this is in no way meant to be an attack on 
Miguel's views or anyone else's for that matter. This also does not 
represent my exact college lifestyle or drinking habits, but I feel like I 
can give a good overview of what goes on here in Burlington.

I have several points to address regarding this incident as to how it 
could have happened and regarding college drinking in Burlington as I 
cannot speak for anywhere else.

1) College kids are going to drink, some more heavily than others. Here, 
on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, students filter down the hill 
throughout the night. Friday night is definitely the most active night of 
the week though any night of the week could see a good turnout. At 2am, 
the bars close. There is a mass exodus out of the Main St and Church St 
areas between say 1am and 2:15am; hanging out on the porch during a mild 
night, the streets will be dead from 11pm-1am. We live at the corner of 
College St and S. Union St, since College St is one of the three main 
routes up the hill we see a lot of people pass by. By about 2:35am its 
pretty quiet. 

2) This trajedy cannot be blamed on college drinking in Burlington. A lot 
of stupid things have happened to Burlington college kids in the 3+ years 
I've been here. The Champlain College kid who passed out in a snowbank 
at -15F and never woke up, that might have been a "what was he thinking" 
sort of deal. But still, where were his friends? 

3) Any weekend night out in Burlington, everyone is your friend. Or at 
least that is the general idea. Maybe its the drink talking but on a good 
Friday night there is almost this palpable good-vibe energy running 
through the air. That will get anyone's guard down lower than the drink 
itself. But alas, you get seperated from your true friends...people go 
home with others they do not know, its college. The one red flag I can 
see in this case is that this was a 35 year old man; college kids drinking 
usually don't stray too far out of the 19-25 year old range in terms of 
socializing. If lost or in trouble, however, Burlington has always had 
the feel (false sense of security?) that you can ask anyone for help. 

4) JP's is one of the bars she was at that night and apparently (though 
I'm not sure one way or another) might have talked to Rooney there. 
Having visited JP's several times and not feeling completely comfortable 
with the scene (being a little protective of girls in our group), I could 
imagine the chain of events that took place. If someone had asked me who 
goes there, I would've said it was a mixed crowd of college kids and 
working men (there are entire construction and landscaping crews in there 
some nights), but not a lot of females in the older category. I believe 
JP's has had problems in the past along the lines of sexual harrassment of 
younger women...I heard it via word of mouth but it was before this 
incident which was why the place never really grew on me. 30-something 
year old men bought stohs for two girls with us one night. Red flag.

5) Mr. Rooney has a past history of sexual violence. MSNBC just reported 
about an hour ago from the courthouse in Saint Johnsbury that some of 
these sex abuse cases against him were from former family members whom he 
lost contact with. They cited that he had a child with an ex-girlfriend 
who claimed he drugged and sexually abused her. Like Justin said, WTF is 
this guy still doing in society? How does it take a homicide 
investigation to get him into court in Saint Johnsbury for charges from 
1998?

Finally, this has been in the media and in the past week I have talked 
with Fox National News and the Associated Press (I work at the Wyndham 
Hotel downtown where some media were staying and as a college student with 
a visible job, they were eager to ask questions), both of whom asked me 
how safe would I consider the core downtown area at 2am. I said I've 
walked it alone and I know many males and females who have walked it 
alone. No problem...not even a thought about it. The AP guy asked me if 
it was "the end of innocence in Burlington" and "do you know many females 
who walk in this area late at night?" Again, I know plenty and see tons 
of them...its just something that happens. If it is going to be a "what 
was she thinking" deal, then it should be "what were they all thinking" 
deal because everyone does it.

This shouldn't happen anywhere and certainly not Burlington. I have yet 
to hear of any story close to this magnitude around here while other media 
outlets are sitting wondering why a girl walked alone through a city at 
230am. Its not Detroit. Its not Albany and I've walked around the 
downtown area there late at night feeling a little sketched out. Maybe 
its a function of most of us coming from somewhere else that seems more 
threatening. Then we arrive in Burlington and this attitude of "anything 
goes" is in place. Where 4/20 brings a cloud of smoke. Where my neighbor 
has a VW Van painted like a lucky charms commercial meets the Simpsons.

Vermont.
-Scott 

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