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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
<[log in to unmask]>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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