I’ve long ago grown weary of the daily media bombardment about young Natalee Holloway’s disappearance on the tropical island of Aruba. Natalee is (or was, as the case may be), after all, only one person.
Nataleemania reached a new high in ludicrousness over our Independence Day weekend. On July 4, the Kalpoe brothers were released by an Aruban judge because of insufficient evidence against them. Third suspect Joran van der Sloot was ordered held for an additional 60 days. It is not this judicial action that inflamed me. It was the response by family spokesman Beth Holloway Twitty, Natalee’s mother.
“Two suspects were released yesterday who were involved in a violent crime against my daughter,” she said. “These criminals are not only being allowed to walk around among the tourists and citizens of Aruba.” She went on to admonish other countries to deny the Kalpoe brothers entry.
Twitty is entitled to her emotional moments, but I wish she’d keep her mouth shut. An American citizen condemning the efforts of one foreign government while urging other sovereign states to follow her orders makes all of us Americans look to the rest of the world like the spoiled brats that some of us are.
Twitty has not only accused the Kalpoe brothers, but also she has adjudged them guilty. Guilty of what? What violent crime does she refer to? She doesn’t even know! Does she have some overwhelmingly convincing evidence that the Aruban government does not have? If so, why didn’t she turn it over to them. If not, which is obviously the case, then SHUT THE HELL UP! In Aruba, as in the United States of America, a person is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. No matter what Beth Twitty thinks, this must always be the case.
Sure, the Arubans displayed some ineptness in how the investigation was conducted. Their island is not crawling with expert criminologists like our country always seems to be. Having lived on a similar island for five years, I know that islanders would much rather live their relaxed lifestyle and take our tourist dollars than develop neuroses worrying about criminology. I also know that perceived ineptness in areas where we think we can do better is a relative thing.
In spite of the initial botching, I think that the Arubans have been most accommodating. The media circus has taken their island captive and tacit threats of withholding American tourist dollars have pressured Arubans to turn their lives upside-down. Hell, as of yesterday, the Dutch have brought in F-16s to search for Natalee. This is costing a fortune.
I don’t begrudge Beth Twitty her grief over the loss of her daughter or her anger about mistakes that were made in the investigation. However, enough with the big mouth, already! That Natalee disappeared is probably more Beth’s responsibility than the Arubans’—after all, did Beth think that she was sending Natalee to a church picnic? The Aruban government is spending big bucks to continue a search where hope diminishes with each passing day. The tourist industry, by far the largest industry there, is suffering. The people of Aruba are entitled to get back to their normal lives. Let’s stop punishing them.