Monday, April 2, 2012
Why Alaska Weeps, Tonight
Alaska is right now embroiled in a bitter, angry, and hurtful battle over a moral issue. We vote tomorrow, so the airwaves, voicemail, and email auto-blasts have been incessant.
All that changed three hours ago when the FBI and Anchorage Police held a press conference to announce the discovery and recovery of who they believe to be a young barista from Anchorage named Samantha Koenig. She was found on the bottom of an icy lake, surrounded by blue sky and snowy mountains that did nothing to mitigate the tragedy.
Her name and smiling, beautiful face have been burned into our memory, first through desperate attempts by her family and friends to find information, any information, that would lead them to her. Posters were everywhere; on cars, buses, reader boards, at the doorway of just about every business in town. One could not go anywhere and not see Samantha. Social media threads became outlets for search parties, hotlines, and a reward.
She was 18.
Anchorage is stunned, angry, and confused. We worked so, so hard to find her. Samantha was as much our child as her father's; that's how we do things up here, most of us. Those of us who are parents cannot fathom the grief he must be experiencing tonight.
Everything else pales in comparison, tonight.