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Outside Magazine: "Murder on the Appalachian Trail"

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Dick Whitman, Sep 11, 2015.

  1. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Just for something to read, posting a nice piece of first-person writing from this month's issue, about a double murder of two hikers that made news 25 years ago:

    Murder on the Appalachian Trail

    I particularly enjoyed this passage:

    Granola had pulled ahead of me, and I lay alone in a shelter that night, stunned and scared. I’d never known a murder victim. Until then I’d been a typical suburban American who figured that violence usually came by invitation. I’d hear of a crime and do a little calculus to separate myself from the victim: I wouldn’t hang around a crack house. No way would I walk that street at three in the morning.

    This time the math didn’t work. I couldn’t claim to know Geoff and Molly well, but they seemed far savvier in the woods than I was. They were traveling as a pair, too, which was considered common sense. They were certainly more patient than me, and far better equipped to defuse trouble. And they were so damn nice, even to Rubin.

    If chaos could find them, I realized, it could find anyone. The senseless happened. The universe had no plan. Their deaths seemed a terrible accident of time and geography.

    And this one, of the parents finding out about the murder of their adult children:

    Glenda Hood, at home in Signal Mountain, Tennessee, switched on the radio the morning of September 14, just in time to hear a news report that two hikers had been murdered near Duncannon. Geoff had called from there three days before.

    She knew her son was careful. In the past, when they had discussed someone meeting a bad end in the outdoors, he’d told her, “He either didn’t know what he was doing, or he wasn’t doing what he knew he should be.”

    Just the same, she phoned Jim LaRue, up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and told him what she’d heard. He burst into tears. “I was sure it was them,” he says. “I just knew.” He saw Molly’s mother, Connie, pull into the driveway with a load of groceries. He walked out and told her, “I think this is going to be the longest day of our lives.”
  2. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    Terrific read, thank you for posting.
  3. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    They're good for a number of excellent pieces every year. I need to renew my subscription
  4. swingline

    swingline Well-Known Member

    Holy shit, that's maybe the best story I've read all year. I plowed through it here at work and started crying about halfway through. My eyes are red, and I have the sniffles.

    Thanks for the post, Dick.
  5. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I always get slightly irritated when Mrs. Whitman gets on me about locking doors and such. She's an obsessive door-locker, and the type who checks her back seat for stranger danger when she gets in the car.

    Reading that piece, it brought it home a little bit for me: "Oh, OK. I get why women are more than slightly apprehensive about this stuff."
  6. swingline

    swingline Well-Known Member

    My small city is not particularly violent -- no recent murders that I can think of -- but there's plenty of meth heads around, so I make sure my doors are locked at night. If we didn't have kids, I'd have a loaded shotgun underneath the bed. There's a reason pump shotguns are almost always used in crime dramas: because they sound menacing as hell when a round is chambered.
  7. bdangelo

    bdangelo Member

    I remember this story well, as Geoff Hood was a distant cousin to my two oldest boys.
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