“We Raised An Idiot”Posted: January 22, 2016
I woke up to the news that a University of Virginia student, Otto Warmbier, was detained by the North Korean government as he was leaving that nation after a visit. The North Koreans said he’d entered the country with “the intention of destroying the country’s unity”
Now, I’m sure that our government is doing everything it can to get Mr. Warmbier back across the Pacific quickly, so he doesn’t have to take incompletes on all his spring semester classes. We should all expect that sort of help when we’re in a jam; whether we travel to North Korea for a lovely beach vacation or to destroy some unity.
Nice Choice, Otto
But how far should the government go to rescue a young man who made a questionable vacation choice which put him in harm’s way? If Warmbier and his family have the money to send him to North Korea, we can reasonably infer that money could have been spent sending him somewhere less perilous. Being a tourist in a nation that has detained a number of your countrymen seems a bizarre choice. And when I say “bizarre”, what I mean is “stupid”.
So now we’ll hear noise from both the US and North Korean governments while this thing is resolved. And Warmbier’s family will hold a press conference and discuss how they “just want their son back” (understandable) and that his detention is “not acceptable” (true). But there’s one thing neither the United States government nor the Warmbier family will admit – the truth. Otto Warmbier is an idiot who got his ass in a crack by going somewhere most reasonable folks wouldn’t consider going.
The Door’s Open But The Ride Ain’t Free
I am all for bringing Otto home. It is the right thing to do. But, in cases like this, “the right thing to do” should come with strings attached.
What strings? Well, to start, our State Department should release a statement which says, basically, “we told him this was a bad idea and he did it anyway”. If the Warmbier family says anything to counter that or takes offense, the government should put out a second statement which says “fine, go get him yourself.”
The second string is that during their “we just want our son back” press conference, Otto’s family must admit that he is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. I don’t even care if they believe it. It doesn’t have to be an admission. They just should say what so many of us are thinking.
They can say that their son is an idiot in whatever terms they’d like: “he makes bad choices”, “we told him this was a stupid idea but he did it anyway” or even “look, raising kids is a crapshoot. We tried our best, but we raised an idiot. We’d appreciate whatever help we can get in bringing our idiot home.”
Finally, as Otto Warmbier is handed over to whoever the North Koreans give him to, he should be forced to record a statement saying “Sorry for all the trouble. I’m a simpleton who shouldn’t even be allowed outside, much less out of the country.” No statement? His rescuer hands him back to the Koreans.
It is government’s job to protect us. Sometimes, it even has to protect us from ourselves. Whenever our taxes go toward saving someone from their own willful stupidity, I don’t believe that an admission of truth is too much to ask.