Today we will wander far from the realm of workers’ compensation and general employment risk. We do so because, for one, we can. But more importantly, we in the industry need an occasional reminder that we are not alone. It is sometimes helpful to stop and smell the roses, and realize that stupidity is not solely the domain of the employee/employer dynamic. No, free range stupidity is quite abundant in the unregulated world of life, and today we pause to note and honor it.

Last week, Michigan State Troopers discovered a 22-year-old woman in the back seat of a 41 year old man’s car with a bag over her head, tape over her mouth and hands tied behind her back. The two were apparently on their first Craigslist date, and by all accounts it wasn’t going very well.

Troopers had stopped the man’s car around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday on suspicion of drunken driving. As they approached the car they heard a woman calling for help. It turns out the driver wasn’t drunk. He had only been driving erratically because the woman had been kicking at the back of his head in an attempt to escape.

So how did this date go so terribly awry? Let us analyze what we know, shall we?

Police learned the man posted an ad on Craigslist looking to meet a special someone. The ad expressed his interest in finding a “submissive partner”. 

Clue Number One: This is probably the first good indicator as to why the wheels came off this little love fest. A stranger using Craiglist looking for a “submissive partner” probably isn’t going to turn out to be Captain Kangaroo. 

According to police, “The young lady answered the ad on Craigslist. She chatted with the person online and agreed to meet him. However, the mistake she made was she met him in a remote, secluded area near his home.”

Clue Number Two: “Meet me at the old quarry” rarely ends well. Next time try a Denny’s or a police station. Something that will save time for the inevitable.

Police also stated, “She got into his vehicle and once they were moving, she realized this guy looked nothing like the picture that he had sent her. Also, the conversation wasn't anything like it was online.”

Clue Number Three: Ok, perhaps she could have looked into the car prior to entering to see if it really was Brad Pitt as she was expecting. As for the conversation changing, there is an old joke about the difference between being recruited and joining the staff that would probably apply here. The moment she met him at a remote spot late at night and climbed into his car, the sales job to get her there likely ceased.

The woman reported she tried to “end the date” and told him to pull over, but that is apparently where he demonstrated the first round of what he meant by “submissive”. He choked her, zip-tied her arms, placed duct tape over her mouth, put a bag over her head and threw her in the back seat of the car. At this point I am guessing the odds of a second date were probably off the table.

Fortunately the police intervened before the date could proceed any further, and the woman was otherwise unhurt.

Let me be clear; I do not condone the man’s actions, and hope he spends a very long time in jail for his crime. He is an idiot, albeit an evil one. But if we are being completely honest, we will recognize the woman is an idiot, too. I know that concept and statement runs afoul of today’s wimpy societal standards, where we never blame the victim for anything, but come on, where was the common sense here? What happened to her was not her fault, but what she did to place herself in that position certainly was. Therefore we should not condone her actions either.

Stupid is as stupid does. Or dates. Whatever.

So it turns out that the best way to keep your Craigslist date from completely blowing up on you is not to have a Craigslist date in the first place. If you defy that first and very simple rule, then you really need to take some personal responsibility for your safety. Review the clues above to avoid this type of silly mistake in the future.

As for you, workers’ compensation professional, it is time to return to the world of employment risk management. True, it is not as glamorous and lacks the panache of a quarry based Craigslist date, but there will be ample opportunity in the coming week to address the idiotic and the inane. Just remember, you are not alone. There is much stupidity out in the great beyond. You just manage a wee little slice of it.

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