Every day I come home from work and one of the first things I do is check Twitter or Facebook to see if she has been found.
Lauren Spierer has been missing since the early morning hours of June third from Bloomington, Indiana. She is 4’11, 95 pounds, blonde hair, and blue eyes. She was last seen wearing black pants and a white tank top. She has a heart condition that requires medication.
Reading Lauren’s story during the first days of press coverage, her name and her face immediately inspired me. My first instinct was to post something on Shorashim’s Facebook page to be one of the thousands of people who were spreading the word via social media. Shorashim has many IU Alumni and the thought crossed my mind to try this method.
Lauren’s story became even more compelling to me, when we realized she had participated in a Shorashim organized trip during her spring break this year. There she was, on Facebook, with her sister, working the soil in Israel. We contacted her Israeli guide who had already heard that Lauren was missing, and was stunned and shocked by the news.
Still, 28 days later, after the massive searches by the kind Bloomington community have ended, I check every day to see if she has been found, to read what the latest news is about her, to see if any more of her friends have talked to the police.
And I am affected, really, I am thinking about this all the time when I’m not working. And I wonder, where’s Lauren? I feel terribly for her family. I wish I could help them.
I’ve tried to understand my own fascination with Lauren. It isn’t out of malice or even like a “rubber necker” watching an accident on the Kennedy.
Just now I looked at Facebook. Fifty of my friends, I’m assuming very few of them know Lauren, are fans of the “Find Lauren” page.
So what’s the deal? People go missing all of the time, why is Lauren keeping me from sleeping? Why am I thinking about her when I have a big trip coming up this week to Germany and Poland? Why are my friends and acquaintances also seemingly thinking about her? Why is there a woman, who has never met Lauren, who is dedicating hours to posting tweets on Lauren to keep her in the social media sphere.
Some have suggested that’s it’s because she’s a pretty white girl, and if she was a minority, less people would care. I don’t think that is it.
I think it’s because many of my Facebook friends at some point or another were some version of Lauren Spierer partying at a large university. Many of us went to IU, and remember the poor decisions we made and how our only saving graces were good friends, and even better, luck.
We all hope Lauren is reunited with her parents and that they can return home with peace in their hearts.