I flew from Mexico City back to Omaha, Nebraska rather unexpectedly on Thursday. One might reasonably assume that Omaha (epitome of the good ol’ Midwest with a population of around 830,000+ in the Omaha/Council Bluffs metro area) would be vastly safer than Mexico City (capital of narco-landia with a population of 23,000,000+).
Imagine my surprise when one of the top stories on Omaha’s evening news Thursday night was, “Two Bodies Found Outside Zoo”. What?!? The zoo in question is the famed Henry Doorly Zoo, “nationally renowned for its leadership in conversation [**often know as 'conservation' when spelled correctly] and research”, according to Wikipedia, and also “Nebraska’s #1 paid attendance attraction”.
A quick Google search for “Omaha bodies zoo” will turn up a variety of news reports, but I will award the Prize for Informed Interviewees to WOWT.com.
WOWT.com’s current updated version of the story titled “Bodies Found Outside Zoo Identified”, includes the following statements, which start off as facts related enough to the issue:
- The Omaha Police Homicide Unit is investigating the deaths of a man and woman whose bodies were found outside the Henry Doorly Zoo around 4 a.m. Thursday.
- “Officers were in the area of 10th Street on patrol when they were flagged down by zoo personnel stating they had located two persons down to the side of the street,” said OPD Officer Jake Bettin.
Ok, I’m with you so far WOWT.com. Then continuing on, quotes include:
- “We’re just excited and ready to get in and have fun,” said Steven Boldridge, …”
- “The kids are psyched….”
- Boldridge noticed the crime scene tape and police cruisers in the area, but didn’t think much of it.
- The discovery didn’t stop Mindy Gibbs from fulfilling a promise made to her son Parker. This was going to be a zoo day no matter what, but Gibbs does feel for the victims. “I think that’s sad. I mean why here, there are a lot of families that visit every day. We’ll see what happens.”
Huh. An Omaha.com article offered similar citizen commentary, including:
- Liz Cox of Omaha was among zoogoers who were rerouted to avoid the investigation scene. When her son asked about the detour, she kept her explanation short: parking problems. “That’s not what I’d explain to my 5-year-old,” she said. “He doesn’t need to know (about the bodies).”
True enough, Liz. Let’s get past the “Mommy what are those two elephants doing” hurdle first.
Admittedly I don’t really have a clear point here outside of shock/surprise, but nonetheless a few comments apropos Mexico City vs. Omaha:
- Unless I have missed an article amongst the (to be fair) heavy stream of news coverage in DF, not even the narcos in Mexico are dumping bodies around kid-frequented ZOOS. For the love. What kind of jerk criminals are operating here in Omaha?
- Slightly fascinating how blasé the Omaha zoo-goers seem about the whole dead bodies/crime scene thing. I’m not saying one should assume the killers are lurking around the zoo while there are 50 cop cars swarming the area, but still, they seem surprisingly unconcerned.
- Perhaps this is a sign that Americans are growing less concerned about tourism near areas of, shall we say, recent incidents of distress? Maybe this will bode well for northern Mexico.
Needless to say, I will be watching back during my remaining time here & hoping that Omaha avoids landing on any State Dept Travel Advisory lists.