Why are we obsessed with Gabby Petito and Brian Laundre?
Why has this story gripped the nation?
To begin with, it’s a story of starcrossed lovers. It’s the story of Romeo and Juliet.
We have two young lovers setting out on the adventure of a lifetime only to have their story go tragically wrong.
With that tragic ending comes the destruction of all their dreams, hopes and aspirations.
Those of us who are older can only reflect upon our own lives and how fortunate we were.
We feel bad for Gabby not being able to enjoy the experiences that we enjoyed.
And in the recesses of our minds that we won’t admit to we feel bad for Brian as well for the life that he presumably forfeited out of passionate rage.
But the story is not over which makes it more compelling.
Where is Brian?
What really happened?
Did his parents help him escape?
Will he be caught?
How long can he survive?
Perhaps he already did himself in.
People want to know.
People demand to know.
Gabby Petito and Brian Laundre are an obsession with us.
They have become an obsession because for the past eighteen months we have been cooped up, masked, villified, screamed at, laid off, economically stressed and beleaguered by COVID-19.
The last human interest story that gripped the nation was Kobe Bryant’s death which occurred one month before COVID-19 walked up upon our shores.
In January 2020 Kobe Bryant died, and for the following month Kobe was all we talked about.
Then COVID changed the world.
It seems like a lifetime ago, and perhaps it has been for we live in a much different world now.
For eighteen months COVID-19 dominated the news. We talked about nothing else.
We yelled at each other and screamed at each other.
We pointed fingers at each other.
Never has there been such contempt for our leaders.
There hasn’t been such a divisive issue since Vietnam.
And it is tearing us apart.
The Gabby Petito Brian Laundre affair on a subconscious level is the salve we are looking for to heal our wounds.
It is a story that unites us.
We were all for love, and we are all against wrongdoing.
We need this story.
Gabby and Brian are a reflection of ourselves.
Gabby and Brian loved each other, fought each other, and needed each other as do we.
We want a happy ending to this story.
We want it all to be a mistake.
We would prefer to believe as in Romeo and Juliet that it was all a grand unfortunate coincidence of events that led to Gabby’s death and Brian’s eventual demise.
Perhaps, we imagine, Brian went down to the creek bed to collect some kindling for a fire during which a mountain man or a wandering serial killer came upon the van and murdered Gabby.
Yes, that’s what we want to believe. When Brian returned to the van and saw Gabby lying lifeless, he panicked and went on the lam.
That’s a preferable ending, far more preferable than the ending we suspect.
We are Americans. We don’t like unhappy endings.
And we have had much to be unhappy about in the past eighteen months.
We want to be happy.
We want Gabby and Brian to be happy.
That’s why we are obsessed with this story.
Its Gabby and Brian’s story.
It is our story as well.
Copyright 2021 Archer Crosley All Rights Reserved