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'World Peace' Hitcher Murdered.
April 21, 2008 12:25 PM   Subscribe

Performance Artist Killed on Peace Trip. Pippa Bacca, performance artist, and friend wearing white wedding dresses, planned to hitchhike from Italy to the Balkans to the Middle East to send a message of peace and “marriage between different peoples and nations.” After three weeks on the road, Pippa Bacca was killed by a driver who offered her a ride. Her naked body was found and local authorities said Ms. Bacca had been raped and strangled.
posted by semmi (106 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by AwkwardPause at 12:33 PM on April 21, 2008


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posted by chillmost at 12:34 PM on April 21, 2008


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posted by oddman at 12:35 PM on April 21, 2008


I think I just fucking puked. What the fuck.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:36 PM on April 21, 2008


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posted by zach4000 at 12:39 PM on April 21, 2008


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posted by not me at 12:40 PM on April 21, 2008


Here's to the sincere hope that the murderer will be brought to justice.
posted by Dave Faris at 12:42 PM on April 21, 2008


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posted by piratebowling at 12:42 PM on April 21, 2008


Well that sucks. Not much else to say.
posted by Artw at 12:42 PM on April 21, 2008


“She thought that in the world there were more positive than negative people, and that it was right to be trusting."

It's just not very realistic.
posted by monospace at 12:44 PM on April 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's a damn shame she's lost her life in such a brutal way. I feel terrible for her family.

But I can't help but think of the cynical exchange:

"Can the lion lie down with the lamb?"

"Only if there is a fresh supply of lambs."
posted by jason's_planet at 12:48 PM on April 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's Grizzly Man all over again...
posted by BobFrapples at 12:51 PM on April 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


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posted by umbú at 12:55 PM on April 21, 2008


This is not fair or right and most frustrating of all, not surprising.

Her website.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:04 PM on April 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's Grizzly Man all over again...

Except that Grizzly Man spent 13 years with the bears before he was finally killed, whereas this woman spent three weeks traveling among the homo sapiens before she was murdered.
posted by Avenger at 1:05 PM on April 21, 2008 [10 favorites]


Aside from the horror of her rape and death, what is most distressing about this is that she died in so thoroughly revolting a repudiation of the earnest and genuinely lovely ideas she espoused.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:06 PM on April 21, 2008 [13 favorites]


This is proof of something, but I'm not quite sure what.
posted by splice at 1:09 PM on April 21, 2008


Shit.
posted by infinitywaltz at 1:16 PM on April 21, 2008


Tragic.

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posted by Pope Guilty at 1:16 PM on April 21, 2008


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posted by mygothlaundry at 1:19 PM on April 21, 2008


Well, I for one agree with her that the good humans outweigh the bad humans. On the other hand, you have to use common sense as well and acknowledge that the bad people exist and must be guarded against. Not that she deserved this and it sounds horribly tragic, but she should have had people accompanying her or checking up on her in case of such dangerous situations. I hope someone else tries to pick up the torch where she left off, as it sounds like a wonderful statement to make, but I hope they have the sense to protect themselves better.
posted by PigAlien at 1:20 PM on April 21, 2008



Here's to the sincere hope that the murderer will be brought to justice.


The article states they tracked down the sick fuck because, dumb bastard that he is, he used a cell phone he stole from her after he raped and killed her.

This is proof of something, but I'm not quite sure what.

I'm tempted to say it's proof that our species doesn't deserve the place it currently occupies in the hierarchy of this planet, but I'll try to honor Ms. Bacca's dreams -- which are a continuation of the wonderful ideas and practices of 1000's of teachers the Universe has sent us -- by praying for both her soul and her murderer's.
posted by lord_wolf at 1:22 PM on April 21, 2008


It's much harder to make a rose than crush it, but when all you know how to do is crush I guess that's what you do. Farewell.
posted by seanmpuckett at 1:22 PM on April 21, 2008 [4 favorites]


I was really sorry to read this.

It's a really sad irony that her death has attracted far more attention to her project than would have happened otherwise. To the extent that you could say that there was something good to be found in the tragedy, this would be it, but it is never worth the cost.

I've done a lot of really dumb things in my life, but far and away the riskiest have been things I have done when traveling -- hitching rides with drunk drivers, sleeping in dangerous places, and worse. Things that at home you would never do, are somehow really easy to do somewhere else, especially if you call it an "adventure."
posted by Forktine at 1:24 PM on April 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


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posted by everichon at 1:26 PM on April 21, 2008


So charmingly Modigliani -ish
posted by semmi at 1:30 PM on April 21, 2008


John Connor: We're not gonna make it, are we? Humans, I mean.
The Terminator: It is in your nature to destroy yourselves.

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posted by Uther Bentrazor at 1:31 PM on April 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


We're members of a hateful, murderous race, and those who aren't keen enough to grasp that young, leave keening family. In other news, fistfights erupt at Jesus' tomb on Orthodox Palm Sunday.
posted by paulsc at 1:38 PM on April 21, 2008


That is awful.

Overwhelmingly people in the world are good. But it only takes running into one of the bad ones. So she wasn't wrong to think that people are mostly good. She just got very unlucky.

I think this probably seems more shocking to the Turks than it would seem in the US. When I was in Turkey several years ago, I was struck by the way that (a certain sort of) respect for, or gentle/deferential treatment of, women was stronger there than in the US. (Just one little anecdote: In Istanbul we met a couple of Turkish women our age (20s) and I was struck that they did not feel in danger walking the street at night. They did things I would not do even in a city I knew well and lived in, and when I mentioned this, one said "yes, I kind of want to go to grad school in the US, but American women are always telling me how unsafe they feel walking around a city alone -- it must be very dangerous there".) Not that Turkey is paradise for women overall, but there was (in my perception anyway) less of a threat of random physical violence from male strangers to women. Maybe there is violence within families, but men's attitude to women in public was automatically gentle, respectful, and protective in a non-possessive way. (Hard to articulate how big but subtle the difference was. I don't know if the US was like this before, say, the 1960s. And possibly it was exaggerated in the areas we were travelling in.) Which leads me to think that this kind of roadside attack on a woman is if anything more surprising, angering, shaming etc for Turks.
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:39 PM on April 21, 2008 [3 favorites]


Well, fuck.
posted by roll truck roll at 1:41 PM on April 21, 2008


Hi LobsterMitten, I don't want to stereotype a country that I'm not overly familiar with, but it would seem to me a general principal that people of all cultures observe a double-standard in their treatment of foreign women vs. their own. Turkish women might indeed be very safe in Turkey, but foreign women might be seen to have 'looser' morals than Turkish women, and therefore more likely to be the victims of violence and anger when they spurn the advances of local men who would never dare to approach a Turkish woman in a wanton manner... I know that when I was in Morocco, the Western women I met talked about how the Moroccan men were all over them because they knew the European women would be more likely to have sex with them and their families would be less likely to find out and disapprove. As well, here in America, I have many white girlfriends who have dated Muslim men, only to complain that the Muslim men use them for a good time and sex, but then run home to have arranged marriages with Muslim women.
posted by PigAlien at 1:49 PM on April 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm really surprised that she would go hitchhiking alone. Seems like a dangerous prospect from the get-go, no matter where you are.
posted by marble at 1:50 PM on April 21, 2008


There are more good folks out there than bad folks. It was just her bad luck to run into one of the bad ones.

But it's probably important to realize that most women must live with the threat of violence in most societies and cultures. Also, hitchhiking is inherently dangerous for women.

So, was her murder the act of one deranged lunatic, as the Turkish police say?
posted by KokuRyu at 1:54 PM on April 21, 2008


PigAlien: could be, I don't know.
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:59 PM on April 21, 2008


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posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:00 PM on April 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


I know it's against the idea behind this project, but I pretty much hate humanity right now.
posted by sleepy pete at 2:03 PM on April 21, 2008


Well this is insanely depressing. And I haven't even read it yet.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 2:10 PM on April 21, 2008


So sad.
posted by dabitch at 2:14 PM on April 21, 2008


Everything falls on a bell curve, including human behaviour. Most of the top of the bell curve for human nature is composed of behaviour beneficial to society. If it weren't, we wouldn't have society by definition, as the behaviours which go against a stable society would reign supreme. Nonetheless, we still have the extremes of anti-social behaviour to either side of the bell curve and it is unrealistic folly to ignore that. We will never change the bell curve, nor would it ever be to our advantage. A society where everyone acted the same would be a society of robots. Anti-social behaviours contribute to the evolution of society more than those behaviours near the top of the bell curve, for they are naturally more disruptive. Evolution occurs where there is disruption, not where there is inertia.
posted by PigAlien at 2:16 PM on April 21, 2008


“She thought that in the world there were more positive than negative people, and that it was right to be trusting."
Not so sure this is true; but it is a very nice thought.
posted by Senator at 2:21 PM on April 21, 2008


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posted by arcticwoman at 2:23 PM on April 21, 2008


“She thought that in the world there were more positive than negative people, and that it was right to be trusting."

Two quite different propositions.
posted by nicwolff at 2:34 PM on April 21, 2008 [4 favorites]


Aside from the horror of her rape and death, what is most distressing about this is that she died in so thoroughly revolting a repudiation of the earnest and genuinely lovely ideas she espoused.

I strongly disagree with this statement, and the wholesale condemnation of the human race by so many in this thread. Why does the behavior of one man have so much more weight than that of the others she must have encountered and would have encountered on this trip? How many lovely, kind people did the sisters meet - people who helped them, encouraged them, taught them and learned from them? How about some of those stories? Do they just not matter now?

The tragedy is that she wanted spotlight human decency and trust in one's fellow man, and this trust was her downfall. The irony makes for a piercing story. But it's not like we didn't know that rapist/murderers existed before this, and that lone female hitchhikers are easy targets. As far as I'm concerned, she did prove her point - there exist more positive people than negative, and that on the whole, it's better to be trusting. That she encountered one person who took advantage of her does not refute this, and frankly, I think using this to justify one's cynicism and misanthropy is a far more revolting repudiation of her ideas. James Earl Ray did not negate everything Martin Luther King, Jr. believed, Nathuram Godse did not negate everything Gandhi believed, and Murat Karatas does not negate Pippa Bacca - and the outrage over the crime just further emphasizes what an outlier he is.
posted by granted at 2:34 PM on April 21, 2008 [7 favorites]


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posted by ilovemytoaster at 2:42 PM on April 21, 2008


I hope her collaborator Ms. Moro finishes the project. It would seem, from the article, that that would be the best way to honour her memory.

(And that, if she does go on to finish it, she makes it to the end safely.)
posted by WalterMitty at 2:45 PM on April 21, 2008


from the article...

“She thought that in the world there were more positive than negative people, and that it was right to be trusting,” said Rosalia Pasqualino, a sister of Ms. Bacca, whose real name was Giuseppina Pasqualino di Marineo. “Trust is a very human factor, and she believed that to understand people, you had to get to know them.”

So, is it right to be trusting? There may or may not be more good people than bad people in the world but, so what? There are bad people in the world.

It's terrible that she lost her life, but it seems to me to be a very naive and irresponsible way to "send a message of peace."
posted by mrducts at 2:47 PM on April 21, 2008


Well, since she was trying to draw attention to an ideal, and most of the world hadn't heard of her previous to this, I think that in death she was more successful in her quest than she ever could have been had she lived.


This is proof of something, but I'm not quite sure what.

It's proof that you can hope for the best in people, but don't bet your life on it.


There are more good folks out there than bad folks. It was just her bad luck to run into one of the bad ones.

There are more HIV-free people out there than HIV-infected, but that's no reason to have unprotected sex with lots of people.
posted by Doohickie at 2:48 PM on April 21, 2008 [3 favorites]


"the good humans outweigh the bad humans."

There once was a statistician who drowned while swimming in a lake with an average depth of only 2 feet.
posted by Fupped Duck at 2:53 PM on April 21, 2008 [6 favorites]


Shit. (She was Piero Manzoni's niece.)
posted by progosk at 2:56 PM on April 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


"... That she encountered one person who took advantage of her does not refute this, and frankly, I think using this to justify one's cynicism and misanthropy is a far more revolting repudiation of her ideas. ..."
posted by granted at 5:34 PM on April 21

Yes, yes, but it is revolting enough, that you wouldn't automatically trust me?
posted by paulsc at 2:56 PM on April 21, 2008


Reading this, i was struck by how I take it for granted that our species is so fundamentally divided. For a brief moment my head just swam with the ridiculousness of the separations that our cultures, religions, nations, and ideologies imposed on us.
Whatever, this was a crime, and fuckwads like this perpetrator are roaming the streets of every nation. But the real outlier here is Pippa Bacca, and therein lies the depressing message.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 2:56 PM on April 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Yes, yes, but it is is it revolting enough, that you wouldn't automatically trust me?"
posted by paulsc at 5:56 PM on April 21
posted by paulsc at 2:59 PM on April 21, 2008


Why does the behavior of one man have so much more weight than that of the others she must have encountered and would have encountered on this trip?

Because the good people drove them 20 miles, or fed them lunch. The one bad guy killed her. I think that as a general rule, it is probably easier to be moderately good than to be moderately bad (because of the threat of consequences, if nothing else), but it is also far, far easier to do enormous evil than it is to do tremendous good.

Honestly, what happened to her sounds more random, bad luck almost, like getting hit by a falling rock when hiking near a cliff, at least in how the Turkish police and her family are describing the event. Premeditated and organized rape/murder happens all the time, on a large scale (at times, like in parts of the Sudan, shading into the edges of genocide), and is much more horrific to me than a tragedy like this one.

But just as humans do some of the worst things on the planet, we also make art, and music, and things of great beauty. And we commit countless acts of altruism, every day. On balance, I would say that humanity is not evil -- misguided, maybe, and definitely ill at peace with itself. But not evil.
posted by Forktine at 3:01 PM on April 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


I am very sorry for her death and am pained for her friends and relatives. I guess I just have to say that I really don't think this project was a good idea. I do not think it was a good idea to dress up in expensive wedding finery that has all sorts of symbolic meaning with regard to innocence and female desirability and try to hitch a ride alone with strangers who could want to do harm. I wish we lived in a world where this sort of performance art were possible, but I'm not surprised that we don't.
posted by onlyconnect at 3:05 PM on April 21, 2008 [4 favorites]


95% of all primate behaviour is play.

Only, the rest of it is killing. :/

You didn't kill this woman. Neither did anyone you know. I don't know about you, but there aren't any murderers in my neighborhood. I dare say that the vast majority of humans on this planet are not, in fact, violent maniacs. Nor are the rest just maintaining a thin veneer of control over a raging urge to kill, ready to go off any day now at the slightest hint of an abnormal stimulus. That is not, in fact, the case. This woman was killed by one of the minority of apeshit psycho humans. You just happen to notice their handiwork, by dint of its vastly extraordinary abomination.

The majority of humans will recoil against this crime for the atrocity it is. Only the minority that is violent will engage in this kind of behaviour. So it is not any kind of condemnation of humanity, or measure of what our society amounts to, or whatnot, so you can stop hating our species - that doesn't solve anything.

These psychos may be a dominant minority in that their violence holds the rest of humanity hostage, but they do not represent our handiwork in toto. Unless we let them.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 3:08 PM on April 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


“Hitchhiking is choosing to have faith in other human beings, and man, like a small god, rewards those who have faith in him.”

He sometimes rewards them like Abraham and sometimes like Jephthah's daughter.
posted by Megafly at 3:15 PM on April 21, 2008 [3 favorites]


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posted by lupus_yonderboy at 3:17 PM on April 21, 2008


This is why we can't have nice things people.
posted by ikkyu2 at 3:21 PM on April 21, 2008 [3 favorites]


pleased to meet you/hoped you guessed my name
posted by concreteforest at 3:28 PM on April 21, 2008


:-(
posted by bwg at 3:36 PM on April 21, 2008


Shit. :(

Italian news will likely spin the Turkish aspect, which serves the opposite purpose of her project. But I'm not sure that abuse of her name is a bad thing, given the project's degree of naivety. Shoot for the sky people, but evaluate your battles realistically.

Who knows, maybe a dent in tourism would make women's movements more politically correct in Turkey.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:38 PM on April 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


I do not think it was a good idea to dress up in expensive wedding finery that has all sorts of symbolic meaning with regard to innocence and female desirability and try to hitch a ride alone with strangers who could want to do harm. I wish we lived in a world where this sort of performance art were possible, but I'm not surprised that we don't.

You know, it's funny... I've seen people blaming victims, and I've seen those people cut down those laying that blame by saying that they're making figurative "she shouldn't have worn that dress" comments. I just never thought that I'd see someone put down a "she shouldn't have worn that dress" comment in such a literal sense here on the Blue.

So, hey, I guess that makes today a pretty remarkable one for me.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 3:43 PM on April 21, 2008 [4 favorites]


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posted by cashman at 3:56 PM on April 21, 2008


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posted by motty at 3:59 PM on April 21, 2008


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posted by soviet sleepover at 4:09 PM on April 21, 2008


<pre-Godwinned for your convenience>

"Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart." -- Anne Frank
posted by tzikeh at 4:18 PM on April 21, 2008


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posted by Crabby Appleton at 4:19 PM on April 21, 2008


Turkish women might indeed be very safe in Turkey, but foreign women might be seen to have 'looser' morals than Turkish women, and therefore more likely to be the victims of violence and anger when they spurn the advances of local men who would never dare to approach a Turkish woman in a wanton manner...

I just mentioned this story to Mrs. Deadmessenger, who, while in the USAF about 15 years ago, was stationed in southern Turkey. Before I could even get to the sad part (about the rape and murder), she said "My God, they're never going to see her again". When I told her that was, in fact, the case, she wasn't surprised in the smallest.

My wife said that what PigAlien said in the quoted comment above lines up perfectly with what she experienced there. The local men would view non-Turkish women pretty much like whores, and could behave unpredictably when they didn't get what they wanted. She mentioned one incident where she was all but chased from her off-base apartment to the base by 5 or 6 teenage boys, shouting catcalls and comeons (in Turkish) the whole way. The level of disrespect for foreign women she saw there was unlike anything she'd ever experienced before.


Oh, and...

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posted by deadmessenger at 4:28 PM on April 21, 2008


She should have worn the dress. It's memorable, and meaningful, and because of that it may well have saved her life without her realizing it a time or two prior to her unfortunate and tragic death, and it probably helped the police track her down when she went missing. It may, or may not, have specifically triggered one psycho, but being a woman alone is a much greater psycho-trigger.

Her idea was lovely, and it is horrible that she was killed, and her lovely idea so ruined and set awry. But that's one man's fault. I will disagree with her attitude of being trusting, though, assuming she meant it as we're taking it to mean. If anyone else is thinking of doing this kind of thing: good for you, and go for it, but I recommend to you travelling with a friend, learning self-defence, situational awareness, practicing a certain level of distrust without being rude or paranoid, and carrying weapons that don't look like weapons and can be easily brought to bear. (None of which can definitely save you. Nothing can. They will improve your odds, but they don't make certainties.)
posted by aeschenkarnos at 4:30 PM on April 21, 2008 [4 favorites]


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posted by fourcheesemac at 4:33 PM on April 21, 2008


"After three weeks on the road, Pippa Bacca was killed by a driver who offered her a ride. Her naked body was found and local authorities said Ms. Bacca had been raped and strangled."

Everybody's a critic.

(Sorry, my iron-o-meter's just buried in the red on this one.)

It is odd thinking that while I was in high school, nearly all of our German textbooks and instructional films featured lengthy instructions on the etiquette of hitch-hiking, and we were told that hitch-hiking was safe (even for single women) throughout Europe, and just an established practice there. Now, granted, Turkey's not Europe, but still, this was only, like, ten years ago.
posted by klangklangston at 5:08 PM on April 21, 2008


Astro Zombie writes "Aside from the horror of her rape and death, what is most distressing about this is that she died in so thoroughly revolting a repudiation of the earnest and genuinely lovely ideas she espoused."

No, not at all. We could pave the way for peace between nations, and we would still have to deal with murderers and rapists on a day-to-day basis.

I agree with her that you have to maintain your sense of trust for people, and hitchhiking will indeed test that conviction. Having hitchhiked, I would advise that survival strategies - like traveling with a companion, especially if you're female - are not mistrustful. It's too bad. I wish she hadn't gone about this alone.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:39 PM on April 21, 2008


Shit.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 6:01 PM on April 21, 2008


This is tragic indeed, and I wish there was a way for me to say "it doesn't mean we're all evil" without sounding callous.

klang, that is odd...I can't imagine a single female thinking it's safe hitching in 1998. Maybe the popularity of hitchhiker-killing didn't reach Europe until the 90's?

kirnklyfig: Having hitchhiked, I would advise that survival strategies - like traveling with a companion, especially if you're female - are not mistrustful.

Working on the assumption you mean 'distrustful', isn't the employment of such 'survival strategies' inherently so?
posted by cosmonik at 6:07 PM on April 21, 2008


Something about the lead-up led me to think that I was about to read she was killed by a hit-and-run driver. It's depressing when that's your first thought and the reality is so very much worse. Gah.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:27 PM on April 21, 2008


The "well, what did she expect?" comments make me wonder what the hell this site is for. What, you just take the very first possible reaction and just go with it? "This is my thought about the travelling artist I had never heard of before she was murderd, now I will go back to my surfing." The risks of this project were the half the fucking point of the thing. She was brave, and because the she was raped and murdered she's now stupid in your eyes?
I guess this is why this site has the term "outragefilter", 'cause, what the hell, this discussion is not going anywhere good, my own comments included.
I've got a big middle finger here for all you "what was she wearing?" fuckos.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 6:36 PM on April 21, 2008 [6 favorites]


Oh my God.

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posted by facetious at 6:54 PM on April 21, 2008


Huh. She's still right. Because the only story you hear reported about hitchhikers are the ones who either are murdering or murdered.

Yes, it's ok. Most people in the world will be good to you, at least if you're a stranger, the ones that will hurt you the most are the ones you know, and to extrapolate meaning from a senseless death is, well, senseless.
posted by iamck at 7:11 PM on April 21, 2008


s.r. : People are just saying that it was obviously very very dangerous. I only see one post imagining that the "wedding dress" was the issue. Otoh several knowledgeable posts are saying "Turkey", i.e. "Muslim men's view of foreign women". Indirectly this means the poor state of of women's rights in Muslim countries.

As a side note, Turkey has never seemed like a particularly desirable vacation spot when I've been there, lovely water & scenery, but unimaginably overpriced bars, restaurants that don't serve alcohol, etc. Croatia has really quite impressed me in comparison.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:15 PM on April 21, 2008


I don't know that people are saying, "what did she expect?", Stonestock. I think they are saying that this is a tragedy that could have been avoided with prudent and realistic planning. To say something could have been avoided is not the same as saying that it should have been expected. Clearly, she didn't understand the real risk she was taking, and that is the most tragic thing of all. If she had understood the grave danger, surely she would have taken greater steps to protect herself.

The ugly and sad truth is that it IS very unsafe for women to travel alone in many countries. Even rudimentary research would reveal this. It seems very hard to believe she would have done no research before setting out on such an undertaking. Despite her statements about people being trustworthy, she was clearly too naive to understand the risk, or she greatly underestimated it. Either way, something has gone terribly wrong and it is a tragedy. :(
posted by PigAlien at 7:23 PM on April 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


PigAlien: I don't know that people are saying, "what did she expect?"

How I wish this were true, but this is literally a "she shouldn't have worn that dress" comment and goes on to invoke the 'symbolic meaning with regard to innocence and female desirability'...

Fortunately, this opinion seems to be of the minority, so far. Let's keep them that way.
posted by cosmonik at 7:34 PM on April 21, 2008


I apologize if I offended anyone by saying that I do not think it was a good idea to hitchhike in the expensive and meaning-laden wedding garb. I just want to be clear that I think that the person who killed Bacca deserves to be punished without regard to her performance art or her wedding garb. He is the one who did wrong here, and he deserves full punishment. I am not making the classic argument that a person who committed a wrong can be excused because of the behavior of the victim, or that the victim deserves her fate.

Even so, maybe some of you are right to criticize me. I do think it was a bad and risk laden move for her to put on expensive garb and go out alone depending on the kindness of strangers, without any means of protecting herself. And no, I don't think it generally helped her that the garb had such symbolic meaning, though perhaps aeschenkarnos makes a good point about that. I agree with Doohickie above who said that just because the number of HIV-free people outnumbers those who are HIV positive, it does not mean it's a good idea to have unprotected sex with alot of people. Life is precious. She could not have done this without knowing she was risking her life. Perhaps that is part of what made it art. I couldn't do this, because life to me is more precious than this particular art project. And if my friend or someday son or daughter wanted to do this, I would feel proud that they were so brave, but I would try as hard as I could to dissuade them from it, because they could die.

This reminds me very much of the old Hemingway quote from A Farewell to Arms: "The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry."
posted by onlyconnect at 7:51 PM on April 21, 2008 [3 favorites]


Ok, I'm cool. I shouldn't have called into question "this site". But why is it so hard to imagine she knew the risks but did it anyways, why is so hard to give her the benefit of the doubt? From what little information you have to go on, how can so many people jump to the conclusion she didn't understand the risk? It's like some of you are just desperate to not care. People die for far less noble pursuits all the damned time. No doubt none of us would do such a thing.
Take the odds she was up against and the fate that befell her, replace her with a soldier and replace her message of peace with some arcane concept of honor, and you've got a hero.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 8:32 PM on April 21, 2008 [3 favorites]


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posted by Brian B. at 8:46 PM on April 21, 2008


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posted by brevator at 9:02 PM on April 21, 2008


Performance art sucks.

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posted by five fresh fish at 9:12 PM on April 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Ernest Hemingway once wrote, 'The world is a fine place and worth fighting for.' I agree with the second part."--William Somerset, Se7en

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posted by ltracey at 9:50 PM on April 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


"that is odd...I can't imagine a single female thinking it's safe hitching in 1998. Maybe the popularity of hitchhiker-killing didn't reach Europe until the 90's?"

Yeah, this was emphasized as a "Europe's different" sort of thing. But a fair number of the modules were all based on either hitch-hiking or caravaning around aimlessly, and there was far more emphasis on that than ever seemed practical to this American.
posted by klangklangston at 11:09 PM on April 21, 2008


.

:-(
posted by -t at 11:23 PM on April 21, 2008


It doesn't say anything particularly bad about most of humanity. Thousands of people who saw her didn't hurt her, let her do what she wanted to do, wished her well, and gave her rides or at least drove past her without doing harm. He was just one dumb bastard for whom she presented an easy opportunity to be cruel for his own immediate pleasure.
posted by pracowity at 11:28 PM on April 21, 2008


Imagine what you would have been given freely if you were not so accustomed to taking everything by force.


.
posted by louche mustachio at 11:29 PM on April 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


.
posted by troubles at 1:17 AM on April 22, 2008


Italian news will likely spin the Turkish aspect, which serves the opposite purpose of her project.

Um, they're not. Or they didn't, seeing as this story broke at the beginning of this month and her funeral was the 19th. I saw no OMGTURKS slant on the news. I'll concede that I don't read far right papers sponsored by the Lega Nord et co. idiots, though.
posted by romakimmy at 3:41 AM on April 22, 2008


I'm still kind of reeling and trying to sort out my thoughts, but something keeps sticking with me. For all the thought that she encountered a number of great people and only one bad one, this just seems out of proportion. A bad person might have cursed her, tricked her, ripped her off etc. This guy fucking raped and murdered her. I think in a very understandable desire to find meaning in an utterly senseless event, we might be reaching a bit. I am guilty of it too, just very conflicted about it.
posted by psmealey at 5:42 AM on April 22, 2008


This breaks my heart, all the more because just a few days ago, I was bemoaning the fact that I will probably never in my life be able to hitchhike alone. This girl took this horrible circumstance that I've simply accepted as my lot in life, and she challenged it, and it killed her. And I think that actions like hers aren't just brave and smart and admirable, but necessary, too, and that makes it especially awful that this happened.
posted by dizziest at 11:50 AM on April 22, 2008


I guess the Turks just weren't ready for Pippa Bacca.

Here's hoping that one day it will be possible for a single Western woman wearing a wedding dress to hitchhike through rural Turkey without constantly being hit on or worse.
posted by sour cream at 1:06 PM on April 22, 2008


.
posted by jabberjaw at 3:16 PM on April 22, 2008


The level of disrespect for foreign women she saw there was unlike anything she'd ever experienced before.

I don't know that it's limited to women.

I've only ever had two male friends who've confided in me about having been raped or subjected to attempted rape. Both were in their late teens/early twenties, both were blonde/blue eyed boys. One had it happen hitchhiking solo in Turkey. He claims he managed to fight them off. The other was gang raped by a group of Turks in Frankfurt. Both incidents took place in in the early seventies.

Does this mean anything today? I've no idea. But I've always given Turkey a wide berth since.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:59 PM on April 22, 2008


But I've always given Turkey a wide berth since.

Gaping, even, eh? Say no more!
posted by five fresh fish at 7:33 PM on April 22, 2008


“She thought that in the world there were more positive than negative people, and that it was right to be trusting."

I believe this some days. Today I don't.
posted by Locative at 1:25 AM on April 23, 2008


"Honestly, what happened to her sounds more random, bad luck almost, like getting hit by a falling rock when hiking near a cliff,"

Dear fucking god. Did the guy's dick just happen to fall in by accident???

What's the stat? One out of four women are raped in the US, and of the ones who aren't, they most definitely suffer attempts, harrassment, and discrimination. Of the women who are lucky enough not to experience this crap or dissonance their way out of it, those women go on to shout "all men aren't like that so trust them they're nice guys really".

Really?
posted by bravelittletoaster at 1:31 AM on April 23, 2008


Aside from the horror of her rape and death, what is most distressing about this is that she died in so thoroughly revolting a repudiation of the earnest and genuinely lovely ideas she espoused.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:06 PM on April 21

I strongly disagree with this statement, and the wholesale condemnation of the human race by so many in this thread... That she encountered one person who took advantage of her does not refute this...
posted by granted at 2:34 PM on April 21

No, not at all. We could pave the way for peace between nations, and we would still have to deal with murderers and rapists on a day-to-day basis...
posted by krinklyfig at 5:39 PM on April 21


Astro Zombie's comment has nothing to do with wholesale condemnation of the human race. Note that Astro Zombie said "repudiation", not "refutation". Repudiation is merely a personal denial or refusal- and the rapist/murderer certainly personally refused and denied the ideas of the hitchhiker.
posted by Jpfed at 8:35 AM on April 23, 2008


bravelittletoaster - What's the stat? One out of four women are raped in the US

No, that's not the stat. The at-best outdated stat was that in the US of 1988 "one in four female respondents had an experience that met the legal definition of rape or attempted rape."

So that number included attempts, which undercuts the other part of your incorrect statement. (Did you really mean to assert that 100% of American women are subjected to rape attempts? You know you did that, right?)

Keep in mind that the stat supposedly described the US 20 years ago, and the incidence of rape has declined by around 80% in the last 25 years in the US. (article text for that post's link) Some think access to porn is related. I have my eye on the phaseout of leaded gasoline.
posted by NortonDC at 1:53 PM on April 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


bravelittletoaster: not all men are rapists. The guy who killed Pippa Bacca was abnormal.

Women are subjected to plenty of violence and intimidation, yes. But I don't think saying "this is like being hit by a rock falling from a cliff" was intended to downplay the real violence and intimidation women face. Instead I take it as being meant to say: let's not conclude that Bacca was incorrect or foolish to think that most people are good.
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:57 PM on April 23, 2008


marble writes "I'm really surprised that she would go hitchhiking alone. Seems like a dangerous prospect from the get-go, no matter where you are."

At least around here I doubt it is much more dangerous than than riding in a car in the first place. Probably really hard to get any firm numbers but I wouldn't be surprised at all if more hitchhikers in BC/AB are injured from automobile accidents (either while inside the car or by being hit while walking/standing along the side of the highway) than are assaulted by their ride. Obviously theis doesn't say much about hitchhiking in Turkey. But hitching isn't "OMG! Are you crazy!?" everywhere.

cosmonik writes "I can't imagine a single female thinking it's safe hitching in 1998. Maybe the popularity of hitchhiker-killing didn't reach Europe until the 90's?"

I've had some exposure to single season workers at assorted resorts and it seems routine for them to hitchhike into town and back whether they are male or female and regardless of whether they are travelling alone or in groups. Even where long distances like Banff to Calgary are involved.
posted by Mitheral at 5:38 PM on April 23, 2008


Rereading this thread, I'm viewing it in a different light. There's a lot of talk of what she thought of people, that she felt they were basically good, but there is no discussion of her views regarding the world beyond; I can't remember if it was even mentioned in the article what her beliefs were.

But.... I've subjected myself to the opposite side of the transaction, where I've helped strangers in situations where it would have been easy, even prudent, to avoid them. There were times when I wondered why I was driving some street person to the auto parts store for a part he said he needed (but that he would likely return for cash to buy booze). I wondered if he would pull a knife or a gun and rob me, and I thought, well, if he does, at least I'll die doing the right thing, and hoped God would look favorably on me for doing so.

I think Pippa Bacca died doing the right thing. She acted on her innermost convictions, God bless her.
posted by Doohickie at 9:15 PM on May 13, 2008


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