By all accounts Otto Warmbier was a good kid with a good heart. His tragic death at the tender age of twenty-two should be a cautionary tale. At a time in his life while his brain was still developing he made a simple mistake that cost him his life.
What happened to Warmbier is every parents’ worst nightmare. He used poor judgement stealing a poster. But, what twenty year old has good judgement? If Warmbier had committed such an act in the United States he would have received a slap on the wrist if that. However, Warmbier was in North Korea.
God only knows what Warmbier was subjected to in the custody of North Korea. Clearly it was heinous punishment far outweighing his crime. One must wonder what would make a bright young man believe it was a good idea to go to a country known for its brutal dictator in the first place.
Parents send their children to colleges all over the United States anticipating they will be educated. When those same colleges encourage trips that their administrators should know are dangerous they have an obligation to students to provide them with the necessary knowledge and skills to keep them safe.
Otto Warmbier was not provided safe spaces, coloring books or hot chocolate in North Korea. College campuses around this country are lulling young adults into a false sense of security that does not exist in the real world. They would be serving thier students far more by teaching them conflict resolution, tolerance and the facts of life.