Too much is being said about Shawn Hornbeck.
So, why am I adding to it? Because I have a thing to say.
The nation was thrilled, a few weeks ago, when Shawn Hornbeck and Ben Ownby were recovered from an apartment in Kirkwood, MO. Ben had been missing for four days, but Shawn had been gone for over four years. So, of course, speculation quickly ensued. Why did he not, sometime in that vast span, manage to get away? And, Bill O'Reilly, ignorant bloviator that he is, had to weigh in on the subject. He postulated that Shawn must have liked being where he was, or he would have just run away. He was, after all, only about 40 miles from home. I couldn't believe my ears! This is a grown man, with a fairly impressive education and a following of millions, attacking a kid who has just been returned to his family after being in the clutches of a kidnapper. O'Reilly's refrain has been taken up all over the mainstream media and the internet, to the point where Shawn's family has had to remove the guestbook from their website because they can't keep up with removing the filth posted there.
On the other side of the debate, bloggers and reporters sympathetic to Shawn have been citing all sorts of erudite psychological studies on the subjects of subjugation and brainwashing and torture and fear. While I assume these people are well-meaning, the fact remains that most of us don't understand the psychology of captivity. We have never experienced it. We can't relate to it. We don't understand it, no matter how many articles are quoted. We have not the imagination to go there.
As parents, we would like to think that our children would intrepidly escape from a kidnapper. Do we also believe in the Tooth Fairy?
Prisoners of war frequently have made statements obviously dictated by their captors. Soldiers are trained to do this, in the interest of saving their own lives. Yet, a child is expected to fight and outwit an adult who outweighs him, outthinks him and outguns him.
Have any of you who attack this child thought that Devlin probably told Shawn this would happen if he ever went home? I wonder what else Devlin told Shawn. Maybe that his parents would no longer want him after whatever Devlin had done to him. Maybe that he (Devlin) would hurt or kill Shawn's family. Maybe that he would kill Shawn, something that might have been a distinct possibility.
I'm sure there is more to emerge in this painful story, and I think that, when it does, O'Reilly will have to eat a healthy helping of crow.
I hear it's not bad, with enough Tabasco!