Friday, February 02, 2007

Shawn Hornbeck

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!


  1. You go, Ronni! It's good to see someone write such clear common sense about a case that yanks the heartstrings. I'm made heartsick by the sight of this mouthy, powerful man go after this kid who's been treated so badly, and thank you for saying what I feel!

  2. Thank you, Tamora. I'm glad you agree with me. That family has suffered more than enough, and this skewering is outrageous.

  3. Excellent analysis. Reports have come out that in the first 30 days of captivity, Shawn suffered such isolation and abuse, his whole identity disintegrated. Can we spell torture? This left an empty hole for Devlin to fill with self-serving lies of himself as Shawn's protector, and fear if Shawn left.

    Not one of us can begin to understand what that must have been like. Well, maybe prisoners of war who have been tortured understand, but certainly not idiots who should be fired like Bill O'Reilly.

  4. Barbara, you are right.

    It's so easy for critics to say, "Why didn't he run," without any idea of what they could do in the circumstances.

  5. I, for one, have never believed that kids are "angles." Or even "angels," which, I think, was your intended word.

    Hang in there, Anonymous. New entry coming up.

    Ya done ticked me off.

  6. We all want to protect our children and that's a good thing. But nobody, and I mean nobody will ever know what really happened in their relationship.

    Did Shawn run away? Was he snatched? We will never know the real truth because people can lie. How would you feel if ten years from now if we see a 20/20 program that says: "Shocking new evidence in the Hornbeck case that happen ten years ago". What would happen if we found out we were all wrong, or maybe partly wrong.

    We are all walking down the dirt path with our torches in hand, ready to burn the witch at the stake. But we must step back for a moment and take a deep breath, look at the facts and use our critical thinking skills.

    I know it's hard when there is a boy and a man involved. We have already made up our minds and that is that.

    As much as we want to believe that kids are "angles", kids these days are much more independent and wiser than kids ten or twenty years ago. The internet alone has exposed kids to things most adults don't even know about. Today on the internet, kids can find out ways to do all sorts of criminal things. There are webpages on almost any topic.

    Just remember, anybody can accuse anyone of anything. Until we have facts, or Mr. Devlin confesses, these allegations are just that, allegations. I say put your torches away for now and let the trial dictate the outcome.

    If you don't believe that children can be cunning and manipulative and deviant at a young age, just read news story below. What would happen if this little boy said his Mom made him do it? We would never know, would we? We would believe the little boy wouldn't we? But now this child must pay the price for his actions because there was no adult around to blame is actions on.

    [ I had to put this link on two separate lines because it didn't work on one line. Copy the first line and paste it into your browser. Copy the second line and past it right after the first line with no spaces. This is the whole URL to the news story.]

  7. you sick assw**e

    you dare use the word relationship to describe child rape

    shame on you

  8. I am going to assume that last is directed at the preceding comment, and not at me.