Judging the Victim

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The elation over the rescue of Shawn Hornbeck is gradually turning to ugly accusations and suspicion. These accusations against the now-15-year old have not been expressed but they are implicit in the headlines: The Arizona Daily Star headline asks “Why didn’t abducted boy run?”; many papers are more subtle with headlines such as USA Today’s “Many questions still to be answered about missing Mo. boys.” Wonder what those questions could be? Are they asking if Shawn was somehow instrumental in his own disappearance or if he was actually hiding from his own family and trying to avoid ‘rescue’ for 4-1/2 years? You bet that’s what they are asking but asking without actually asking!

Reality as I see it: We have an 11-year old boy (its easy to forget, looking at that healthy, bull-necked 15-year old, that he was a very young boy when he was kidnapped) kidnapped by a man who was easily twice his height and three times his girth. How can we not believe that he was terrified? How can we not automatically assume that he was threatened with all the things that will keep a small boy terrified.

All the neighbors of his captor relate stories of the “teenaged boy” that they came to assume was Michael Devlin’s son — I’ve heard no stories about the 11-year old or 12-year old who was hanging around the apartment and playing on his skateboard. Could it be that Shawn was being physically restrained, brainwashed and trained to be a ‘good captive’ for up to 2 years? Yes, not only is that possible, its very likely.

The very last line of that Arizona Daily Star news story that asks “Why didn’t abducted boy run? is part of a statement by Terri Weaver, an associate professor of psychology at St. Louis University. Ms. Weaver clarifies many of the element that could have scared the young Shawn Hornbeck into becoming Shawn Devlin, the obedient “son” of Michael Devlin. Ms. Weaver’s very last sentence is as follows: “The fact that this child is alive means he did everything right.”

I really believe that that is the ultimate answer to the “questions”.

Let’s just welcome Shawn home and smile at the fact that he and Ben Ownby are now reunited with their families.

One final note: On Saturday, Shawn Hornbeck’s stepfather appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America Weekend” show and made the following statement:

“He’s been held against his will, and since that time he was threatened with his life. He thought that it would be the end of his life if he tried to tell anyone or do anything.”

That may lay many of the questions to rest but I’m afraid it may also be a “public accusation against Michael Devlin” that will, eventually, damage the case against Devlin. That is the last thing anyone should want to see and the fault, if that happens, will not fall on Craig Akers (Shawn’s stepfather) it will fall directly on the irresponsible producers and host of ABC’s “Good Morning America Weekend Edition.” They should not have allowed that statement to be aired.

Links:

Arizona Daily Star: Mystery: Why didn’t abducted boy run?

USA Today: Many questions still to be answered about missing Mo. boys

From the blogosphere:

An Ounce of Prevention: Shawn Hornbeck and William “Ben” Ownby found

Daily Speculation: Miracle in Missouri, by Scott Brooks

News and commentary by: Whymrhymer can also be found at the Blogger News Network and at The American Chronicle Family of Journals

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