Anger Over the Kidnapping of Two Missouri Boys

Anger over the kidnapping of two Missouri boys, that is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo."

Now last night, I said 15-year-old Shawn Hornbeck might have accepted his kidnapping by that creep Michael Devlin rather than trying to escape. I also said I don't believe much in the "Stockholm Syndrome — that is the captive becoming attached to the kidnapper. — It happens, but it's rare. And Dr. Dwayne Fuselier with the FBI for 21 years will back me up on that.

Now Greta Van Susteren disagreed with me and so did many of you. For example, Dawn Doxey, who lives in Courtland, Virginia wrote, "Mr. O'Reilly, your comments regarding Shawn Hornbeck were out of line. He was an eleven-year old when his victimization began; he is still only fifteen. Your speculative callousness is shameful. You should apologize to the Hornbeck family and to all your viewers."

Well, I might have to do that, but I might not. This is a complicated, disturbing story that is important for all Americans. After teaching teenagers in high school, it is hard for me to believe that a normal kid would stay in a horrible environment when escape was easy, especially if the child had confidence in his parents. No question this monster Devlin made threats and intimidated Shawn. But teenagers have brains and Shawn had the freedom to get away if he wanted to.

So the jury's still out in this case, so to speak. And my job is to examine the evidence. The situation is made even more complicated by the fact that kidnapped children are always traumatized. There's huge damage done to any child in that situation.

Now The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reasonably editorialized today that the public does not have to know all the details of this case and that further damage can be done to Shawn Hornbeck by the media. That is certainly true.

But it's also true that we're living in a dangerous time and children must be taught about evil and must be prepared to face it because they'll likely have to.

The kidnapping of those two boys should be front page news in your house if you have kids. I actually hope I'm wrong about Shawn Hornbeck. I hope he did not make a conscious decision to accept his captivity because Devlin made things easy for him. No school, play all day long.

But to just chalk this up to brainwashing and walk away is turn away from the true danger of child molesters and abductors. All American children must be taught survival skills, must be prepared to face crisis situations. That is the lesson of the Shawn Hornbeck story.

And that's "The Memo."

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