Carlie Brucia's Light Must Shine On

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes", February 12, 2003, that has been edited for clarity.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: A memorial service was held tonight for Carlie Brucia, the 11-year-old Florida girl whose videotaped abduction last week horrified parents all over the country.


ROBERT HAGEMANN, PRINCIPAL OF CARLIE'S SCHOOL: Carlie is a shining light. In reverence for Carlie's life, we shall, together, discover more meaningful ways to serve and praise children.

BILL BALKWILL, SARASOTA COUNTY SHERIFF: The loss of a child strikes the hardest of the hearts of even the most veteran officers.


HANNITY: Joining us now by phone is Robert Hagemann. He's the principal of the McIntosh Middle School in Sarasota, where Carlie went to school.

And also joining us from San Francisco, the president of, our good friend Marc Klaas is with us. Of course, his own daughter, Polly, was abducted and murdered back in 1983.

Marc, my friend, good to see you.


HANNITY: Mr. Hagemann, let me go start with you. You knew this little girl. This video broke our hearts. This memorial service took place today. What can you tell us about this girl?

HAGEMANN: Well, Carlie, I think now has become a role model for all teenagers in America.

This is the type of girl that has a smile. This is the type of girl that radiates. This is the type of girl that was a magnet.

And we are challenging our students in this community never to let go of that vision we have of her, and the type of girl, I think, that will make a long-range contribution, not only in my community but in this nation.

HANNITY: Yes. Are you as angry as I am, sir, about when we look at this guy's arrest record, his background, the fact that we had him on multiple occasions? You've had an opportunity to examine this now.

HAGEMANN: I'm very disappointed. I'm very alarmed. I cannot tolerate seeing a young American girl carried away to her execution on tape. It is the most horrific thing that I've ever witnessed.


HAGEMANN: And obviously, we've been in the midst of a tremendous healing journey dealing with all the issues.

HANNITY: Yes. Yes, it is heartbreaking. I've seen this poor little kid, you know, with her whole life before her and then this tragedy.

Marc, you and I have been friends a long time. And you lived through this nightmare.

This guy broke into your house, your daughter, ripped her out of your house. And of course, in the same instance, we find out he had a track record, a criminal record, very similar to the case here.

I cannot believe how infuriating that's got to be for you every day.

KLAAS: Well, this case is particularly infuriating because these individuals seem very similar in a lot of respects. They're both master manipulators.

You'll notice that Joseph Smith has been able to manipulate himself out of not even having to go to prison despite a very lengthy criminal record.

He even talked a jury out of convicting him of a kidnapping, despite the testimony of a couple of witnesses, not to mention the fact that he talked this little girl, very, very quickly, had her under his control and as the principal said, led her to her execution.

Not unlike what happened to Polly, at all.

HANNITY: Marc, and this is the point. This is the chilling part.

Your daughter was having, if I recall, a slumber party in your house.

KLAAS: Right.

HANNITY: And this guy broke into your home and took your daughter. This girl is walking home.

I mean, I guess it's short of never letting your kids out of your sight ever. And I remember, I was a paperboy when I was 8 years old. I'd get off my bus and I'd be gone until 8 p.m. that night. My parents didn't know where I was. Different time.

KLAAS: Yes, it is very much a different time. And I'm very much like you. I could go out and do whatever I wanted.

But now we understand that we're living in dangerous world, and we have to take steps to protect children.

We have to -- The principal is right this girl was a shining example. She drew attention to herself.


KLAAS: Oftentimes, you know, when it works out well, people like that will end up having great success in life. They'll be movie stars; they'll have great business success.

If it doesn't turn out well, they'll draw the attention of the wrong individuals and they'll sacrifice them.

I think if there are things, Sean, that we can do in every level of society to protect our kids against individuals like him.

HANNITY: Mr. Hagemann, how -- how has the response been among the other students in your school? What are you teaching your kids as a result of this? I mean, short of never talking to anybody who's a stranger. I mean, how would they, how are they reacting from this?

HAGEMANN: You know, I can think off the top of my head of a dozen different ways we approach kids in the K-12 curriculum.

But, you know, the bottom line is that children need to tell their parents where they are all the time. And parents need to make sure that that is a rule of the house.

Children need to travel in groups or at least pairs.

And thirdly, children really need to be on pathways that are very common to their neighborhood that they're very, very familiar with, to take no short cuts and to take no alleyways.

Those three things we continue to preach. But you know, obviously, what's come to light is there are many, many other signals that we need to share with kids.

There's been an outpouring of information. An outpouring of citizens in America that have programs and have ways of trying to perhaps reeducate and refresh the American public school on how it might...

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Mr. Hagemann...

HAGEMANN: ... begin to consistently share information with children that will make a difference and take these type of crimes out of the neighborhood...

COLMES: Mr. Hagemann, it's Alan Colmes. Mr. Klaas, I want to go to you.

HAGEMANN: ... and out of the landscape.

COLMES: You know, it's got to be frustrating, Mr. Klaas. Welcome back to the show.

KLAAS: Thank you, Alan.

COLMES: Because you've got to keep thinking, boy, how could it have been prevented? To keep replaying the steps in your mind, as I'm sure you've done many times.

What can you, as a parent, do? What could you have done? What could have been done here to have stopped this from happening? To see this on videotape in broad daylight happen, we just scratch our heads.

KLAAS: Well, I'll tell you what. Listen, I'll concur with everything the principal said. And I would add onto that that children her age and older should probably have their own cell phones. It's a wonderful way for parents and children to keep in touch.

But all we have to do, Alan and Sean, is look at the video of this little girl being manipulated and taken. This is over before it even starts.

We cannot put the burden of this issue on the shoulders of our children. We have to look on to our judges. We have to look at our criminal justice system. We have to look at our legislators to make sure they pass the kinds of laws that will protect us against these kinds of individuals. After all, it is a fundamental duty of government to protect innocent people.

Right now it seems to me we're looking out for the rights of the wrong people. Second chances, third chances, fourth chances. And the result of that is that we sacrifice wonderful little girls like Carlie, like Polly, like so many others that we've all talked about over the years.

COLMES: Mr. Hagemann, I don't know if you're a parent, but you're certainly a principal, so you're a parent, certainly, in that way.

And you've got to be concerned. I mean, in your school, what do you do to protect the kids in your school? And the mindset must have just drastically have changed over the last few weeks?

HAGEMANN: Yes. We've already sat what we call a safe and ordinarily committee that works on making sure that the surrounding area is clean. We have security aides on our campus. We have a sheriff's resource officer on our campus, and we have many, many trained people.

But the bottom line is that at any moment in time, given any particular circumstance, a child can face this type of situation.

The problem is, I believe, that if someone has the right approach, they offer this child, with all the information and all the warnings and all the tools we've ... them, confusion. A child that age quickly gets confused.

And it's very, very hard to put into practice. And I'm hoping that this tape -- No. 1, I believe America has drawn a line in the sand. That finally, there are going to be significant measures that are taken to protect our children in new and fresh ways.

HANNITY: Mr. Hagemann...

HAGEMANN: This tape certainly, I think, is educating children.

HANNITY: We've got to run. Thank you, sir, for being with us.

HAGEMANN: Thank you.

HANNITY: Marc, good to see you, my friend. And I appreciate you, as always, being with us.

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