Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Why Shawn Hornbeck didn't run

Back in January, I posted an entry about the case of Shawn Hornbeck, the Missouri boy who was kidnaped and held for four years by Michael Devlin, a pizzeria manager. One of the burning questions at the time was, why didn't Shawn run away? He appeared to have had ample opportunity to escape — he was often left unsupervised, and had at least some access to telephone and Internet. Bill O'Reilly and some others took the position that "obviously" Shawn must've been enjoying himself, or he would've made some attempt at escape. To this day, the most disturbing comments that have ever been posted by the readers here at The Third Path were in that thread. One of the comments suggested that Shawn "enjoyed his private and independent life with his pal [Devlin]," and callously ignored his parents' distress because he was having a good time playing hooky, and perhaps even actively participated in the abduction of the second boy.

Today we learned the truth, and all the people like Billo and "Therran" are shown for the insensitive idiots they truly are. It is they — not Shawn — who are Michael Devlin's accessories in crime.

Shawn Hornbeck didn't try to run away because Michael Devlin had already tried to kill him at least once. Any unsuccessful escape attempt could have been fatal. Shawn made a deal with the devil — rather more literally than the phrase is usually used — that he would do whatever Devlin asked, if only Devlin would let him live. He made that deal as Devlin's hands were around his neck, trying to kill him. We know that Shawn was not only sexually abused, but also tortured, because Devlin kept the video he made. We know that Shawn was kept tied to a bed for weeks at a time, with duct tape on his mouth. How many adults do you know who could go through that sort of horror with their faculties intact? But Shawn wasn't an adult. He wasn't even in junior high yet when he was kidnaped at gunpoint.

I said it nine months ago, and I'll say it again: just because you don't see the reason for someone's apparently "irrational" behavior, doesn't mean that there isn't a reason.

Technorati tags: , ,