Thursday, January 18, 2007

O'Reilly Kidnaps Common Decency

We'll return to the weight story soon, believe me.  First, however, I have to pile on Bill O'Reilly, because he deserves it.

There's this sensational story in the news about finding Shawn Hornbeck and Ben Ownby who had both been abducted some sick predator. Apparently the former boy, who was held for four years, had some "freedom" to go outside, use the computer and telephone, etc. Some are wondering why he didn't just contact the authorities or his parents.

Oprah Winfrey interviewed the parents of both boys and Shawn Hornbeck today. Off camera, Oprah claimed, Shawn Hornbeck said he didn’t contact his parents, "because he was terrified."

Bill O'Reilly, a couple of days ago, not only wondered why Shawn Hornbeck didn't walk away or contact someone, he speculated that the boy may have liked some elements of living with his kidnapper, because he didn't have to go to school, could play all day, etc.

Others have been outraged and even another Fox news host, Greta Van Susteren, challenged his comments.

He implies that by pointing out that this child did not try to escape and should have, he can make parents aware of the danger of abduction and scare them into teaching their children survival skills.

Survival skills? Like when someone kidnaps you and "terrorize[s] [you] with a handgun", do what he says so he doesn't kill you or someone else. When you're 11 YEARS OLD,  this may be the only survival skill you can come up, even if  you were lucky enough to be prepared by Bill O'Reilly — an honor trauma that Shawn Hornbeck didn't have the good fortune to receive.

Read here where O'Reilly does not apologize: Anger Over the Kidnapping of Two Missouri Boys. That's what he headlined the "memo." It ought to be called "Anger over the kidnapping of common decency." Among other things he says:
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.

It boggles my mind that Mr. O'Reilly expects an 11-year-old being threatened by a large man with a gun to behave no differently than his students. Given his comments, perhaps he forced kids to take his class at gunpoint.

Given Mr. O'Reilly's harshly-worded opinions (over the years) about those who victimize, blaming the victim is particularly unbecoming.

I'm at a loss for words for Mr. O'Reilly. His comments go beyond ignorance and insensitivity. They are repugnant in the extreme. I question the man's humanity.

1 comment:

Kate said...

Bill O'Reilly might as well have just called the child a 'whore'. He's insinuating that an eleven year old child was willing to prostitute himself and subjugate to sexual abuse in an effort to 'not go to school and run around and do what he wanted". And his other comments indicate that he believes this to be probable because of the child's piercings. Bill O'Reilly stated, "He's got these piercings this is a troubled kid in my opinion..."

This is truly the most disgusting set of comments I have ever heard from this man. I have always regarded his comments as somewhat bizarre, off the wall, misguided and outlandish for the purposes of media attention, but I have never been made to feel physically sick by his tirades until now.

Most distressing of all are his comments to Debra Mandeln psychologist and author of Healing The Sensitive Heart, in response to why he is wise to children's ways...."I taught High School". As a parent of two boys, I am appalled that anyone with these viewpoints was EVER allowed to be near children, much less teach them. I know that my children would also be thrilled to 'not go to school' and be in a less structured environment, but not at the risk of their sexual well being, not accepting sexual abuse as the price for that freedom willingly...

In my opinion, those who believe the worst is possible in others, usually know what is possible from their own experience and/or willingness to do so. Meaning that if he is quick to believe some one would prostitute themselves for a reward, he would probably do it himself....

Shawn Hornbeck could have made the choices he did for any number of reasons, survival, Stockholm Syndrome, brainwashing and/or protection of his family....We don't know, and it is not our right to know. This was a traumatic life changing event that should be dealt with in the fashion the family deems fit... He survived, and he has a tough road ahead of him in recovery, we as a society should be praising him and supporting his recovery, not trying to 'poke holes' in his story.

Shame on Bill O'Reilly, there is a special place in hell for people like him!