Some people may remember all the speculation about why Shawn Hornbeck stayed with his abductor -- including Bill O'Reilly's ludicrous comments that maybe life was more fun with his abductor than with his parents.
Now that Michael Devlin pleaded guilty, he has answered that question.
After Shawn was abducted at gunpoint while riding his bike in rural Washington County, Devlin took the then-11-year-old to his apartment in suburban St. Louis where he repeatedly sexually assaulted the boy. Days later, Devlin took Shawn back to rural Washington County in his pickup truck, apparently intent on killing him. He said he pulled Shawn from his truck and began to strangle him. Shawn resisted. "I attempted to kill (Shawn) and he talked me out of it," Devlin said.
I hope Bill O'Reilly and everyone else who painted Shawn as someone who was no longer a real victim reads this. Shawn saved his own life and he made decisions at the age of 11 with the understanding that he was dealing with a man willing to murder. A man who also knew where his parents lived.
We say we understand terrorism after 9/11 but most of us don't understand this sort of personal terrorism. Because of international terrorism the Emmy's were cancelled several times that year before being broadcast with many empty seats. Imagine living every day like it were the day or the week or the month after 9/11. We haven't had another attack, but Shawn Devlin did. He knew the danger was real. Doesn't sound real fun to me.
What he didn't know was how to escape that looming threat of terrorism. Getting away from the source of the attack doesn't guarantee an end to terrorism. Sometimes terrorists beat the system. Shawn Hornbeck would have been betting his life by running.
Bill O'Reilly's speculation could have easily been Michael Devlin's story with the addition of "I befriended a young runaway." Without the second kidnapping far too many people could have viewed the truth as simply too bizarre to be real.
Update: For those of you who didn't see it already, here's a video which includes Bill O'Reilly's statements.