Like Jaycee Lee Dugard, Shawn was 11 when he was kidnapped. And Shawn, like Dugard, had been sexually abused. Shawn was reportedly held at gunpoint for 51 months by a hulking, bearded, 300-pound man. Police found Shawn, 15 at the time of his rescue, at Devlin's house while searching for another missing boy, 13-year-old Ben Ownby.
"Reality TV sunk to a new low," opined one writer, Mark Stuart Ellison, about Winfrey's interview. But as much criticism as this interview generated, Ellison said, "a number of prominent media pundits have said that if they had been given the same opportunity, they, too, would have interviewed Shawn. Of course, to be fair to Winfrey, Shawn's parents agreed to the interview.
Dugard had been held in captivity for 18 years, for the most part, it is believed, in a hidden backyard compound in Antioch. She bore two daughters with her kidnapper, a paroled sex offender, starting when she was around 14.
The San Francisco Chronicle, citing sources, revealed that Dugard, now 29, is staying with her daughters at an East Bay motel. Is she, through the law enforcement authorities guarding her, being inundated with interview requests? From Oprah, or from Katie Couric, or Matt Lauer, as well as from the local media?
I wouldn't be surprised if she is. And I admit that, back when I was a newspaper reporter, I would have been making the request, too. And I would have been oh-so delighted with myself if she agreed to talk to me and allowed me to get the big scoop.
But, the idea of being a reporter now hounding Dugard for an interview sickens me. I guess I've lost my edge. As I said in an earlier post my earlier post, hearing what Dugard has lived through makes me think of a Nazi concentration camp. Dugard's stepfather, Carl Probyn, has been forthcoming with the media, granting interviews and explaining the experience about learning that Dugard, whom he had given up for dead, was now alive.
Isn't that enough for now? Dugard has to adjust to life on the outside of that compound and with the family from whom she was taken. Her parents have to adjust to having her back and to the fact they are grandparents of pre-teen and teen girls, who are the daughters of their daughter's kidnapper. And those girls? Well, who knows what they were living with, at the hands of Phillip Garrido and his wife, Nancy, the two who have been arrested in Jaycee's kidnapping.
As I said, isn't hearing from Probyn enough for now?