Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Off Topic, Just for a Moment...

While I had hoped to confine this blog to issues relating to education, I find myself compelled to comment briefly on a current news item.

The story of Michael Devlin, the pizzeria manager who abducted an 11-year-old boy in 2002 and held him for four and a half years, only to be found out when he abducted another boy and police serendipitously found them both, grows more heartbreaking by the day. Between the state charges to which he pled guilty and was sentenced last week, and the federal charges to which he pled guilty today, this profoundly evil creature will never again see the light of day; he'll be 100 years old before he can even think about parole. But the details to which he admitted, apparently to avoid having even more details about his crimes come out at trial, are both chilling and deeply saddening to anyone who has ever cared about a child.

Aside from the abduction, sexual abuse, child pornography, etc. perpetrated by this individual, it seems that shortly after he abducted and abused his first victim in 2002, he decided to take the boy to a remote location and kill him. He took the boy out of his pickup truck and began to strangle him to death. And this child, with Devlin's hands on his throat, somehow "talked him out of it." The boy talked this monster out of killing him. 11 years old. I can't even envision this without feeling profoundly sad.

It goes without saying that what Devlin did to this kid, the fact that the victim lived with this man until he was 15, four critical years of his life which he can never get back, added to the kidnapping and abuse of the other boy, is all just unimaginable, ungraspable, inexplicable, unconscionable, and all the adjectives anyone can think of. Then when I think of what Bill O'Reilly was saying on his cable show after the story first broke earlier this year, that the now-15-year-old victim probably saw his abduction as some sort of vacation from parental and educational authority, that living with Devlin was more fun than living at home and that's why he didn't try to escape or contact his family, it just makes me sadder. Even I'm not that cynical about kids. I don't care what Mr. O'Reilly thinks about anything, but I remember him saying this, and in light of what's been revealed about this case this past week, I hope he will acknowledge his error.

It's rare that a news story comes along that affects me so viscerally, that produces such a range of emotions, that I feel the need to write about it in order to make sense of it and sort out my thoughts. I'm going to have to work on this for a while longer. I just can't believe what I've been reading. It's just heartbreaking.

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