Madelline McCann, Jaycee Lee Duggard, Jessica Lunsford, Natascha Kampusch, Jessyca Mullenberg, Elizabeth Smart – If you are reading this and you do not recognize these names, you need to read further, because these precious children all have something in common. They are, in a way, every man’s/ every woman’s children. These children are the victims of a society that has run amok in touchy feely, perverted, cowardly justice. These children are the victims of a society that coddles criminals, exalts egalitarianism, and increasingly despises moral absolutes. These are the children who are victims of what is today a global horror called abduction and pedophilia.
The mere mention of the phrase “abducted children” makes many shudder with sorrow and horror, as well it should. Nearly 75% of the parents in the U.S. fear that their children might become victims of abduction. It is every parent’s worst nightmare as it represents an unspeakable, unimaginable, living death for their precious children. Yet, some parents are forced to endure it. Why? What epitomizes the peril our country (and society in general) is in better than its inability and occasional unwillingness to protect its most vulnerable citizens, our children? Conservative Christian America (CCA) has not posted in over two months, due in no small part to the gut wrenching subject matter of this blog – abducted children.
Conservative Christian America therefore asks the question, why are we living in a world where we cannot guarantee our children’s safety, even within the confines of our own homes? Why are we living in a world where there is no reasonable assurance that when we put our precious little ones to bed at night, that some tragic, twisted creature will not seize them, abscond with them, and do unspeakable things to them? These are horrible questions to contemplate and nobody but nobody wants to think of them because the mere questions produce a natural, God given revulsion. Unfortunately, like several other very unpleasant issues of modern times, society faces a choice when it comes to protecting our most vulnerable citizens: Do we aggressively shine a light on this dark issue – the issue of child abduction – or do we focus on more pleasant things and pray that bad things just stop happening? Do we seek solutions to this heart breaking problem, or do we just place our hopes in the ultimate goodness of mankind? Conservative Christian America says let the questions be asked: Why are we living in a world where we must look at the internet just to see who the convicted sex offenders are in our own neighborhood?
These are very troubling questions for which there are no easy answers. And these troubling questions are being asked in troubling times. CCA doubts that our Forefathers saw the full magnitude of this terrible day coming; CCA doubts our Founders envisioned an America (and world) in which vulnerable children would become secret captives to wicked pedophiles. In our Forefather’s day, disease and pestilence were the major evils that claimed the lives of their little ones, but something has changed radically in America. Something has happened to America and the world with the onset of the information age and it is this, evil has never had so many weapons at its disposal. Technological advances such as the internet provide a safe forum for the twisted to advance their sickness. The ability of the wicked to privately proliferate evil is greater than ever because they now have ample technology and systems to do it. The people of God have a choice, we can expose this kind of darkness publicly and aggressively – or we can retreat to the corridors of our churches and praise the Lord privately.
Ronald Reagan was right when he said, “There are no easy answers but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right.” In that short statement Reagan was, I believe, speaking prophetically, perhaps more than he realized, to his generation and to ours. Let the question be asked: Is the civilized world exercising the courage to do what it knows is morally right? Since the “civilized world” rejects the existence of something called morality, CCA believes that the answer to that troubling question is a tragic and resounding no. Let’s dig a little deeper. Is the church of Jesus Christ in America exercising the courage to do what it knows is morally right? The question has to be asked because righteousness exalts a nation, and cowardly laws that preach “tolerance” are the result of human reasoning and liberalism, which are byproducts of a society that is not being rightly impacted by the church. CCA believes that Mark Twain was also prophetic when he lamented, “It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.”
Could it be that the children of the civilized world are forced to suffer, sometimes unspeakably, because of a simple lack of wits and nerve? What our world should truly fear is not the vigor, aggression and commitment from the children of the kingdom of darkness, but the apathy, complacency, foolishness and cowardice from the children of the kingdom of light.
A problem well defined is half solved, and a big part of society’s problem can be defined by examining the supposed good guys – the children of light. In dealing with true evil, such as child molestation, rape, murder and abduction, it is critical to seek and discover the root causes. It is important to examine and analyze the stories of children such as Jaycee Lee Duggard. Jaycee Lee Duggard’s captor, Philip Garrido, was a convicted sex offender who should never have had the opportunity to destroy another life. In 1972, Garrido was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl, but the case never went to trial as the girl declined to testify. In 1976, Garrido kidnapped Katherine Callaway in South Lake Tahoe, California. He took her to a warehouse in the middle of nowhere in Reno, Nevada, where he overpowered her and brutally raped her for eight long hours before a police officer – as if by miracle – happened by. Garrido was promptly arrested, charged, and convicted. In a 1976 court-ordered psychiatric evaluation, Garrido was diagnosed as a “sexual deviant and chronic drug abuser.” In court, Garrido testified that he masturbated in his car by the side of grammar schools and high schools while watching young females. Garrido was convicted in 1977 and began serving a 50-year federal sentence at Leavenworth Penitentiary in Kansas. At Leavenworth, Garrido met Nancy Bocanegra, who was visiting another prisoner, her uncle. On October 5, 1981, Garrido and Bocanegra (his accomplice in the abduction of Jaycee Lee Duggard) were married at Leavenworth. On January 22, 1988, Garrido was released from Leavenworth to Nevada State Prison, where he served only seven months of a five-years-to-life Nevada sentence.
So what can we learn from the Philip Garrido story, and why was this man ever released from prison, much less allowed to marry while incarcerated? CCA believes the Philip Garrido story, and the many others like it, point to one inescapable conclusion: Liberalism imposed upon our criminal justice system has turned it into colossal failure. Just calling this situation an individual failure doesn’t quite cut it. Garrido should have never had the chance to abduct, but he did because it was given to him. Why? Garrido, you see, had received a commendation from the US parole commission for turning his life around. Typifying this debacle is the fact that three long years before Jaycee Lee Duggard – and her children, fathered by Garrido’s rapes – were finally rescued, a neighbor’s visiting girlfriend tried to tip off authorities. She described Garrido as a psychotic sex addict who was living with children and had people staying in tents in his backyard.
The Contra Costa County Sherriff’s office sent a deputy who interviewed Garrido on his front porch, but he never entered or searched the home, the property, or the back yard (where he would have discovered the entire horror story). Additionally, he did not check to determine Garrido’s criminal record. The deputy, who did not know Garrido was a registered sex offender, even though the sheriff’s department had the information, warned Garrido that the back yard tents (Jaycee Lee Duggard’s prison) could be a code violation before leaving. Come again? A code violation? Sheriff Warren E. Rupf, the senior Sherriff, said the deputy was “feeling bad,” and that he had worked overtime that day. (Sherriff Rupf has been with the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff for over forty years.) The Sheriff said of his department, “We are beating ourselves up over this,” and he offered his “apologies to the victims.” CCA finds this unsatisfactory. Where is the personal responsibility? Why has the sheriff, among several others, not tendered his resignation, or at least retired, in the face of such a catastrophic failure? A little girl gets raped by a mad man for 3 more years (for a total of 18), and the best anyone responsible can say is, “Aw shucks, we are really beating ourselves up over this”? An even greater tragedy is the fact that Sherriff Rupf is the only one who even half heartedly attempted to face the music and take some responsibility for the debacle. Others authorities, such as parole officials, responsible for Garrido said nothing at all.
Another story that highlights these problems is that of John Evander Couey. Couey was the sex offender convicted of kidnapping, raping, and murdering nine-year old Jessica Lunsford in February 2005, in Florida. Couey had an extensive criminal record that included 24 arrests for burglary, carrying a concealed weapon without a permit, and indecent exposure. During a house burglary in 1978, Couey was accused of grabbing a girl in her bedroom, placing his hand over her mouth, and kissing her. Couey was sentenced to 10 years in prison but was paroled in 2. In 1991, he was arrested in Kissimmee on a charge of fondling a five-year-old child. Because of more lenient laws at that time, Couey was again released early. Years later, in the middle of the night (approximately 3 a.m.), on Thursday, February 24, 2005, Couey abducted nine-year-old Jessica Lunsford from her bedroom in Homosassa, Florida. Couey’s confession, which was ruled inadmissible in court, alleged the following: In the middle of the night, Couey entered Lunsford’s house through an unlocked door, awakened Lunsford, told her “Don’t yell or nothing,” and told her to follow him out of the house. Couey held her captive over the weekend (a total of three days), repeatedly raped and terrorized her before binding her in garbage bags and burying her alive. Police found the body of Jessica Lunsford buried in a shallow grave under the back porch of a mobile home less than 150 yards from her home on March 18, 2005, a day after Couey confessed. She was found buried, bound, kneeling and clutching her favorite stuffed animal, a purple dolphin, two of her fingers had poked their way through the trash bags for air and were skeletonized. She had poked through the bags before suffocating to death. Jessica’s body was wrapped in two plastic trash bags knotted at her head and feet – her shallow grave hole camouflaged by the porch and a mound of leaves.
CCA believes that Jaycee Lee Duggard and Jessica Lunsford were victims of not only their awful perpetrators, but also of a society that has become weak, and that the evidence of that weakness is our couched willingness to tolerate blatant abuses such as the aforementioned pedophilia, rape, and murder. CCA believes that the entire society, and by extension the church, is impugned when innocent children suffer horribly and needlessly. When such horrific crimes are both committed and tolerated, a stark moral line gets crossed. The end result is a coarsening of conscience so severe that the recidivism rate is dangerously high and simply too dangerous to ever return some of these criminals to society. Therefore, it is imperative for the death penalty to be on the table and seriously considered, and perhaps even mandatory for all heinous crimes such as these. King Solomon had it right when he wrote, “Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil.” (Ecclesiastes 8:11 NAS)
The law abiding citizens in America have got to unite, stand up and demand maximum penalties for horrid crimes. The death penalty must be fought for and defended as the solution that it really is. Why? It is a deterrent, it is Biblical, it is just, right and makes for simple common sense. Furthermore, it permanently removes a threat from society. The moral requirement of true justice demands that the death penalty be administered for heinous crimes. The blood of the innocents is crying out from the grave for justice, and they are not getting it – wake up America. John Evander Couey died a far more merciful death than did his innocent victim, and the same holds true in thousands of similar cases. Should law abiding citizens really have to look on the internet to see if our homes and neighborhoods are safe for our children? Is that the characteristic of a free society? Or is it a characteristic of mayhem, lawlessness, and blanket tolerance run amok? The true shame behind child abduction is the fact that we live in a world that has grown weak enough to tolerate it. And it is time for the people of God to stand and say enough!
CCA does not have the wherewithal to talk about the thousands upon thousands of tragic cases or delve deeply into this world wide tragedy. The famous stories of children like Jaycee Lee Duggard, Jessica Lunsford, Madelline McCann (may God Himself locate and rescue her soon), Natascha Kampusch, Jessyca Mullenberg (who had not only her body raped, but also her mind), Elizabeth Smart and others will continue to make news as long as the world tolerates gross sin. And in any writing on a matter such as this, it is important to remember a concept well articulated by Aldous Huxley who wrote, “The effects which follow too constant and intense a concentration on evil are always disastrous. Those who crusade not for God in themselves, but against the devil in others, never succeed in making the world better, but leave it either as it was or sometimes even perceptibly worse than it was, before the crusade began. By thinking primarily of evil we tend, however excellent our intentions, to create occasions for evil to manifest itself.”
So where is the hope? The hope is in the same place it has always been, in your heart if you are a child of God. Societal salvation starts at home with Christ and you. One person may not be able to change the entire world, but you can sure change your corner of it. And if enough people chose righteousness, then maybe just maybe the suffering of innocents will begin to subside. CCA prays this is the case, and we also encourage you to think long and hard about the dying world around you, and what you might do to make it a better place. Please join us as we fight.