Child Abduction Rash Officially Ends


15-year-old Elizabeth Smart found alive in suburban Salt Lake City. Click here for beauty/beast shots of Smart and her skanky alleged abductor.

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  1. WOW! Her parents must have resigned themselves to accepting, or at least wholly bracing for, the worst long ago. I try to imagine how it felt to reunite—all they probably did was hug and cry and laugh and cry and hug and laugh.

  2. Uh, wait a minute. Am I the anyone else suspicious here, or am I the only cynical one?

  3. I get sick of this useless pap on TV. Yeah it sucks she was abducted, etc., but you know, there is more important shit to report.

  4. I get sick of this useless pap on TV. Yeah it sucks she was abducted, etc., but you know, there is more important shit to report. Yeah, I know I am a heartless jackass.

  5. To everyonr, sorry about careles editing on rarlier post, replace the first “am I the” with “Is”.

    To Gary, This would be news if it were a “real” abduction story, but I suspect there is more. Which may mean there is a real story.

    As I say, is any one else suspicious?


  6. This ranks right up there in importance with Gary Condit, O.J., Lorena Bobbit, Tonya Harding, the Menendez brothers, the British au pair, Robert Blake, the Rose of England [gag]….

    Meanwhile, on page 3, World War III starts in the Middle East.

  7. A child lost is returned… A joyous and no doubt newsworthy event. How anyone can say news of child abductions is “PAP” is only an indication of arrogance and the elitist notion that they are too intellectual to be moved by such things. of course any discussion of the matter would only serve as an opportunity to grouse about the greater injustices done to them by the government in which they likely don’t participate (aside from the incessant complaining)! Christ’s sake! Don’t you people have children?!? If so, look at them tonight when they are sleeping and tell yourself that you wouldn’t be on every news camera you could find begging for their return if you somehow lost them. Go ahead try.

  8. JDM,

    I don’t know. Why is it that neoconservatives are power-hungry wackjobs whose ideals are the complete opposite of liberty and everything America’s supposed to stand for?

  9. Hazzah!, JDM. Only in Reason-land would the cynics be so emboldened to decry such a happy resolution. Or maybe they think that personal tragedy, versus public tragedy, is too ordinary or trite to bother with. I am happy for the Smart family; all of ’em!
    Snicker all you want Kevin, but it’s wonderful news that Elizabeth is alive and well…and that we have no shame in celebrating it.

  10. By the way, I was “MDJ” who wrote that rebuttal to JDM. I’m sorry, I really couldn’t resist taking a shot.

    I will say, I’m just as happy for Elizabeth Smart and her family as everyone else. And it’s precisely BECAUSE the neocons are about to lead us into World War Three and start the clash of civilizations that Huntington warned about, that we need happy-ending stories like Elizabeth Smart’s more than ever. At a time when really bad shit is about to go down, it’s nice to know that, believe it or not, good things actually do happen to good people once in a while.

  11. On an entirely separate note, Elizabeth’s abductor Brian “Emmanuel” Mitchell looks eerily like this one scumbag in my city called Walt who occasionally comes into the cafe where I hang out and panhandles the customers and then gets obnoxious and abusive if they don’t pony up the change.

  12. Johnny, aaah; that explains why “MDJ”‘s post was so non-sensical…!

  13. Yeah, of course it’s nonsensical — after all, this war isn’t about power or oil, it’s about FREEDOM, right? As in “freedom fries.” After all, if FOX News says so it MUST be true!

  14. JDM:

    Bong water enemas? Cool! I never thought of that before–but I always had better results drinking it.


    I thought the guy’s face looked familiar, and then I finally remembered–the Shroud of Turin! The white robed didn’t make it any easier. Maybe he should go in that Evil Jesii site Jesse links on his blog.

  15. The only thing to say (on topic) is:

    Maybe this might be an object lesson on what happens when you don’t hire licensed contractors to do “roof repairs,” esp when you’re in a position to do so.

  16. Upon seeing pictures of Elizabeth’s abductor, my girlfriend remarked that the “Osama” is a popular look for crazy people this season. 🙂

    Personally he reminds me of Rasputin, but I’m a hopeless history nerd. Maybe if we try shoot, stabbing, and drowning him a few times we can see how close the resemblance is…

  17. RJ: What’s “fishy” about this is the way she was found – driving around with nothing preventing her from going home.

    JDM: I searched and searched the Reason website for bong water enemas, and couldn’t find anything. I did find plenty on the war though; the only thing bong -related was the recent tax-funded online paraphernalia raid. If Libertarians only get 2% because we insist the Constitution applies to even evil pipemakers, so be it. I’d rather be unpopular and right than popular and stupid.

  18. Hey JDM,

    Why is it that most neoconservatives are chickenhawks?

  19. Josh,

    The coverage of the Iraq war here has been extraordinarily poor. On both the front page and in the blog, it amounts to snarky pot-shots at the Bush administration to support the a priori idea that the war is wrong. Ronald Bailey wrote something interesting about it a couple of months ago, but he has always been the best writer at Reason, and should probably dump this rag for an actual job in the real world.

    The issue is quality. Not quantity.

    In contrast, the writing about the drug war here is usually well reasoned, it’s just that its so overemphasized that one has to think that the editors’ interest in drugs goes far far beyond their relevance as a civil rights issue.

    The writers at Reason Online have been exposed as frauds on the Iraq issue. The critical issue of our generation has passed, and most of them had nothing insightful to say about it. Why? Because insightful writing from libertarians comes from the fearless application of their first principles – liberty and the individual – to social, ethical, and political questions. Many libertarians have run away from their principles on Iraq because they have a negative emotional reaction to where it leads them. This has always been the case with libertarians and foreign policy.

    That’s why libertarianism is a joke.

    You don’t think it’s important for a politcal movement to be popular? I suppose it is not surprising to see a self-described Libertarian who is comfortable with irrelevance.

  20. This is a big story. She is kidnapped and then escorted around town in a burka for nine months and the police had no clue. I frequent many of the spots she was filmed and photographed while she was with this wacko. Trust me, there are not so many nuts in SLC that this guy didn’t stand out. For the love of god, there is several minutes of video of this guy with Elizibeth in broad daylight just hanging out at the park a few weeks after she was taken.

  21. I ask this in all seriousness, “is this girl retarded?” I honestly have not followed this case, but why was a 15 year old girl walking around with her alledged captors in the daylight and why didn’t she run to anyone? It seems suspicious to me.

  22. I think this case may prove to be serious trouble for that species of thinker who believes that any situation short of having a guy held to your temple costitutes “free will.”

    She was 14 year old. Go knows what kind of mind fuck this “prophet” played on her. God knows who he threatened to hurt if she left him. “I got into your house and escaped scott free once…”

    Why didn’t she leave? Why doesn’t any abused woman leave a relationship? She was 14 years old.

  23. Joe writes:

    “I think this case may prove to be serious trouble for that species of thinker who believes that any situation short of having a guy held to your temple costitutes “free will.”

    I don’t take that position, but the whole situation does make me pause and wonder.

    “Why didn’t she leave? Why doesn’t any abused woman leave a relationship? She was 14 years old.”

    Odd analogy. We know why women sometimes don’t leave abusive relationships – and it has to do with alternatives. Here’s a girl who had an apparently loving family in the area.

  24. This little girl is changed forever.

    I’m reminded a little of the Patty Hearst abduction. A few months afterward she’s filmed robbing a bank with her captors. Or a 16 year old going to prison for years and the twisted view of the world he would have to adopt during “rehabilitation”.

  25. I’ve never been a 14 year old girl, and I’ve never been kidnapped, so I don’t know what Elizabeth was thinking, and why she didn’t seek help. I think I probably would have in her place, but I’m an entirely different person.

    Besides, she was probably cut off from hearing any news about what was really going on. Who knows what he and his wife told her.

  26. Matt, I think one of the interesting points raised by this case (and I apologize in advance to JDM for wasting precious seconds that would be put to better use cheering for a war on Iraq and thereby justifying libertarianism) is how a police investigation goes off the rails by focusing on a single individual. In this case, the late Mr. Ricci was the prime suspect, and remained so even after his death, despite the lack of any real evidence. It’s understandable that cops who believe they have a fruitful lead would want to stick to it even when it becomes less promising, but I’d say that by the time the Smarts wanted to put out their “Mr. Emmanuel” flyer and the cops actually discouraged them from doing so, they were pursuing the lead to the point of monomania. Props to the Smarts for putting out the flyer anyway, which apparently (according to the early reports anyway) contributed to the lovely girleen’s recovery. Amazingly, there actually is a DIY element to this happy ending. If I were a truly meretricious fellow, I could write it all up as a fable about bureaucratic thinking vs. self-organizing justice, which would conveniently take care of my writing assignment for today; but I think I’ll pass. As you, Joe, DC, RJ, and undoubtedly many others suspect, there appear to be some weird and unsavory details in there; I wouldn’t hold my breath in hope of hearing about them.

  27. “This little girl is changed forever.

    I’m reminded a little of the Patty Hearst abduction. A few months afterward she’s filmed robbing a bank with her captors. ”

    Yeah, but Patty eventually got over it and helped make a dramtic film about her experiences that was frankly quite entertaining. In one scene, one of her white suburbanite abductors is once again torturing himself because he wasn’t born into an opressed class or race. “Shit! I wish I was black!!!” he screams in frustration. God, that was funny. Those people were stupid AND nuts.

    Later, Patty met up with John Waters and further played with her public image by poking fun at it in other films. So don’t write off Elizabeth Smart as permanently damaged goods. She at least has a role model to look up to.

  28. The things I’m hearing indicate the girl was drugged and disguised (often with a “burka-type” outfit). I agree that the whole thing with the late Mr. Ricci really threw everything off course.

    Interesting side note: Last night, one of the Smart clan was on TV and (I can’t quote, but bear with me here) seemed to be saying, “Gee, we’re sorry Mr. Ricci’s dead, but it’s ok because we were looking for Elizabeth and the truth and if a couple people had to be unfairly accused imprisoned, and die, we think it was worth it”. I ad libbed there a little, but if you saw it, you know what I mean.

  29. Why didn’t she run?

    Well – I have a 12 year old son who, while smart, can many times be some brain-numbingly dense that I want to smack my own head! Who knows what went on during her captivity. Furthermore, common-sense isn’t so common, nor is it ever obvious when you really need it. It’s easy to sit back and say why didn’t she run – but obviously she didn’t think she had an opportunity.

  30. Kevin,

    It’s only on page three at Behind Internet radio and the glory of bong water enemas.

    Why is it that libertarians only get 2% of the vote?



  33. EMAIL:
    DATE: 12/09/2003 10:23:30
    Unusual ideas can make enemies.

  34. EMAIL:

    DATE: 12/10/2003 01:07:11
    Keep the good work.

  35. EMAIL:
    DATE: 12/20/2003 05:01:23
    Nature is not anthropomorphic.

  36. EMAIL:
    DATE: 01/09/2004 03:38:10
    Art is vision, not expression.

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