Jaycee Dugard's Tragic Tale Speaks to Existence of Evil

Monday, 31 Aug 2009 01:11 PM

By James Hirsen

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It’s an incredibly moving saga, the abduction and amazing emancipation of Jaycee Lee Dugard, who was held captive for 18 years.

The story throws the spotlight on something our post-modern culture has all but abandoned, to the detriment of our criminal justice system; that is, the existence of good and evil.

Jaycee was only 11 years old when in 1991 she was abducted near her home in South Lake Tahoe, 170 miles from Antioch, which was where Phillip Garrido lived.

Jaycee and her children, now aged 11 and 15, were kept in abysmal conditions in a hidden soundproof shed-and-tent compound in Garrido's backyard. The three spent the nearly two decades locked in a 10-foot by 10-foot shed, moved to a second shed or put in one of two tents.

Garrido was a registered sex offender, due to a 1977 conviction on charges of kidnapping and rape of a 25-year-old South Lake Tahoe woman whom he held in a small storage facility in Reno, Nevada. He was 25 years old at the time and told the victim his crimes were “her fault because she was attractive,” according to legal documents. He was sentenced to 50 years of hard time in Leavenworth, Kansas, and while in federal prison met his wife, Nancy, who is allegedly involved in the Dugard kidnapping.

Garrido only served 11 years of his sentence. He was granted parole in 1988.

An integral part of the development of criminal law in Western society is dependent on a defendant’s state of mind. The word used in legal treatises is “mens rea,” Latin for “guilty mind,” a criminal mindset in which the person committing the crime understands the nature and quality of his or her wrongful actions. Because this concept has inherent moral underpinnings, those of the liberal persuasion have altered it to suit an ideology.

Liberal intellectuals, social scientists, and legal theorists have succeeded in pushing away traditional notions of good and evil and promulgating the idea that criminals are not responsible for their actions. As a result, “discomforts” such as guilt and shame have essentially been eliminated and replaced with modernist subjective ethics.

Even the language in the justice system has been altered to conform to modernist theories. Prisons have been renamed “correctional facilities.” They are run, not by wardens whose job was to oversee the punishment phase relative to the crime, but rather by “corrections commissioners” who seek to rehabilitate “clients.”

The reflex reaction of the intelligentsia and many in the mainstream media is to struggle to provide a rationale for a criminal's actions by finding some explanation other than an evil mental state, i.e., the individual has experienced a ubiquitous “cycle of abuse,” developed a feigned diminished capacity, or acquired a Twinkies problem.

The late Scott Peck, psychiatrist and bestselling author of “The Road Less Traveled,” was an atheist. He went on a quest to examine the existence of human evil while researching a subsequent book, “People of the Lie.” After attending what he described as a genuine exorcism, he came to believe in spiritual evil. As is often the case, Peck's acceptance of the existence of evil led to his recognition of the ultimate good. He became a Christian.

Amidst the evil of the Dugart case, we can actually find some goodness. The bright spot in the otherwise dismal story is found in the actions of an amazing female police officer who used her intuition to initiate the arrest of Jaycee's accused kidnapper. Her name is Ally Jacobs.

Garrido had walked onto the University of California Berkeley campus, asking to hold a religious event on the property. Jacobs questioned him about the young girls that he had brought with him. He claimed they were his daughters.

But Jacobs also questioned the girls, and she was not comfortable with their answers. She characterized the girls as having a “weird look in their eyes” and acting like “brainwashed zombies.”

Jacobs said she was responding to the situation “not from a cop standpoint, [but] from a mother's standpoint.” She called Garrido's probation officer and mentioned the daughters. The officer immediately informed her that Garrido didn't have children.

A few hours later, Garrido and his wife were in police custody, and Jaycee and her daughters were free at last.

There it is amidst the lumps of evil coal, the Hope diamond.

James Hirsen, J.D., M.A. in media psychology, is a media analyst, teacher of mass media and entertainment law at Biola University, and professor at Trinity Law School. Visit Newsmax TV Hollywood

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