Monday, March 21, 2005

The stupidest plan that ever worked

I realize this is "like, so last week", but I wanted to comment on the Brian Nichols/Ashley Smith saga. Here's the story from Now, everyone and their mother knows basically what happened, how the girl talked her way into safety by reading the Bible and The Purpose Driven Life to the rapist. But I wanted to focus on a particular aspect of this story:

Smith said Nichols eventually unbound her hands and feet and that he began to relax as they spoke for hours about religion and family -- including Smith's 5-year-old daughter and her late husband, who was stabbed four years earlier and died in her arms.

"I basically just talked to him and tried to gain his trust," she said.

Smith said she showed Nichols family photographs and read him passages from Rick Warren's best-selling book, "The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?" (Interview with book's author)

After 6 a.m., Smith said she followed Nichols so he could hide Wilhelm's truck and then took him back to the apartment in her car. She said that Nichols did not bring any weapons on the trip, and that she had her cellular phone but did not call police.

Now, of course Ms. Smith was quite brave and level-headed with this murderer-rapist. If you read the crimes that Nichols committed, you can see he's a pretty sick puppy. She kept her cool and eventually escaped.

Here's the problem: She helped this guy dispose of his evidence. He got in one car without weapons, she got in another car with her cell phone, she followed him while he dumped the truck, picked him up, drove him back to the house! Then she made him pancakes!

Up until the truck dump, she was playing the game, winning trust, gaining an opening. After that though, she crossed the line into stupidity. This guy is a vicious rapist and a cold-blooded murderer! He killed 4 people!

She had a great opportunity to 1) escape and call the cops or 2) drive back to the house, pick up a gun wait for that cockroach to come back so she can rid the earth of him. Instead she chose option 3: Help him dump evidence and then chauffeur him back to her house for a charming pancake breakfast. That's sick! That's an insult to the families who won't have a loved one this Christmas. They are wailing in agony at a morgue somewhere while the murderer is watching TV and enjoying a home-cooked meal!

Here's the part that - suprisingly - chaps my ass: It worked. This plan should have failed. There is no reason why this lady should be alive. But she is. She did several stupid things and came out on top.

Now, you might be asking yourself why the capture of a killer and the survival of a hostage is irritating me. Well, I'm not mad that she lived and that Nichols is in custody. I'm ecstatic that there's not another body and a killer on the loose. What irritates me is that I'm afraid other people are going to think she's the rule, not the exception.

How many people are going to try to "go Ashley" on their captors instead of doing the smart thing? How many people are going to cart their unarmed captors around, helping them dispose of evidence, reading "Chicken Soup for the Murderer's Soul" to them, and packing their lunches? How many people are going to get themselves killed trying to convert their attacker instead of fighting back or escaping? As a Christian, I know how naive and impressionable some Christians can be, and I fear for the next purpose-driven christian who gets kidnapped or taken hostage. It's gonna be ugly.


Anonymous Stephanie said...

Here are my thoughts for what they're worth:
While I agree with you that this was an exception and it should definitely be pointed out, I can't help but still be in awe at God's protection of this woman. While yes, she did do somethings that could definitely be classified as stupid, none the less there is a reason she lived that only God knows. She showed a love to this man while he was being swallowed with desperation. If more Christians lived their life as Christ did, leading by an example of agape love, I truly believe there would be less of the desperation that Nichols was feeling which ultimately led him to commit these disgusting murders and the initial rape of his ex-girlfriend in the first place. Yes, this may be a stretch, but don't you agree that we, as Christians, should stive to live what we believe not just say what we believe?

10:06 PM  
Blogger Phil Aldridge said...

Oh, no doubt she had a strong and vibrant faith in God. She probably has a closer and more active relationship with God than most people I know. I definitely think Christians could benefit from having even a tenth of her faith. She also obviously has more compassion than I could ever dream of having.

That having been said, I think you have to balance being a Christian with being a realist. We're supposed to love our enemies, but we know from the Gospels that even the Apostles carried swords wherever they went. We're to pray for those he persecute us, but we're not called to be lambs to the slaughter (or rape, as the case may be).

What would have been a smarter way of being both realistic and compassionate would have been to escape at the earliest opportunity (and not helping him get rid of a truck), call the cops, and then witness to him in jail. She showed him compassion, but she also cooked breakfast for him. That repulses me. She should have used a frying pan, but not to feed the guy with.

Personally, I think when a killer-rapist animal is on the loose, it would be just as Christian to put him out of our misery. I think we have a duty to protect innocent life around us, and the best way to protect others from Brian Nichols would be to give him a very personal, very permanent experience with God.

Fortunately for everyone involved though, Smith's purpose-driven hostage skills worked out.

8:52 AM  
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