2/1/13 at 3:00 PM: Thanks to WTVY of Dothan, a CBS affiliate that has been bravely covering this situation 24/7 for releasing a photo of Jimmy Lee Sykes, the suspect wanted for shooting a school bus driver and holding 5-year-old Ethan hostage in an underground bunker. Some people are praying for his soul, some don’t have a lot of doubt where his soul may end up. Take a good look at the face of evil.
2/1/13 Midday: Still no change. Psychologists suggest Sykes had planned for this and is prepared to stay in the bunker a long time. Negotiators attempt to build a relationship with the suspect but as one doctor pointed out the man has built serious defenses around himself and may consider the child part of his protection. The boy is obviously not happy and has been crying for his parents. Authorities say they are prepared to stay as long as necessary to save the child and get Sykes out of the ground. The only noticeable movement in the area was this morning when more men arrived in military-style uniforms, raising some question about the possibility of physical action.
11:30 PM: No updates, no change in the situation. Sykes likes to hang out in his hole and has been known to stay down there for up to 8 days at a time.
3:00 PM – Sadly this is going to be a long one, still nothing new to report, no changes. The lunatic Sykes has been known to hide out in his little underground cube for up to 8 days. Hopefully he will get tired of this before then. Still no word about heat in the bunker, which is only 4 feet underground so it could get very cold in there tonight. The forecast is for below freezing. This man is quickly earning himself a ticket straight to hell.
1/31/13: As mentioned in the WTC column the weather here turned cold following a huge storm that moved through. As Chloe headed out the door for school this morning wearing just a sweater – she left her winter coat at school – it hit me what a miserable night that poor little boy must have had. We tend not to think about details like temperature when we follow news stories, but it is a factor.
Another shooting occurred yesterday in Phoenix, leaving three dead. It seems like there is an epidemic of shootings going on and almost every day the media has a new report about violence somewhere. Chicago continues to be plagued by gun violence but no one wants to come right out and say that it is related to gangs and drugs. The mayor there still wants us to believe it’s random and involves poor, underprivileged youths. Animals is more like it.
Several people contacted me yesterday asking about all the shooting news. There are growing questions about why all of a sudden there is so much of this going on. I suspect part of the answer is that the national media picks up local news faster and more often than in the past. A situation like the one going on here would not have gotten a lot of national attention in the past, but today it’s on every media outlet. The news cycle has shortened to minutes from days and even hours. The media has a voracious appetite for anything that will help sell ad space.
I think having a small kid to care for myself makes me probably a bit more susceptible to anger and frustration when I hear about situations like the one here in Dothan. As parents and grandparents we have very strong protective feelings about children, all of them not just our own. When something happens to one of them it feels like it’s against nature, it violates the order of things.
Bad things happening to adults is something we accept more readily. Children are supposed to be a “protected species.” When they are harmed we feel helpless and angry. Right now if Sykes were to emerge from his cave without police protection his neighbors would probably tear him limb from limb and no one would be too concerned about his civil rights.
The time is coming when we will have to finally call things as they really are and stop making up polite and politically correct euphemisms for them. So to get things going, here’s my offering for today: Jimmy Lee Sykes is, to some, a “a troubled war veteran in need of rehabilitative mental health services.” To me he is just plain scum. I suspect a lot of people around here will tend to agree.