Saw a personal friend during spring break who is an FBI agent. On January 12, 2007, he was first on the scene to discover Shawn Hornbeck and Ben Ownby alive in the apartment of their kidnapper in Kirkwood, Missouri.
Those boys came back from the dead. Shawn had been missing for more than four years. Ben for four days.
St. Louis cheered and cried at their rescue. We remembered when they were taken. Now they were coming home. Amazing, tragic, triumphant resurrection.
My response to their kidnapper was immediate: If he were to as much as breathe on my child, I would rip his throat out with my own two hands.
I’m a Christian, and I can assure you that is not a suggested Christian response.
I knew it when I thought it. Didn’t care. I was overcome then and still quite sure now I could succeed in killing any predator of my child.
I get angry sometimes. I have raised my voice. Even pounded my tiny fist against the wall. But cold-blooded murder? Vigilante justice? Not my thing.
This was different. A more powerful manifestation of the guttural pang of ferocity I felt the first time I sensed my child was being hurt.
I don’t recall the exact incident, but I can guarantee his life was not in danger. And it was very early on.
Probably a tiff at moms-day-out over a toy. Or a rejection by another one-year-old, if that is even possible. Maybe a thoughtless comment from an adult.
Before that, during my pregnancy when the news reported a child being hurt or going missing, a drumbeat thumped inside my heart as the feet of my child tapped inside my belly.
Protect, protect, protect. What is wrong with us? Grrr…
This usually ended in a heap of hormonal tears and a boycott of the news. Like the first anniversay of the disappearance of Christian Ferguson, who is still missing. I just could not watch the coverage. If I didn’t look, maybe this news would go away.
The day of Shawn and Ben’s redemption, my instinct was full blown. An overpowering urge to lunge. Claw. Bite. Tear from limb to limb.
I had become Momma Bear.
Momma Bear is not a tubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff like Winnie the Pooh. No, Momma Bear is a living, breathing, killing machine whose primal purpose is to preserve the life of her offspring.
If I’ve seen it once, I’ve seen it a hundred times. Bet you have too.
From good women on Facebook or in grocery store lines. Upstanding women on the playground. Christian women in schools, hosptials, and churches. Young mothers, old ladies, even women who do not have children of their own.
Listen to us growl: It’s one thing to mess with me. But do not hurt the child.
Arise, LORD! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless. Psalm 10:12 NIV
An estimated 800,000 children are reported missing each year—more than 2,000 children every day. An estimated one in five girls and one in 10 boys will be sexually victimized before age 18. Yet, only one in three will tell anyone. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children