Like every other person, I want to know all the details about what happened to Jayme Closs, who was found alive yesterday after apparently escaping the person who kidnapped her after killing her parents in Barron, Wis.
These are the types of sensational crimes that have captured and certainly will continue to capture our attention, as the press gaggle at any news conference today will show. Reporters will rightly ask their questions and do their job over the occasional objection of listeners and readers who will fib and say “isn’t it a shame what they’re putting that girl through.” The overnight web traffic statistics will reveal the truth of our level of fascination.
The first TV station to get an interview with her will reap a ratings bonanza. It’ll take lots of phone calls to the family. It’s not fun to make them; getting them borders on being stalked.
Just spoke with Jayme’s godmother, Jennifer.
She says Jayme is still at a hospital in the Duluth area, but will be home later today.
— Mary McGuire (@mcguirereports) January 11, 2019
It’s human nature; We can’t get enough of this.
And yet, a single paragraph in this morning’s Star Tribune is a call to us to leave her and her family alone, at least for awhile.
Standing with her was a skinny, dirty girl with matted hair, wearing shoes too big for her feet.
“This is Jayme Closs! Call 911!” the neighbor said.
Jayme was quiet, her emotions “pretty flat,” Peter Kasinskas said.
The neighbor said it was like seeing a ghost.
Can’t sleep after this crazy night. It’s been noted of course, but I keep thinking about how Jayme Closs SAVED HERSELF. Thousands of tips poured in to police over 3 months. Search teams combed the woods for her. But a 13yo girl somehow found the courage to escape. Just incredible
— Liz Sawyer (@ByLizSawyer) January 11, 2019
We can’t begin to imagine what’s left of Jayme Closs now or what it will take to put her back together, if that’s at all possible.
The family, understandably, is ecstatic. Reporters will do their job and document the joy. You will do yours and — despite the occasional public declarations otherwise — consume as much as you can. That’s how these things work.
And yet, we need to keep the image of a ghost uppermost, of a girl whose parents are dead and whose emotions are flat.
And we need to think of ways to do our jobs while leaving her alone.