The three major victims in this well-known case were the two kidnapped children James and Grace and the parental victim -- the author. At present, the children appear to prefer to remain silent, perhaps in an "Orphans by Choice" scenario, which is not well understood. For my part, "On Being Shunned" was an educational effort which tried to provide a sort of forensic analysis of the impact of being shunned on the targeted, shunned individual, hopefully providing some insight and support for shunned persons.
In reader mail over the years, many have written to express sympathy and to describe their own experiences regarding wrongful loss of children and similar situations. In some recent email exchanges, it has dawned on me that Missing Keene Kids readers may assume that I am depressed and grieving while in fact I could hardly be happier. True, a parent never gets over loss of children and significant residual effects can and do remain. However, reader feedback helped me realize that good can triumph is a key story element to emphasize and update.
In some recent email exchanges with a parent facing the evil of child abduction and seeking advice, I replied along these lines:
What to say? I don't have the history of your case and could not properly comment even if I had it. Plus, my comments would probably be things you already know well.Eventual triumph of good requires the parent to be strong, to remain fully functional in society (job obligations, etc) and to strive to be a model of integrity.
The main and most reliable support is God. Don't know how long ago this all happened, but with time the sting will decrease, especially if you are active in positive pursuits which deflect attention from the loss. However, I think, generally, a parent never fully recovers from the loss of a child.
On the other hand, proper perspective can help. For example, millions of people suffer difficulties far worse than ours, from war, starvation, disease, etc. Also, consider that there is hope for improvement, that good can triumph.
You must be strong and live with integrity and honor, being productive and of service to others. This is the role model your children need, I think, not somebody perhaps incapacitated with grief.
For good to triumph, the victim parent must offset the usual tactic of the kidnapper(s). In most cases, such as my own with the Davis-Flores kidnap gang, the evil-doers attempt to portray their acts of abduction as "good" because something was or is wrong with the victim parent.
This "blame the victim" strategy could not rely on bad behaviors of the victim parent, because there were none. Thus, the kidnapper strategy attempted to promote the idea that the victim parent was somehow mentally or emotionally unfit, even in the absence of any supporting evidence whatsoever. Victim parents can triumph by doing good thereby neutralizing the "blame the victim" ploy.
Writing "On Being Shunned" was a sort of sacrifice of the privacy of my personal introspections, with the objective, as mentioned, of perhaps helping others sort through their experience of lost children or of being abducted as a child. At this 17th anniversary of the kidnapping of my children, using my own experiences as an example of how good can triumph involves a second sacrifice. Summarizing positive achievements is contrary to humility. Hence, the second sacrifice is to subject myself to the truism that nobody likes a braggart. These little efforts and sacrifices may help my abducted children gain some insight on their own situations, and if so, good may triumph.
For as long as I can remember up to the present, I was lucky to have good health, a buoyant, happy temperament, lots of energy and an optimistic outlook. Hence, with the kidnapping, the grief may have been mitigated to some extent by this "above-average" mood baseline. Even during the worst phases of panic and despair, I did not miss a single job-related responsibility, attending faculty meetings and teaching my classes to medical students. During this period I was nonetheless able to write a number documents describing the abduction, which years later read as coherent and lucid. This is the example my children should follow.
I obtained a book from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and followed all the suggestions from experts to seek a remedy to the abduction situation. In brief, I tried everything in the book, doing all the "right" things. However, in my case, nothing worked perhaps because "The Davis-Flores Gang" was a formidable, politically-connected opponent. But for the record, I worked tirelessly to recover my kidnapped children. This is the example my children should follow.
One area of productivity is the Missing Keene Kids web site where I became an advocate for parents' and children's rights. I'm happy to say that one of the most-read articles has been "On being shunned", which may help readers know that they are not alone and that others have traveled those very deep, dark times that the reader may be experiencing. It may be educational to some extent, itemizing one by one many obstacles that have to be faced and overcome. This is the example my children should follow.
For web posting like Missing Keene Kids, it is essential to tell the truth. Evil-doers like the Davis-Flores gang led by "Dr. Nilda" (aka Nilda Keene) have no defense for the truth. Further, publication of verifiable facts makes one immune from charges of libel. Over some 17 years, "Dr. Nilda" has not stated a single falsehood in my writings. This is the example my children should follow.
Several other examples of productivity come to mind.
The NetCensus web site featured studies on internet phenomena using the author's skills in research design, data collection, statistics and computer programming. This is the example my children should follow.
Starting in 2003, the author wrote and released the HotBasic compiler, now used by hundreds of computer programmers on every continent to write computer software. This is the example my children should follow.
Shortly thereafter, property was purchased next to the original rental house from which Grace and James were abducted. Now their father is completely debt-free -- no mortgage, no credit cards, etc. Without any power tools, just shovel, wheel-barrow, etc, the author built a residence and hundreds of feet of chain-link fence and concrete sidewalks and driveway. Great exercise to keep in good physical shape. This is the example my children should follow.
On this property in paradise (Dominica), the author grows food including mangoes, oranges, cherries, bananas, coffee, sweet and hot peppers, cantaloupes, cucumber, tomatoes, etc. The excess of this all-organic food is sold or freely given to neighbors. The work to keep the jungle growth from overwhelming the food growth is healthy to keep in good physical shape. This is the example my children should follow.
The author's work on Binary Mechanics was interrupted by the 1995 abduction of Grace and James which triggered severe emotional stress and need for years of child recovery efforts described above. However, in 2010, work in physics resumed and dozens of research projects have been conducted and reported. Recent results on the mechanism of gravity predicted by Binary Mechanics appear to be major game-changers for current physical theories which fail to explain the phenomena. Further unpublished results show that the postulates of Binary Mechanics correctly predict the black body spectrum. While Planck's law describes the black body spectrum using the assumption of energy quanta, the new Binary Mechanics results now explain how the spectrum is created. These sorts of results appear to demand basic revisions in conventional physics thinking. This is the example my children should follow.
Grace and James now have abundant information. The kidnappers chose betrayal; their father chose trustworthiness. Their kidnappers chose wickedness; their father chose good. Their kidnappers lack any hint of creativity; their father has created numerous new products and research results representing new knowledge. Their kidnappers lie to them to hide wrong-doing; their father tells the truth because he trusts them. Their kidnappers use them as crutches to support their pitifully weak egos; their father sacrifices for them. Their father is the example my children should follow.
Postscript [added Nov 8, 2012]
Within two weeks after the publication of this article on Feb. 25, 2012, I received emails from both of my beloved children -- James and Grace, and we are now finally in contact again. Coincidence? Cause and effect? Miracle? Pray for us all.
© 2012 James J Keene