Like many I found the two Jonbenet Ramsey documentaries totally mesmerizing, it is a case that has fascinated me for years. For those unfamiliar with the Jonbenet case, the details were almost a prototype for the Madeleine McCann mystery that was to come.
Just like the Madeleine case, an exceptionally beautiful child was stolen from her bed in the night, but in Jonbenet's case, her brutalised body was to turn up in the basement. The first cries of Patsy Ramsey were, my daughter's been kidnapped [and just to prove it], there's a ransom note. The first cries of Kate McCann were my daughter's been taken, [and just to prove it] the bedroom window is open. Both mothers are clearing themselves with their opening lines. And it could be said, with statements, and/or actions that they personally have prepared.
It could be argued that both Patsy and Kate were acting like ferocious mummy tigers. As a bit of an FMT myself, there have been times when my kids have been in danger or I have perceived them to be in danger. Times when the fog lifts and I have sprung into action to protect my young. Times even when I would have signed a deal with the devil himself without bothering to look at the small print. I certainly would not have sat around weeping, wailing and planning my own defence.
The problem I have with the weeping and wailing, especially the throwing of himself on the floor by Gerry, is that it simply doesn't ring true. We are all genetically programmed with survival skills, if we weren't we wouldn't be here. In traumatic situations, our thinking becomes clearer and more determined. That flood of adrenaline enables us to catch the baby before he/she falls on the floor or attempts to drink bleach. We don't go all fuzzy as the T-rex approaches us, we get the feck out of the way. The actions of the educated Kate, Gerry and Patsy Ramsey are contrary to human or even animal behaviour. Our first instincts when our young go missing is to look for them. For Kate and Gerry, emergency medical situations were part of their vocation. While the rest of us faint at the sight of blood, a medical professional will stem the artery, we don't expect to see them out cold alongside us.
And given Gerry's, err let's say, controlling disposition, one thing I have never been able to understand is why he didn't demonstrate his organising abilities with the search parties. His time, and the time of his wife were, apparently better spent on SOS phone calls to influential people in the UK. Not the actions of a father desperate to find his daughter, but the actions of a father desperate to hold onto his remaining kids and his reputation perhaps?
John Bennett wanted to go ahead with his planned flight on Boxing Day, the private plane was at the ready. He clearly wanted to get his wife and son away from the scene, tellingly he said in an interview, he never spent another night in that house. Like Gerry, he was not concerned with finding his daughter's kidnapper/ killer, he was protecting his remaining family.
Poor little Jonbenet died on Christmas night according to her tombstone. The amazing experts who worked on the two documentaries, analysed every part of the evidence in detail. For myself, I was already beyond reason doubt stage, it was the 3 page ransom note that did it, but I leaned towards the 'unstable mother' findings of Steve Thomas (Jonbenet's Avenger) rather than the theory that the 9 year old brother did it. I simply couldn't believe that a 9 year old could be physically strong enough or indeed wicked enough, to strike a fatal blow to his sister's head.
After watching both documentaries, I am back to the drawing board. I then went onto watching the interview with Burke Ramsey and Dr. Phil that included interviews with Burke as a child. I won't analyse him other than to say he was more than capable of being part of a secret, 'if I did, I wouldn't tell you' he said as a 9 year old. The adult Burke made uncomfortable viewing. He was clearly socially awkward and highly defensive, both of himself and his parents. He was an overprotected child who has grown into an overprotected adult - he has sworn allegiance to his protectors.
But here's a thing, and it's a statement from last night's superb documentary that made me stop and sit up straight. What is strong enough to motivate a mother to lie, scheme and plot to the extent that mothers Patsy and Kate are perceived to have done. Plots so sinister and machiavellion they could be straight out of the dark crime section on the bookshelves. Such stories are not without basis, history and literature is littered with plotting mums determined to place their little soldiers on the throne. Figuratively speaking of course. Neither Patsy nor Kate could protect the daughters they lost, and that kind of pain would drive a mother to do literally anything to protect the children she still has, even to the point of madness.
It could be argued that everything Patsy, Kate and their husbands have done, has been done to protect their surviving children. Ie. that's it. No titillating swinging scene, no paedophile gangs, no government VIPs being flown out of PDL in helicopters, no deep dark secrets.
Whist the way in which these adults have protected their children is indeed questionable, it is capable of being understood. Some might say they went way above and beyond, in the ferocity of their fight, and the accumulation of vast wealth and government protection. That their altruistic motive of 'protecting the kids' was overtaken by fundraising and their own need for public recognition.
But let's not be churlish. Tis the season of goodwill, and maybe a good time for many among the antis to consider for one moment that everything the McCanns have done, has been driven by their love for their children. No dark, sinister motive. It doesn't excuse their actions, and it doesn't make them right, but it does make them human.
Merry Christmas everyone, I now have a mountain of sprouts to peel, a ham to glaze and a bottle of Irish cream that is screaming to be opened as soon as the ice cubes set. Forgot to buy ice, doh, not to mention a white tablecloth that desperately needs a wash and will now have to go in with the coloureds :(