From Where I Sit: Dear Ethan, please go awayBy: Tom Rupp, Special to the Telegraph
Recently the big story out of Alabama was how Jimmy Lee Dykes shot and killed a school bus driver and then randomly took a 5-year-old boy as a hostage. After several days, Dykes was shot and killed and the boy escaped, as far as we know, unharmed.
During the course of this ordeal, a few facts about the boy were revealed. We learned his first name – Ethan. We learned about his diagnosis – he has Aspergers Syndrome and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. We learned he liked Cheez-It crackers and a red Hot Wheels car.
After it was over, someone said, “He’s laughing, joking, playing, eating – the things you would expect a normal 5-year-old young man to do.”
Well, consider the rest of this column a letter to “the boy only identified (thank God) as Ethan –
“Dear Ethan – please go away. Already I see a video clip of you online. Run. Run as fast and as hard as you can away from all of this.
“When your parent(s) ask you if you want to go to New York City and be interviewed by a nice lady named Katie, run away. If they ask you to fly with them to Chicago and talk to a nice lady named Oprah, run as fast as you can and hide in your room.
“If someone from a magazine called ‘People’ offers you a lot of money to take your picture, go play hide-and-seek and hope no one ever finds you.
“Please resist the urge, now and for the rest of your life, to feel the necessity to give ‘us’ any ‘updates’ on ‘how you are doing.’ I do not want to see you ‘five years later.’ I do not want to know.
“Instead, do your best to be the normal, anonymous little boy you were two weeks ago. Nothing else has changed. Your parent(s) hopefully will never forget that. However, sometimes adults can’t resist the urge of fame and money. I hope it is not true, but you might have to be the big boy in the family.
“So Ethan, (why am I calling you by your name? I don’t even know you) go back to school, go in the yard and play, go to Little League and pizza parties. And, when you see a camera or a media personality, go away. For the sake of your sanity, go far, far away.”
Reach Tom Rupp at firstname.lastname@example.org.