Finally. A whole year after female abductor Wanda Barzee was sentenced for kidnapping then teenage Elizabeth Smart, her partner in crime, Brian David Mitchell, has been handed a life sentence. America, now it's our turn.
Now we need to give Elizabeth Smart her life back. The now poised 20-something stood in court and told Mitchell that he cannot affect her life anymore. But America, we can. Thrust into a spotlight she never asked for, made a national hero because she escaped her kidnapper, it's time now to walk away and leave her alone.
It's hard, I know. In 2003, when she was found alive in Utah, there were celebrations nationwide. We saw a child missing, and we took her parents' plight on as our own. We celebrated with them as much as for them. Watching the court cases unfold has been part of a national healing process.
But it's over. We have to let go in order to help Elizabeth Smart fulfill her goal of never letting her captors affect her again. Because her fame, while well-meant, is simply part and parcel of the whole kidnapping experience. Without the kidnapping, there would be no fame. And so, until it's gone, there will it only stand to reason that she is being "affected" day in and day out.
What Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee took from Elizabeth Smart was her innocence. She was no longer just a teenage girl living at home with her mom and dad, doing normal teenage girl things. We can't put her back there, we can't give her her childhood back.
But we CAN give her her life back and let her be "just" an average American doing average American things. We can return her to obscurity, not to forget her, but to once again celebrate her spirit.
Are you ready to say goodbye to Elizabeth Smart?