If ever there was an opportunity to speak up and maybe save a life, Phillip Garrido's neighbors missed their shot. Helen Boyer, who lived next door to the Garrido compound where Jaycee Dugard was kept in captivity for 18 years, admitted to ABC news that she saw Dugard from time to time working in the yard. And Boyer isn't the only Antioch, California resident that saw something, but didn't say anything. Waitress Diana Gibson served Garrido at a local cafe and said that he was "creepy."
There must have been dozens, if not hundreds of chances for Dugard to be found and rescued if someone, anyone, had spoken up.
Before the Diane Sawyer interview last night, Boyer explained that she was really eager to hear what happened to Dugard:
"I want to hear her side, and why she didn't try to leave. I'm real interested in that."
If it was me who lived next door to a pedophile and rapist who kept a girl hostage for the better part of two decades, I don't think I could be so flip about getting the details. I don't think there'd be much I'd look forward to learning. I think I'd feel so guilty, so full of self-loathing for not a) noticing something was up or b) ignoring my instincts if I had felt that things weren't quite right. Boyer admitted to seeing Dugard but says Garrido and his wife Nancy were lovely, gentle people. Either Garrido is just that good and fooling people, or Boyer needs to open her eyes a little wider.
Obviously we can't blame the neighbors, but their participation in the Dugard story, or lack thereof, reminds me that I should speak up if my gut is telling me that someone is in danger. There are a million reasons not to -- I don't want to get involved, I don't want to meddle, I don't want to deal with the police, I don't want to have to testify, what if it's all in my head, what if I'm wrong and I embarrass myself and insult my neighbors -- but while it may be inconvenient, it's sometimes necessary to listen to your intuition and do the right thing.
I wish Garrido's neighbors like Boyer and Gibson had expressed their sympathy, disgust, and confusion about Dugard being kept nearby, instead of saying how excited they are to hear her story. They could've helped, but they didn't. It's a shame, but again, no blame.
Do you think the Garrido neighbors share some responsibility for Dugard's prolonged captivity?
Photo via ABC.com
WATCH Garrido's neighbors discuss Dugard's kidnapping: