We might finally have a motive as to why Alabama "survivalist" Jimmy Lee Dykes kidnapped a 5-year-old boy off a school bus after shooting the driver and has since held him hostage in an underground bunker. The standoff is going on its fifth day. Dykes reportedly made an offer to authorities on the kidnapping's first day that if a reporter told his story, he'd let the boy go. So far that hasn't happened. But what's the story Dykes wants to tell?
Reportedly, Dykes wants the world to know how the "government screwed him." Dykes is said by neighbors to be mean, threatening, and paranoid. He's also a Vietnam veteran. The bunker is reportedly wired with explosives and pipe bombs. Authorities are now communicating with him via a special phone.
So it sounds kind of easy -- send down a reporter, get the 5-year-old boy with Asperger's Syndome out of there. I'm sure there are plenty of reporters who would take his place. But negotiators must not be doing it for a reason -- and the reason is probably that then they might end up with another hostage.
Dykes certainly wouldn't be the first criminal to want media attention. The Unibomber, Ted Kaczynski, was finally caught because the New York Times and the Washington Post agreed to publish his "manifesto," and his brother recognized it as Ted's words. His brother turned him in.
From Son of Sam to the Green River Killer to BTK to John Lennon's killer Mark David Chapman, notorious criminals have had media attention as a motivating factor in their horrendous crimes.
If it's true that Dykes was demanding a reporter in exchange for the boy, there must be a reason it hasn't been done yet. Perhaps he changed his mind, or the demands were bizarre, or he insisted the reporter come down before the boy was released. Or maybe the authorities just wanted to continue to have a bargaining chip.
The fact that Dykes hasn't killed the boy yet is a good sign -- if he'd wanted to do it, he would have done it right away. He wants something else. Now if only negotiators can figure out what.
What do you think negotiators should do?
Image via WDHN