Brian David Mitchell Sentencing: My Reaction

COMMENTARY | How ironic that the sentencing for one of the most notorious kidnapping cases in recent history would take place on National Missing Children’s Day. Brian David Mitchell, who kidnapped Elizabeth Smart from her bedroom in the early morning hours of June 5, 2002, finally had to face the consequences for his horrific actions. I was emotional as the sentencing was released. The long and painful road to justice had finally been served for Elizabeth and her family. As a mom, when I hear about cases like this I can’t help thinking that it could have been my child who had to endure this terrible tragedy. I can tell you two life sentences would never be enough. There were several things that really moved me about today’s events.

I am amazed at the amount of poise and strength Smart demonstrated in court today when addressing the man who stole her innocence and took away nine months of her life. She was swift in her statement and showed little emotion when talking directly to him. According to the Associated Press, Smart told Mitchell very confidently, “I have a wonderful life now and no matter what you do, you will never affect me again.”

This was a moment that just hit home with me. The very man who once gained his strength by making Elizabeth feel weak and invaluable was now the weak and frail one. It was incredibly satisfying to know that she was able to regain some of what she lost so many years ago by speaking to him very candidly.

Your game is up Mr. Mitchell — stop trying to act like you are not aware of your surroundings. Am I the only one who found it incredulous that he still wants people to believe he has no clue what he did? This was a man who had so much to say in 2002. He issued commands to Elizabeth on a daily basis, forced her to do things by threatening her and her family and was very clearly able to communicate his thoughts however sick they might have been. This is a man who was able to come up with the strategy to abduct her and now all of a sudden he can’t do anything but sing hymns? He is now all of a sudden not coherent to those around him. Seems a little fishy to me, and I am glad that someone finally saw around his act so that he could stand trial.

Watching Smart chat with the media after the sentencing was just inspiring to me. Standing before the media was a young woman who has been through so much, probably more than any of us will ever realize or ever have to go through, and she was the picture of optimism and happiness. I think she is an incredible role model for women. She is living proof that you can heal, forgive, overcome and move on successfully. The fact that she was able to smile today and communicate in a news conference that she is “looking forward to a beautiful new beginning” is a victory.

I remember waking up and watching the news about the missing 14-year-old Salt Lake City girl named Elizabeth Smart. I remember feeling so many emotions when she was found and reunited with her family. Happy that she was found, concerned for what she might have been through, sad for the fact that her family had to go through so much. I am happy that this is finally over for Elizabeth and her family and that they can finally move on.