Brow Beat

Any Deaths of the Children I’ve Kidnapped Are Strictly the Fault of Parents Who Didn’t Pay the Ransom

A ransom note.
We believe in nothing, my fellow Americans. Nothing!
Gramercy Pictures

We have your children. Right now, they are safe and well—most of them, anyway—and you can refer to our previous correspondence for details about what to do if you ever want to see them again, whether or not I’d like police to be involved, who you should tell about this, and so on. Today, however, I am putting scissors, paste, and stack of old magazines to paper to address a different concern: The nagging feeling I keep having that when this is all over, people are somehow going to find a way to blame me—of all people!—for kidnapping a bunch of kids, locking them in cages in my basement, and threatening to kill them unless someone places a duffel bag containing five billion dollars in locker 62617 at the Harry C. Wheeler Memorial Bus Station in Bisbee, Arizona. In my opinion—and in yours, too, if you want to keep things friendly between you and the man who decides whether or not your children keep breathing—it is obvious that the blame here lies entirely with the uncooperative parents who have stubbornly failed to pay their children’s ransom, despite my very clear instructions.

After all, it’s not like I didn’t pay the $5 billion ransom! I don’t even have $5 billion! That’s why I asked for it in the first place, in exchange for the safety of your children, which seems like a fair bargain to me. After all, what is the life of a child worth? What about the lives of 15,000 children (minus two)? To you, I mean. If your answer is less than $5 billion—and apparently it is, since that bus station locker was still empty this morning—that means I am a better person than you. I’m only asking for $333,333.33 per child, which is frankly a bargain. I’ll even knock the price of the kids I already sent home off the top and make it an even $4,999,333,333.34. If you won’t pay me that right away so I can use it to build a giant steel monument to racism, what kind of a monster are you?

I also think that before you start throwing any blame my way, you ought to look at the Democrats in Congress, who could have used their House majority to block the Federal Kidnapping Act of 1932. This pathetic bill allowed people to think that holding children hostage for money was wrong, and that they could somehow secure their children’s safety without paying $5 billion to the person who took them. They can’t! The fact that the bill was sponsored by a Republican, passed a Republican-controlled Senate, and was signed by a Republican president in no way diminishes the fact that the Democrats are entirely to blame for the kids I’m keeping in my basement.

I’ve seen some people on the internet claiming that if I really loved children so much, I wouldn’t have sent any of them home in boxes. This is offensive, wrong, and deeply hurtful to me, and would no doubt also be deeply hurtful to the children I sent home in boxes, if they were still capable of feeling pain. If those kids’ parents had ponied up the $5 billion I asked for after I kidnapped their children, none of this would have happened, and I refuse to be shamed for someone else’s mistakes. The worst thing you can say about me is that I love children not wisely, but too well: I love them so much that I wanted to send a message to the parents of the other children in my basement, and even the parents of children who are not yet in my basement, in hopes they would listen to their consciences, do the right thing, and pay me $5 billion before I kill any more children. If my critics would step away from their keyboards, snort a bunch of Adderall, and binge watch The Good Place, the issue would be clear: Imagine there are two kids on one trolley track, and 14,998 kids on another trolley track, and the tracks are in my basement, and I stole the kids from their parents and tied them to the trolley tracks, and also I am driving the trolley. It’s called ethical behavior.

Now that I’ve conclusively proved that the dead children are not my fault and I shouldn’t feel the slightest twinge of guilt about killing them, I’d like to put in a good word in for my goons and henchmen, who are working very hard to lure more children to my basement and getting so little credit! Also, if you have to blame someone besides Democrats and the parents who didn’t pay the ransom (mostly Democrats) for the kidnappings and the dead kids and the war crimes and so on, please keep my goons and henchmen in mind. They didn’t pay me $5 billion either.

Hoping for better news the next time I open that bus station locker,

Individual One

P.S.: Please note that none of this applies to that Dorset boy. He has no one to blame but himself for what happened.