I am responding to the front page article about the attempted abduction of the 11-year-old girl in Beverly that was in the weekend edition of the Times. I took exception to Det. Ted Offenberger's remarks when he stated that this innocent victim was, "in the wrong place at the wrong time," when she was assaulted as she played hide and go seek with a friend in broad daylight near a school. How is an 11-year-old always to know when is the 'right' place or time to play? Children this age are spontaneous and can't always exercise judgment that might keep them out of harms' way. His further belief that this man probably is "not a predator looking for kids" and parents in the area should not worry also showed a lack of careful thought and could be a false assumption.
The dictionary defines a predator as someone who robs or exploits another. This armed man became a predator the minute he grabbed this child's hoodie and attempted to drag her away. His intention could only have been to harm and terrorize. The term predator is also appropriate for this person because he robbed this young girl of some of her childhood innocence. The Beverly Chief of Police should implement a policy that any and all future remarks to the media are made solely by him, since he is the final law enforcement authority for the village of Beverly.
Beverly is a warm and friendly place where there is a high degree of civic pride and it is a sweet little town to come on occasion to shop. It is a sad reality that everyone must have a degree of heightened awareness even in a quiet setting such as Beverly. Our standards of decency and laws that protect society at large can only be further strengthened by continued education of and vigilance by the public.