Doug Robinson: The other side of the Smart story

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  • xert Santa Monica, CA
    Dec. 14, 2013 10:33 a.m.

    I was skeptical, but read "In Plain Sight" after reading this article. I had been one who wished this story would simply go away, but this terrific read pointed something out to me. The Smarts--being the smart people that they were--simply understood that the best way to get their daughter back was to refuse to let the story go away and to remain dogged in their attempts to keep Ms. Smart's face in front of the public. It appears that they were right to do so, as the investigative work on this case was bungled time and time again. I say read it alongside of Ms. Smart's book. I sincerely doubt that the lack of endorsement was anything more than what agents tell their clients to do. Mr. Smart seems to genuinely love and treasure his family and reveals many of his own failings during this horrible time.

  • SCfan clearfield, UT
    Oct. 17, 2013 2:08 p.m.

    A Guy With A Brain

    That's what I want to know. How does the Salt Lake Tribune and its reporters play into all this. Anyone who had read In Plain Sight care to enlighten us?

  • A Guy With A Brain Enid, OK
    Oct. 16, 2013 6:33 p.m.

    Article quote: "It included the blundering efforts of the police, the rallying of the community, the courage of Tom Holbrook and FBI agent Mick Fennerty (and, if you read between the lines, the dogged persistence of her Uncle Tom), the role of the "America’s Most Wanted" TV show, the deceit of a pair of Salt Lake Tribune reporters....."


    "deceit" from some Salt Lake Tribune reporters?

    What's the back story there? What happened?

  • anti-liar Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 16, 2013 7:55 a.m.

    "If you go and feel sorry for yourself, or if you dwell on what has happened..."

    This conventional sentiment, though well-meaning, can cause confusion. Let there be no misunderstanding: The ability to properly "move on" requires first coming to terms with what has happened and proper resolution, which would include such things as mourning, the truth being told, and justice being served -- all of which, yes, required a certain degree of "dwelling on it." Again, let there be no mistake: There is no salvation in bypassing such essential steps and instead simply sweeping the issue under the rug.

  • JayTee Sandy, UT
    Oct. 15, 2013 10:53 p.m.

    And then there's the rest of Brian David Mitchell's story. Now he doesn't ever have to go hungry under some viaduct, or go scrounging through dumpsters looking for his next meal. He doesn't have to seek shelter as a homeless person, looking for some place to avoid the heat or the cold. No, under our system, he now never has to really wonder or work another day in his life. The taxpayers will give him regular meals, free medical, free dental, a nice warm bed, and probably a TV to watch every day. He can spend the rest of his days much more comfortably than one of our zoo animals, and he can bask in his daydreams and delusions to his heart's content. Of course anything even slightly more harsh that this would be "cruel and unusual," and certainly not tolerated by our system and society. And when you hear someone say that "crime doesn't pay," I think you can arguably suggest that maybe that's a very subjective and slanted viewpoint indeed.

  • Barb Wire USA, UT
    Oct. 15, 2013 9:30 p.m.

    I think the negative comments about the Elizabeth Smart story has more to do with the victim and her family and associates (a politician for one) trying to garner all this publicity for themselves for the wrong reasons. This story seems to go away for a few years and then is brought back all of a sudden because somebody there needs some publicity to write a book or gain a better approval rating from his constituents . Most people don't want to read about Elizabeth Smart anymore because they have more pertinent problems in their own lives to deal with. Let other similar victims read her memoirs if they want and the rest of us move on without anymore Elizabeth Smart publicity in the media...

  • Kings Court Alpine, UT
    Oct. 15, 2013 8:48 p.m.

    All these Elizabeth Smart stories are becoming ad nauseum.

  • Steve C. Warren WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Oct. 15, 2013 5:07 p.m.

    "In Plain Sight" is an excellent book. Thanks to Sierra Smart for her comment about co-author Tom Smart: "My dad was so obsessed with finding her that it took over every part of his being."

  • amandawaite Orange County, CA
    Oct. 15, 2013 4:38 p.m.

    I stand corrected! Proceeds went to Rape Recovery, not NCMEC.

  • amandawaite Orange County, CA
    Oct. 15, 2013 4:11 p.m.

    An important detail is that Tom Smart never made a penny off "In Plain Sight" because he donated all profits directly to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. :) Kudos to that!

  • Holly Mullen Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 15, 2013 3:59 p.m.

    Perhaps it's to be expected that with the release of Elizabeth Smart's new book, the public comment boards would again roil with speculations about family members' motivations in telling and selling various versions of her story. I see criticism again launched here against Elizabeth's uncle, Tom Smart, for writing "In Plain Sight," including the charge he did so solely for money.

    I can set this part of the record straight. Tom Smart has donated every penny of his profit to the Rape Recovery Center in Salt Lake City. He sends quarterly residual checks to our office, and we in turn have used the contributions to underwrite the many direct services we provide to victims of sexual violence, ages 14 and older: crisis intervention; victim advocacy during hospital rape exams and in the legal system; mental health therapy and community education.

    I only hope Doug Robinson's column will create new interest around Tom and Lee Benson's book. It will mean more books sold and more money for the noble cause of supporting and empowering rape survivors.

    Holly Mullen
    Executive Director
    Rape Recovery Center
    Salt Lake City, Utah

  • Yorkshire City, Ut
    Oct. 15, 2013 3:07 p.m.

    To Sierra Smart--
    I just read the comment by

    Captn Picard
    Houston, TX

    and wondered what your views are about that.


  • fan in orem Orem, UT
    Oct. 15, 2013 1:53 p.m.

    Thanks for your insight, Sierra.

  • kcastle Alpine, UT
    Oct. 15, 2013 12:51 p.m.

    Faith without works is dead. Many women suffer at the hands of oppressors. Elizabeth's story is worth telling if it helps another young girl somewhere empower herself to do something about her condition.

  • Sierra Smart ALISO VIEJO, CA
    Oct. 15, 2013 12:40 p.m.

    This is important, please read! Although I think this article is very good, I need to clear some things up as I am Tom Smart's daughter. He never has, nor will he ever, receive one penny from the proceeds of his book, "In Plain Sight". Every single penny of his proceeds goes to the Rape Recovery Center. His intentions of writing this book in the first place was never for money, it was purely a cathartic tactic to work through all of the horror that we had just been through. No where near my sweet cousin, of course, I will never claim that what we all went through was nearly as bad as what she endeared, and we are so proud of her. But still, we lived a nightmare. My dad was so obsessed with finding her that it took over every part of his being. So yes, writing the book was therapy for him, as well as for the rest of us that dealt with the "other" part of the story.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    Oct. 15, 2013 12:25 p.m.

    It is disheartening to read of the discord over the telling of this story. I hope this article leads to a reconciliation between Tom and Ed. I don't think there is a reason to impugn anyone's motives here. Elizabeth's ordeal was her's alone, but there were many people involved in her rescue. Both stories deserve to be told.

  • BYU Track Star Los Angeles, CA
    Oct. 15, 2013 12:08 p.m.

    Let me add, that the common thread of these 17-18th Century Narratives was the opinion of a Providential Hand in the deliverence of these Captives. I would be surprised if this weren't an underlying theme in Elizabeth's narrative.

  • BYU Track Star Los Angeles, CA
    Oct. 15, 2013 11:52 a.m.

    What we are witnessing is a minor re-birth of the "Captivity Narrrative" literary genre. All the American Lit Majors out there recognize it. In the 17th and 18th century this was a popular genre with the American Public. The published accounts of some woman's captivivy by Native Americans were Best-Sellers of the time. Think of the classic John Ford/John Wayne Movie "The Searchers". The movie still ressonates in America's sub-conscious.

  • Ironman SANTA CLARA, UT
    Oct. 15, 2013 11:22 a.m.

    The other side of the Smart story: $$$$

  • athought Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 15, 2013 10:59 a.m.

    I'm glad "In Plain Sight" was written. So often, people attack agencies and people involved in something like this, as "no one is doing anything". You see this with comments on any story involving police. Everyone is an armchair detective, and have no idea of all the activities and hours of investigation going into events. I've been in situations in which Ed injected himself several times, and at them, he felt he was the only presence that mattered, because he knew everything because of "what he went through". I've been in situations where I was asked for help only to be told they had been in touch with Ed Smart and he told them "here's what needs to be done". I've told them I don't work with, or consult with Ed, and if they want him to help them, be my guest. I'm sure he apposed the book because it may take away from him. He's only been in this for the money from day one. Talk about child exploitation. And as far as putting it behind them, I think when Smarts are low on funds, it's resurrected.

  • samhill Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 15, 2013 10:31 a.m.

    Thanks for the story about, "the rest of the story", Doug.

    I wasn't aware that “In Plain Sight” even existed. It's hard for me to understand why the Smart's (to whom I am distantly relatived) were against it.

    But, from what I've seen, and I admit to vast ignorance on this matter, there was enough misunderstanding of the many, many parts of this entire ordeal by and about the many, many players involved, it seems perfectly sensible that there would be a great desire by all concerned to try and have **their** story told. I hope doing so helps them all recover from the horrible ordeal imposed on them by these pathetic kidnappers/rapists.

    Naturally, that holds most true for Elizabeth. I'm very pleased to see that she has now done that and from a position of such great success.

  • Yorkshire City, Ut
    Oct. 15, 2013 10:15 a.m.

    Seems like a good time to mend Smart fences and for Ed and Lois to soften their response to In Plain Site.

    Good people with good motives and best hopes for Elizabeth is a story worth telling--and worth having the support of all involved.

  • Captn Picard Houston, TX
    Oct. 15, 2013 10:08 a.m.

    I have read the book "In Plain Sight" and IMO it is a well written book that covers what was going on as relates police, family, and news media as mentioned in this article. The article mentioned that sales of the book were killed because of objections of Elizabeth Smart's parents.

    There could be another reason that they objected to the book "In Plain Sight", the rejection of faith on the part of Tom Smart. In the book "In Plain Sight" FBI agent Mick Fennerty is quoted on page 357 saying "If you don't believe in God now, what do you want?" when speaking to Tom Smart. There several passages through out the book where Tom Smart makes it clear he's agnostic if not atheist. Tom Smart's public rejection of faith IMO is the real reason for the rejection of the book "In Plain Sight" by Elizabeth Smart's parents. The were embarrassed by Tom Smart's public rejection of faith.

    IMO it was faith that allowed Elizabeth Smart to survive, faith that allowed her to maintain her sanity in conditions that would have driven most as stark raving mad as her captors.

  • Mike in Sandy Sandy, UT
    Oct. 15, 2013 9:58 a.m.

    Actually...the reason for the story continuing to arise is money.
    Poor girl should be enjoying her marriage and family, but the horrible events kept getting dragged out into the public.

    And her dad is no help there....

  • kcastle Alpine, UT
    Oct. 15, 2013 9:32 a.m.

    It's all about being able to do something to rescue ourselves despite our age. It sounds like that was the real problem all along and still is. Until that's resolved the story won't go away.

  • Samson01 S. Jordan, UT
    Oct. 15, 2013 9:30 a.m.

    The real story of Elizabeth Smart is how after all she went through she came out a survivor and not a victim. She is an inspiration to me and one I hold up to my daughters as an example of how we can overcome adversity and forge our own path ahead.

    The story is not what she went through but rather what she became. She won.

    Thank you Elizabeth!

  • EJM Herriman, UT
    Oct. 15, 2013 9:20 a.m.

    I am just amazed that this doesn't fade off into the sunset. And yes, it is all about making money. Elizabeth Smart was a victim. There has already been a book or two about this. Why a third book? The story has been told. Move on.

  • BU52 Provo, ut
    Oct. 15, 2013 8:49 a.m.

    Only so many can make money off of victumhood

  • Wilf 55 SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Oct. 15, 2013 8:46 a.m.

    Both books should be sold side by side. That makes history complete.

    Oct. 15, 2013 8:37 a.m.

    I hope she makes all the money she possible can off this book. She is heroic in the way she handles this most horrible tale. She does not run or hide but puts herself in "Plain Sight" and for that alone I hope she makes millions.

    I simple am amazed at the grace, firmness and tenderness with which she handles this challenge. It is an over used word today - but she is awesome.

  • Red San Antonia, TX
    Oct. 15, 2013 8:35 a.m.

    Good work Doug. Thanks for the clear explanation of both books.

  • Mike in Sandy Sandy, UT
    Oct. 15, 2013 8:30 a.m.

    Why wont this story stay private, and just go away?

  • bdckpakccd Plano, TX
    Oct. 15, 2013 8:17 a.m.

    Uncle and Benson are friends of yours---end of story. The article is to promote In Plain Sight, in plain words. This is not "news" but editorial. None of us knows the family dynamics behind all of this. I know if this had happened to my daughter, I would hope my brother (in-law) would honor my wishes not to write/publish such a book. Given the suffering the Smart family had endured, it seems their wishes would have been honored. Shame on those doing otherwise.

  • BYUalum South Jordan, UT
    Oct. 15, 2013 7:35 a.m.

    I hadn't heard about the prior book, In Plain Sight. I will not purchase nor read either of these. There has been enough said, shown, and reported to satisfy any curiosity I might have. After reading this article, I wonder if it is largely a money issue to denounce the first book by her uncle. With all the book signings by Elizabeth, it is a sign they truly want to sell lots of books. How could she possibly write this book and not relive this horrible nightmare? What was that her mother advised her? Hmmm.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Oct. 15, 2013 7:04 a.m.

    I think that if it happen to me, I think I would want to forget about it.

  • DVD Taylorsville, 00
    Oct. 15, 2013 6:00 a.m.

    It truly would be good to know the part about the police and search work itself. There is so much that goes on when trying to find kidnap victims or even to solve other crimes. At the time of the publishing of the book, the Smarts may have still been in a place where that kind of public attention wasn't bearable. But now that they themselves have published a book about the experience, it seems like it's more appropriate to bring forward this book about all the work done by those who made the rescue possible, and recognize them.

  • MLBROWN1830 West Jordan, UT
    Oct. 15, 2013 5:56 a.m.

    Mr. Robinson you said, " attempts to explain Elizabeth's strange timidity and compliance when a scream or a simple identification during her many public wanderings might have saved her much sooner." You've demonstrated you do not understand what trauma victims experience or the threats a child was told each day and night during her torture; fair enough you don't get it. But you also aren't adding anything by defending your friends in this forum. What was your point again???

  • Pete1215 Lafayette, IN
    Oct. 15, 2013 5:47 a.m.

    I read "In Plain Sight". It is a terrific book, and just tells the story from a different angle.

  • Kay Hunt Celebration, FL
    Oct. 15, 2013 5:33 a.m.

    The whole time I was reading My Story I was wishing for a book that was telling the other side of what people were doing. I am glad I have found that book.

  • Rational Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 15, 2013 1:57 a.m.

    Great read, Doug.

  • gittalopctbi Glendale, AZ
    Oct. 15, 2013 12:40 a.m.

    If “In Plain Sight” is what Robinson says, I'm going to have to read it. It is curious why Elizabeth's parents denounced it. I will say that Elizabeth's mother gave her extremely valuable advice.