Last week, the Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard was confronted at home by an axe-wielding intruder enraged by his depiction of Muhammad. Initial media reports indicated that the 74-year-old and his five-year-old granddaughter Stephanie fled to the safety of a "panic room" in his home and alerted police, who arrived within minutes and shot the intruder.
Yesterday, news reports revealed that Westergaard fled to the panic room without his granddaughter:
At the time, Westergaard was looking after his five-year-old granddaughter, Stephanie. He was confronted with a terrible choice: risk being killed in front of his granddaughter, or trust that the PET, Denmark's security and intelligence service, knew what they were talking about when they had told him terrorists usually don't harm family members but stick to their target.
Westergaard chose to escape into his bathroom, which had been specially fortified as a "panic room", while Stephanie was left sitting in the living room. From the bathroom he alerted the police as his assailant reportedly battered the reinforced door with the axe, shouting, "We will get our revenge!"
"Those minutes were horrible," Westergaard recalled yesterday. "But I think I have got through this fairly well -- and so, it seems, did my grandchild.
Westergaard has given several different explanations for his decision to hide without the child. He told the Copenhagen Post that he was trying to draw the intruder away from the child and said to another paper that he didn't have time to get her.
Regardless of his rationale, I can't think of a any reason I'd lock myself in a secure room while leaving a young child outside with an intruder. She could've been kidnapped, attacked or threatened as a means to get him out.
We're having a lively debate about this on the Drudge Retort, where the only thing we can agree on is this: If your dad requires constant security because of death threats, he's a poor choice for babysitter.