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.
It's not like the guy intentionally left the kid and ran out of the room. She was immobile with her leg in a cast in the living room. Westergaard was in the entrance hallway when the intruder broke in. He knew that the police were minutes away if he hit the panic button in the secure room, so he drew the attacker's attention by running to panic room, rather than risk attacker searching the house for him and discovering the child. He ran there to call the police rather than keep himself safe.
Case in point, the cops were on the scene within 3 minutes - try getting that response time from calling 911!
And the parents weren't trying to be irresponsible. They rarely get to see him becuase of what's gone on the last few year's so called to the house after coming home from vacation to celebrate New Year's with him. The kid's parents had just stepped out of the house a few minutes before the attacker struck.
Wow, this is an interesting story and Sara really cleared up some important details. From the way your article was presented it really seemed like he had put his granddaughter in danger without much regard for her safety. But with Sara's clarifications it seems he made the best choice in that dire situation.