Anatomy of a Kidnapping
A Doctor’s Story
Publication Year: 2009
Published by: Texas Tech University Press
Title Page, Copyright
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C o n t e n t s
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I l l u s t r a t i o n s
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A c k n o w l e d g m e n t s
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Julia Weiser, a Yale graduate and fi rst- year medical student at the University of Texas Southwestern, edited this book. Julia understood what I wanted to convey in my story, espe-cially as it relates to physicians and young doctors. Her detailed especially the Amarillo police force, the district attorney’s oﬃ ce, Barry Peterson and his staﬀ helped me fi nd legal references.dents, chief residents, and physician authors, provided important ...
P r o l o g u e
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I did not know the diﬀ erence between a rifl e and a shotgun, but I knew that the black metal barrel aimed at my forehead by this agitated stranger had the potential to blast my carefully There is no prescription or special behavior appropriate for the victim of violent crime, but as a doctor I refl ect on the moment tion, sorrow, and death have a special signifi cance in the life and career of a physician, for they accompany the patients whom one ...
1T h e D o c t o r
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Keams Canyon is an ancient sandstone valley in north-eastern Arizona, a vast expanse of open sky, pine tree- topped cliﬀ s, and countless layers of brown earth. At sits Keams Canyon Indian Hospital, a small, two- story building Main Street for this zip code in Arizona. The hospital is located two of the most culturally intact Indian tribes in the continental fourth- year medical student from Boston University, looking for ...
2K i d n a p p e d
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On Sunday, March 6, 2005, at around 7:00 a.m., I walked from my bedroom to the kitchen to brew a pot of coﬀ ee. My fi rst contact with family was our ten- year- old Austra-white and her swaggering gait, the consequence of years of rheu-with a quizzical look and what appeared to be a new toy: a wood-for months. I did not need to be a physician to see that the mouse the jaws of the trap itself. So before my morning coﬀ ee, the fi rst ...
3G e t t i n g t o A m a r i l l o
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When I fi nished my residency at Boston City Hospital in 1979, I never thought my career would take me to Amarillo, Texas. Up to that point, I thought I was on a path to become a missionary doctor. I had wanted to be a physi-cian since ju nior high school, when I read the work of Thomas about his years of ser vice in Vietnam and Laos in the 1950s. In-spired by his dedication and selfl ess ser vice to the unfortunate, I ...
4T h e T h i n L i n e
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In my career and in my personal life, I have seen death in all its forms: anticipated, sudden, violent, peaceful, sad, and in-spiring. I have seen people confront death in every possible manner, and I can recall their expressions of peaceful anticipa-tion, noble courage and defi ance, fear, resolve, relief, and even With the barrel of a gun pressed into my temple, I consider the truth of this cliché with vivid and terrifying clarity. I am on that ...
5A e q u a n i m i t a s
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I met Shirley in 1979, shortly after moving to Tennessee from Boston. She was a microbiologist, and I was the only infec-tious disease physician in eastern Tennessee; so our profes-sional paths crossed frequently. She would call me to ask for my opinion on an unusual culture or to identify an unfamiliar strain of bacteria. Eventually, I was visiting the microbiology lab multi-ple times a day. Later, I would joke that she called me to the lab so ...
6T h e P a t i e n t
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I get back in the SUV on the passenger’s side. As the gunman drives out of our subdivision and back toward the main streets of Amarillo, I expect him to stop and let me out of the car at any moment. Freedom and safety, I think, are literally around the corner. I notice that the streets are now much more crowded with cars and people and realize suddenly that it is noon. Amarillo is coming to life as people stream out of church and head for Sun-...
7M i s t a k e s
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You know, I’m the last person that would hurt anyone,” he says as we enter Bushland.I stay silent. I suspect that he’s hurt people before.“I was pushed into this by some mistakes,” he tells me. “My wife’s death was my big mistake, and then the drugs, the worst mistake. But there are small mistakes, like parole violation,” he “Well, we all can make mistakes,” I say, almost patronizingly, ...
8L e s l i e
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Meadow, Texas, is a town of 658 people and 213 house-holds. The name is pronounced MED- uh, but only by the local townsfolk, who live scattered on their farms and ranches, isolated one from another by acres of fl at land. Per-ed in 1904, when the land was still mostly grassland used to graze there for thirty- three years. Actually she lived on a quiet country road just outside of the city limits; her nearest neighbor was a ...
9S h a m e i n B u s h l a n d
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I had been to Bushland only once before in my life. It was when a close family friend visited us in Amarillo and brought Justin a telescope as a gift. Justin was interested in astronomy at the time, and so we all drove out to a cattle ranch in Bushland to go stargaz-ing and try out the new telescope. It was the perfect place for ...
10A m a r i l l o P o l i c e
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Amarillo police cars are parked along the curb parallel to our home, and eventually the line stretches down the street. They draw attention from our neighbors, who a car wreck nearby. The police are creating a traﬃ c jam, taking up dads attending the weekend games at the school down the street. the parental hollering, cussing, and referee baiting as fi ve- year- do. They all look the same with their neat black shirts, top button ...
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...• Garage door access to our home, which I left open that Sunday morning....
11J e r e m y a n d J u s t i n
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The news of my kidnapping spread quickly and generated intense media coverage. Amarillo is a small city, and as the regional dean of the medical school, I was a fairly well-known fi gure. Though I’d initially hesitated to call the po-experience. In my professional experience, both as a dean and as a physician, I’d found that the best way to deal with a diﬃ cult issue is to be forthright and honest. I also thought that my story ...
12A N e w D a y
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I awoke on March 7 with the sun brightly shining through my window. I had no intention of reporting to work. Physician and regional dean, I was about to become better known as the a printed sheet with a group of six pictures on it. They were all driver’s license photos of middle- aged white males. Before show-lineup could be very tricky, that the pictures might be old, and that the individuals might be smiling unlike they would be while ...
13C r i m e , D r u g s , a n d G u n s
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I had always supported gun control, and I never thought I would one day become a gun owner. But the kidnapping changed my opinion about this issue. Indeed, the kidnapping lowing the abduction, I did not go into work, but spent time at drug use, and crime. Of course, I already held certain views about more personal perspective. I was no longer just a father, a physi-cian, the dean of a medical school. I was also a crime victim: the ...
14T h e R i g h t P r e s c r i p t i o n
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On Tuesday evening, a call from Sergeant James was mo-mentarily frightening. “Jordan appears to have returned to Amarillo and bought a gun at Panhandle Gunsling-tion. Jordan was being tracked with the use of my stolen credit card. Shirley had a duplicate of the credit card, and we were fool-over the event and what it meant. For several days the story was in bold headlines on the front page of the Amarillo Globe- News,...
15J a c k L i n d s e y J o r d a n
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Jack Lindsey Jordan grew up in Seminole, Texas, a small community located in Gaines County. Seminole is and al-ways has been a con ser va tive community with traditional values. Its economy has depended on Texas oil fi elds since the builder and furniture store owner. His mother was well liked in though his dad left the family when Jack was still young, he was eral times, but for the most part Jack led a fairly typical child-...
16T h e C a p t u r e
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After he left me in Bushland, Jack headed out Interstate 40 toward New Mexico. Perhaps he assumed that his intimidation tactics had worked, that the understanding doctor would stay silent about the morning’s events. But it still crime as possible. I imagine that the adrenaline rush of commit-ting a crime combined with his paranoia, and Jack sped down the highway at top speed. He had a full tank of gas, cash and several ...
17T h e T r i a l
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The State of Texas v. Jack Lindsey Jordan trial began in Feb-ruary of 2007, almost two years after the crime took place. For me it was of little signifi cance, as I had not been revenge or retribution. I had been told that Jordan might plead insanity or seek a diﬀ erent venue because of the high level of pretrial publicity, hence the delay. As a crime victim in Texas I was asked to give my opinion on the time in prison that would be ...
18T h e D r e a m
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After the trial, we drove back from Amarillo to Lubbock in darkness. The trial had been emotionally draining. Meeting the victims of Jordan’s crime spree and hearing his testimony gave me a better appreciation of the danger that I faced on the day of the kidnapping. At home, the need for sleep overwhelmed a desire to ponder the day’s events. As conscious-ness slipped away, my last thoughts were about how diﬀ erent the ...
19P u r p o s e
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On March 6, 2005, I was spared to see another day, a crime victim who gave thanks for life itself. My story is unique, but I feel like a brother or sister to many oth-stopped and started again, who survived the loss of a breast or colon, who were born weighing a pound but came oﬀ a ventilator and lived. We do not understand how we as a group diﬀ er from the nonsurvivors: those who were killed by their kidnapper, died ...
N o t e s
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...1. William Osler, Aequanimitas (New York: Blakiston Company, 1904), 3–11.2. Jerry L. Spivack, “Polycythemia Vera and Other Myeloproliferative Dis-eases,” in Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, ed. Anthony S. Fauci 3. George Schwarz, “After Beating Odds, Tech Dean Relives Ordeal,” Ama-4. Texas Performance Review, “Reduce Recidivism of Adults Leaving the ...
Page Count: 264
Publication Year: 2009