We have your children. Right now, they are safe and well—most of them, anyway—and you can refer to our previous correspondence for details about what to do if you ever want to see them again, whether or not I’d like police to be involved, who you should tell about this, and so on. Today, however, I am putting scissors, paste, and stack of old magazines to paper to address a different concern: The nagging feeling I keep having that when this is all over, people are somehow going to find a way to blame me—of all people!—for kidnapping a bunch of kids, locking them in cages in my basement, and threatening to kill them unless someone places a duffel bag containing five billion dollars in locker 62617 at the Harry C. Wheeler Memorial Bus Station in Bisbee, Arizona. In my opinion—and in yours, too, if you want to keep things friendly between you and the man who decides whether or not your children keep breathing—it is obvious that the blame here lies entirely with the uncooperative parents who have stubbornly failed to pay their children’s ransom, despite my very clear instructions.

After all, it’s not like I didn’t pay the $5 billion ransom! I don’t even have $5 billion! That’s why I asked for it in the first place, in exchange for the safety of your children, which seems like a fair bargain to me. After all, what is the life of a child worth? What about the lives of 15,000 children (minus two)? To you, I mean. If your answer is less than $5 billion—and apparently it is, since that bus station locker was still empty this morning—that means I am a better person than you. I’m only asking for $333,333.33 per child, which is frankly a bargain. I’ll even knock the price of the kids I already sent home off the top and make it an even $4,999,333,333.34. If you won’t pay me that right away so I can use it to build a giant steel monument to racism, what kind of a monster are you?

I also think that before you start throwing any blame my way, you ought to look at the Democrats in Congress, who could have used their House majority to block the Federal Kidnapping Act of 1932. This pathetic bill allowed people to think that holding children hostage for money was wrong, and that they could somehow secure their children’s safety without paying $5 billion to the person who took them. They can’t! The fact that the bill was sponsored by a Republican, passed a Republican-controlled Senate, and was signed by a Republican president in no way diminishes the fact that the Democrats are entirely to blame for the kids I’m keeping in my basement.

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