Duggars, narcissists, true crime

“It is finished.” Jury does the Lord’s work and finds Josh Duggar guilty!

I had kind of a busy day yesterday, although I was keeping an eye on the news. I had a feeling we’d finally get the verdict in Josh Duggar’s federal court case. I knew he was going to be found guilty, but there were some people who were a bit nervous, since the jury was taking some time to come to a decision. And, although my gut feelings are usually pretty accurate, there’s always a chance for surprises.

There were no surprises yesterday. Josh Duggar is now a convicted sex offender. In a few months, he will get his sentence and be off to prison, likely somewhere far from Arkansas. Below is his mugshot, which is bizarre looking. Who smiles for a mug shot taken under such shameful circumstances?

I stand by my assertion that this man is a psychopath.

Like many people, I’ve been following the Duggar Family News Facebook page, as well as the private group that is associated with it. Some people are saying that Josh is smiling because he’s being like the Paul the Apostle. It was explained that Josh’s children are being taught that their father is being persecuted. I don’t know much about the story of Paul, but one thing I do remember hearing is that Paul was famously misogynistic. Given the way Josh reportedly treats women, perhaps the moniker fits somewhat. In any case, I’m sure that Josh’s older children, who know their father and will miss him, have to be told something about why he’s not going to be home with them anymore. Or… maybe Josh is out of his mind.

I first became aware of Josh’s conviction because of a friend. Although I had been paying attention to the news yesterday, I turned my attention away from it for awhile to watch Call the Midwife. When I checked Facebook again, I noticed I was tagged in a news article. It was just the first tag. I probably ought to stop following the Duggars. I think people who follow them contribute to Jim Bob Duggar’s delusions of grandeur. The truth is, that family isn’t any more blessed than any other family is, in spite of all of the “blessings” God supposedly sent them, courtesy of Michelle Duggar’s hyperactive womb fertilized by a man who no doubt encouraged his eldest son to go down a very dark road.

Josh will spend the next few months locked up in county jail. It will suck a lot for him. According to Jessica Kent, a former convict who now has a very popular YouTube channel, being locked up in county jail sucks because there’s nothing to do, and inmates are generally locked down most of the time. Jessica even did time in Arkansas, so she has a concept of what it’s like where Josh is, although she was arrested in Fort Smith, while Josh is in Fayetteville. An interesting side note– my husband, Bill, lived in Fort Smith, Arkansas at the end of his first marriage. That’s why he was a member of the Arkansas National Guard.

In any case, it was early evening when I found out about Josh’s fate, but Josh was locked up at about noon his time. He’s currently spending his first night as a convicted sex offender, and in a matter of months, he will probably leave Arkansas for a federal prison in a location where his deviant sexual proclivities and the security risks associated with them can be dealt with appropriately. Before he gets his assignment, he will probably be taken to another facility, where he will be classified.

I don’t know too much about that process, but I do remember reading a book called Fish by T.J. Parsell, in which the process of being classified was described as very unpleasant. Parsell’s situation was not like Josh’s. His story is about being a boy in a man’s prison. I read that book in the spring of 2009, when we lived in Germany the first time. I remember being very affected by that story, as Parsell was not a sex offender. Instead, he was a victim of a brutal prison rape that occurred after he was drugged by other inmates.

I think my opinions about prisoners changed when I read that book. On the other hand, I do think Josh Duggar’s conviction was entirely appropriate. I don’t wish for him to be harmed by other prisoners… but I won’t be surprised if it happens. Child molesters are definitely at the bottom of the totem pole in a prison environment. And the fact that Josh comes from a relatively wealthy family and was a reality TV star may make him especially attractive to other inmates.

I just read an interesting 2017 era article titled “Where do federal sex offenders go to prison?” It was written by Zachary Margulis Ohnuma about Anthony Weiner, a former Congressman who was convicted and sentenced to 21 months in federal prison for sexting with a 15 year old. The author of the article points out that the sex offender treatment offered in prison may put Josh Duggar in even more jeopardy. He writes:

While it is true that BOP offers sex offender treatment in prison, experiences vary — and the Fifth Amendment right to silence does not carry a lot of weight. Inmates in sex offender programs are surrounded by other sex offenders. They are pushed by counsellors to admit to doing more than they admitted to in court. After all, the philosophy goes, not everyone gets caught for every crime they ever committed. While sex offender treatment has been shown, as a general matter, to be effective, the programs offered in prison are akin to the food on offer there — not something you would want to partake of unless it was absolutely necessary.

I would imagine that Josh will go to a prison where he can get treatment. I don’t know if he will be forced to accept treatment. In any case, having looked at the official Web site for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, it does not appear that Arkansas offers any facilities that provide treatment for sex offenders. There are two facilities in Texas and one in Illinois that have sex offender treatment programs. Those would be the closest to Arkansas. I don’t know what that will mean for Josh’s wife, Anna, and their seven children. My guess is that they’ll stay in Arkansas, but one never knows.

Anna has been incredibly loyal to Josh, in spite of his many obvious shortcomings. That loyalty may end up working against her. As it stands now, it’s possible that Anna could soon face charges herself, especially if it’s discovered that she turned a blind eye toward any abuse perpetrated by Josh toward the children. I suspect that her children will be interviewed by child protective services, if that hasn’t yet happened. Those kids have already had to cope with their father being forced out of the home and their mother spending most of her time with him, instead of them. I’m sure that CPS will want to know a lot more about how the children are doing, now that their father is a convicted sex offender.

I can’t help thinking about how bizarre all of this must be for the children in the Duggar family. I don’t just mean Josh’s children, but also his brothers and sisters and their children. The cognitive dissonance must be incredible. Josh has done some terrible things and has brought shame to his family. But his parents are “praying” for him, and did all they could to help him, while they cast out one of his victims. And Jim Bob is still campaigning to be elected to the Arkansas Senate. I think if Jim Bob is elected, I will lose all hope for humanity in Arkansas.

I get the impression that Jim Bob sort of runs a cult with a cult. Yesterday, I wrote a book review about a woman who was raised in Bill Gothard’s cult– the same one the Duggars are in. Being raised in Gothard’s ATI and IBLP is bad enough. But I think the Duggar family goes further than that. I think Jim Bob is the head of his own cult, where there are many “alternative facts” and “alternative realities” that everyone within the sphere must adhere to. Jim Bob clearly has his own versions of events. In fact, he clearly lies when the situation suits him, even though that goes against Biblical principles. He tells his children to tell the truth and repent, but those rules don’t apply to Jim Bob.

Anyone within Jim Bob Duggar’s sphere has to do what he wants them to do. Those who can’t or won’t follow his rules and devote themselves to him will soon find themselves cast out of the family circle. What Jim Bob is doing is nothing unusual among narcissists. I’ve seen my husband’s ex wife do the same thing to her family members. Anyone who won’t adhere to her fantasy world gets cast out because people who speak the truth and see things clearly are a threat to her power. I think Jim Bob runs his family and church like that.

This wasn’t the guy I saw, but you get the idea.

Years ago, I wrote a blog post about an experience I had when I was in college, back in the early 1990s. I remember a hypnotist came to our school and put on a very entertaining show. Volunteers were brought up on stage and the hypnotist would put them under, then make them do hilarious things. Along with the volunteers, there were also spotters who were tasked with helping the hypnotist. Anyone participating who didn’t fall under his spell was escorted off stage. This was because those who didn’t fall under hypnosis threatened the act. I don’t think it’s that much different when it comes to people like Jim Bob and Ex. Those who don’t fall under the spell need to be escorted out so they don’t “ruin” the illusion for others.

I think Jill Dillard used to be among the biggest believers in Jim Bob’s “mini cult”. But she has been deprogrammed by her husband, Derick. Jill and Derick have been ostracized by the family, even though Jill is one of Josh’s victims. If anything, Jim Bob should have been protecting her and the rest of his daughters from his deviant son. But, instead of being supportive and loving of Jill, Jim Bob has made her and her family unwelcome. In the long run, this is probably a better thing for Jill, but it still means she’s lost her family of origin. She serves as an example to others, keeping them “in line” by showing them that if they disobey, they will be ostracized. The same thing goes for “cousin Amy”, who has also spoken out against Jim Bob. The minute she did that, she was cast out of the fold.

Jim Bob rewards his followers with homes, jobs, and money. But the minute the see the truth and speak it– the minute they think for themselves and act accordingly– they have to be escorted out, much like those resistant people from the hypnotist’s show. What they may not understand is that there are people outside of that cult system who can and will help them. They don’t have to cling to the bad situation. They can make the courageous choice to escape, once they are over 18. A few of Jim Bob’s children have made that choice, but some of the others are still firmly entrenched. No matter what, as long as there is breath in Jim Bob’s body, he will always see his children as his possessions– even the ones he’s cast out of the family circle. If there’s anything I have learned about narcissistic parents, it’s that they almost never let anyone go completely.

We’ll see what the future holds. One thing is for certain, though. Josh Duggar’s days as a free man are over. He’s going away, and probably for a long time. His children will surely be safer without him around, but it’s still a hard thing for them. No matter what, he’s still their father, and they will always have a connection to him. I think if anyone needs and deserves prayers, it’s the children who have been harmed by Josh… or any other pervert who preys on the innocent.

The sad thing is, as horrible and disgusting as Josh Duggar’s actions are, there are still people who are much worse than he is. Bill and I were talking about this over breakfast. I think Larry Nassar is worse. I can think of some much lesser known people I think are worse, or have committed worse crimes. For instance, Brian and Shannon Gore, who were from my hometown, committed absolutely heinous child abuse that resulted in one child’s death and another’s permanent damage to her health. So… I try to keep that in mind as I gaze at Josh Duggar’s strangely happy looking visage in his mug shot. But this prison experience will probably be just the beginning for the horrors of Josh Duggar’s life from now on. Maybe God will have mercy on him… but I doubt his fellow inmates will.

Below is a link to Fish, the book I mentioned up post. If you purchase through the link, I will get a small commission from Amazon. I will warn that the book is not for the faint of heart.

true crime

Repost: Meet Brian and Shannon Gore… the parents from hell

This blog post is a rerun. It originally appeared on my old blog on May 18, 2015. I’m posting it as/is. The featured photo is a screen shot of their mug shots in 2011.

My old friend and I used to ride horses together in Gloucester, Virginia, a pretty county not far from the historic triangle of Yorktown, Williamsburg, and Jamestown, Virginia.  I didn’t like Gloucester that much when I was growing up, but I grew to appreciate it as I came of age.  It was a place where serious crimes didn’t seem to happen too often.  Of course, with the advent of the Internet and the growing population of Gloucester, true crime became more common.  Now I keep up with this friend on Facebook.  This morning, she posted a news article about a notorious crime that happened in our hometown.

On April 28, 2011, a Gloucester County deputy visited Brian and Shannon Gore’s home to investigate a burglary.  While he was in the couple’s single wide trailer home, the deputy discovered a filthy, emaciated, naked little girl kept in a makeshift cage created by an upturned crib.  She was covered in feces and unable to extend her legs owing to long term incarceration in the cage.  The child didn’t speak and was observed eating her own skin.  

Although she was about six years old, by the time she was found, the girl weighed only 15 pounds.  When she was later examined by doctors, it was determined that she likely would have died of malnutrition within a week.  The now ten year old has been adopted by loving parents.  I don’t know how she’s doing physically and emotionally, but I do remember when this case was first brought to light, it was said that the child would never completely recover from the horrific abuse and malnutrition she had endured in her short life.

It was horrible enough to discover the starving little girl, who had apparently been malnourished for most of her six years.  But police made an even more grisly discovery when they found the little girl’s brother, the extremely decomposed remains of an infant boy who was about seven months old when he perished.  He, too, had been starved to death.  Brian and Shannon Gore also had a third child, a relatively healthy baby boy who was about a month old when the police found him.   

I am particularly interested in the circumstances that led the deputy to the Gores’ home.  In April 2011, I was living in Sanford, North Carolina.  In fact, we had just moved there on April 1.  Tornados ripped through North Carolina and Virginia on April 16, 2011.  I happened to be living about a quarter of a mile from one of the twisters that tore through Sanford, destroyed many homes, and decimated the local Lowe’s hardware store.  Later that day, the same storms destroyed the school I attended in Gloucester, Virginia for 7th and 8th grades.  They also ruined quite a few homes in Gloucester.  Apparently, the Gores took advantage of the gaping holes left in some of the homes in Gloucester and decided to loot.  One of the items stolen was a gold bullion, which Shannon Gore had sold at a local pawn shop.  That was the event that led the police to her door and shattered the secret she and her husband had kept for seven years.  In a weird way, those tornados on April 16, 2011 that devastated so many homes actually saved that little girl’s life.

Two years ago, the Gores were tried and convicted of starving their daughter when they abruptly entered guilty pleas.  They are both serving thirty year sentences for malicious wounding and child abuse.  Now, they are going to be tried for killing their infant son.  Originally, they were not charged with his death because his remains were so decomposed that a cause of death could not immediately be determined.  It took a special examination at the Smithsonian for investigators to conclude that the baby died of malnutrition.  Experts at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History did a full anthropological analysis of the baby’s remains and could not find another reason for the baby’s death. 

Like many people from my hometown and the surrounding areas, I was horrified by this case of extreme child abuse and neglect.  While I never got the chance to really use my social work training the way I thought I would, I have done home visits in the role of a social worker.  This is the kind of scene I could have stumbled on in my career.  I am sure the police who were involved in this case are still haunted by it.  Hell, just looking at the couple’s mug shots in the paper is traumatizing to me.  Shannon Gore appears completely out of it– very tired or drugged or something.  Brian Gore’s eyes look almost dead.  

I still follow Gloucester’s news by reading The Daily Press, which is the regional newspaper that covers Gloucester and the surrounding areas.  When this story was fresh news, it seemed like Brian and Shannon Gore’s mug shots showed up on my news feed every day.  It got to the point at which those faces were kind of etched on my brain.  I am particularly haunted by the tired, defeated look on Shannon Gore’s face.  She looks like she’s so far removed from life… like she’s a walking dead person.       

I wonder what led this couple to do what they did to their children.  What caused them to have so little regard for the lives of their son and daughter?  I can only imagine that had their third child spent much more time with them, he too would have died.  Based on news reports, the girl was apparently fairly healthy for the first two years of her life, though no one knew she existed.  What happened in 2006 that caused her parents to neglect and abuse her to the point at which she almost died of starvation while in their care?  Brian Gore says he quit feeding her because he “got tired of it”.  Why?  He also claimed that she had cerebral palsy and Down Syndrome.  Doctors did not find evidence of either of these disorders.  But then, it’s not as if the girl was ever taken to a real doctor.  Indeed, she was apparently never even allowed out of the confines of that single wide trailer home.  No one knew she or her brother existed, though the birth of the third child was apparently celebrated openly among neighbors.

At this writing, Shannon Gore hasn’t even reached her thirtieth birthday (circa 2015).  She will almost surely never leave prison.  I wonder if she’s still as cold and dead looking as she appears to be in her mug shot.

Another blogger has written a far more detailed post about this couple.  I have written about all I can stomach for right now.

Below are the original comments from this post, which I am including because they’re interesting.


  1. UnknownSeptember 21, 2015 at 9:48 AM I knew Brian, and by knew him, I mean I grew up with him. From 4 years old until we graduated high school. We were friends. I knew his mother. It makes me sick to my stomach knowing what he did. You said Brian’s eyes looked dead…I felt that too. No emotion, like he just doesn’t care, no remorse. I don’t buy that these two didn’t know what to do. Brian was no idiot! They both had family and plenty of resources! I have two daughters of my own and thought of any harm to them makes my heart stop. These two are cold human beings and I firmly believe that crimes against children should be punishable by death. I pray the little heals from all this mentally and it lifts my heart to hear that she is now loved the way she deserves.
    1. knottySeptember 21, 2015 at 10:52 AM Thanks for the comment. It must give you the creeps to know that you grew up so close to such evil. I pray that poor child will recover as much as possible from her ordeal. It’s just such an awful story, especially when you consider the freak circumstances that led to her being discovered. A few more days and she probably would have died.
  2. UnknownFebruary 4, 2016 at 3:57 AM I was locked up with Shannon for a year dealing with my own mess. And the Shannon I met and did time with was nothing like the Shannon that has done what she’s done. Just saying. I wish no bad toward her she’s doing her time and I hope she is able to maintain because even after prison she still has to be haunted by what has happened…. Shannon keep ur head up, knowing the full story now of course I do not agree with your actions but it is not my place to pass judgment on you and whatever you where going thru that led you to allow such horrible things to happen to your children but good still lives you and so do I. You were so sweet and I really can’t believe that the Shannon I met is being locked away for so long for such a crime….
  3. UnknownFebruary 4, 2016 at 3:59 AMI Salisa nimmo made last comment Reply
  4. UnknownMay 31, 2016 at 8:44 AM Hi, my name is Charles at this time when this happened my wife Stephanie and Shannon were co-working managers at a fast food restaurant. Before this happened my wife and I actually went out to a club with Shannon and she never showed any care or concern that she had a daughter almost dead at her home as she had drinks and all smiles when guys tried to hit on her at the club. It saddened me that this happened because I love children and I would have helped had I known this was going on. Shame on you Shannon and Brian and hopefully God will forgive you. 
  5. ShaneSeptember 12, 2018 at 6:31 PM I was working in Smithfield VA when this news story broke. I remember hearing that the little girl was at a local hospital, so some coworkers and I sent some money for clothes and other needed things. As I was leaving the area, I heard she was going to be adopted by a real nice family. Was there ever any other news of how she was doing?
    1. knottySeptember 13, 2018 at 6:41 AM Last I heard, she had been adopted. I’m sure they are trying to preserve the girl’s privacy. I’m sure she will suffer the effects of that abuse for the rest of her life.