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For most viewers, the TLC program Toddlers & Tiaras is a bit horrifying. The girls seem like they’re being exploited. The mothers seem like they’re being terrible parents, and the entire pageant industry just seems a bit skuzzy and wrong. For John Ramsey however, the show inspires a whole lot of regret.
It’s been more than fifteen years since his six-year-old beauty queen daughter JonBenet was found dead in her family’s home. The murder set off one of the largest media firestorms in history with every major network and newspaper filing stories from the Boulder, Colorado scene. The suspicions of the world quickly fell on John and his wife Patsy, but in 2008, they were publicly cleared of any wrongdoing. With Patsy now passed from ovarian cancer, John has done a lot of soul searching and written a book entitled The Other Side Of Suffering.
In an honest and touching interview with ABC News today, Ramsey admits he now regrets his wife and daughter’s involvement with the beauty pageant scene. He remembers his little girl as more of a loud tomboy than the primped princess the media portrayed, and he thinks her time spent in the public eye attracted dangerous and unneeded attention.
"Patsy had her sitting atop a friend's convertible in the Christmas parade waving at the people lining the streets. Patsy's mother later told me that a strange man approached the car during the parade and it made her uncomfortable. I think about these things now and it makes me cringe. We were so naïve. I now believe with all my heart that it's not a good idea to put your child on public display."
I can’t even begin to imagine the horror John has gone through for almost two decades. I’m ashamed to say I was nearly positive he was guilty when the story first broke, and I’m not sure I knew anyone who felt differently. That crushing glare, coupled with his daughter’s loss, would have been too much for most men to take. I’m sure a part of him will always be missing, but it’s nice to see he’s able to be so honest and reflective now.