Perseverance: Dog Chapman Interview
July 03, 2008 10:00 AM EST
On June 24, 2008, I had a lengthy interview with Duane ‘Dog’ Chapman. Chapman is the star of A&E’s returning hit show Bounty Hunter, where he will once again track felons on the run before a nation of thrilled television viewers. Chapman was gracious enough to take a break from what will be season number five of the Bounty Hunter program to talk with me on my radio show the ‘Conscience of Kansas.’ I think the interview had many exciting facets, and I invite readers to watch both part one and part two of the YouTube version of our conversation. What I would like to focus my discussion on today is my own reflections on the controversy surrounding the man known as ‘Dog’ Chapman.
Currently, Chapman is attempting a comeback of not only his television program but also a resurrection of his name in the public eye following the racist comments that came to national attention back in November 2007. It is here that those who wish to look beyond the flamboyant tough guy presentation that Chapman exudes can see, if they wish, a bit of character which is often lacking in many individuals whose reputations have not suffered the verbal bashing that Chapman has endured over the past several months. There are no apologies here for Chapman; his words in a private conservation with a family member that were made public were hurtful to many and rightly so. However, while we should not minimize the damaging impact of Chapman’s words, I believe it would also be folly to forget how he handled a situation that threatened both his career and personal name. In an environment today that promotes victimization and the avoidance of accountability, Chapman placed the fault of his statements where many politicians will not; that is, he took the blame head on.
Having apologized in almost every venue possible, Chapman steps back into the public eye in hopes of renewing his former stardom. The question is, will the nation embrace him as before? Some people may refuse to forgive the audio clips of Chapman’s derogatory private statements from 2007; others may remember the man that courageously nabbed the serial rapist Andrew Luster in Mexico, which most certainly saved other women from the most egregious of personal violations. What I observed from my conversation with the man called ‘Dog’ was a unique mixture of the goodness and imperfection that is in all of us. Specifically, Duane Chapman is gregarious but gracious, gruff but extremely kind; he is blunt while also being very articulate.
In short, there are many facets to this individual that the camera may not readily capture. The most notable of these characteristics that caught my eye is that Chapman has a genuineness about him that becomes apparent when discussing his life passion in bounty hunting. Chapman appears to not only understand the dangers involved in dealing with the individuals he tracks, but he also appears to empathize with those same individuals, who due to their life choices, have found themselves with the ‘Dog’ on their heels.
Will Duane ‘Dog’ Chapman reclaim his former popularity? Only the future will tell. However, if I were a betting man, I would say that the odds are in Chapman’s favor as folks tend to gravitate towards people they see as authentic, despite their imperfections. Americans, by their nature, also have an undeniable attraction to those who embody the American Spirit to pick themselves up out of the dirt without complaints or excuses, dust themselves off, and keep on going doing their best. I call this tenacity to overcome life’s hurdles perseverance; Duane Chapman terms it simply as ‘hanging in there.’ Either way, it’s one of the components of success, and you can bet that the man named ‘Dog’ is tracking a full comeback with the same effort he puts into every man hunt. As for me, I hope he finds it.
Paul A. Ibbetson is a published author and lecturer on the Patriot Act. He is a former Chief of Police of Cherryvale, Kansas, and member of the Montgomery County Drug Task Force. Paul is the author of the book ‘Living Under The Patriot Act: Educating A Society’ and is the host of the award
YouTube Interview Links
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBHBOMSW1JU Part one