Jim Bob Duggar probably wishes he could have a do-over after the events of the last few days, (and if not, he should).
Since In Touch Weekly broke the story of his eldest son Josh's molestation charges that Jim Bob brought to the attention of authorities more than a decade ago, the Duggar family has undergone a severe backlash -- one resulting in an uncertain future for their top-rated TLC series 19 Kids and Counting.
As an outside observer, there are so many things the Duggar family -- namely Jim Bob, Michelle, and Josh -- could have done differently to keep this from happening.
From creating an overly repressive family environment to Josh refusing to control his vile and basest urges that caused this turmoil in the first place, there is much blame to go around.
Of course, once Josh Duggar took the actions the Springdale, Arkansas, police report indicates he did, there was no averting the trauma that the five unnamed girls -- though the report gives a pretty good idea who they are -- were to experience.
To have completely averted disaster, Jim Bob Duggar and wife Michelle could have tried creating a more protective environment for their daughters, and one that was more forthright and less sexually repressed for Josh.
That doesn't get him off the hook for what he has confessed to doing, but keep in mind that a 14-year-old is still quite underdeveloped mentally, and they still need parental guidance and nurturing to keep from doing stupid and sometimes criminal things.
(That said, most know by 14 that there is something very wrong with inappropriate touching. And as bad as that is, it's even more appalling when the victims are your own sisters.)
But let's assume for a moment that Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar are free of blame for their son's actions.
I'll be willing to concede that for the sake of this mental exercise. After all, I've known a lot of good parents, whose child screwed up royally through no fault of their own.
Even so, what happened after they found out about this atrocity, is stomach-turning.
Jim Bob, as the family's patriarch and "head of household," took it upon himself to "take care" of the issue.
(That doesn't absolve Michelle, but it does place an added burden on Jim Bob to get this right, and the more we learn, the more it becomes apparent he failed miserably.)
When I first glanced over this story, it seemed like he did what any respectable, horrified father should be doing to right a wrong his son committed.
He took the boy to police and turned him in.
But then more details started to emerge. He reportedly waited until the statute of limitations had expired to get the ball rolling, thus negating the possibility Josh would pay for his crimes.
He got Josh "help" for the problem by going to a state trooper friend, who himself was busted for owning pornographic images of children.
Whatever "professional" help he sought for Josh, from that moment forward, seemed to favor only Josh.
Through the Duggars' subsequent statements, there is no indication the four little girls, who were forced to share a home with their abuser, ever received the counseling they so desperately needed/need.
Every action Jim Bob Duggar decided to take -- from immediately after discovering the crimes to the statements released yesterday -- demonstrated little regard for the victims, his own daughters.
A good father in this situation would have taken his son to authorities immediately. He would have instructed the police to throw the book at Josh while seeking mental health counseling for his daughters and son.
He would have used what happened as a learning tool and created a safer environment for all of his kids moving forward while also questioning the way he was raising his children to see where he might be doing harm. He would have talked to his kids about what happened and placed no question off limits.
If said father were to have followed these actions and had a reality TV show, then what we learned this week would have still been tragic in the sense that it ever happened, but we would have felt much better about what the Duggars did and were doing to produce healing for what happened so long ago.
By getting Josh absolved of legal action, he encouraged his behaviors and created an unsafe environment for the girls, who were ages four through 12 at the time the incidents reportedly occurred.
There is power in being able to talk freely about dark moments throughout your life, but the Duggars wouldn't have had to even do that to avoid the "hypocrite" labels now being thrown their way.
If In Touch Weekly had dug this story up and Jim Bob Duggar had been a dad instead of an enabler, there would likely be more support for him and his family than there is now.
Unfortunately, life isn't big on do-overs.
[Image via MRC TV]