Thursday, August 01, 2013

I have no words. Well, maybe a few words...

There are no words.

No, really. No words at all.

Ariel Castro, the Cleveland, Ohio, man who kidnapped three young women - Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry, and Gina DeJesus - and held them hostage for more than 10 years, was sentenced today. The judge gave him life without parole plus 1,000 years, which, as far as I'm concerned, is probably a lot less than he deserves. Not that I'm a proponent of the death penalty. I'm not. But, you know, even if Castro lives a thousand years, he won't have paid for what he took away from Knight, Berry, and Dejesus.

What I have no words for is what Castro said in court before sentencing. Not going to quote him here. He doesn't deserve that. But, in short, he blamed everything - everything he did, even to his wife before she died - on the women, claiming that he was only a poor sex addict who couldn't help himself. He went so far as to say that the young women he kidnapped asked him for sex. All he did, he said, was not let them leave the house after he took them. He said they lied about what they said he did to them. He said that he isn't a violent person.

Excuse me? What is "not violent" about keeping three young women tied and chained for years? What is "not violent" about repeatedly beating one of the women when she was pregnant so that she would, and did, lose those pregnancies? What is "not violent" about forcing them to play Russian roulette? What the very hell is "not violent" about repeatedly raping his victims?

He also said, as an excuse, that he was sexually abused as a child. That, he apparently thinks, makes what he did not his fault. Except, you know, most of the children who are unfortunate enough to be abused, sexually or otherwise, as children do not grow up to be kidnappers and rapists and all the rest.

He said (I've decided to quote him after all), "I'm not a monster." Yes. Yes, you are. There is, in fact, no other word for what you are. A monster who is using your own misfortune as an excuse for making even more victims. You're as bad as Charlie Manson, who has insisted for decades now that he is only what society made him. You are misogynist who took out your hate on defenseless girls who, if I recall correctly, were all teenagers when you kidnapped them and started to systematically abuse them. You said repeatedly to the police, after you were arrested, that you knew what you were doing was wrong. I think the jury is probably still out on whether or not you actually believe that. If you were capable of understanding that what you were doing was wrong, you had the capacity to seek help rather than just going with the flow and victimizing three young women for more than a decade.

Huh. It turns out that I apparently have words for this after all. Not to mention a whole lot of anger. I might not be so angry if Castro had taken responsibility for any part of what he did. But, no. He chose to place the blame outside of himself. There are a lot of things that people do in this life that aren't completely their fault. This is not the case with Castro. He made conscious choices every step of the way and now chooses to portray himself as the victim in all of this.

I'm calling bullshit.

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