This is a sports blog about University of Alabama athletics, offering insight about the goings on of our rivals, as well as others around the country. But every now and then a story breaks that transcends sports. Such is the story in Cleveland, where three young women had been held captive for ten years at the hands of a non-human human being.
By now you know the story; it’s on every news outlet, pimped for ratings as the nation and world wants to learn everything it can about the ordeal. If you haven’t heard, pardon me if I am too sickened to rehash what these girls were put through for a decade.
But Ariel Castro has taught me a huge, valuable lesson. Well, quite a few, truthfully.
1. First, evil exists. It is as real as real can be. There are some people walking among us without a moral compass who are human by definition only. There are people among us who can get to the mental state Ariel Castro did, where his personal pleasure superceded the very freedom of not one, not two but three (and possibly more) other humans. Humans with families that love them and want them for polar opposite reasons than this man’s demented intentions.
This lesson can’t be drilled into our children enough. Evil exists. Not tree poisoners. Those are psychos. Not teabaggers. Those are sickos. Evil. If you have kids, you need to gently push them in the direction of caution when it comes to the people around them. Not pushing them to the point of paranoia, but to the point of caution, and avoidance of the kind of naivity that puts people in a position of trouble.
2. Our justice system is unjust. There is no law on our books, no penalty that we can legally put into effect, that would serve this pig justice. Personally I think Levitical law covers this kind of thing pretty well. But this is a cretin who should have to experience the same kind of horror he put his victims through.
Elect me president and these kind of crimes are punishable by death. You get 30 days to make your peace with God, man and anyone else. But then after 30 days of daily subjection of punishment at the hands of those you hurt, you’re history. You’re not weighing on our legal system, costing tax payers thousands of dollars. You’re not feeding on taxpayers’ earnings for three squares and a place to sleep, not to mention medical care. You’re in a hole somewhere in 30 days after conviction. And no I’m not talking about gray cases. I’m talking about slam dunks, and this one is a slam dunk.
The thing is, Castro likely already has an attorney working day and night to lessen his sentence or get him off for reasons of insanity. That such a person with this desire exists is sobering in and of itself.
3. There could be an Ariel Castro near you. How many people do you know on your street? There are three on mine that I’ve never met or had a conversation with. We need to be all up in each others’ business.
These girls weren’t held in the middle of the desert or in some mountain cave. There were houses and families ALL AROUND THEM. People tuning in, hoping to see LeBron James get beat by the Cavs. People leaving their homes to see if there was anything to this Trent Richardson wearing #33. People sitting down to Thanksgiving meals…TEN to be exact. People coming and going. Life happening everywhere around these girls while their lives were slowly being taken from them. How in the world could this ever happen??
What’s going on in your neighborhood RIGHT NOW? Maybe nothing this heinous, but who is crying out for help that you’re not hearing?
When the neighborhood watch program came out years ago it was paraded like it was going to be the answer to stopping crime. But let’s get real. The automatic garage door killed the neighborhood watch program years ago. We pull up, push the button, drive in, push the button again, and we don’t have to talk or deal with the people around us. We are insulated, self-interested beings by nature, not exactly “loving our neighbors as ourselves” as the Creator instructed.
There are exceptions, but if you’re honest with yourself, how much have you really tried to get to know the people around you. Evil can’t hide itself forever, which is why I think it’s totally bogus that Castro’s family “was shocked” at the revelation that he had done this.
I’ll even take it a step further. I was eating at a Chinese restaurant this week…a hole in the wall I like to go to…and wondered how many of the women working there had been subjected to this kind of thing. Not abduction (but maybe), but human trafficking. Or how many know others of their nationality that has, or currently is? This is a serious problem, and to stop it, or at least damage it, it’s going to take people unafraid to get dirty.
But we’re often too consumed with which linebacker is going where, or taking pictures of players’ cars to prove they’re getting paid. That’s all well and good, and sports is a diversion that we all need. But when our world becomes sports and sports alone…our teams, and just sports in general…we lose a piece of ourselves that makes humanity humane.
4. I’m glad I’m not God. John 3:16 tells us that God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son for us, that WHOSOEVER believes in Him won’t perish but will have eternal life. If that prayer was offered up to me, and I was the big man hearing it, I’d have to act like I missed it. I’d send Ariel Castro to the furthest reaches of hell faster than Onterio McCalleb sprinting out of bounds. But that’s for Him to decide. I am not capable of that job.
All in all, there is no way humanly possible that these poor girls will ever have a normal life. They deserve millions in restitution so that they don’t ever have to think about anything but getting up, nourishing themselves, and putting one foot in front of the other. May God shield them from evil the rest of their days, and may Ariel Castro run into a band of angry inmates (sooner than later) who know who he is and know what he’s done.