This wasn't the post I thought would be leading off the day today. Instead, I wrote this uplifting post about how your kids might end up alcoholics despite your best efforts, in response to a post about one woman's hope to keep her daughters from turning out like Vodka Samm.
But by the end of my late night Facebook strolls, I learned that Ariel Castro had been found hanged in his prison cell in Orient, Ohio around 9:20 p.m., and was pronounced dead at a local hospital after some attempts to resuscitate him via CPR at the prison failed. (I also found out someone at the Washington Post has a real "tell-it-like-it-is" attitude about their URL links.)
He had been sentenced to life in prison plus 1,000 years and had been in protective custody on the 937 counts of kidnapping and rape. I do not feel one bit sorry for the fact that he was scheduled to be locked away, most likely in some sort of solitary situation, for a very long time. I cannot comprehend the horrors that the three women were subjected to. I am not really even certain what the proper justice is for something like that, and I do know that these are the people and the crimes that maximum security prisons were made for -- not drug offenders and people who need to be rehabilitated in other ways.
However, every time I read that someone has committed suicide, I am left with some sort of queer longing. I wish that there were a way to understand why things happen. Why heinous things are happening -- to those girls, to people all across this planet, to Ariel himself. I refuse to believe that he was born a monster. And if he was, then why that? Why are there monsters being born?
And I accept that -- that might be a thing, too. People with addictions beyond their control. People who are pedophiles. People who have rages and urges and voices and sicknesses we absolutely cannot possibly understand. I don't know why. I don't know why it happens. If you believe in an higher power or a God, I don't know. I believe in something, and I'm not sure myself. What I do believe in is this:
I believe that I have a finite mind that cannot understand an infinite being or Universe. And there are things which I just can't make sense of. Some of these crazy ass things fit into that category. I also believe that nature/God/Universe abhors suicide. It's in our nature to live. That's how you get crazy shit like 127 Hours and Alive. Faced with extreme conditions and the will to survive, the human body and mind are able to withstand tremendous things.
So, when in the course of human events, someone decides not only to give up, but to actively seek one's one demise, it just leaves me wondering if there was something we could have done. As a collective. If we failed somehow. If there was some point along the way where we could have shown more kindness, more compassion, more understanding, more love. If there was a way to treat the illness that leads one to go against the prime directive always guiding us -- Live. Breathe. Be.
Ultimately, I think the world is now a better place. The women will have the opportunity to be at peace knowing he no longer walks the earth. The rest of his family can rest knowing they will no longer shoulder the responsibility for answering to their father's actions. He is at peace. But you will see me sing no songs of joy, nor dance a gleeful jig. I will not rejoice in the death of another, no matter how it comes. As always, two wrongs do not make a right and his ending his life does not return what he took from the women he held in captivity.
It's a curious thing to me. I feel no reason to mourn his death or really be sad about his leaving us, but I really do wonder sometimes why things work the way they do. I happen to be one of those "everything happens for a reason" people, so maybe this is just the way this particular equation works out. But it also doesn't mean that it leaves me with anything for the plus side, either. It's a zero sum at this point. No one wins in this one.
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