TRIGGER WARNING: This post discusses two extreme examples of sexual assault and includes details of the crimes.
Ariel Castro is dead. After being sentenced to life and 1000 years beyond, he was allowed to hang himself in his cell after being denied examination by a psychologist who would almost certainly have recommended suicide watch.
It’s easy to hate men like Ariel Castro, and hate him we did. His crimes were so great that agreeing to the destruction of the house he committed them in was part of his plea bargain… and the companies that tore it down did so for free. So great we constructed a sentence that reads like something from Arabian Nights, and the internet howls now that he’s denied it to us. Everything about the man seemed custom-made for a prime-time crime drama.
Without mistake, Ariel Castro was a fundamentally broken human being. That’s not in debate. We are right to be outraged by the indescribably awful crimes he committed against Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight, and Gina DeJesus, as well as Berry’s daughter (who will one day have to construct an understanding of her birth and childhood within that prison). We’re right to be enraged by his unrepentant arrogance in the courtroom, his blame of porn and the survivors themselves for his sins. If anyone has ever deserved hate it was Ariel Castro.
But if we, as spectators, are going to hate Castro, we must understand why and we must do so in context. I don’t think we are. As news spread of the man’s death, something about the angry words spilling across social media and news sites feels false to me. We’re using our hate to hide from something deeper.
Here’s what stood out to me most: On CNN’s site, a short piece on his suicide called him a “monster.”
What, then, are Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond? Remember them? →