In itself, by itself, that’s not so uncommon, or even statistically noteworthy; in itself, by itself, it is staggering and significant.
For me, Northeast Ohio is home. I grew up with photos of Gina DeJesus and Amanda Berry being featured on the news constantly when they disappeared, and at least once a year as vigils were held, as hope endured even if it thinned, even if it frayed. When the women were found, when the story made national news and I heard it in Boston before I spoke to my family and they mentioned it—those girls, do you remember those girls?—it felt somehow more personal, for the proximity. It was close to home.
The news last week of Ariel Castro’s suicide in Orient has likewise commanded airtime, has taken over conversation. On the news, in the stores, conversations in passing with maintenance workers, cashiers: strangers, really—the sentiments, for the most part, are the same.
Justice wasn’t just blind, it was blindingly fast. What a coward, death is too easy for him! A man who does that sort of thing to women deserves to die. Good riddance. Saves my tax dollars, doesn’t it? Won’t have to feed him for his thousand-year sentence. Couple-thousand dollars for a state burial and we’ll wash our hands of it. Hell, he doesn’t even deserve a burial. Burn his body and toss the ashes.
It’s not an unheard of sort of reaction. It’s not unprecedented, or surprising, either. But frankly, it doesn’t sit well with me.