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So Ariel Castro took out the trash ...

September 6, 2013 - Paul Giannamore
When Ariel Castro decided to take out the trash Tuesday night, he set off a world of feelings, none of them easy.

Initially, my reaction was, “Good. At least now, as an Ohio taxpayer, I won’t be feeding and clothing this miserable (so-and-so) for the rest of my life. Or his.”

And then the guilts set in. I was actually glad somebody was dead, which seemed wrong.

Of course, he didn’t think it was wrong to keep three girls from their teens into young adulthood captive, or to father a child with one and force miscarriages of others. That is what separates “us” from “them.”

As one of “them,” he took his own life, and I cannot say I am remotely sorry. I don’t connect him with his family because I cannot imagine anyone condoning his behavior, and his family hasn’t, that I have ever read or heard.

Yet, the guilt.

I heard a lot of other people saying it wasn’t wrong to think such a thought, nor should we be held accountable for policing our thoughts anyway. (Though the feds surely are hoping to gain that ability. Which reminds me, today’s NSA words are “pine cone, radial tire and caramel corn”).

But then, there was another reaction from some friends, who said his last act was one of absolute cowardice. He, to paraphrase the district attorney in Cleveland, couldn’t endure for a month what he subjected three women to for 10 years.

At least he saved someone else in prison from having his blood on their hands, I suppose.

And, from his death, I reaffirmed my thanks at my career choice. There was a brief period where I wondered if, given my joy at arguing and my overly conversational nature (“He never shuts up!” my family would say) if I wouldn’t enjoy a life as a lawyer.

Then came the day an attorney came to a high school class to discuss his career with us, and I never was able to accept or resolve his answer to the question, “What do you do when you’re appointed to defend someone you know is absolutely guilty?”

He talked about professionalism and doing his job. I thought about wanting to shoot the criminal SOB, if the crime warranted it, not defending him.

Which brings me back to Ariel Castro. The ACLU wants to be sure Castro’s rights were preserved, that the Ohio prison system and its guards did all they could to protect Castro from himself, including more or better counseling.

I would assume the ACLU would not want prisoners to be housed naked in rooms without blankets or bed linens, because that might be the only way to prevent a jail cell self-hanging. But that would be cruel and unusual.

So would taking three neighborhood children off the streets and imprisoning them for a decade.

Where were the defenders of rights on that one?

The only solace comes from a friend from my Steubie U. days, who said of positive feelings I harbor at Castro’s death, “Only you know the true intention of your heart.”

I know I couldn’t have defended him. Nor could I have killed him. And I hate that the prison guards will be second guessed in some lawsuit in this case. Guy wanted to do himself in, and he did himself in.

So, I think it’s OK to be a little glad I don’t have to take care of this cad forever, plus 1,000 years (loved that sentence).


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