May 072013

The Cleveland kidnapping case is one of those stories that leave you blinking and shaking your head.  What was that about?  Were the girls abducted for the enjoyment of the three Castro brothers?  What sort of horrors did Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight endure before they finally managed to be rescued?

cleveland kidnaps

There’s a clinging air of bafflement about the media reports as commentators try to make sense of the bizarre details in this very disturbing case that seems to be a strange cross between Josef Fritzl , Silence of the Lambs and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, with added redneck weirdness.

What on earth were the abductors thinking, if they were thinking at all?

I don’t know a whole lot about this case and I’m not sure I want to know much more than we’ve already been told, but as a man who has a daughter, everything about it repels me.   Somewhere deep inside the ancient amygdala fish-brain that has managed to survive through all these aeons after we hauled ourselves out of the swamp, there’s an impulse that says KILL.  It’s not a particularly useful impulse, but nevertheless, it’s something we can’t escape from, even though most of us control it and most of the time, don’t act on it.

And yet, even though I’ve never been a violent man,  that atavistic urge is still there, lurking and grunting in the half-light.  In extremis I know that I’d have little difficulty ending somebody’s life if it meant saving one of my own.

Well and good, but would I boast about it?  Would I brandish my new assault rifle and beat my chest?  

No.  I’d probably be sick for months at the thought that I had taken a human life.  I don’t know if I’d ever get over it and I think the only consolation would be the fact that I had saved someone I love.

Would I kill someone in revenge for a hurt done?  Only in my dreams.  In my imagination,  I’d kill them over and over again, but to be honest with you, if it came to the point of taking a knife and slitting their throat, I don’t think I’d be capable of it, because the act would diminish me.  It would make me less than the man I thought I was.

That’s why today we have TV series like Game of Thrones.  That’s why, for generations, we had Westerns as a means to sublimate our violent desires, but today, in a disturbing evolution of the fictional fantasy, people, especially in the US,  seem to have bought in to the cinematic fantasy that other human beings are merely ciphers, little more than computer graphics to be zapped without compunction.

I find this worrying because it has implications for the whole human race and even though, as a father, I want to personally torture and then extirpate the people who abducted the three girls in Cleveland, I know that will never happen.  To do so would be barbaric and I like to think I’m not a barbarian.

As with so many other things, I could be wrong about that.

  12 Responses to “Cleveland Abductions — Lessons for the Caveman In Us”

Comments (12)

    The more one comes to know men, the more one comes to admire the dog.



    Yes, I love my dog better than most humans, too. But then she would still bite and probably kill anyone who comes near me in a threatening matter… :-) Good girl…

    These abduction cases, from Fritzl to Castro, are indeed disturbing. Not only for the ordeal of the women and girls involved but for, the in these cases, male mindset. I don’t go into that now. I do intellectually understand it from a patriarchal viewpoint (trying to invade the mind of a mentally deprived and monotheisticly brainwashed and conditioned male), scared of women or at least having a mature relationship with women. And blah.

    But what would I do in a situation like that as a parent? Would I go and kill the person who put my child into an unbearable ordeal?
    I don’t know. I never was in a situation like that, never had to chose.

    But whenever I think theoretically about it, I think about the case of Marianne Bachmeier. You have to google it, I didn’t find an English language link.
    Marianne Bachmeier (from Munich) was a beautiful women, a free spirit, a bit hippie and a single parent to a 7year old daughter in the early eighties.

    Her daughter was abducted and killed, the murderer, a butcher, as far as I remember, was caught and brought to trial.

    The press of course was blaming the mother. Hippie, beautiful, single, enjoying life and such. Not the murderer stood trial, but the mother.
    Another example of patriarchal sentiments and prejudices.

    What Marianne did however was to bring a gun into the courtroom and shoot the murderer of her daughter in front of all and sundry.
    That was before there were any searches before entering a courtroom. Innocent times, so to speak.

    I have to admit that I was a big fan of Marianne B. I admired her to take justice in her own hands, especially because she was vilified by the public – and never trust a sole male court in the early eighties – or even not now.

    The woman spent six years in prison for murder, but died shortly after her release of cancer.

    We still have that crocodile brain, that wants to kill at least those who hurt our loved ones or threaten us. I think we have to acknowledge it. We are not that advanced creatures after all. Look at the world as such.

    The only thing we can learn is to force our crocodile brain-pea to think of the consequences, and I’m not talking about prison time. I know someone who killed (for ‘good’ reasons) and he is damaged beyond repair.

    Is it worth it? I still don’t know.
    But I remember when someone actually hurt my beloved dog, I went berserk. Didn’t kill them though, don’t worry, but nearly, very nearly, in my mind at least.


    Many people are driven to taking terrible action because we have developed a mad situation in the DEVELOPED world now which protects the person who commits the most dreadful of crimes.
    Courts focus soley on the rights of the perpatrator not the victim.
    Just watch as teams of top lawyers doctors etc will now be drafted in to find cause reason and excuse for the dreadful actions of these brothers.
    Humanity seems to have forgotten one absoulute truth
    Evil does exist. Evil people exist
    I have never heard the story of Marianne B, but who could say they would not have done exactly the same thing in her position.


    I don’t know if you’ve read this:

    Someone posted it in a thread about the Amanda Berry story. It’s even more mind-boggling. Actually on second thoughts, don’t read it.



    Jesus that’s rough.


    The Petit murders here in CT had me having the same thoughts. I was so sorry that the police didn’t riddle them with bullets when the two psychos tried to escape.


    For some men, having power and control over women is aphrodisiacal. I cannot think of any animal that would do this to their own. Some human psyches are just plain fucked up,


    There is something genetically- and otherwise built into the male human psyche to will powerful evil to others, especially women. The Marquis de Sade illustrated it in some of his Sade-istic novels (in which females weren’t the only victims); the Frankenstein monster novel by Mary Shelly focused on it in another way, and the Edgar Allan Poe horror stories in the late 19th century highlighted the infliction of horrifying death. Can rational analysis and pleading adequately combat the genesis of such male fantasies and prevent their implementation in the Fritzl-Castro manner? When I read newspaper reports of of such as these I shudder and worry about the will-to-evil that seems to be so pervasive. I am aware of a few reported cases of female sexual and other violence against children too, but it is The Silence of Lambs-type of fantasy implementation against young girls and women that makes me shudder about human nature.


    Hold the phone there now lads and lassies.
    Women are just as capable of inflicting pain and suffering as men are. The male of the species does not hold the monoply on evil.
    Some of the most vicious abuse was conducted by nuns in this country,
    some of the most vicious abuse was conducted by women in concentration camps.
    Just read the kidnapping of Coleen, (sorry I did) but a woman was a collaborator in that awful story as well


    Mark, did you actually read the comments properly. Who suggested or implied that males have the monopoly on evil? Benno’s comment was interesting as an attempt to understand the male psyche and to discuss references to it in literature. Sorry to say this but your comment just sounds a bit dumb and irrelevant. Statistically I think you will find that it many instances of such abuse cases, males are the perpetrators. I don’t think this is a male versus female debate.


    Mark likes to steer topics off course

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