Before his name is thankfully lost to the passage of time, one more comment on the life and death of Ariel Castro.
Castro was the infamous kidnapper who held three women captive for a decade. Raping them repeatedly, and killing all but one of his illegitimate offspring, he was a monster without mercy, a jailer with the power of life and death.
Yet after ten years living in hell, his victims, Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, pledged to live the rest of their lives free from Castro’s psychological grasp. How many of us could endure so much, could nurture our solitary hope for so long, and climb out from such depths with even a shred of sanity?
These women are survivors. And they are strong.
Their tormentor, Castro, was the stereotypical bully. Fixated on his own gratification, unbalanced and lacking self esteem, he used deception and suprise to spring his traps. He feasted on their helplessness, reveled in the false power of the abuser.
On Tuesday, Castro was found hanging in his cell (TNT 9/3). After just one month of enduring discomfort far less than the suffering he doled out for a full decade, he confirmed his status as an abusive coward. By ending his sick life, he demonstrated a level of cowardice equal only to the cruelty for which he was given a life sentence.
Knight, Berry and DeJesus found their own way to freedom, emerging bent but not broken. If not whole, at least hopeful.
Like the one he fashioned for them, Ariel Castro lived briefly in the prison of his own creation. Unlike his courageous victims, he will emerge in a box.