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The Monsters that Walk Among Us

If you sat next to Ariel Castro in a movie theater, you would never guess how evil he was.

by
Jack Dunphy

Bio

May 14, 2013 - 12:01 am
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I’ve spent most of my police career in Los Angeles working in similar neighborhoods, and even in those that genuinely are “tight-knit” there are always those few individuals who, like Ariel Castro, are themselves at varying stages of coming unraveled.  I’ve arrested murderers who had been living right under the noses of people who couldn’t bring themselves to believe that their friend, neighbor, or even family member had shot, stabbed, or bludgeoned someone to death.  Once he washes the blood off his hands, your typical murderer looks much the same as anyone else.

Did the police make mistakes in their handling of the three women’s disappearances?   Perhaps.  Michelle Knight’s name was dropped from an FBI database of missing persons only 15 months after her disappearance, but there is little cause to believe her continued presence in the database would have led to her recovery.  After all, Amada Berry’s and Gina DeJesus’s names were in the same database the entire time they were held, to no effect at all.  And as for those who say the police should have done more to find the women, one must ask: What more could they have done?  In all three abductions the police had no witnesses to describe a suspect and no crime scene from which to pluck forensic evidence.  And there was nothing about Ariel Castro that would have offered police cause to suspect him in the cases or to search his home.

No, it isn’t easy to spot the evil person next door.  Witness the various characterizations of the Tsarnaev brothers, the Boston Marathon bombers, whom most acquaintances described as ordinary young men incapable of such a horrific crime.  And now we know that the brothers have been implicated in a 2011 triple murder in Waltham, Mass., not far from the Watertown neighborhood where the elder brother was killed in a shootout with police and the younger one was captured.  How many of their friends suspected they were such cold-hearted killers?  How many of the strangers they encountered every day saw even a hint of the darkness in their souls?  None of them, I’m sure.

So it is with Ariel Castro.  Yes, now that he’s been identified as the proprietor of the Seymour Avenue Dungeon, his neighbors are making claims that they suspected him of bad things all along.  There was a naked woman chained up in the backyard, went one report, but the police failed to investigate.  All of these tales were concocted after the rescue, police say; there was nothing about Ariel Castro or his house that would have offered the slightest hint at what he was doing behind his closed door.

Ariel Castro is accused of unspeakably evil acts, but like the Tsarnaev brothers, like that murderer I arrested years ago, like all those killers on the loose in Chicago and most other cities you could name, he went unrecognized until the evidence of his crimes leapt out and grabbed someone’s attention.

Not every criminal — or even every murderer — sinks to the level of depravity occupied by the likes of the Tsarnaev brothers and Ariel Castro.  But consider: The Boston Globe reported that police solved 43 percent of the city’s murders in 2012, leaving 57 percent of the killers out and about and free to kill again.  In Ariel Castro’s Cleveland the police do a better job of things, with a 2012 murder clearance rate of 69 percent, but that still leaves 31 percent of its killers on the loose.  And in Chicago, a mere 132 of the city’s 507 murders that occurred in 2012 were solved, for a clearance rate of just 26 percent.  That’s a lot of killers running around out there going to restaurants and the movies and partaking in all the other pleasures the less homicidally inclined enjoy, maybe even sitting in the theater right next to . . . you.

Enjoy the show.

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Jack Dunphy is the pseudonym of a police officer in Southern California.

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Top Rated Comments   
Very bad people are sly and part of the pleasure they get from doing their evil is being able to hide themselves behind a façade of normalcy. It convinces them of their own superiority.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's much easier to identify evil people if they have been President for a few years.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (19)
All Comments   (19)
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1 John 3
"14-15 The way we know we’ve been transferred from death to life is that we love our brothers and sisters. Anyone who doesn’t love is as good as dead. Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know very well that eternal life and murder don’t go together.

16-17 This is how we’ve come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves. If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God’s love? It disappears. And you made it disappear.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
""" If you sat next to Ariel Castro in a movie theater, you would never guess how evil he was. """

I would, however, note how ugly he was.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
I saw a YouTube video of a film done in about 1940. A camera was turned on and just ran as a car drove through downtown L.A. one evening. There were lots of people going about their business and a cop at every intersection.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Most murders happen within families or groups of friends and we teach our young men to kill people in the military; they come and it's "So what?" Thus, they are like all of us.

See The Two Minute Conservative via Google or: http://tinyurl.com/7jgh7wv When you speak ladies will swoon and liberal gentlemen will weep.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
SilverAge nailed it: The police focus is obsessively on the War on Drugs, and Federal deficit spending is the lifeblood of this bald corruption of local police. I would suspect that the best cops in Cleveland get "promoted" into sinister sounding Federal drug task forces, with overwhelming funding compared to the murder and serious "real" felony crime units. Instead of going all out and really looking for these women, the Cleveland police most probably arrested and convicted 10,000's of marijuana users over that 10 years, with no real impact on Public Safety. And the FBI it seems totally dropped the ball on both the Boston Marathon terrorists and on this kidnapping case, due to their obsessive and totally destructive fixation on the drug war.
And local politicians are DEMANDING that the FBI INCREASE funding for marijuana eradiction, in response to the legalization of recreation use in Colorado and Washington which has had absolutely NONE of the dire consequences warned by the drug warriors.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
With this case coming in the wake of several other similar high-profile cases (Jaycee Dugard, Elizabeth Smart, etc.), one can't help but wonder just how many other women and children are living in dungeons around the country right now, being raped and terrorized by subhumanoid mutants like Ariel Castro. Disturbing.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
I have always wondered why there never seems to be a thorough study done on killers. I have read Morrison and Baumeister and know what's out there. They seem so insufficient and I believe so much more can be done to profile the criminal personality. Why isn't it done? After Columbine, we still know NOTHING of Harris and Klebold. We know NOTHING about the Colorado shooter, the Newtown killers. I find this incredible. There IS a pattern. There is a common thread. There are commonalities. But why do theyu seem to be ignored, or worse, covered-up?
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
There are several problems with trying to predict who's going to be a murderer, let alone act on those predictions.

First and foremost in a free country you can't punish people for you think thye might do. Yeah, if someone without a farm is buying truckloads of fertilizer then the cops ought to have a talk with him, but having the cops haul people in because their neighbors think they're creepy just won't work.

Which leads us to the second big problem. Say there was some kind of generally accepted method for predicting crime. Do you really trust the government with that kind of power? Given what they've ADMITTED to doing with the IRS do you really think Obama, Pelosi and Reid would hesitate to jail some Tea Party leaders for the "good of the community"? And do you think the media would do anything to stop them? If you do believe that you should go have a chat with Mr. Nakoula.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
A U of Penn professor is claiming that brain scans can show a murderer, and is implying that the ability to murder is a genetic trait.

I don't buy it. I kind of wonder, though, if the brain doesn't change after a murder.

Here's a link to the article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2013/may/12/how-to-spot-a-murderers-brain
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Many things are organic without being genetically determined. Early experience shapes the brain through apoptoesis and methylation of genes (gene expression).
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
I've known four well-established murderers and one strong suspect in my life. I know I cannot spot them all, but I definitely see people differently than people who have not seen so much. All but one of the five above, the strong suspect, gave off a vibe that something was not quite normal, one was a psychopath (in prison, thank God), and one was as narcissistic as a bat from hell (comitted suicide rather than surrender to law enforcement). The strong suspect probably would have lived his life without ever commiting murder but for circumstances.

On top of the murderers I've had contact with a few sociopathic businessmen.

There are definitely monsters out there, but they are not all without signals to what lurks inside - you get the feeling you are talking to a mask. I've learned to just get the hell away from people who give off that vibe.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Curious about where you hang out, Ep.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
The sociopath was a guy near my age growing up, just a terror for my small town 'til he killed a couple of people openly (had already killed one "accidentally" and suspected of killing a family member of his). I went in the bar/restaurant business, three were associated with that so I decided to find another way to make a living, the narcissist was a supervisor for a heavy industry company I worked for - my job required a lot of interaction with him. After he was fired he went further astray.

More I will not say.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
I know somebody who did time in La Mesa prison in Tijuana. He said most of the narcos who had killed could not stand silence. They had to have a radio or TV playing to prevent from having to think about what eternity might hold for them. As Catholics we believe that God will forgive even murder. Well written article Dunph -- the disturbing ending punctuates you fine article with a little dark cop humor.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Very bad people are sly and part of the pleasure they get from doing their evil is being able to hide themselves behind a façade of normalcy. It convinces them of their own superiority.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
True dat.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
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