Ariel Castro, who held 3 women captive in Cleveland, kills self in cell


Before anybody says ‘good riddance’ . . .

How do we know if in a slightly different world he could have been excellent at identifying oconogenes or an innate talent at graphene with a passion for supercapacitors? For all we knew he still had an untapped amazing skill that could have cured cancers or sped our transition to renewables, saving countless lives and could’ve done something useful if he just never got to be alone around kids or have secret places to hide people anymore.

Before we wish ill on some stranger, we should be making sure that our society hasn’t artificially framed that question for us.

If we can try to cure and salvage somebody like him or just put him out of our minds and never poison ourselves by creating our own suffering where none existed. . . then we’re probably worth salvaging too, right?


This was the perfect opportunity to invoke Gollum, and you blew it. To wit, if Bilbo or Frodo had taken the less judicious route and just offed the guy, we’d all now be speaking pidgin Orkish and suffering under Sauron’s heel.


You’re kidding. Right? This guy certainly has never expressed any desire to help humanity. The fact that not once did he think, “Wow, you know what? This is a really bad idea,” in the last 10 years means that his mind is so far gone that there is no way he can redeem himself. It’s not worth the effort because this guy is broken.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go modify my lawnmower so it pushes around 500 horsepower. I know I can make it happen with enough time and limited resources.
Also, good riddance.


What a thoughtful comment. Personally I like to remind people that being raped in prison is not supposed to be part of someone’s punishment.

And with your comment, since it is about someone at the extreme of vile actions, maybe we can ask ourselves, “What about the people in prison for drug related crimes?”

And then, "What about all the people who are smart but have no opportunity to use them because of the lack of job training that throw them into massive debt?

The waste of human potential is a tragedy with people who don’t have those kind of crimes.


But we don’t live in any of those slightly different worlds. We live in this one.

And I’m quite comfortable with this Ariel Castro not living in it with us any more.


There is plenty of historical precedent that suggests that someone “hanging themselves” in jail is quite likely to have actually been hanged, as it’s a relatively easy way to dispose of someone hated, with a very low chance of it being investigated or found out. After all, “They won’t be missed”.

Sadly, we as a society don’t do enough to combat this sort of thing. We aren’t bothered by the possibility that someone was unjustly executed via corrupt jailers or vigilante prisoners, because we consider it to have been “deserved”, to be some sort of Providential punishment for their crimes.

Yet we are ostensibly a nation and a people of laws, and Justice demands that we are all equal under the law, even those we condemn and revile for terrible acts. Petty vengeance corrupts us, twists us, deprives us of any moral standing and turns us into hypocrites of the worst kind. Let the law do its work - let those who commit crimes be subject to the powers of law - but do not turn a blind eye to further criminality, or even merely to the possibility of such, no matter how “deserved” we feel it may be.


How easy it is to damn others, especially the dead.

Where has pity gone? One need not agree with someone to recognize the tragedy of death, even death which one feels was “deserved” due to the tragedies of their life. Are we content merely to accept anger and hate as the feelings we should experience in this sort of situation? Are we not yet worthy enough, perhaps not to forgive, but to lament even the most wretched and diseased criminals and sinners among us?

No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the
continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any
manner of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death
diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never
send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

~John Donne, Meditation XVII


See, there I go thinking little and you went ahead and kicked it up a notch.


Very agreed. We can start easy and work to hard, and not poison ourselves along the way. We don’t need to nickel and dime our humanity away.


I’m don’t damn anybody. In fact, years ago as a thought experiment I constructed what my ideal afterlife would be, and it explicitly ruled out retribution, everyone gets the benefits, evil or good (although their evil impulses would be prevented from harming people, which might be punishment to the particularly bloody-minded). I’m anti-death penalty and anti-torture/bad-conditions-to-punish-prisoners. I would love if rehabilitation could be managed in every criminal case, and absolutely think the death should be investigated (and, if it wasn’t a suicide, anybody who was involved be contained appropriately).

But suggesting we should mourn or regret his passing, even a little bit, because he might have been a good guy if he didn’t decide to kidnap some young girls and rape them for several years, or because he might have had some useful talent we never discovered and nurtured? I’m sorry, that’s a little much. As I said, I’m quite comfortable with him no longer living in the same world as us. “Good riddance” doesn’t mean we’re dancing around happy that he’s dead, but if at least we’re rid of him? That doesn’t seem to be a bad thing.


See, the fact that you ‘knew’ these things about him . . . you don’t see the trap?

You didn’t know a thing, you turned him into a cartoon character. We all do. And that’s the root of much of the evil in this world. We try to care about people that we don’t see as actual human beings.

It’s science.

While he might have been a guy who loved puppies, hated racism, and recycled every week, it’s somewhat overriden by the fact that he chose to kidnap and rape several women for multiple years and caused one to miscarry via horrifying abuse.

So while it’s unfortunate that the Ariel Castro of this world didn’t find some great skill that would have benefited humanity, I’m not too broken up that the Ariel Castro who decided to do the aforementioned actions is no longer with us.


I’d prefer the slightly different world where we didn’t so routinely apologize for rapists.


He beat a woman, who he had kidnapped and repeatedly raped, that he impregnated until she miscarried.

Going to go with irredeemably evil here.


I would like to know what drugs you are on.

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He most likely did not appreciate being held captive against his will.


But this isn’t about those people. I didn’t read the article with glee, but I didn’t read it with sadness either. Basically, I felt a shrug coming on. If this was murder and not suicide, then whoever is responsible should be charged.

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You’re missing the point.

It’s not about HIM. It’s about us. The fact that so many go out of their way to think about him at ALL is part of the problem.

There should be only two responses.

  1. Let’s do what we can with all of the broken people.
  2. If we can’t think positively about somebody then don’t spare a thought.

Everything else is poisoning US. Who cares about him?


It’s up to the kidnapped, raped and beaten girls to forgive or not to forgive, as well as his family and the neighborhood. To the death, everyone dies. Some sooner than later. If we spent our lives mourning each and every person who passes, there wouldn’t be any time for much else.