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The Suburbanite
  • FRANK WEAVER, JR: Are Cowards Becoming More Prolific?

  • When brutes, too afraid to pick on someone their own size, do pick on smaller people, they only show their cowardice. Surprisingly, there seems to be a flood of cowards emerging lately from the woodwork in the Buckeye state.

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  • FOR THE MOST part, I’m a pretty tolerant individual. There’s very little in life of which I despise, dislike or even show a loss of respect. But the one thing for which I have no tolerance is bullying. I define that as an inhumane activity against anyone – child, teenager, adult, senior citizens or any other person. I’m talking about the weak, the frail, the poor, the helpless, the vulnerable or the defenseless.
    When brutes, too afraid to pick on someone their own size, do pick on smaller people, they only show their cowardice. Surprisingly, there seems to be a flood of cowards emerging lately from the woodwork in the Buckeye state. We’ve had Anthony Sowell, known as the Cleveland Strangler, who was convicted of killing 11 women between 2007 and 2009.
    Between 1989 until April 1992 Thomas Dillon was found guilty of shooting and killing five men in the southeastern part of the state. Then, recently, 52-year-old Richard Beasley was convicted of placing help wanted ads on the Craig’s List Web page, luring unemployed men to a farm in southeastern Ohio and then shooting those who applied.
     In 1992 William Garner, a 37-year-old killer from Cincinnati, was convicted of murdering five small children in that river front city.
    And let’s not forget that infamous cannibalistic killer, Jeffery Dahmer from Summit County’s Bath area who killed 17 young men from 1988 until 1991. Serving a life sentence in Wisconsin he was eventually murdered by another inmate.
    Then there was Robert Buell, a former Akron Planning Department worker. While not listed as a serial killer, Buell was convicted for the stalking, sexual assault, rape and strangulation of an innocent child –11-year-old Krista Lea Harrison of Marshallville on July 17, 1982 during a time when she was collecting aluminum cans in a park.
    Now there’s Ariel Castro of Cleveland who is also considered not to be a serial killer, but is just as bad.
    Castro, a 53-year-old former school bus driver kidnapped 20-year-old Michelle Knight, along with Amanda Berry, 16, who has a young daughter fathered by Castro and Gina DeJesus, 14. They were kept alive as captives for 11 years. It was reported that at one time during the ordeal the police were as close to Castro as his prisoners were but they had no idea he had them under lock and key.
    While he held the three ladies as prisoners, he raped all three at will, beat them, tied them up, chained them to beds and other stationary mounts and refused to allow them to go outside for fresh air. He treated them worse than the worst of prisoners who are kept in solitary confinement in federal penitentiaries.
    For this, there will be no trial.
    Castro, the coward, made a deal to save himself from execution. He pleaded guilty to a 937-count indictment of aggravated murder, kidnapping, rape and assault and battery for beating and starving Knight until she miscarried and his other two prisoners. Authorities found a hand-written letter, signed by Castro, admitting to his felonies over the years. He was sentenced to life in prison without any chance of parole, plus 1,000 years.
    Page 2 of 2 - On one hand, in my opinion, if anyone deserved to die for their crimes, Castro did. On the other hand, a deal to lock him up for life, plus, fortunately saves the three young victims from having to relive their horrid ordeal by testifying.
    Originally, Castro’s two brothers were also arrested, but eventually were released. As of this writing, I’m not sure what the status is on them, but if they were aware of what Castro was doing (and it’s asking a lot to believe this went on for 11 years without them being aware) and failed to report it to the proper authorities, they, too, should be held accountable.
    In his defense, Castro refused to take responsibility and blamed everything on a sexual illness, his former wife and others. He told the judge the women were never tortured and that most of the sex was consensual. He even had the unmitigated gall to say that “these people are trying to paint me as a monster. I am not a monster. I’m sick.” He then attempted to strengthen his defense by telling the judge how good a father he was to his 6-year-old daughter and indicated that he never struck any of the women.
    Probably not wishing to relive the horrid memories, two of the three kidnapped ladies, Berry, now 27, and DeJesus, now 25, chose not to speak in public. Fortunately, Knight, now 32, stepped forward to set the record straight on the hell all three women endured during those most trying years.
    “You took 11 years of my life away and I have got it back,” she told Castro to his face. “I spent 11 years in hell, now your hell is just beginning.” Then she added, “I will live on, but you will die a little every day.”
     On Wednesday, the house in Cleveland where Castro imprisoned the three ladies was razed. The house of horror is no more. Talk has already begun about different uses for the land, such as making it into a park. If they do, they ought to place a plaque on the site and name the park in honor of the three brave, courageous, feisty ladies who lived in hell there for 11 years and never gave up hope that they would be found.
    Something should be done so that we never forget.
    It’s a scary thought when you consider that Castro once drove a school bus hauling our precious offspring to and from school every day. For that reason alone, and for the safety of everyone in Ohio and the nation, each of us must continue to be more vigilant in uncovering these wicked, mentally deranged killers.
    Be aware. The cowards are out there. Our children’s lives are at stake.
     Comments may be emailed to: Frankweaverjr@aol.com