Prayers have finally

First of all, please stop saying things like that.

“Prayers have finally been answered. The nightmare is over,” said Stephen Anthony, head of the FBI in Cleveland. “These three young ladies have provided us with the ultimate definition of survival and perseverance. The healing can now begin.”

Dude. Prayers were not answered, finally or otherwise. Berry finally, after ten miserable years (during which her mother died, believing her to be dead), got a chance to escape and get the others rescued. That’s what happened. Prayers had nothing to do with it – and if they did, by the way, fuck the piece of shit who answered them. What took so long? Was the prayer-answerer too busy sending earthquakes and hurricanes and droughts?

But they had nothing to do with it, so shut up about them.

And then…

Two neighbors said Tuesday that they were alarmed enough by what they saw at the house to call police on two occasions.

Elsie Cintron, who lives three houses away, said her daughter once saw a naked woman crawling on her hands and knees in the backyard several years ago and called police. “But they didn’t take it seriously,” she said.

Another neighbor, Israel Lugo, said he heard pounding on some of the doors of Castro’s house, which had plastic bags on the windows, in November 2011. Lugo said officers knocked on the front door, but no one answered. “They walked to side of the house and then left,” he said.

Why weren’t the prayers powerful enough at least to make the cops do a more thorough job on one of those occasions? That’s not asking much. Most of the heavy lifting is already done – the cops are there, on the scene. Why didn’t the prayers cause the cops to take it seriously? To get a warrant and break the door down?

I’m not rushing to blame the cops. They probably get a lot of calls based on vague or could-be-mistaken” things, and they can’t get a warrant and break the door down every time – we’d be yelling about police brutality if they did. But why couldn’t the prayers have put a heavy thumb on the scales when it would have been useful?

Causality. It’s so easy to get it wrong.


  1. sharoncrawford says

    The whole idea that is is some sort of “happy ending” just makes me sick. These young women have lost great chunks of their lives. The rest of their lives will be haunted by what happened to them and what was done to them. Yes, I’m glad they’re alive and I hope they will continue to feel that way, too. But the whole Prayers thing is revolting. What kind of shthole deity does such things??

  2. jamessweet says

    So a point of clarification on the two police visits: Neither of them had anything to do with suspicious activity at the house. The one in 2000 was before the imprisonment started, and it was because the guy had witnessed a car accident. The one in 2004 was because the guy is a school bus driver, and there was a report that a kid had been left on the bus. When the guy wasn’t home, the police tracked him down elsewhere, questioned him, and decided no crime had been committed. So the fact that they didn’t really investigate the house at that time is not at all surprising.

    Which is not to say there aren’t questions. As you quoted, multiple neighbors have told reporters that they called the police about suspicious shit at the house, and apparently there was no follow-up. We’re going to have to get some clarification on that, either on why the police didn’t follow up on reports of screaming and crawling naked women, or perhaps revealing some of the neighbors’ memories are faulty.

    However, the two police visits and the reports of suspicious activity are separate issues, and the former is not really an issue. In those cases, the police had no reason to do anything differently than they did.

  3. says

    @ 1 – I know. I saw one story that said the story had Cleveland celebrating. Celebrating?

    But at the same time, I kind of get it. It’s reunions, all the more so long-delayed reunions, all the more so when death is the more likely explanation of the absence. Shakespeare was a sucker for reunions, including ones of that kind – people who were thought dead come back. Sebastian, Imogen, Hermione and Perdita.

    But still. Those girls didn’t volunteer to be kidnapped so that there could be a reunion ten years later, and no damn prayers were answered.

  4. Robert B. says

    The kidnapping was a horror, but the escape / rescue is cause for great celebration, not to mention great praise for the bravery of the women. If I were God, none of this would have happened in the first place, and it certainly wouldn’t have happened for ten years… but I am very glad that they finally got away.

  5. jamessweet says

    I had some of the details wrong (I was doing it from memory of an article I read earlier, rather than referring back to the article to make sure I got it right, which I should have). But nevertheless, something really fishy is going on here: The police are flatly denying that they have any record of reports of naked women crawling around on the ground or pounding on the doors or screams. I have trouble believing that they would brazenly lie about that (even in a CYA exercise, I would think that it would be more like, “We examined the call logs, and believe we did proper follow-up” or something like that… because if there’s any call log of this stuff, it’s going to come out eventually, and denying it exists would be a bad move). So something weird happened here.

    A few random speculations:

    1) I’m entirely sure I believe all of the neighbors’ stories — maybe some false memories, maybe some exaggeration in the heat of the moment, etc. Nevertheless, too many of them have come forward and said they called about suspicious stuff, so I don’t think that can account for all of the discrepancy.

    2) It’s possible the 911 dispatchers didn’t believe the neighbors’ stories at the time (and/or misunderstood some aspects of it) and failed to pass it on to police. Given the, ahem, nature of the neighborhood, it’s possible that classicism issues discouraged dispatchers from taking the calls seriously — either because they didn’t believe them, or because they thought things like a scream or people acting funny were small potatoes.

    3) I can’t help but notice that the two times the police actually went to the house, once it was because the guy actually called, and the second they were specifically looking for him based on a report from his employer. This is a shot in the dark, but maybe something about the way the house(s) is/are numbered caused some sort of confusion either in the reporting or in the police response? I mean, I know it sounds silly, but maybe the police were going to 2207 Seymour Street instead of 2207 Seymour Avenue, or some similarly ridiculous snafu.

    I’m thinking that some variation of (2) is probably the most likely, sadly enough. But still, something is fishy here… if the police had acknowledged receiving the calls but said they found nothing suspicious, that would be one thing. But the fact they are denying they have any record of even reports — that’s weird. There’s more to this story, somewhere.

  6. jamessweet says

    Meant to say NOT entirely sure I believe all of the neighbors’ stories… but like I say, even if some of it is heat-of-the-moment exaggeration, too many have come forward for this to be the full explanation.

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