Tuesday, May 7, 2013

for ten long years

After the tempest of the local newsrag's misgendering of a murder victim, a subsequent arrest for that, I think I used to ride the same bus as that kid, and I don't know what the semantics are but no one should die like that. Not to excuse our newsrag, but given the way things are on their way out, I don't expect good journalism and find myself reading the Guardian for the local news stories these days.They've got the best coverage here.

And then this whole thing, which I saw on CNN when my Internet was acting wonky. I remember when those girls disappeared, and thought it was probably the same person. facebook wasn't even working I think there were so many Clevelandians collectively freaking out and rejoicing that these girls who've been missing and presumed dead the last ten years were found alive.

 I know that neighborhood, I live a few blocks north and slightly west of where they were found, almost two blocks north exactly of where they disappeared. My friend used to work at the auto parts store across from where the one girl got kidnapped and always worried about me being over there.  I've probably driven by that house, and that gives me chills. And of course there's the usual ignorant folk who make fun of the local color but screw them. These folks are pretty much my neighbors, the people I go to church with, the people I rub shoulders with at the grocery store. The Queen of the Bondo points out that if the guy below was walking on the same street as most of these people calling him a hero, they'd probably avoid him. That being said, mad props to him.

I can't even begin to comprehend the horror and disbelief. I just can't process the emotions of being glad they're alive, hoping that they recover from the hell of the last decade, frustration at a city's law enforcement who seems more concerned about generating city revenue than protecting vulnerable people. A couple years ago we found out 12 women were rotting in someone's house, this year it's three women being imprisoned in someone's basement for ten years. What the hell. And it seems like the neighbors did call the police but nothing was really ever done. This makes me so angry.

And then I wonder how many other situations are like this, and how many other times we've called the police and nothing's been done. I can think of at least two times when this has happened in my world, and then that other time when that girl's body was dumped on the side of the highway and the cops couldn't get bothered to look. 

We live in a city where human life is devalued, where the response time and whether or not you're taken seriously when you call for help depends on which neighborhood you're in, where new developments are built downtown while neglected neighborhoods continue to deteriorate because they're not gentrified, where police fire 137 shots at an unarmed car, where people would rather talk about condos than schools, where we close schools and build more prisons, where bike lanes are more important than safe places for kids to play, where women go missing all the time, where rape is a regular thing, where the infant mortality rates across the street from said hospital are comparable to third-world countries. I could go on here, but it makes me sick to think about.

I am happy for these girls, I am happy to see people come together to rejoice that what's lost is found, but this place, I can't even describe how I feel.


  1. I can only imagine the torment those poor girls/women have had to endure for 10 years. One of them apparently had a baby. I just don't understand how those men could get away with it. No one noticed—not his family or friends or co-workers. Did the girls never need a doctor?

    1. There's an abandoned house next door, and an industrial property behind it. It's not the greatest neighborhood and people move in and out a lot. And it seemed like he made an effort to keep up the appearance of being normal and the one girl knew him because he was a friend of her dad's. As awful as it is, I could see how it could happen. It seems like a lot of bad things fall through the cracks more often than they should.

  2. was listening to one of the neighbors explaining how it used to be a place where people really knew their neighbors but not any more, the collateral casualties of globalization are adding up...