Yesterday Ariel Castro was sentenced to more than 1000 years in prison for the kidnapping, rape, and years of torture of three women in Cleveland.
Michelle Knight, who was held captive by Castro for 11 years, read an emotional statement at the hearing. She said she had spent 11 years in hell, and now Castro’s hell would be just beginning. She also vowed not to let her terrible experience define her, or affect who she is, and instead to live on despite the ordeal. Those are noble, life-affirming sentiments from someone who has had to endure the unendurable.
Castro also spoke. He blamed his behavior on an “addiction” to sex and porn that made him “impulsive.” He said he was not a “monster” or a “violent predator,” but just a “normal person” whose addiction made him not understand that what he was doing is wrong. “I’m a happy person inside,” he said.
Castro later said he was “truly sorry” for his acts, but of course that “apology” rings awfully hollow. It’s obvious that Castro has rationalized away taking responsibility for his heinous acts, blaming a phony “addiction” rather than accepting blame himself.
One thousand years is a long time, but mere physical incarceration is not the same as experiencing true moral guilt for your criminal conduct. Castro obviously doesn’t, and that makes even a 1,000-year sentence seem inadequate. It’s a sad day for our society when a man who kidnapped and enslaved three women, raped them repeatedly, beat them until they miscarried, and kept them in chains, can deny his obvious status as a “violent predator” and publicly claim to be a “normal person” who is “happy inside.”