Unimaginable horror

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.

May 8, 2013 1:47:00 PM PDT
My daughter called from college last night, puzzled and quizzing me about what really happened to Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight. We just don't know yet, I said. But it looks like they were confined - tied up or something - otherwise they would have escaped.

My daughter and so many others have a hard time wrapping their heads around what happened for the past decade in Cleveland, in that tiny house on that block crammed with other tiny houses.

What a torture chamber - those young girls, trapped inside by a madman and his two madmen brothers, locked in their rooms, sliding things in and out of the room through holes cut in the doors, and with the windows boarded up. Amanda had a daughter - now 6, presumably never been out of the house (can you imagine?), no school, no vaccinations, no doctor's visits, living in a tiny four-bedroom hell. We're told she was born in a small inflatable swimming pool.

The other two women reportedly became pregnant as well, although there are no reports of any children from them. We can only imagine.

And that's what's so unimaginable - that we can only imagine the horror for these kids.

That's why my daughter was calling, and I so wish I could have eased all of her uncertainty about this horrific story.

But as difficult as this story is to wrap our heads around, there's another equally difficult element here, involving the folks who live nearby. There are many who are lauding Charles Ramsey for being a hero, answering the door when Amanda managed to escape (the only time she apparently had the chance in 10 years) and told him she had been kidnapped and held hostage for a decade.

But there are many who are also wondering how it was that Mr. Ramsey and so many others saw the (alleged) captor, Ariel Castro, had BBQ with him, but never asked him why all his windows were boarded up? Or why food was being delivered and no one in the neighborhood wondered why they never saw anyone around who might be eating that food?

There's an old law enforcement/sociologist take on keeping crime down in any neighborhood. It's "eyes on the street." The more the better. It's a little like see-something, say-something. It's not like Mrs. Kravitz, the nosy neighborhood in Bewitched. It's about neighborhood watch. And clearly, in this neighborhood on Seymour Avenue in Cleveland, few people were watching, and if they were, they said little.

I'm just sayin'.

We'll have the latest, at 11.

Also at 11 - is there more scandal for New York politicians around the bend? A former New York State Senator secretly recorded six other State Senators and a New York City Councilman. Many of them are already under criminal investigation, and some of them face charges of corruption. What's on the tapes? We're working on that story, for 11.

And we're on the story of a double murder in the Bronx, where two bodies were found in a burning building. Cops say they were killed, and the fire was set to cover up the murders.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast (is there more rain on the way tomorrow morning?), and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.


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