Wednesday, May 8, 2013


In the aftermath of the Castro kidnapping story in Cleveland, Ohio, there has been quite a bit of second-guessing. Neighbors feel that Ariel Castro fooled them. Why didn't the police ever penetrate the Castro home deeply enough to find the three women? If Onil and Pedro Castro are found to have been uninvolved, ire will still fall on them for not being aware of what there brother was doing.

But all of this is simply the new reality that we live in. Community ain't what it used to be. But this is nothing new. At no time in my adult life have I been able to tell you the name of the neighbors who lived to either side of me. I've lived in apartment complexes where neighbors have come and gone without ever exchanging more than a dozen words in total. If my next-door neighbors had a machine shop in their apartment and were turning out custom modified Hyundais on a daily basis, it would be news to me.

This is to be expected. Our modern society has made people and families more independent of one another. And with that lack of dependence has come a lack of tolerance for knowing other people's business. I doubt that all of the people I have live near have been upstanding model citizens. It wouldn't surprise me if some pretty dark secrets were being kept right under my nose. Despite the reports of neighbors that they reported some fairly obvious clues to authorities, the stories that have been released so far show a man who was careful to keep things under wraps. People are good at keeping secrets. Couples who have been together for decades are not immune to one partner keeping some pretty remarkable things carefully hidden from the other.

Until society changes such that neighbors are forced into greater inter-reliance on one another, we should expect situations like this to pop up from time to time. Knowledge is fostered by closeness, and the independent don't need to be close.

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