Skip to main content

Unfathomable: Dealing With Stories of Captivity


Like everyone as of late, I can't get enough of the Charles Ramsey quotes. The guy is totally entertaining, and really has a distinct "down-to-earth-ness" about his new found fame as a hero. Yet, behind the awesome soundbites of Ramsey and courageous heroism that he is downplaying (another tremendous and respectable quality of humility), there is a tragic and utterly hard to bear story of the three women who were held captive for years. 

After reading the autobiography of Jaycee Dugard (A Stolen Life: Raw, Truthful, and Powerful), who suffered a similar experience, I really have struggled with the "captivity" situation since. For most of us on the outside looking in, the story is horrific enough, but when you get into the mind, thoughts, and raw experiences as detailed by Dugard in her tell-all book, it leaves you heart-broken, angry, and completely unable to wrap your mind around how anyone - much less a CHILD - can endure, survive, and recover from it. The titled piece, A Stolen Life, are three words which perfectly describes any and all captivity and kidnapping stories, as well as makes you realize what truly occurred. A stolen life, indeed.

The same goes very much so in this story. 

As the details emerge of what occurred in that horror house in Cleveland, you can't help but feel elated for Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight. They now have Freedom. Something we often associate with political measures and international affairs, and rarely ever within the basic human rights context. They will now get to enjoy every ounce of it to the full extent as if it were tangible. A chance to be with family and friends, and to enjoy what should have been for the past ten years. 

Unfortunately, the road to recovery isn't completed. And from reading Dugard's book, you know that these women face a looooooooooooooooong road to recovery. In terms of love, trust, mental health, and even how to deal with their new freedom, there is plenty of personal growth to do, social development to happen, and countless hurdles to overcome. Dugard experienced this, which is why she started the Jaycee Dugard Foundation to help others in similar situations. Others have also stepped forward such as Ronique Laquette Smith, who wrote an amazing piece on CNN.com sharing her experience being held captive, and the recovery road after she escaped. 

Honestly, I still find it very difficult to write on this issue just as I did after reading A Stolen Life. It's a situation that makes you feel so many different emotions without really and truly being able to wrap your mind around so many of the components. You're very happy for all of the family and friends involved. Yet angry that this can happen to anyone - ANYONE - in this nation. All the while fearful of hearing more stories like this. And of course, hoping it doesn't hit anywhere near home. 

Of course, there is the question that drives everyone's emotion, and the one that I reaaaaallly struggle to wrap my mind around - how big of a hole in your conscience must one have to hold others in captivity, and to do so for ten years? To look them in the eye every day and do it for ten years! So inhumane...

I cannot even begin to put into words, or will even try to justify it by trying to do so, the thought process and feelings of living and experiencing the ordeal. 

And finally what really shakes me to my core is the obvious question we all are afraid to confront - how many other Jaycee Dugards, Amanda Berrys, Gina Dejesus', Michelle Knights, and Ronique Laquette Smiths are out there - either still in captivity or have been rescued?

For the most part, that neighborhood in Cleveland never knew (although some glaring signs should have been followed up on by police). Ramsey said, "I never knew. I had ribs and listened to salsa music with the guy!" 

To me, that's scary. Just flat out, scary. 

As if our world isn't evil enough. 

Recently Read Posts

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 5/22/22

3 Up 1. NY Times Investigative Series on Haiti - The history of Haiti is such a complex (and unfortunate) one. Really, it's a story that goes untold, specifically for the context of how the country is viewed. From being forced to pay operations to enslavers (yeah, you read that right), to so many other historical setbacks - including American interventions - the nation's history is so well laid out in this latest NY Times piece. I urge you to give it a read.  2. Equal Pay for US Women's Soccer Team - Kudos to US Soccer on coming around to giving the USWNT their due - equal pay for prize money from the World Cup. It's a start, and more importantly, it's a push forward for women's sports that do in fact push the needle in comparison, or more so, to their male counterparts.  3. Kate McKinnon - Random "UP" here, but I'm doing it anyway...A few SNL usuals are rumored to be walking away, including Kate McKinnon. The show obviously doesn't carry the

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 5/15/22

3 Up 1. California Church Heroes - It's soooooooo weird that the top spot is a result of something so horrific as our ongoing domestic terrorism problem of mass shootings. Still, the courage shown by the five members who stopped the shooter deserves it. Those individuals tackled the shooter and tied him up with an electric cord, while wounded.  It's so tough to fathom that those possibilities are within the realm of your Sunday worship, within the sanctity of your church.  But such is America... 2. Olivia Rodrigo & Drake - Rodrigo continues to reap rewards on an excellent album in 2021 as she topped the Billboard Music Awards with seven awards. There was also Drake who I'm beginning to sense we won't really appreciate his body of work until he's near the end of his career. But yeah, Drake poured in a few more for the legacy debates and discussions.

Celebrating 37 with Gratitude

I sit here quite unsure how to celebrate a birthday this year - though, it's not something I've always done. I leave that to my wife and now, my son, to create that spectacle that I'm unable to drum up. However, I've always had some reflection on each year, and each new "age" or trip around the sun completed. Thirty-seven successful trips, and on this day, today, my birthday, I just can't seem to find the words that resonate with how I feel, or simply, to feel.  For starters, there is the idea that forever, my birthday, May 25th, will always be linked with the death of George Floyd. That's heavy enough. And then there is this year, just yesterday, the horrific events of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. That is the only thing really at the center of my thoughts, emotions, and concerns. It's challenging to pull myself out to be a focus under the current climate.  But if I tried to mesh the feelings of the current times as well as look inward,

Dome Pondering Movie Review: All the Bright Places

What is it about?  Two troubled teenagers meet and change each other's lives for the better - working through their past, and their demons, the two find meaning in the smallest and simplest of places.  Who is in it?  Elle Fanning - Violet Markey Justice Smith - Theodore Finch