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. 

Recent Favorites

Turning 39 - One Last Go-Around in My 30s

I turn 39 today, and everything I read in regards to such a "milestone" is that it's dealing with the anxiety of turning 40. The big 4-0!  Yet, I sit here punching the keys completely unaware of fears, trepidations, and emotions towards the future. Instead, I find myself immersed in the present - in exactly that, 39. I also find myself slightly looking back on the road to get here - my final year in my 30s.  I look back on my thoughts on turning 30 ( Praying on a Cool Thirty ) and, ironically, I very much vibe and can feel the essence of where I was at the time. At the time, turning thirty meant a whoooooooooooole sort of different expectations and responsibilities. I am in that same place - a center of gratitude for the journey. My 30s have been a ride.  For me, I became a father, and I lost my father. I lost one of my best friends, yet, I gained another in my son - and then a second one just recently. I finished coursework on my second Masters degree, and I also watch

Exorcising Demons with a Breen "Double Bang!"

These sorts of moments feel like they don't happen to us.  Well, they happen VERY rarely - I'm talking Larry Johnson's 4-point play-rare. Yeah, it's been THAT long.  But watching this New York Knicks team score eight points in less than thirty-five seconds, including a sequence that will forever live in my fandom, sits right with that LJ garden-rocking shot.  I sat on my couch in absolute shock at what I just saw.  "How the hell did they just win that game?!"  It's the kind of moment this fanbase deserves. It's the moment that releases and exorcises some demons that haunt us from the trauma of experiences.  Namely you, Reggie Miller.  I loved it. And the icing on the cake was Mike Breen - Oh, Mike Breen, the loveable man with the most epic voice that has narrated so much of my basketball-loving fandom - with not one, but two signature "Bang!" calls.  I'll never let this one down. Ever.  I'm not sure where this team will wrap up the se

Disappointed It's Over. Glad It Happened - "I Love This Friggin Team"

I'm disappointed.  Not because I expected a championship. No, that feeling has been very rare within my Knicks fandom.  I'm disappointed because this season is now over. Done. The ride, the thrill, the heartache, and the overwhelming way this team gets me amped and carries me through my personal life is over.  I loved this season. I LOVE THIS TEAM.  This Knicks team, for me, is just short of that 98-99 squad that I still hold as my all-time favorite. If you know me personally, yes, that is the team (and playoff run) in which I wore my Knicks "Hubert Davis" jersey to school every day (literally, every day - to the point my parents received a phone call from the school). Ahh yes, that team that was the #8 seed that ran it all the way to the NBA Finals.  I wasn't ready for it to end, but not only was it inevitable, but not sustainable. And how fitting, rather than losing on a buzzer-beater, or a fluke call, or something that would've likely left me in a mood and