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Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Cleveland Triple Kidnapping in Plain Sight - A Sociology Study in American Shame

CLEVELAND — One neighbor remembered occasional late-night deliveries of groceries to the boarded-up shoe box of a house in a rough-edged West Side neighborhood here (NYTimes).  

Images of this weird decade long triple kidnapping extend beyond the dilapidated house where the three victims were eventually found in plain sight.

Noticing the two patriotic symbols (small flag and eagle on porch) displayed on this crime scene property - what does this house and the people in it say about America? These patriotic symbols make me shudder because the man living inside the house was a serial rapist.

This Cleveland house is where at least three girls were abused, while the community, including public safety officials, appear to have neglected the suspicious activities reported at the location.  Did no one in ten years enter and survey what was going on with this property? What about tax assessors?  One family member of a rescued victim called the situation "shameful", during an interview by Savannah Guthrie on the NBC Today Show.

Residents of this run down location conducted nefarious behaviors in plain sight of the community. Television interviews with some of the victims' family members reveal very plain spoken relatives.  One can only imagine how Americans would respond to a series of similar victim interviews if the people impacted had been African Americans or even Arabic-Muslims living in ethnic ghettos, like Detroit.  Instead, these families are clearly a group of America's marginalized Caucasian societies.  They are all Caucasians (one family of the three victims appears to be of Hispanic origin and, thereby, they are Caucasians).  

Likewise, the perpetrators of these disgusting crimes are Caucasians.

This shameful tragedy involves the Cleveland community, the entire state of Ohio and transcends to our American national image.

Ohio is the state where, in the 2012 national presidential election, Governor John Kasich worked to "protect" his citizens from voter fraud by trying to restrict access to voting stations.  These infringements on voting rights in the name of "fraud" were targeted to discriminate against minority groups, especially nationalized immigrants. Instead, people like the Cleveland Caucasians, the victims and perpetrators of the triple kidnapping and abuse, were among the social groups Governor Kasich "protected" when he vainly created a voter fraud myth to limit the Democratic party turnout.

In the eyes of the world, Americans can certainly be stereotyped as backward people if the only images international viewers, who follow CNN, see of the three kidnapping perpetrators are the truly ugly pictures of them broadcast in the media. 

Obviously, the outcome of the kidnapping story is certainly preferable to the alternative, but in the survivors we have a series of American stories to reveal, and they won't be swathed in nostalgic patriotism. Unfortunately, these kidnappings, conducted over a decade in plain sight, are indicative of a Cleveland community's neglect, an Ohioan embarrassment of the public and social safety net systems and the American social blight called racism.  These families would not have hidden so easily in plain sight if they were among America's minority groups. 

Instead, being a "white" crime, rather than any other ethnic color, likely contributed to the late discovery of these kidnappings. It's, indeed, shameful that the public safety community was probably blinded by social racism.  Americans can and must do a better job at including all citizens into our public and social safety nets.

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