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Cleveland Diplomacy

Updated on May 15, 2013

So far, despite twenty-four hour news, the crime of the century, thus far, in Cleveland, remains partially under wraps. Although freedom is still the stronger argument, this event shows just what opponents of freedom squawk about. It is not that they favor totalitarianism. It is just that freedom breeds more illegitimate abuse than legitimate use. It is a great idea that does not in fact fulfill its promise. Not all the time in all places. Let's face it, the system failed these young women. So much is plain. It is difficult to understand what occurred, unrevealed in terms of every lurid detail to the general public. Nevertheless, the Cleveland tragedy is not simply another crime. It is much worse. To take teen-age captives is not what freedom should allow. And yet, that is what happened. Due process will now take charge. The system is good with the aftermath of cataclysmic events. It is colorful and ceremonial with no shortage of misty speeches. But what does all this rigamarole look like overseas? It requires little imagination indeed to envision how this story might read or appear on the foreign screen. If this keeps up, every man, woman, and child who dreams sadistic, unfulfilled dreams will eventually head for these unhallowed shores.

The event in question is, to repeat, more an atrocity than a crime. The latter is plentiful. The former is not. Crimes are a year-round bumper crop that can be depended upon in and across America. They are akin to weather patterns that disseminate so much violence and theft, assault and break-ins, and graft and grift like rain and snow. But the kidnapping of young women not for ransom but for reasons that remain obscure, over such a long period of time, stands out. It is different. It is beyond crime. And it is not surprising, also, that no real punishment is tailored to fit.

Score a point or two for terrorism, whose rigid societies are defined in terms of "Sharia", the earthly instrument of Allah, which regularly deprives ordinary people of life, limb, and eyesight. Maybe Allah's turbaned and bearded clerics could have prevented this sad tale from becoming a reality. Still, few will pack up and depart in disgust due to what one hopes is an anomaly. Surely, there is not a vast network of kidnappers out there imprisoning children in basements, garages, and sheds. Is there? Their keepers blending in nicely with a variety of urban and rural settings. Right? But how can anyone be sure? Will the blessings of freedom help facilitate further atrocities? Is this acceptable? Or are searches needed? It would seem on the surface that they are. What else is the suitable-for-framing hinterland up to? Those nice small towns that Norman Rockwell glorified. Or overcrowded cities, just to be fair. There are many missing people. Foul play is always suspected. What if they are in moldy, dank basements, wooden boxes, or kennel cages in nice residential neighborhoods while others, just outside their walls, walk about unmindful of what is happening under their noses? And if this is the case, what kind of message does it send forth about a land apart, different from others, standing for principles, but against them, machinelike, delivering the innocent into the hands of evil?

Well, the abduction that has come to light is an outrage and conducive to rants. That much is certain. But it can be used to modity the circumstances that brought it about. Admittedly, this is a bitter harvest indeed. Think of it as a lightning rod for preventive action projected onto and into a more civil and happier future. Cleveland is as good a place as any in the US. Better than most. The title above the article is merely a product of wordsmithing, designed to grab attention. But that is a point in itself. If Cleveland can host an atrocity, so can Middletown, Anywhere. Needless to add, houses should not be homes to crimes against humanity.


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