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Free will pays off or you pay for it

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By Brad Bowman

The recent events in Cleveland at first left me perplexed.

Ariel Castro held three women captive, one for at least 10 years, and his neighbors never knew it nor suspected it.

Castro allegedly fathered a child with one of his captives, made the woman give birth in a kiddie pool and not one neighbor heard a thing.

Residents who lived in the neighborhood never suspected a thing from the bus driver/musician who played baseball with children at local parks.

Castro kidnapped his daughter Arlene Castro’s close friend Gina DeJesus in 2004. Castro’s own daughter didn’t suspect her father.

When I heard the news, it infuriated me like many people. How could this have happened?

How could Castro’s own family not even know?

Warning: these next paragraphs might upset a few readers.

FBI agents found a confession letter Castro wrote but never gave authorities. According to one report, Castro claims in his letter that he was a victim of sexual abuse as a child and will most likely use that card in his defense.

The repeated excuse by violent offenders, sexual abusers and most repeat theft offenders who claim their moral deficit is due to their environment, upbringing, etc. should make anyone’s head spin with disgust.

We cannot dismiss free will. Unless you’re a robot everyone has it.

After the shock, I am not perplexed. After looking at my own family, I am not perplexed that his neighbors nor family members didn’t know or suspect him.

You can take a set of people who grew up in the same environment, had the same opportunities and get enormously different results.

My grandfather had an 8th grade education and made a successful living farming. His father left him, his mother and his siblings on a farm and didn’t return until retirement age. My grandfather didn’t take hand outs, blame anyone for not having a father figure in his life and shared his success with his family.

Some of his grandchildren have led productive lives, inherited his ambition and continue to actively contribute to their communities. Others have chosen to lead lives of thievery, commit sexual and domestic abuse, wallow in substance abuse and never claim responsibility for their circumstances.

Deviants exist in every family.

I cannot expect his family or neighbors to have known about Mr. Castro’s egregious trespasses just as some of my family members continue to surprise me.

We make our choices and they either pay off or we pay for them.

I don’t know how Mr. Castro will pay for his.