?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Obvious disclaimer: kidnapping and sexually abusing children is wrong. I do not condone it in the slightest and I would like people who do it to be kept away from all children. I am not anti-police. I appreciate what they do to enforce the laws we have chosen.

Now, on to what I want to say. A while back, The Chronicle published pictures of the Garridos’ house, in which it looked like a squalid, filthy, cluttered pit. This seemed to suit our need, as a society, to condemn. Of course these people were evil—I mean, look at their house. We want the demons to be as uniformly bad as possible, to have bad taste, unsavory hygiene, and vermin dwelling in their kitchen sinks. We want them to be worse than we are, beyond the shoes we might leave on the bedroom floor or the crumbs on the counter. We want to say: these people are not us. We are not capable of their chaos, much less their alleged crimes.

Then yesterday, this article ran. It turns out that the photos depicted the house after the various law enforcement agencies searched the place, looking into every pot, under every sofa cushion, and behind all closet doors in case of skeletons. Which is to say, the Garridos appear (remember, they are innocent until proven guilty) to be sick people who have done some very very bad things, but they are not irretrievable slobs.

Which brings me to the law enforcement angle of this whole thing. So far, the police have dug up the entire yard at the Garrido house. They have demolished a shed next door. They want to raze the house itself in search of evidence of further crimes, but Mr. Garrido’s brother, who deals with his mother’s affairs since she is old and incapacitated, and the police are discussing who would pay for the $18,000 demolition of the house, which the mother owns.

No evidence of any other crimes has been turned up by the excavations to date. The human remains found on the properties appear, so far, to be old and Native American. There is no obvious link between the Garridos and the other terrible kidnappings that remain unsolved. What possible argument can be made for tearing down the entire house?

We are all, I think, appalled by what has happened to Ms. Dugard. We are also appalled that she was not discovered and rescued sooner. Lots of criticism has been expressed about lax supervision of a convicted sex offender on parole. But none of that justifies this seemingly elemental drive to destroy every last vestige of the Garridos’ human existence.

And whoever did kidnap those other girls is pleased that yet again he (probably… it could be “she,” but that’s really unlikely) continues to go about his business undetected. Let’s spend our resources more wisely, in directions that help us achieve justice for all victims, not just vengeance on some perpetrators.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
shadowsmark
Sep. 24th, 2009 03:17 pm (UTC)
Very well put!
jan_can_too
Sep. 28th, 2009 11:05 pm (UTC)
Thanks
joyliveshere
Sep. 24th, 2009 05:12 pm (UTC)
I, of course, agree with you, as I almost always do. (You put things so well!) I know this is armchair psychology, but I suspect that the cops' desire to raze the house has to do with their need to demolish this manifestation of their own stupidity and incompetence. This guy, who was a known sex offender, managed to fool all the authorities for 18 years. So, now the authorities feel like fools and so they want to do as much damage as possible to Garrido's possessions, since they can't just shoot Garrido.
jan_can_too
Sep. 28th, 2009 11:06 pm (UTC)
That's my gut feeling about it, too.
sfo2lhr
Sep. 25th, 2009 05:04 am (UTC)
I have a somewhat divergent point of view. Even though the probability of finding the other girls' remains on the Garrido property is relatively small, the chance to close one or both cases -- or other missing person cases -- has a very high value, especially to the families of the missing. In fact, failing to do a full search of the property including excavation would probably be negligent, both legally, and to my mind, ethically.

As for the property, there is zero chance the house and grounds could be sold at even a fraction of market value due to the notoriety of the case and the condition of most of the structures. It is also very likely that the state will seize the property under civil forfeiture laws anyway, as they do with crack houses and meth labs, etc. And all personal property the Garridos own would be forfeited anyway, either as a criminal fine, a civil penalty, or a lawsuit by the Dugard family. (Yes, Garrido's mother could lose the buildings and land through civil forfeiture, although an attorney could probably make a good case for her, based on lack of actual or constructive knowledge of what was going on at the property.)

I suspect it will be the subject of excavation for a long time, go through the seizure process, and eventually be sold off by the state or county for development. (It's a large-ish parcel.) Modulo any bankruptcy or civil suit judgments, etc.

jan_can_too
Sep. 28th, 2009 11:10 pm (UTC)
The part that bugs me about this is that (probably not in this case, but...) this could happen to someone INNOCENT. That's just wrong.

And maybe I'm a bad mother for this, but I don't actually think that if my kids were snatched that I would get any sense of "closure" from actual proof that they were dead. My pain would not go away. I would have to struggle against my own worst feelings. I would not understand any better how this horrible thing could have happened. But perhaps I am simply weird.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

Profile

jan_can_too
jan_can_too

Latest Month

June 2012
S M T W T F S
     12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Lilia Ahner