Words matter and labels make a difference! Members of the media and law enforcement are using the terms “monster” and “evil” when describing Ariel Castro in the Cleveland case involving the three kidnapped women recently released.
Using the term “monster” throws us back to the 18th century when werewolves and vampires were blamed for violent crimes. We’ve come a long way since then and we know so much more about criminal behavior. Similarly, “Evil” has no legal or behavioral meaning. It implies demonic possession. Ariel Castro, whatever your religious beliefs has serious personality and sexual issues. Understanding what they are will help you to understand his behavior. Thinking of Castro as an evil monster may make us feel better, but it does nothing to further our understanding of what happened and maybe how to prevent it in the future.