Last night’s report by Chris Cuomo regarding the despicable lapse of judgment, effort, and professionalism on the part of all of those involved in the release and alleged supervision of Philip Garrido was extremely disturbing. The pathetic cast of characters involved in the failure to detect Jaycee Dugard in Garrido’s backyard for over a decade is an embarrassing and all too common example of the type of individuals who are tasked with securing the public from animals like Philip Garrido. For 18 years, Jayecee Dugard was held captive and suffered repeated sexual and emotional attacks by a mad man who should have never been released from prison. The failure of the criminal justice system to keep someone like Garrido behind bars was furthered compounded by the poor supervision Garrido received upon release from prison. Inexcusably, several individuals deemed Garrido fit to be released from prison, emphasing that Garrido posed no danger to society. The idea that someone with such a blaring record of violence against women like Garrido could ever be deemed not to be a threat to society is ridiculous at best. Additionally, the fact that the Department of Parole visited Garrido’s home 60 times throughout the years, along with the visits made by local law enforcement following calls from neighbors regarding the children living in Garrido’s backyard (children conceived from the repeated sexual assaults committed against Jaycee by Garrido), with no search of the backyard is baffling. Had just one effort been made to search Garrido’s backyard, Jaycee’s 18 year long ordeal of sexual and emotional torment would have been cut short.
The idea that any of the bungling idiots involved with such a failure of epic portions are still employed by any of the agencies tied to this fiasco is beyond comprehension. There is no satisfactory explanation for this sort of tragic and gross oversight. Disturbingly, tragedies like Jaycee’s occur on various levels throughout the many city, state, and federal agencies the general public relies on to keep itself and the most vulnerable of its citizens safe from harm. I’ve lost count of the many news stories I’ve read concerning dangerous criminals who are astonishingly released from prison despite the nature of their crimes and the statistically proven likelihood that they will re-offend. My stomach has been twisted into a thousand knots over stories of Child Welfare agencies who ignore and/or fail to follow- up on reports of the abuse of children. It is shocking that following so many stories of incompetence and abuse that nothing has effectively put a stop to these actions. Understandably, these agencies are overburdened and undermanned, however, greater and increased effort and resources must be pooled into eliminating even one of these sorts of tragedies which includes the weeding out of individuals who repeatedly failed to protect those they have been hired to serve.
The one bright spot amid all of the darkness and tragedy resulting from this event is Jaycee Dugard. This remarkable young woman embodies the true essence of strength and love. There is no way I can ever try to imagine the hell and utter despair she must have felt at various points in her captivity. No doubt Jaycee still struggles with the aftermath of her captivity, but she is determined to forge ahead, creating a life for herself and her children, a life that she will joyfully share with the mother, the source Jaycee credits for her strength. As for Philip Garrido, he is finally behind bars where he belongs. Sadly, monsters like Philip Garrido will always be among us, it is the beacons of hope and strength like Jaycee Dugard that we should remember and learn from. I look forward to seeing what Jaycee has in store for the world and I hope nothing but the best for her and the work she will doing on behalf of missing and exploited children.