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May 14, 2008

Our Morbid Obsession With Joseph Fritzl and His Dungeon

We are all completely dumbfounded and outraged by the acts of Joseph Firtzl. There is no way to understand what he did to his daughter but we can not stop trying to grasp his motives and reasoning. The media is even at a loss and have resorted to inappropriate labels for Elisabeth Fritzl, such as sex slave, a very inaccurate portrayal of what she is. First of all, Elisabeth and her children are victims. She has been terrorized by her father and she certainly does not need to have the media labeling her a sex slave. She was abused therefore she is a victim and that should be as far as the labeling goes.

The town of Amstetten is a small place in Austria with less than 25,000 people. It is a quiet, sleepy town that most of us had never heard of that is known for making delicious apple wine. Now, all of a sudden, the town is on the must-see list of many tourists. There is reportedly a tour bus that has recently included the Fritzl house on it’s route.

Joseph Fritzl’s secret reign of terror over his daughter and several children that he raped Elisabeth to get has left us all in a state of shock. When things like this happen it is very difficult to process exactly what it is that we are feeling. We want to know why this happened and what type or person does this to his family. The initial shock of the story continues to reverberate and renew itself. Each time new information is released about Fritzl and what he did to his daughter, the public can not help but be appalled and also amazed. Residents of neighboring countries are visiting the Fritzl house and having their picture taken in front of the cellar where Elisabeth Fritzl was held. Residents of Amstetten are disturbed by the influx of curious people that come on the tail end of reporters and forensic scientists. As detectives work to mount a strong case against Fritzl and tourists pour in to see the house, the quiet of the town is being disturbed. Amstetten is no longer a hideaway in Austria. The Fritzl home has become the center of morbid fascination for the entire world.

The rooting of evil inside of Fritzl may have come from an abusive mother. His father was not around when he was growing up but it is unclear what happened to him. There is speculation that Fritzl may have been abused by his mother but nothing has been proven yet. Fritzl was born during a tumultuous time in Austria. The Soviets invaded after the Nazis reigned and there was chaos in the country. Austrian women were frequently raped by Soviet solders, it is unclear what Fritzl may have witnessed or experienced during that time. Of course, there is a chance that none of the speculation means anything and Fritzl became a monster just because he did. Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason. But we really, really want it to be so that we can know what to look for in our neighbors, friends and acquaintances. We want to know how to keep the monsters at bay that is why we hang on to stories like this and are interested in Joseph Fritzl and the cellar he built.

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1 Comment(s)

  1. anakris | May 24, 2008 | Reply

    I have to go along with some geneticists who say that criminals may actually have a gene that predisposes them to commit criminal acts. I clearly think this is the case with Joseph Fritzl. For one thing he himself described his father as “a no good scoundrel”. He also described his mother as “the most wonderful woman in the world” but I greatly doubt that since she was known to have been physically abusive to Fritzl. Case in point about about the genetic theory is that Fritzl had no contact whatsoever with his father past the age of 4 when the mother threw him out, yet Fritzl succeeded in becoming even more of a “scoundrel” than his own father. A lot of people were abused as children and raised during the Nazi era but do not go on to become ruthless criminals. Many times having seen such horror they become very kind parents and true humanitarians. Fritzl has a genetically based criminal make-up which he seems to have been aware of at a very early age. He admitted wanting to “rape” his own mother when he was young but did not act on his feelings (probably because she would have beat him up).

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