To be honest, I wish that I never learned of the Josef Fritzl story in the first place—but it was hard to avoid given the severity of the crimes committed. However, the fact that a man could imprison his daughter in a basement for 24 years and father her seven children is too horrifying and baffling to ignore. Over the last few days we have learned the full magnitude of the events that transpired—three of his incestuous offspring (aged 19,18 and 5) had never seen the sunlight until their release and one of the seven children died due to inadequate care. We also learned that he managed to keep the whole thing a secret—even from his wife. The question is...how?
According to police reports, Fritzl was a retired electrical engineer who used his skills to construct a basement dungeon that measured less than six feet high in some areas with a total living space composed of three "cells" measuring around 650 square feet in total. In order to prevent his family living on the outside from gaining access to the room, Fritzl constructed a gigantic 300kg concrete door fitted with an electronic lock behind a shelf in his workshop. The lock could only be opened by a remote control that he carried with him at all times. It wasn't until the 19-year-old fell gravely ill that Fritzl sought medical attention and was subsequently exposed.
Currently, the authorities are still investigating the details of the case—including whether or not Fritzl had help in constructing the hidden rooms. At the very least, it seems likely given the fact that it would be exceedingly difficult, if not impossible for one man to handle a 300kg door. All that aside, perhaps the most shocking aspect of the case is that Frtizl is looking at a maximum of 15 years in prison if convicted of rape. At 73, he would probably not live out the term—but the punishment doesn't come anywhere near fitting the crime if you ask me. Even a quick death wouldn't fit the bill. [CNN and BBC News and Yahoo]