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Recent Crime Stories

There have been a couple of crime stories in the last couple of weeks I have had thoughts on that haven't fit into any of my other entries. Hence their discussion now.

There was a gruesome mass murder in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania recently. An entire family was killed by a relative. In the early stories, all of the newscasters kept referring to murders in amish country.

Apparently there is a large Amish community in Lancaster county. But as near as I can tell, neither the perp nor the victims were Amish. According to this news story, credit cards and computers in the home were used by the murderer. The family was not even originally from "amish country".

So the whole Amish angle was completely irrelevant. Except that mentioning the Amish makes for a better story. And there is a general tendency to demonize any separatist religious group. Having extensively studied the debacles at Waco and Ruby Ridge, I know where this can lead.

There has been a lot of negative press on the Amish in the last few years, and honestly, some of it's deserved. I've seen allegations of sexual abuse that look credible and serious. Just like I have seen them in EVERY OTHER DAMN SEGMENT OF SOCIETY. None of this justifies trying to link them to every bad thing that happens in their proximity.

Oddball religious groups (ok, so I am not above the occasional epiphet myself) tend to be too eccentric for mainstream society to accept,
and too socially conservative for liberals (James Tabor, god bless him, excepted) to defend. People who endlessly congratulate themselves on their tolerance of gays and african-americans don't blink an eye at Branch Davidians getting gassed, or Vicky Weaver being shot in the head while she's holding a baby in her arms.

I just like to stick up for those who fall through the cracks of political correctness.

The other crime story that has occured is that of Kevin Ray Underwood. He kidnapped, murdered, and sexually assaulted (in that order!)
a ten year old girl. Like child killer Joseph Duncan, he kept a blog.

So I guess I could go on a big rant in defense of bloggers like I did in defense of the Amish. I don't think it's quite as necessary to defend bloggers from the media, since these days they arguably ARE the media.

I do wonder about why people like to telegraph their dark side like that. I guess the pleasure they get from talking about it overrides any fear of getting caught.

Of course, unhealthy as telling the world about your most evil desires is, ACTING on them is a million times worse. Perhaps we give too much value to being authentic and "keeping it real".
When it comes to murder, cannibalism, and necrophilia, being all talk and no action is actually a good thing. Or at least preferable.

Underwood fit a couple of psycho killer stereotypes. By all accounts, he was a nice quiet guy that never bothered anyone. And of course, his middle name was Ray, fitting the "wayne lee ray" mold.
I have theories about both of these.

People who do things to kids seem to fit the first stereotype a lot. Many times I have seen someone on TV who has done something horrible to a child and my initial reaction is "he looks so harmless". But as I think about it I realize "Of course he looks harmless. He's not likely to do anything to ME because I'm not a child." People who prey on kids are so weak and pathetic that doing something to a child is sufficient to make them feel powerful.

As for the middle name, a lot of people like to point out that serial killers have the middle name Wayne, Lee, or Ray. But you could make a similiar argument that serial killers have middle names.
Years ago I read a book called Why Things Are, and one of the questions it answered is why killers always seem to have three names.

Of course there are lots of people who have three names...it's called having a middle name. Most peoples middle names are generally not mentioned in the press. But when someone has committed a horrific name, giving the middle name becomes more important. The newspapers don't want to get sued by John Smith Gacey or Lee Rabinowitz Oswald.

So perhaps the "wayne lee ray" pattern happens simply because those are common middle names, and we are more likely to know the middle names of serial killers than the middle names of normal people.