Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Is Bound in trouble?

I have received very distressing news about my favorite DC club event, Bound. First, the on-premise SMB v2.0 was postponed due to lack of RSVPs. And now I hear that Bound will no longer be at the R&R Lounge, which is an awesome place in Chinatown and very Metro-accessible, most likely due to lack of attendance that failed to impress the club's owners. To all DC residents looking for a good goth club, go to Bound. Don't let the BDSM elements scare you, there's no pressure to participate. Until Bound gets a new venue, where will I go to satisfy my goth and BDSM cravings? I'd go to Chronos, but I'll have to take a cab home, and the cabs here can never find my place in Takoma without a lot of effort. And Midnight is circling the drain in terms of quality of attendance and music. I just hope the new Bound venue isn't back at Lime or somewhere else in the dark corners of DC, far from the Metro, where sometimes I don't bother taking the trouble to go out that far. If any club owner wants to give Bound a shot, I will do my best to bring up attendance to give this event a permanent home for anyone like me who needs this weekly gathering of cool freaks.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Another Bush official bites the dust


Alberto Gonzales, the controversial Attorney General, has resigned. "President" Bush just cannot hold on to his cabinet. Even the ever-loyal Karl Rove announced his resignation earlier this month, and now Gonzales, who steadfastly supported Bush's domestic wiretapping program, is leaving the administration amid allegations that he fired US attorneys under suspicious circumstances and that he lied to Congress about the circumstances of the firings. Who will be next in the Bush camp to defect? This is turning into a political version of Survivor: Who will be the last cabinet member standing by Bush's side?
Now to my favorite subject, violent criminals. I saw a show about Richard Speck (Notorious on the Biography Channel, the best show for people like me), who slaughtered eight student nurses in Chicago in one night in 1966. Like many violent offenders, Speck had a troubled childhood, his father died when he was very young, and his stepfather was a violent alcoholic. As a teenager, Speck began a career of petty burglary and was discharged from the merchant marines for erratic behavior. He married while still a teenager, and supposedly beat his wife. At the time of the mass murder of the nurses, Speck was broke and drinking heavily. Was he lashing out at the world that had not been kind to him, like so many mass murderers? But one of the victims was also raped and tortured before being killed, so it was a more personal crime that the blind rage of Charles Whitman and Cho of Virginia Tech. A commentator in the show said that Speck was not a monster, like we want all our criminals to be, but maybe he was "all too human." The thought that a serial killer or a mass murderer is "all too human" is a difficult one. It implies that we as a species are inherently violent, or have the seeds of viciousness in our genetic makeup, as a recent book (that I have yet to read) argues. But under conditions like those faced by Speck, a history of abuse and disappointments, who wouldn't at least think about lashing out? Most of us have better impulse control than to act on these feelings, but I can personally attest that the feelings exist.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Russian serial killer arrested


As if Russians didn't have enough to worry about with its corrupt and possibly homicidal government, the murderer of at least 49 people has just been arrested. Alexander Pichushkin has confessed to over 60 murders, but there is only evidence in 49, which brings him short of Andrei Chikatilo's record of 53 confirmed killings.
Pichushkin's first murder was at 18, when he killed a classmate. The article doesn't say much about his methods, preferred victims or motives, but he says that he feels compelled to kill, that it was a necessity in his life. How this compulsion started, he doesn't say, and there isn't any information available about his past that would shed a light on this. With many serial killers, the drive to kill comes from fantasies that grow more intense, until they feel they have no choice but to act on them. But since fantasies are always perfect, and reality rarely is, the killer is left unfulfilled, and hopes the next time will be better, which leads to a string of murders before the killer is caught.
Pichushkin's bloated sense of importance, in his statement about being responsible for sending his victims "to the next life" as being a "father" to them, is also common among serial killers. Ted Bundy once said he felt like a god as he felt his victims die. He also echoed Pichushkin in his explanation of his motives, "I just liked to kill."
Pichushkin was caught when a videotape showed him with a victim right before she was killed. The victim also had a piece of paper with his name and phone number. Why would a killer give his victim his real name? Did he want to be caught? Was it a lapse in judgement? Or was it Bundy-style arrogance? A court psychiatrist has labeled Pichushkin as sane, and, from a legal standpoint, he probably is. His actions are inconceivable to most of us, but the level of thought and consideration he put into his crimes and his explanation of them indicates a sound, but diseased, mind. He knew exactly what he was doing when he did it, and enjoyed it.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Rove steps down


At least that's the official story. Who knows how much power he will continue to wield unofficially. Some insiders are claiming that the Scooter Libby trial was just a way to cover for Rove, the real leaker of CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity. A big show of a trial and conviction, later to be overturned by "President" Bush in a move that outraged his critics, it is a good way to deflect attention and scrutiny from Rove. Rove should have at least five life sentences by now, for all his lying and deceit and backhanded tricks in helping to run the country. Libby might have been a liar and a cheat, but he was nothing compared to "Bush's Brain."
In other government conspiracy news, a great moment in Bolshevik history. I was watching one of my favorite cable shows last night, Infamous Murders on History International, and it mentioned a Bulgarian dissident who was murdered after his broadcasts accusing the communist dictatorship in the country of corruption. The cause of death was poison, and he was murdered in England, which sounds dangerously similar to the recent death of a Russian exile and critic of Putin's regime. And the Bulgarian murder was on the dictator's birthday, like the journalist who was recently murdered on Putin's birthday after criticizing Russian policies and Putin's administration.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Why do I bother?

A guy who I haven't heard from in weeks showed up at Bound last night, telling me all the reasons he hasn't contacted me. He said that he came out because he thought I might be there. If that's true, it's one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me. But I have a difficult time believing him. So many people have lied to me throughout my life, especially men, that I have to have a healthy dose of doubt about anything they say. And he says he can't be in a relationship right now. I want to believe him, because I like him and had a good feeling about him, but my history with men, and the other girl I saw him with last night, give me a bad feeling. One of my problems is, I assume that anytime someone says they can't talk to me or see me, it must be my fault. I assume that everyone I meet will hate me, because they'll somehow manage to read my mind and see my various insanities. It's not the best way to live, I know, but I can't help it, not even after years of situating myself in the social sphere, and therapy. I hope this guy's telling the truth, even just to give me a shred of faith in humanity and my future chances of a happy relationship.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Gainesville Ripper thoughts

Here's an unsettling bit of information: tabloid king and Fox News czar Rupert Murdoch has all but taken over the Wall Street Journal. I wonder if this will lead to the reputable publication's decline, as Murdoch's takeover did to the New York Post many years ago.
Late last Saturday night, I tried to get some writing done, but ended up watching an "American Justice" episode about Danny Rolling, the killer who terrorized university students in Florida in the early 1990s. At first, trying to deflect blame from himself, he blamed an alter ego called "Gemini," since he couldn't claim he wasn't guilty. His DNA was all over the crime scenes. In an interview with Rolling shortly before his execution, he says about the DNA test, "The test came back and, bingo," in a cold tone that is frightening to the rest of the world but very common among killers of Rolling's type.
In many ways, Rolling fits the standard profile of a serial killer. He had a rough childhood with a strict police officer father who he says "didn't allow for individuality" and abused him and his brother. He said he started to "walk the streets at night" to get away from his father, because "home was not a safe place," which could have been where he was introduced to his future life of crime. After he was charged with the Florida murders, Rolling was also charged with the attempted murder of his father of many years ago, in which Danny was the prime suspect. Danny Rolling started out with petty burglaries, breaking and entering, and eventually worked his way up to murder. Some psychologists think he chose college students because they symbolized the priviledged life that he, as a high school dropout and career criminal, had thrown away. He tried the military, but didn't last long. A psychiatrist there saw signs of antisocial personality and problems with authority. This brings to mind John Allen Muhammad, the Beltway Sniper, who was court-martialed twice during his time in the military for insubordination. As much as antisocial personalities want the power they feel comes with being in the military or law enforcement, their self-absorption and unwillingness to take the advice or orders of anyone else leads them into trouble in these fields. A prison psychologist diagnosed Rolling with borderline personality disorder, which is primarily characterized by an irrational fear of abandonment. Others who spoke with Rolling in prison say he was obsessed with how he would be remembered, another trait typical of the narcissism of serial killers. For many, a major reason they start killing is to feel the power and get the recognition they feel they deserve, and don't get from their often mundane lives. The psychologist also called Rolling "very immature," and said he had a problem with empathy. Many serial killers, and criminals in general, have limited emotional development. They still have the selfishness and irrational demands of a child, without the concern and awareness of others that most of us develop as we mature.
Authorities first got Rolling for the university murders when he was in jail for another crime, and he confessed to his cellmate, a convicted murderer, who promptly reported the confession to prison officials. When later questioned by the police, Rolling would only make his confession through his cellmate. At his trial, Rolling looked away from grisly photos of the crime scenes, claiming in an interview that he couldn't stand to look at them, and asked himself, "What have you done?" Was this a sign of remorse? According to the prosecutor, who zealously sought the death penalty, Rolling's expressionless face during the trial and the savage nature of his crimes were signs of someone who has no respect or remorse for others. Rolling says he confessed "for his maker" to make amends for what he did, since he knew he would likely die soon. He never showed any other signs of remorse, and as we all know about serial killers, they will readily lie to protect themselves. Rolling is a confusing character, and now that he's dead, we'll never know why he did what he did or how he would feel about it years later.
The more I read about crime and serial killers, the more I oppose the death penalty. On a show I saw about Joel Rifkin, currently serving a life term for 17 murders in the New York area, his interview, however disjointed at times, provided some strong insights into the mind of a killer. We wouldn't have had these insights if Rifkin had been executed. If all serial killers had been executed immediately after their crimes, as some of the more fanatic among the population demand, the pioneering Behavioral Science Unit at the FBI couldn't have conducted their interviews with Edmund Kemper, Charles Manson and many others that led to the development of the modern law enforcement technique of criminal profiling. The prosecutor in Rolling's case, and the anger in the eyes and voices of his victims families, demanding a death sentence based on the brutality of his crimes, did little to dissuade me from my belief that capital punishment is all about revenge.