Tuesday, September 27, 2005

"Rampages" Are Back

Post-Rita and Post-Katrina "Rampages"

As often occurs after a period in which there is a single media theme (such as the hurricane disasters lately), such a time is followed by a microburst of local news becoming national bulletins, and a spate of violent "rampages" appear to "happen."

As the 2005 school year began, a bizarre incident occurred (a potential "school shooting") that boomeranged on the shooter's family. The sad series of events unfolded on Tuesday, September 20, 2005, in Elkhorn City, Kentucky. Matthew Hackney, 17, a senior, was sent home from East Ridge High School for being intoxicated. Hackney allegedly was going to get a gun to return to school. At home, instead, he then shot to death his parents (Ivan Hackney, 47, and Shirley Hackney, 44) and grandmother (Wilma Hackney, 63). Hackney next told Christa Coleman, 18, that he'd killed his parents, and wanted to hide out at her house. She told him: "No way." Hackney died in a crash after police attempted to pull him over on a highway. Another driver also was killed.

On the next day, September 21, in Las Vegas, Nevada, Stephen M. Ressa, 27, of Rialto, California, drove a Buick stolen from his 54-year-old mother (whom he choked unconscious on Monday, September 19) into a crowd in front of the Bally casino. He allegedly killed two tourists and injured 12 others. Ressa told police the people appeared to be "like demons."

Perhaps in a copycat trigger, mentions author Michael Newton in an email to me, on January 29, 2005, former schoolteacher Priscilla Ford, 75, died in prison, and her death was noted in the media with retellings of her earlier crime. Ford drove her car onto a downtown Reno, Nevada sidewalk on Thanksgiving 1980, killing six people and injuring 20. During her trial for murder, her mental state--including an obsessive identification with Seventh-day Adventist figure Ellen White (to whom Ford bore a striking resemblance)--drew concern. She was found guilty and sentenced to death, but never executed.

The September 21 news was also "reminiscent of an April 2000 crash that killed a Wisconsin man and injured five other people in front of the Aladdin hotel-casino in Las Vegas....A Las Vegas stripper, Juanita Kim McDonald, was sentenced to five to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to driving under the influence in the 2000 crash," noted the Hollister Free Lance.

On Monday afternoon, September 26, Victor Piazza, 55, allegedly shot two co-owners and an office manager at Velma International, a nail polish factory in New Windsor, New York. He then killed himself. Piazza had been fired from the company 19 months earlier, after pornography was found on his company computer.

Update September 27, 2005
The most seriously wounded by Victor Piazza, who used a .38 pistol, is JoAnne Obrien, 48, the office manager of the New Windsor factory. She remained in very critical condition at St. Luke's Cornwall Hospital on the 27th.

Intriguingly, regarding the twilight language, the Verla International's office and plant location, in New Windsor, New York, is on Temple Hill Road.

Update September 30, 2005
JoAnne Obrien died on September 30th.

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