Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Two Die In Midwest Church Shooting

On Sunday, February 26, 2006, shooting erupted at Detroit's Zion Hope Missionary Baptist Church -- located at Van Dyke and Warren avenues.

Rosita Williams, 37, was killed while attending services at the church, as she sat in the balcony with her mother, sister and four nieces. Her 10-year-old niece was wounded, according to police. The shooter was identified as Kevin Collins, 22, who was looking for Williams' daughter, Jamika, 19, the mother of his child, WDIV-TV reported.

About 5 1/2 hours after the church shooting, officers spotted Collins walking about a mile from the church and saw him run behind a home. "An officer then heard a loud boom," Second Deputy Chief James Tate reported. Collins died of what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

On Monday, February 27, 2006, Alarie Davis, 54, died of wounds he received trying to protect his wife from Collins' carjacking attempt near the Detroit church on Sunday. Williams' husband, James Cult, said the tragedy of the second innocent victim's death on the 26th could have been prevented. He said he told police where Collins lived and worked.

{Thanks SMiles.}
Flashback: On Saturday, March 12, 2005, Terry Ratzmann, 44, kills seven and then himself at church services in Brookfield, Wisconsin. On the following Friday, March 18, 2005, Jeff Weise, 16, kills nine and then himself in Red Lake, Minnesota, in the largest school shooting since Columbine.

Monday, February 27, 2006

More West Coast Rampages in March-April?

I read with interest Carlos Castano's article on the school shooting in Roseburg on Thursday, February 23, 2006.

The KVAL journalist wrote that he interviewed an expert who said that he does not see "this one" having anything to do with "Thurston." And that those in Oregon should feel safe.

I would have to disagree. Oregon should NOT let its guard down, especially now. From my study of school suicide clusters, workplace rampages, and school shootings for over 25 years, that expert's kind of approach ignores what actually happens before and after a school shooting.

What may be more important to what occurred in Roseburg is the general returning climate for shooting rampages in this country. The January 30, 2006, incident where USPS ex-employee Jennifer Sanmarco in Santa Barbara, CA, killed seven and then herself, may have more to do with the recent Oregon event, of course, but the legacy of Thurston is in the background. The California "going postal" rampage was then followed by the gay bar incident in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and the police shootout in Arkansas, followed by the killer's murder-suicide in his car.

Take for example, the incident of May 21, 1998, when Kip Kinkel shot and killed two fellow Thurston High School students. Any analysis needs to be done in context.

Please note what else was taking place around the time of the Springfield, Oregon:

March 24, 1998
Jonesboro, Arkansas. Four students and one teacher killed by Mitchell Johnson, 13, and Andrew Golden, 11, who shot at their classmates and teachers from the woods. Ten other students were wounded outside as Westside Middle School emptied during a false fire alarm.

April 17, 1998
Near Dallas, Texas. One person was killed in a "going postal" workplace rampage shooting at the Northhaven postal facility.

April 24, 1998
Edinboro, Pennsylvania. One teacher, John Gillette, was killed, two students wounded at a dance at James W. Parker Middle School. Andrew Wurst, 14, was charged.

May 19, 1998
Fayetteville, Tennessee. One student was killed in the parking lot at Lincoln County High School three days before he was to graduate. The victim was dating the ex-girlfriend of his killer, 18-year-old honor student Jacob Davis.

May 21, 1998
Springfield, Oregon. Two students killed, 22 others wounded in the cafeteria at Thurston High School by 15-year-old Kip Kinkel. His parents were later found dead at home.

My further investigations revealed that two other school shootings happen that day.

From my book, The Copycat Effect, following my discussion of the Springfield, Oregon shooting, I write:

"On the same day, May 21, 1998, 200 miles due north, at the end of the school day, Miles Fox, 15, a student of Onalaska High School, Onalaska, Washington, took a young woman hostage from his bus to his home, and died by suicide from a shot to his head. As the story aired on radio and television, Ricardo Martin, 15, shot himself with a .38 caliber pistol and died on the campus of Rialto High School, in Rialto, California."

The events happening earlier on May 21, in Springfield, Oregon, had been all over the radio, Internet, and news channels constantly, all day.

Thank goodness there were no fatalities in the Roseburg incident. But here's my concern and prediction: Since the void in the regular workplace and school shooting cycle for the one year after 9/11, we are returning to the routine pattern in fatal shooting incidents and near fatal school shootings. The typical pattern of shootings in March and April is predictable, and often mirrors a location trend. So European shootings followed each other, April followed April, and then Minnesota followed Minnesota. Will more Oregon shootings follow this Roseburg event, and occur in the near future? I would not let the words of anyone saying "school shootings in Oregon are rare" make people feel safe.

Fatal school shootings:
April 26, 2002
Erfurt, Germany
April 29, 2002
Vlasenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina
April 24, 2003
Red Lion, Pa.
Sept. 24, 2003
Cold Spring, Minn.
Sept. 28, 2004
Carmen de Patagones, Argentina
March 21, 2005
Red Lake, Minn.

Oregon is not out of the woods yet.

Indeed, look for more rampages on the West Coast in March-April 2006.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Grammys: Helter Skelter, McCartney, Manson, Melcher, More?

On February 8, 2006, during the Grammys, the second song that Paul McCartney decided to sing was "Helter Skelter."

Talk about twilight language.

"Tell me tell me tell me the answer." - Helter Skelter

The Beatles song has been tied to Charles Manson for a long time. As Wikipedia notes: "In December 1968, Charles Manson heard this song, and others from the White Album, and interpreted them as a warning of an approaching race war. He saw the Beatles as the Four Angels of the Apocalypse mentioned in the New Testament book of Revelation and believed their songs were telling him and his followers to prepare themselves ('Look out, cos here she comes!'). Manson referred to this future war as 'Helter Skelter.' The words 'Healter Skelter' [sic] were also written in blood at the scene of one of the murders committed by the Manson Family."

Singing Helter Skelter on February 8th is an intriguing choice, er, coincidence.

February 8, 1942, is the birthday of Terry Melcher.

Terry Melcher (singer/songwriter/producer, b. New York, NY, USA, d. Nov. 19, 2004, Beverly Hills, CA, USA, of cancer). Terry was the son of famed actress/singer Doris Day (her only child) and her first husband, trombonist Al Jorden. (Doris was only 18 when she gave birth to Terry.) 10 years later, he was adopted by Doris Day's third husband, her agent and producer Martin Melcher, and took his surname. Besides composing songs, and producing festivals, Melcher is remembered today as the man most responsible for shaping the 1960s sounds of California-style folk and 'surf' music. In the early 1960's, Melcher started his career as a solo performer. He soon paired with Bruce Johnston (a future 'Beach Boy') as 'Bruce & Terry, and they had several hits. The duo then formed the 'Rip Chords' and had success with their 1964 hit "Hey, Little Cobra." Melcher also performed on the seminal 'Beach Boys' album "Pet Sounds". In the mid-60's, Melcher secured an internship in Columbia's producer-trainee program in New York. As a Columbia Records producer, he returned to California, and was set to work on "Don't Make My Baby Blue" which put Frankie Laine back into the US Top Fifty for the first time since 1957. Terry also worked with such folk and rock pioneers as Gram Parsons, 'The Mamas and the Papas', and Ry Cooder. He also helped to transform the little-known folk-rock band, 'The Byrds', into stars.when he produced their versions of "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "Turn, Turn, Turn" (to Everything There is a Season), "The Bells of Rhymney", and later recordings like "Ballad of Easy Rider".

In 1969, Terry Melcher became a peripheral figure in the notorious Charles Manson murder case, when it was determined that Terry had once rented the same house in which actress Sharon Tate and her friends were killed by Manson's followers. There was speculation at the time that Melcher, who knew Manson, was the real intended target because he had turned down Manson's request for a recording contract. However, police established that Melcher had moved and that Manson knew his whereabouts.

From 1968 to 1972, Terry was the executive producer of his mother's television series, "The Doris Day Show", and later co-produced her mid-1980's program, "Doris Day's Best Friends". Also in the 1980s, he co-composed the hit "Kokomo", a song that 1) was featured in the Tom Cruise film "Cocktail", 2) helped stoke a 1980's revival for the Beach Boys, and 3) received a Golden Globe nomination in 1988 for best original song. Terry was always close to his mother, and before his demise had been running various businesses for her and supervising her charitable activities, including the Doris Day Animal Foundation.

Melcher source.

February 8 is the death day of Frank Retz.

In 1998, on February 8, Frank Retz died in car accident in Los Angeles County. A World War II German Army captain who emigrated to America after the war and found success as a businessman became a victim early Sunday of the recent series of powerful storms that slammed the Southland. Frank Retz, 84, was killed when the car he was in fell to the bottom of a 60-foot ravine near his secluded home, off Santa Susana Pass Road. Did he lose control in the rainstorm or did the weight of the car in which he and his friends were riding caused the bridge to collapse? Police were unsure how the accident really happened.

The car, which belonged to Andy and Helen Gattuso, plunged to the bottom of the ravine about 1:30 a.m., authorities said. The Gattusos, both in their 60s, managed to crawl out of the overturned vehicle and climb up the edge of the embankment.

Retz was remembered as a colorful character by his neighbors, who said he boasted of being the stuntman atop the horse in the TV series, "Zorro," and of once physically assaulting Charles Manson, whom he caught trespassing on his property. (Retz source 1).

Frank Retz testified in 1977, that he purchased a portion of the Spahn Ranch in 1967 or 1968 and thereafter negotiated with Spahn for the purchase of the remainder of the ranch. In June 1969, Retz arranged to purchase the Kelly Ranch adjoining the Spahn Ranch and on June 30, 1969, Retz entered the farmhouse and saw Manson and about 20 people lying on the floor. Retz ordered Manson off of his property. Retz called the sheriff. Retz saw Manson on the Kelly property frequently after June 30, 1969, and ordered him off the property. After June 30, 1969, Retz had several conversations with Spahn, many of which were overheard by "Squeaky" Fromme (a Manson family member) about getting Manson and his family off of the Spahn Ranch. Retz told Manson to leave the ranch because Spahn asked Retz to clean up the ranch of the Manson family and he gave Retz a power of attorney. See more at Retz source 2.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Sanmarco and Robida Linked?

Am I the only person to see the link between Jennifer Sanmarco who went "postal" Monday last week, and Jason Robida, who went on the attack at a gay bar three days later?

Both had racist points of view. Sanmarco wished to have published in Milan, NM, something to be called "The Racist Press." Robida had a racist and neo-Nazi style myspace.com site. Sanmarco used a gun to kill mostly women and minorities at her former postal job. Robida used a hachet and gun to attack and injury gays. Later, in Norfolk, Arkansas, he used a gun to kill a law enforcement officer and perhaps his girlfriend.

Sanmarco killed herself. Robida died by "suicide by cop."

People are searching for the "why" today for Robida's cross country rampage.

How are we to know? But perhaps the Sanmarco's event triggered Robida's reaction and mayhem?

What should we expect this week?

Friday, February 03, 2006

Empire State Building Suicide

The Associated Press is reporting that Dovid Abramowitz, 21, of Manhattan, jumped from the Empire State Building in New York City on February 1, 2006. He apparently "had bought a ticket to the 86th-floor observation deck but found his way to a vacant office on the 66th floor, where he jumped Wednesday afternoon, said police spokesman Lt. John Grimpel. His body was discovered on a sixth-floor landing."

The article stated that "more than 30 people have committed suicide at the building since it opened in 1931. Before Wednesday, the most recent was believed to have been in 2004, when a man jumped from the observation deck."

There were two 2004 incidents of note. One occurred in February of that year, when a man jumped from the 80th floor, immediately after he had filled out a job application.

Another Empire State Building death happened when an unidentified probable West African, 25 to 30 years old, 5-feet-8 and 161 pounds, with a large scar on his left shoulder, leapt, on the morning of Nov. 26, 2004, from the observation deck.

Including the 2006 suicide victim, exactly 35 individuals have died by suicide from the Empire State Building.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Going Postal Again

The news reports are that a USPS ex-employee has killed six, and may have killed a neighbor before she began her rampage January 30-31, 2006.

The female ex-postal worker, Jennifer Sanmarco, shot dead six people at the Processing and Distribution Center in Santa Barbara, California, before dying by suicide herself.

She killed six plus herself (6+1=7), and allegedly may have killed another earlier (#8).

"According to witnesses from the scene, she had a 9 mm pistol and reloaded at least once during her rampage," Santa Barbara County Sheriff James Anderson said Tuesday.

The possible seventh victim was found dead Tuesday from a gunshot wound to the head at a Santa Barbara condominium complex where Sanmarco once lived, said Jeff Klapakis with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.

“Evidence and circumstances of both crimes show distinct correlations between the two,” Klapakis said Wednesday.

Klapakis said the woman, identified by her brother as Beverly Graham, 54, died Monday.

As some media mentioned, this is the first woman postal employee (present or former) to be the shooter in a "going postal" event.

It is also being noted by the media that it has been eight years since a postal rampage.

Yes, there were several in 1998. But, while it was not technically a "postal shooting," on April 10, 2001, an Ethiopian immigrant walked into at a postal bulk transfer facility in New Jersey, and slashed three employees. He then was found in the locker room by police, wearing only his underwear, covered in his own blood because he'd cut his left wrist. Three Kearney, NJ police officers who found him were then approached by the man who had a knife and a gun.. They asked him to throw aside his weapons, but when he didn't, they all dispatched their firearms, killing the postal invader.

I've always wondered about the metaphoric twilight language in this 4/10 attack - an Ethiopian (who had been in the country since 1994) using a knife (like a boxcutter) to attempt a murder-suicide attack against a symbol of America (the USPS), five months before 9/11.

The media attention to this new 1/30/06 "going postal" event (somewhat lessened by the immediate replacement "breaking news" items, the death of Coretta Scott King) could cause a copycat effect ripple this Friday and/or Monday via another workplace rampage and/or a school shooting.

I have been predicting that this spring 2006 could be another time with a couple rather dramatic school shootings (with March 20th through April 20th, once again, being the key days). This event might speed up the timetable.

See Chapter 10, "Going Postal," in The Copycat Effect (2004), for more details about other postal rampage shootings.