Sunday, February 25, 2007

Zodiac To Cause Copycats?

A major motion picture directed by David Fincher [Alien 3 (1992), Se7en (1995), The Game (1997), Fight Club (1999), Panic Room (2002)] opens across the United States on March 2, 2007, from Paramount Pictures. It stars, among many, Jake Gyllenhaal, Anthony Edwards, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr., Brian Cox, Chloë Sevigny and Bijou Phillips. It is based on the self-named serial killer who terrorized the San Francisco area during the late 1960s.

The Zodiac murdered five known victims near the Solano County communities of Benicia and Vallejo, near Napa Valley's Lake Berryessa, and in San Francisco, California, between December 1968 and October 1969. The Zodiac may have murdered others. The Zodiac claimed as much.

On August 1, 1969, three letters written by Zodiac were received at the Vallejo Times-Herald, the San Francisco Chronicle, and theSan Francisco Examiner. The letters continued being received by the media through 1974.

The Zodiac was never caught and never identified.

Will the new movie cause a Zodiac copycat killer? As documented in The Copycat Effect, some movies have resulted in violent mimics. Minor and television movies, of which there have been a few about the Zodiac, have had little impact on triggering copycat behaviors in violent humans. Major motion pictures appear to have created copycat waves of violence. Recent examples I detail include A Clockwork Orange, Natural Born Killer, The Matrix, and American History X. (I do not advocate censorship, but awareness, and deal with that approach, in depth, in the book.)

The impact of the Zodiac in cinema may be widespread, even when the name Zodiac is not used. For example, the fictional "Gemini Killer" in the movie The Exorcist III (1990) was loosely based on the Zodiac killer.

Movies about the Zodiac have increased lately. Zodiac Killer, (2005, director Ulli Lommel) is about a cat-and-mouse game between the real Zodiac and a young copycat in 2002 Los Angeles.

The Zodiac (2005, director Alex Bulkley) concerns a fictional detective in Vallejo obsessed with investigating the real Zodiac during the timeframe of the real killings. Bulkley's film has been shown often on cable television during the opening months of 2007, probably due to the upcoming Fincher release. It is an intriguing Bay Area mystery, with occult overtones. Strangely, the one suspect they show they tried to track down lived at an address with the street number 2323.

Of course, the truth of the matter is that the original real Zodiac has already resulted in one alleged imitator, the New York Zodiac copycat. Between March 9, 1990 and June 10, 1994 in New York City, a Zodiac copycat murdered three people and wounded five others with a zip gun. He also wrote letters to the police in a fashion similar to the San Francisco Zodiac. The killer knew the astrological signs of his victims.

On June 18, 1996, Heriberto Seda was arrested for shooting his 17-year-old sister in the back, and was later identified as the New York Zodiac. In June 1998, he was sentenced to 236 years in jail, and will not be eligible for parole until 2082.

One of the most famous quotations from the San Francisco-area Zodiac is: "I am waiting for a good movie about me."

Will Fincher's Zodiac cause the Zodiac, if the killer is still alive, to resurface to communicate?

Will this new 2007 movie result in a copycat Zodiac?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Trolley Square Mirrored Montreal?

Someone asked me overnight, if I would consider the Salt Lake City shootings a copycat of the case in Montreal at Dawson College?

I had to honestly answer that as far as the copycat effect, well, yes, perhaps, maybe, not exactly. The act may fit more comfortably within the context of the greater Columbine cult that still colors most mass shootings by "young people."

The Trolley Square shooting may only compare to Montreal in terms of them both being violent cultural "outsiders" who put the mantle of Columbine on themselves to channel their vulnerability and rage.

Kimveer Gill (July 9, 1981-September 13, 2006), the shooter at Dawson College, was an an Indo-Canadian born in Montreal, whose parents were part of the Sikh community in the Quebec
area. Through Vampirefreaks and other sites, clearly he was obsessed with Columbine. Gill wore a trenchcoat and one of his nicknames was "Trench."

Gill's weapons of choice: a Norinco HP9-1 short barrelled shotgun, a Beretta Cx4 Storm carbine, and a Glock 9mm handgun. He fired 60 times. (There has always been a rumor that Gill first targeted the locally called "Jew Café" at Dawson College. People have been reluctant, beyond right after the shooting, to talk openly about this aspect of the incident.)

Sulejman Talovic, who was responsible for the Trolley Square Mall killings, was an 18-year-old Bosnian Muslim refugee. It is too early to tell what kind of clues he left behind. But his wearing of a trenchcoat
might have been symbolic, as well as his choice of weapons: shotgun, a .38-caliber pistol, and a backpack full of ammunition. Talovic reportedly fired over 50 times. (Why a Muslim attack in a highly Mormon area?)

At almost exactly the same time (6:45 PM Mountain Time) that the Trolley Square Mall shooting were moving into high gear, the Philadelphia Navy Yard shootings (reportedly 8:30 PM Eastern Time) were occurring. That location is associated with the Philadelphia Experiment incidents, as a researcher friend brought to my attention.

Two trenchcoated shooters, with a "foreign" outlook, who both end their rampages by killing themselves: They were cultural mirrors of the Columbine killers (who were pseudo-German, wore trenchcoats, and died by suicides in the end). One hundred percentage of school shooters and rampage killers, I feel, are suicidal. They have nothing to lose by the time they start shooting. Both Gill and Talovic followed the Columbine model rather closely, except for their change of settings. I wonder if Talovic didn't really like Valentine's Day (most of his victims were in a greeting card shop).

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

UT/PA Shootings

Monday night, February 12, 2007, in Salt Lake City, Utah, at about 6:45 PM Mountain Time (8:45 PM Eastern), and at the Navy Yard, Philadelphia, at 8:30 PM Eastern, two mass shootings occurred.

The Utah event involved a 18-year-old gunman wearing a trenchcoat who opened fire on shoppers at the Trolley Square shopping mall, killing five and wounding four others before police fatally shot him, was armed with several rounds of ammunition and was carrying two guns. Detectives were trying to figure out what sparked the young man's rampage.

Meanwhile in Philadelphia, an armed man opened fire during a company board meeting inside a commercial building at the Navy Yard, killing three men and critically wounding a fourth before turning the gun on himself. It happened during a meeting of the board of directors of a company called Watson International. The board was meeting at 5131 S. 11th St. in a structure known as Building 79, a former Navy procurement office that, like many of the warehouse-type buildings at the former Navy base and shipyard, is now home to private businesses.

Police have identified the three men who were fatally shot during a company board meeting last night inside a commercial building at the Navy Yard.

They are:

* Mark Norris, 46, of Piles Grove, N.J.; president and CEO of Zigzag Net, the building's primary occupant.
* Robert Norris, 41, of Newark, Del., vice president of business development for Watson International, the company having the meeting.
* James Reif, 42, of Endicott, N.Y.

Building 79's primary occupant is Zigzag Net Inc., a Web site development company involved in advertising. It was unclear last night what the relationship was between Zigzag and Watson International, but officials indicated that they might have been business partners.

It is too early to determine if a copycat effect will occur, as several factors have to be figured into such an equation such as the forthcoming Valentine's Day superstorm hitting the East Coast and the continuing and overwhelming media attention to the recent sudden death of Anne Nicole Smith.

I have written elsewhere of how "Watson" appears to be a hot twilight language name.