Friday, January 30, 2009

Wisconsin: New Joker Attack

In the space of one week, there have been three violent incidents involving Joker copycats. Besides the Belgium and Indiana incidents, tonight there is new information about an attack earlier in Wisconsin.

On Friday, January 23, 2009, Kim de Gelder, reportedly with his face painted like the Joker, invaded the "Fairyland" daycare in Dendermonde and allegedly killed three people.

The day after the Dendermonde incident, it now turns out, in Reseburg, Clark County, Wisconsin, a man who had painted his face like the Joker in The Dark Knight invaded a home in an attempt to beat up his former girlfriend's boyfriend.

Cole Vetterkind

Joshua Kane

Here is the primary news item about the incident, as run in the Marshfield News-Herald, Marshfield, Wisconsin, on January 30, 2009:

No Joke: Clark Co. intruder's face painted like Batman villain by Jacob Miller

A 26-year-old Thorp man who broke into a town of Reseburg home allegedly wore face paint to resemble The Joker while assaulting his ex-girlfriend's boyfriend, according to a Clark County criminal complaint.

Cole Vetterkind broke into Alecia Swensen's boyfriend's home at N12458 Gorman Ave., Thorp at about 5:30 a.m. Saturday [January 24, 2009], sheriff's officials said. Vetterkind was shot in the leg when he attacked Jason Benzschawel, 23.

According to the criminal complaint:

Vetterkind entered the home with Joshua Kane, 22, of Stanley and began jumping on, hitting and choking Benzschawel while he was asleep in a bed with Swensen.

Benzschawel thought he was being hit with brass knuckles and said Vetterkind was wearing a ski mask. When the mask was pulled off during the altercation, he saw it was Vetterkind, who had his face painted like The Joker, played by Heath Ledger in the recent Batman movie, "The Dark Knight."

Swensen, 18, told police she dated Vetterkind, but they recently broke up because he would get violent. She said Vetterkind harassed her by calling and text messaging her, and he once waited for her at her parents' home.

While being attacked, Benzschawel grabbed a loaded 20-gauge pistol grip shotgun and shot Vetterkind in the leg.
Benzschawel said the shotgun only had one round in it, and he kept it loaded next to his bed. When investigators arrived, the shotgun was unloaded and laying on a towel in the bathroom.

Swensen managed to exit the house and call 911 during the assault.

The mattress and areas throughout the house were covered in blood.

Benzschawel told the sheriff's department that Vetterkind began to harass and threaten him when he started to date Swensen. He said Vetterkind claimed he has connections to the Hell's Angels motorcycle gang, who would come and "do things to him."

During the altercation, Benzschawel received bruises on his face and his hands were cut and bruised. After the shooting, Swensen helped Kane get Vetterkind into a white 1999 Oldsmobile Alero, which the two intruders had driven to the home. Kane took Vetterkind to Our Lady of Victory Hospital in Stanley. He was airlifted to Saint Joseph's Hospital in Marshfield, where he was in fair condition Wednesday, a hospital spokesperson said.

Vetterkind faces three felony charges that include strangulation and suffocation; intimidation of a victim; and use or attempt of force and burglary of a building or dwelling. He also faces a misdemeanor battery charge. His initial court appearance has not been set.

Kane faces a felony charge of intimidating a victim and the use or attempt of force, and two misdemeanor charges of criminal trespassing to a dwelling and battery. Kane, who is in the Clark County Jail on unrelated charges, had his initial appearance at the Clark County Courthouse, Neillsville, moved to 1:05 p.m. Thursday, according to online court records.

One local newspaper, the Leader-Telegram in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, noted on January 30, 2009, that "Cole C. Vetterkind, 26, of Thorp and Joshua J. Kane, 22, of Stanley face multiple criminal counts for reportedly breaking into a home where Vetterkind's cousin Jason P. Benzschawel, 23, was staying with Alecia Swensen, 18."

What is intriguing is that the suspect apparently is the victim's cousin. One translation of the name "Vetterkind" is literally "cousin child."

One of the officers involved in the incident was a female noted in the criminal complaint as "Sgt. Campbell." The teacher attacked yesterday in Clinton, Indiana, was "Ms. Campbell."

Thanks to Richard Hendricks who pointed to the breaking news on this Wisconsin event, and then quickly to Todd Campbell's posting alert about it too.


just_another_dick said...

You'll have to forgive me Loren, But I'm not sure I see the point to the Joker angle.

Are you insinuating that these folk wouldn't have done what they did without the influence of the Joker/Heath Ledger mythos?

20 years ago, it would have been Jason's hockey mask, 40 years ago Chuck Manson's swastika art.

Considering that we live in a society that is pretty much complete and utter bull hooey, I find it far more amazing that this doesn't happen more often.

I imagine that the stress these people were under was probably phenomenal.
If the "Joker mythos" didn't trigger it, something else would have.

These forces just don't evaporate.

I saw the movie in theatrical release and all I got out of it was a sore behind.

Gee whiz, of course the media influences folk. That's its job.
Wasn't Bernays, the father of modern public relations, the one who waxed rhapsodic about how one must control the public mind in order to have a well run democracy?

Don't we live in a country that just had a large part in the massive death toll in Iraq?
In a war started under the flimsiest & easily debunked excuses?
An act of aggression that, if seen at Nuremberg, would have been punishable as a war crime.

The death toll enacted from the phrase "mushroom cloud" will, I think, far outweigh the death toll enacted during any joker flap.

My bet is that no one here in the American media will be discussing that truism for quite some time.

Loren Coleman said...

JAD appears to have missed the entire foundation of this blog and my book: The powers that be within the mass media deny that the copycat effect exists.

The Joker examples serve as the latest specific evidence in support of a serious examination of the influence and impact of behavior contagion, and other less-apparent "twilight" links to these events.

The evidence for this may seem overwhelming and logical to you, especially, after reading the lists of Joker incidents, but the debunkers exist, nevertheless.

As I've mentioned before, when my 1987 book appeared, entitled Suicide Clusters, even some academics refused to consider the reality underlying the media impact regarding the contagion factor in the waves of teen suicides sweeping the country in the 1980s.

Today, such an argument is taken for granted in some quarters.

just_another_dick said...

Loren, I'm sure that those in the media are well aware of their negative influence on mass consciousness whether they admit it or not.

Really, why would you expect them to admit the negative effects of their cash cow?

As far as "contagion epidemics" go, isn't our entire consensus reality just one huge contagion epidemic?

For example, I sat through the Super Bowl tonight, and, quite frankly, it looked like one huge attempt to bolster the crumbling 'America the saintly' hologram that we've been hiding behind my entire life.

From having General Petraeus do the coin toss, to the fly over by jets in formation, one couldn't find a bigger lump of völkisch smaltz this side of Nazi Germany. The only chance for a bit of subversive irony passed by when Brucie neglected to play Born in the U.S.A at half-time.

I've read your book Loren. As a matter of fact, I've read everything I can find that you've written, and I'm not trying to debunk you or your theories.

Just think you're whistling past the graveyard, that's all.

This place is, at its black little core, blood-thirsty as hell. Folk around here like a little gore with their mac n' cheese and Bud-lite dinners.
Otherwise no one would watch.

Y'know, I just re-read your post and I realized that you weren't talking to me, you were talking around me to your audience.
I imagine that that's how the media would talk about you. Giving knowing nods and sly winks too.
I'd return the favor, but I was raised to see that as rude and dismissive.

I will give you this from my favorite author:

"The main thing that I learned about conspiracy theory is that conspiracy theorists actually believe in a conspiracy because that is more comforting. The truth of the world is that it is chaotic. The truth is, that it is not the Jewish banking conspiracy or the grey aliens or the 12 foot reptiloids from another dimension that are in control. The truth is more frightening, nobody is in control. The world is rudderless."

Loren Coleman said...

The quote, by the way, for those interested, should have been duly credited to Alan Moore, author of Watchmen, V for Vendetta, From Hell, and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

I did not and do not feel debunked, but I do feel there are motivations, activities, and thoughts that are not mine that are being projected on me by the anonymous commenter.

FilmNoir23 said...