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Mike 03

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Modesto California
Home country: United States
Current location: Arizona
Member since: Mon Oct 27, 2008, 06:14 PM
Number of posts: 16,570

Journal Archives

The Night Stalker is back in the news.

Apparently, Netflix is running a well-reviewed series/documentary about the serial killer Richard Ramirez (the "Night Stalker" ) who terrorized Los Angeles in 1984/5. Earlier this year HLN also unveiled a two-part, two-hour documentary on the same.

Did any DUers live in Los Angeles around this time, or perhaps live in other areas but follow these crimes? Or have any of you watched this new Netflix program? I'd be interested to see your views.

I was a junior in college living near downtown Los Angeles during this period, and during the summers I lived on the second floor of a a light-colored fraternity house with unlocked doors (and briefly no front door at all) that had proximate access to both the 110 and Santa Monica Freeways. I was running at 4 A.M. without a care in the world, and blissfully unaware we had a active serial killer rampaging through Los Angeles until the very end of August 1985 when I heard on the radio of a huge commotion in East Los Angeles leading to the capture of Richard Ramirez.

Looking back at Ramirez, the most interesting thing to me is that he was somewhat different than a lot of serial killers in that he had no victim preference and vague objectives. His only concerns were: Can I find a house that I can make entry into? Is it light-colored enough that I can see what I'm doing as I scale the exterior in the dark? (Thus, he showed preference for white and yellow colored homes). Is the house close to a freeway so I can quickly escape? He seemed to like to enter the second storey of dwellings. Although he did sexually assault many of his victims, that was not a primary consideration. Age was irrelevant, as he killed the very young and the elderly. Gender was irrelevant. He didn't seek out homes in wealthy areas; so, although he stole, seeking items of value was not a priority for him either. Maybe he sought to dominate whatever environment he entered, and part of the appeal of entering blindly is he never knew who or what he would encounter? I'll leave that speculation to the forensic psychiatrists.

Interestingly, I don't know if Ramirez was ever seriously, intensely interviewed by experts who study serial killers the way others have been. His crime scenes were in some ways so different that I wonder if experts would say he had a signature, like other SKs. The signature is some act committed during the crime that answers the question: What need is the murderer gratifying by committing this crime? Ramirez left gratfitti pentagrams at some crime scenes, and that is a "calling card" but not a signature.

Here is some background on the case, and a review of the Netflix series:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Ramirez

Summary:

Ricardo Leyva Muñoz Ramírez (/rəˈmɪərɛz/; February 29, 1960 – June 7, 2013), known as Richard Ramirez, was an American serial killer, serial rapist, kidnapper, pedophile, and burglar. His highly publicized home invasion crime spree terrorized the residents of the Greater Los Angeles area and later the residents of the San Francisco Bay Area from June 1984 until August 1985. Prior to his capture, Ramirez was dubbed the "Night Stalker" by the news media.[1]

He used a wide variety of weapons, including handguns, knives, a machete, a tire iron, and a hammer. Ramirez, who claimed to be a Satanist, never expressed any remorse for his crimes.[1] The judge who upheld Ramirez's nineteen death sentences remarked that his deeds exhibited "cruelty, callousness, and viciousness beyond any human understanding".[2] Ramirez was convicted in 1989 of thirteen counts of murder, five attempted murders, eleven sexual assaults, and fourteen burglaries[3] and died of complications from B-cell lymphoma while awaiting execution on California's death row.



Early Life:

As a 12-year-old, Richard—or "Richie", as he was known to his family—was strongly influenced by his older cousin, Miguel ("Mike" ) Ramirez,[7] a decorated Green Beret combat veteran who often boasted of his gruesome exploits and abuses during the Vietnam War. He shared Polaroid photos of his victims, including Vietnamese women he had raped.[8] In some of the photos, Mike posed with the severed head of a woman he had abused.[9] Ramirez, who had begun smoking marijuana at the age of 10, bonded with Mike over joints and gory war stories.[10] Mike taught his young cousin some of his military skills, such as killing with stealth.[11] Around this time, Ramirez began to seek escape from his father's violent temper by sleeping in a local cemetery.[11]

Ramirez was present on May 4, 1973, when his cousin Mike fatally shot his wife, Jessie, in the face with a .38 caliber revolver during a domestic argument.[12] After the shooting, Ramirez became sullen and withdrawn from his family and peers. Later that year, he moved in with his older sister, Ruth, and her husband, Roberto, an obsessive "peeping Tom" who took Richie along on his nocturnal exploits.[13] Ramirez also began using LSD and cultivated an interest in Satanism.[14] Mike was found not guilty of Jessie's murder by reason of insanity and was released in 1977, after four years of incarceration at the Texas State Mental Hospital. His influence over Ramirez continued.[15][16]

The adolescent Ramirez began to meld his burgeoning sexual fantasies with violence, including forced bondage and rape.[17] While still in school, he took a job at a local Holiday Inn, where he used his passkey to rob sleeping patrons.[18] His employment ended abruptly after Ramirez attempted to rape a woman in her hotel room, before her husband returned to find them.[19] Although the husband beat Ramirez senseless at the scene, criminal charges were dropped when the couple, who lived out of state, declined to return to testify against him.[20]


Netflix Series Review:

‘Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer’ is controversially immersive

“Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer” tells the stories of prolific serial killer Richard Ramirez, nicknamed the “Night Stalker,” The narrative follows Gil Carrillo, an up-and-coming detective who led the investigation of the series of crimes we now know were the work of the Night Stalker.

Adopting the perspective of detective Carrillo was an interesting and necessary decision for telling this macabre story. The choice lets viewers approach the events clinically, interpreting disparate facts and attempting to form patterns that aren’t immediately apparent. As the number of victims increases and their stories are told, the audience empathizes with the victims and searches for clues to seek justice for them. Carrillo’s storytelling is aided by the accounts of victims who survived, fellow law enforcement agents and reporters who covered the cases. It’s also notable that, while most true crime tales tend to highlight police incompetence, “Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer” paints detective Carrillo and his partner Frank Salerno as highly skilled investigators searching for answers.

Ultimately, the combination of storytelling devices forms a cohesive and nuanced picture of how unprecedented violence can affect a community and, perhaps even harder to watch, how there are phantom traces of humanity within reckless, unthinkable cruelty.


https://www.michigandaily.com/section/arts/%E2%80%98night-stalker-hunt-serial-killer%E2%80%99-controversially-immersive

I take polite exception to the implication of this sentence:

The series highlights how, despite Los Angeles’s economic success and cultural prevalence, the mirage of peace was rattled by an underbelly of crime unseen before.


There was no "mirage of peace" in Los Angeles. Although I didn't appreciate it at the time, Los Angeles (and California generally), had been a haven for serial killers for over a decade when the Night Stalker began to make headlines. Only a few years before, Los Angeles had been terrorized by two overlapping serial killer teams you possibly have heard of: The Hillside Stranglers, and Lawrence Bittaker and his demented partner Roy Norris. I wonder if people had almost become a little bit blase about it. By 1984, just in California alone, there had been numerous active serial killers:

The Zodiac
The Hillside Stranglers (Los Angeles)
Lawrence Bittaker and Roy Norris (Los Angeles)
William Bonin (Los Angeles)
Randy Kraft (Los Angeles)

Leonard Lake and Charles Ng
Ed Kemper
Santa Rosa Hitchhiker murders

And that's just a few of the ones that made headlines. I wonder if people were beginning to realize this was an emerging phenomenon that we might have to accept as an ongoing development in our society. By 1984 the idea of an active serial killer was not a novelty. And Southern California had seen its fair share.



They both talked big but feared face-to-face conflict.

Both relied on intermediaries to carry out some of their crimes.

It's a decent point. Of course Trump had actual power and Manson's power was, like David Koresh's, so contingent upon the agreement of his followers that he was their leader--something that can change abruptly.

Evolved thinking about Manson looks at whether his cult was entering a crisis period where Manson feared an emerging dominance contest with Tex Watson, with Manson upping the ante by ordering first the Tate murders and then the Labianca murders. In doing so he jumped the shark, because he wasn't actually willing to kill anybody, and was maybe hoping Tex Watson would get in trouble. I haven't done the research myself but have seen newer analysis by F.B.I. behavioral experts.

Highly recommended.

This documentary is a stunning and inspiring act of resistance, by a heroic figure whose current condition and future should be of great concern to us.

I watched it yesterday and plan on watching it again today. Sometimes, the amount of information divulged in the narration is overwhelming, though it is often accompanied by organizational charts. Still, it is a lot to digest. There is some help from Wikipedia on this, especially the chart under the "Financing" section:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Putin%27s_Palace

Here is a compilation of images from the "Residence at Cape Idokopas."

https://www.google.com/search?q=Residence+at+Cape+Idokopas&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj32-ziv6_uAhXbPH0KHeqABtwQ_AUoAnoECAsQBA&biw=1164&bih=796

It's taught me a lot too.

But that dawning realization about how stupid or hateful or susceptible "others" are usually goes hand in hand with the recognition that we've been naive about the actual state of our world.

The Christian far right will accept Pence back, but the good news is he will

never be president and likely won't run.

He's idolized by the Christian Nationalists and they won't break with Pence over what's transpired these last weeks. In fact, the Christian far right is fully aware that it sold its soul to support Trump in the first place. That marriage was always tenuous, forced and rocky. They might go back to supporting Ted Cruz or someone else more sincerely devoted to their cause.

Over the last few weeks we've seen those headlines suggesting the RW Christians are trying to estrange themselves from the Trump debacle: "Christian Evangelicals in a moment of soul-searching..."

And now for the soul-searching:

And yet, as we in the media reckon with our role in the present catastrophe, Fox often gets left out of the story. You can see why. Dog bites man is never news. Fox’s vitriol and distortions are simply viewed as part of the landscape now. The cable channel has been a Republican propaganda outlet for decades, and under President Trump’s thumb for years. So while the mainstream media loves to beat itself up — it’s a way, sometimes, of inflating our own importance — we have mostly sought less obvious angles in this winter’s self-examination. The Washington Post’s Margaret Sullivan concluded last week that the mainstream press is “flawed and stuck for too long in outdated conventions,” but “has managed to do its job.” MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan said the media had “failed” by normalizing Trump.


Will they remember the lessons learned when the next Trump emerges?

Masha Gessen has some important thoughts about media culpability in her book Surviving Autocracy.

More than anything, this is what enraged Trump about Comey

In the letter to Comey, Trump emphasized Comey's repeated assurances that the president was not a focus of the FBI investigation. That changed, though, when Trump fired Comey, prompting Mueller's appointment and launching a new line of inquiry into whether Trump was trying to obstruct a federal investigation.


He could never get Comey to make that statement publicly.

Then he fired Comey and brought the investigation he most feared into existence.

The conservative elite and the disgruntled masses have different reasons for succumbing

to the allure of authoritarianism.

It takes both of them for it to succeed.

Some incredible books have recently been written about it. One of my favorites is Anne Applebaum's Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism. Also Benjamin Carter Hett's Death of Democracy: Hitler's Rise to Power and the Downfall of the Weimar Republic in how it explains the same grievances that led people to join the Nazi Party are still responsible for provoking modern people to join anti-Democracy parties. Also Timothy Snyder's absolutely remarkable The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America.

The classic on this is still Hannah Arendt's The Origins of Totalitarianism.

So happy to see this.

Recent books like Sarah Posner's Unholy and Katherine Stewart's The Power Worshippers leave the reader with a foreboding sense that Christian Nationalism will be hard to overcome/defeat, and it is so gratifying to see that high on the Biden/Harris agenda is showing them who is boss, and reminding them that THEY hold the minority view on reproductive rights.

Didn't you love the part where CNN correspondent Shimon Prokupecz says

in that plaintive but serious voice, "We don't know if this man posed a threat."

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