Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My, What Big Teeth You Have

Lakewood, CA

Now, I'm not one to condone not listening to police. After all, they tend to have guns. But we have a problem, and have always had this sort of problem, when someone can say they're a cop, shine a flashlight and rape a 14-year-old girl.

Two girls were confronted by a man who identified himself as a police officer in Lakewood last night. When they stopped he shined a flashlight in their eyes, punched one of them in the face and grabbed the other. Threw her in the car, drove away and raped her. He dropped her off a few blocks away when he was done.

And to make this scene a little more bleak, if that's even possible, this was right outside an elementary school.

The man is described as white, 20 to 30 years old, bald, about 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighing 200 pounds. He was driving a white, four-door older sport utility vehicle with tinted rear windows.

Any information is more than welcomed by the LASD Special Victims Bureau at (866) 247-5877.

This is going to scare the shit out of a lot of parents, whether in the area or not. Rightly so. This was next to a school surrounded by homes. It happened before 9:00pm.

So what do you do? How do you protect your children? You can't roll them up in bubble wrap. You can't lock them up after dark. Giving them guns to defend themselves is... well, a generally bad idea. In some neighborhoods they're all packing anyway and worse things happen.

They need to be protected, yes, but educated at the same time. Knee-jerk reactions have occurred for less. I'm sorry, but more wrong headed mistakes have been made "for the children" than are usually taken care of by the solutions.

And the guy said he was a cop. What, were the kids going to run? Did they even have time to run?

In a speech Phillip K. Dick gave he asked about television's link to reality.
"What about the cop shows? Cars are continually swerving out of control, crashing, and catching fire. The police are always good and they always win. Do not ignore that point: The police always win. What a lesson that is. You should not fight authority, and even if you do, you will lose. The message here is, Be passive. And—cooperate. If Officer Baretta asks you for information, give it to him, because Officer Beratta is a good man and to be trusted. He loves you, and you should love him."
Now, I know that there have been more than a few kidnap stories by kids recently that have turned out to be made up. But we can't ignore any of them. We have to assume they're true. Because what if we don't and we're wrong?

On the flip side, what if we do and we're wrong? Innocent people have had their lives destroyed on a child's accusation. It happens more often than you might think.

Constant escorts? Trusted friends? How many of those have turned out wrong? You can't rule your children's lives or they'll grow to resent you and everything you've tried to teach them. Hold them too close and you'll push them away.

And that's the problem, really. You can't always be there, yet you always have to be there. It's a missionaries and cannibals problem with no solution.

So police your neighborhood, I guess. And watch your kids when you can. Try not to be too paranoid. Be ready and teach them well. Walk that fine balancing act between too much and too little. Don't call for security cameras or armed guards. That's the road to Hell right there.

And hope that the big bad wolf doesn't eat your kids.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Technically, I Suppose, It Does Solve All Your Problems

Wilmington, CA

Police discovered seven bodies at a home in Wilmington this morning; a mother, three daughters, two sons and the father who killed them.

Seems the man faxed a local television (or was it radio? things are a little muddled right now) station saying he was going to go home, kill his family and himself over problems at his job at Kaiser Permanente in West L.A. When he got home he called 911 and said he had found his family dead.

Police have found a revolver at the scene that they believe to be the murder weapon. Which would mean that he reloaded at least once. Clearly not a crime of passion.

In other murder/suicide news, a 27-year-old man killed his 4-year old son and then himself yesterday. So far no one knows why.

Back in October, Karthik Rajaram murdered his family and killed himself in their Porter Ranch home over money problems. Not long after that Wanda Dunn killed herself in front of her foreclosed home after putting piles of her belongings on her neighbors' porches.

I'm beginning to detect a pattern.

It's a futile exercise to wonder what led these people to that point in their lives. They're not around to tell us and everything else is just baseless conjecture. But wonder we will. Was it just the job? Was it just the foreclosure? Was it just losing cash in the stock market?

Whatever it was there was thinking behind it. There was a choice. The question then isn't why did they do it, but rather what was so large in their minds that they felt that this was the only course of action?

As the economy continues to implode and stresses build up, the less stable members of society will start making more erratic leaps of logic. That's the thing about crazy. If you follow the chain of thinking it actually makes sense.

Not good, not sane. Just logical.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

I'm Number... Uh... 49

The e-Justice Blog has compiled a list of the top 50 detective blogs and, somehow, I got on the list.

At number 49.

It's a wonder I made it there at all. What are you people are thinking?

Well, thanks. Hope if anyone new pops by you enjoy my particularly crass and insensitive sense of humor. And swearing.

Lots and lots and lots of swearing.

Which reminds me. Fuck.

So check out the list. And know that there are better places to go than here.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Writerly Stuff This Weekend

I haven't done this in a while, so I figure it's time to get off my lazy ass and promote random writers again. Of course, I had to pick a light weekend to start this up again. Well, here goes.

Saturday, January 24th

Mysteries To Die For - 2940 Thousand Oaks Boulevard, Thousand Oaks, California 91362

Charlie Huston signs The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death at 1:00pm

If you don't have a copy of this you should. Seriously, this is one goddamn funny book.

After a year of slacking off, Webster Gilmore takes a job with Clean Team, a crew that goes to the locations of the recently deceased to gather, scrub and bag the remains of messy tragedies. At one such scene, a bloody suicide in Malibu, he flirts with the victim’s beautiful daughter, Soledad. Soon after, he gets a phone call from her asking him to help her half-brother who’s in trouble and needs help cleaning up another big mess. Charlie Huston mixes the ultimate modern crime cocktail with edgy characters, gripping violence, black comedy, and cutting dialogue.

John Morgan Wilson signs Spider Season at 5:00pm

Benjamin Justice was an acclaimed Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who fell into disgrace when it was revealed he fabricated the sources for his articles. Now, many years later, he has published a memoir explaining the events that led to his fall from grace as a way of making peace with the past and rekindling his writing career. But the memoir stirs up old resentments and he finds himself under attack again from old rivals. Justice is a compelling and flawed protagonist who is paradoxically both tough and vulnerable.

The Mystery Bookstore - 1036-C Broxton, Los Angeles, CA 90024

Charlie Huston signs The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death at 5:00pm

The Charlie Huston lovefest continues in Westwood. If you're lucky you'll catch some desperate UCLA sorority gals panhandling for tuition money and a new boob job. So, please, give generously. Daddy can only afford so much plastic surgery and those tits aren't gonna be D-cups by themselves.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Conduct Unbecoming

Riverside, CA

Back in October, Marine Sgt. Jan Pietrzak and his wife, Quiana Jenkins-Pietrzak were found murdered in their home in Winchester.  Tied up, gagged, shot in the head.  Pietrzak's wife raped. The the house was set on fire, presumably to cover up evidence.  All this because four fellow Marines were trying to rob the place.

Lance Corporals Kesaun Sykes, 21, Emrys John, 18, Tyrone Miller, 20, and Private Kevin Cox, 20, confessed to the crimes in November.  Now, prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

They're certainly eligible.  Premeditated murder or murder during a robbery, rape or aggravated arson are punishable by death or life in prison according to the UCMJ.  And it looks like prosecutors might be going after all of those.

Does the military still hang people?  The last one was in 1961.  Army Private John A. Bennett.  Rape and attempted murder.

The death penalty was dropped in '83 and then reinstated the next year by Reagan.  In '97 they added the possibility of life without parole.

Me, I'm all for the death penalty.  Provided that the state doesn't fuck up a case and that it's commensurate with the crime.  Everyone equal under the law, etc, etc.  These things are rarely cut and dried and prosecutors just loooove to fiddle with facts.  That's why I like defense attorneys better.

But, seriously, some people just need killin'.

What do you think? Should the death penalty be revoked? Kept? Lessened? What?

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Fess Up People - What's With All The Go?

Back in September of '06, a Japanese photographer named Go Masuda went missing. I wrote this little blurb about Mr. Masuda's unfortunate situation.

Turns out that by the time I wrote about it, and the news sites were covering it, the San Diego County Coroner already had him and had just confirmed his identity. His death was ruled a suicide.

This happened just over two years ago. So how come I'm getting all these hits on the site in the last few days looking for "Go Masuda Photographer"?

Did something happen? Some new information? Or is this a different photographer named Go Masuda and you just happened to land here? If so, sorry if it freaked you out.

So, come clean folks. Why all the renewed interest in the late Mr. Masuda?

Buy This Book - The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death

Went and saw Charlie Huston at The Secret Headquarters in Hollywood last night.

Good crowd.  Fun reading.  Huston serving up shots of Old Grand-Dad.  "Pipe Bomb In The Ass" - maybe the best chapter title ever.  Won a box full of pesos for knowing my Spaghetti Westerns.  Somebody got a case of kitsch coasters studded with boobs.  Could only have been better if it had dancing Hula girls.  That heart tattoo, does it say My Darling Clementine?  Or did I read that wrong?  Either way, awesome ink.

Ah, but the book.  Short synopsis from PW: "Former Los Angeles grade school teacher Web Goodhue, now a full-time slacker suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, falls into a job on a crime scene cleanup crew, scrubbing up the remains of the recently deceased. After the crew has finished cleaning up a messy suicide scene in Malibu, Web gets a phone call from the dead man's daughter, Soledad. She and her thug half-brother have another big mess on their hands that needs cleaning, on the QT. Unable to resist the beautiful Soledad, Web soon finds himself in way over his head."

Hard book to put down.  Beautifully gruesome as I've come to expect from the man.  The writing punches, vivid and quick.  Dialog is spot on.  This is a book to be devoured, not just read.  The man's got a style that's pulpy and serious, hilarious and poignant all at the same time.  Something I've come to expect.  It does not disappoint.

Buy a copy.  Buy two.  Tell your friends.  Unless they have a problem with the vivid details of messy suicides.  Then just hand them a copy and see how they react.


Friday, January 16, 2009

You Know It's A Bad Day When They Break Out The Cadaver Dogs

Brea, CA

Sara Mowry, 82, went missing from her home at an assisted living facility Tuesday, leaving behind her walker, hearings aid, purse and medications. OC Sheriff's Department are considering it "suspicious".

Yeah, no shit.

Now, for reasons they're not talking about, they've sicced 50 deputies on a landfill in Brea. Sifting through trash, bringing out the cadaver dog. So far they haven't labeled it a homicide, but, come on, they're looking for somebody out there. Doesn't necessarily mean they're looking for her, of course.

No matter what they find this is not going to end well. "Inconsistencies" in her checking account. A pickup truck they think is linked to her disappearance. They impounded the car and arrested the driver, a friend of her grandson.

I smell money. Probably not even a lot of money. Maybe just tweaker money.

Friend of mine had her throat slit for that kind of cash. Gangbanger boyfriend of her roomie found a hundred bucks in her car and figured, hey, if she's got that much in her car, just think how much she's got in her house.

Let's hope this doesn't pan out like that one did.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Out of The Mouths... Er, Pants of Babes

Victorville, CA

When you have kids, so I'm told, you really have to watch what you're leaving around. Don't want them finding things they ought not to know about.  Never know what they'll do with it.  Maybe eat the rat poison under the kitchen sink, show mommy your hidden Barnyard Fun porn stash, take that .45 you keep in your car with him to school.

A 6-year-old boy was found to be carrying a gun at his school in Victorville.  Seems the tyke's pants were sagging and when somebody was helping cinch up his belt they found a loaded .45.

Sorry, a loaded .45 that had been stolen in a November robbery.

So his dad, Michael Lewis, has been arrested and is being investigation for receiving stolen property and possession of a firearm by a felon.  Felon, too?  Sounds like a winner.

The first pistol I fired was a Browning 9mm my dad got off a guy in Nevada for twenty bucks and a 6-pack of Coors.  I was, what, eight at the time?  Nine?  That thing was goddamn heavy and I wasn't too keen on the idea of holding it much less carrying it around.  And now this kid, three years younger than I was, is packing a loaded .45 in his shorts?

Damn.  I hadn't realized I was such a pussy.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

It's Not Just A Detective. It's A Thrilling Detective

Brand new issue of Thrilling Detective is up with fiction by Stephen D. Rogers, Patrick Shawn Bagley, Kieran Shea and Mark Troy.

Go read.


...I can't believe I just said that.

Making Money The Old Fashioned Way

Torrance, CA

Financial advisors are always telling you to diversify your portfolio. Spread things out. Stocks AND bonds. Hookers AND blow. Counterfeiting AND robbery.

Earnest J. Alexander, 41, has been wanted since August after being linked to a counterfeiting ring that dumped $6.8 million of fake cash into circulation. Must not have been a very good product. No twinkle in Abe Lincoln's eye, maybe. The other four men involved are all in custody. Nine years for one, up to twenty each for the other three.

Apparently, fake bills will only carry you so far. Alexander's also been a suspect in a series of follow-home robberies. People leaving casinos in Gardena or Commerce are getting jacked when they get home.

He did it again Wednesday. Tailed a woman, took her purse, ran away. Hit a trash can while police were chasing him. Stopped him cold.

Sad. Should have aimed for a light pole. Would have been more showy and maybe not as embarrassing.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

He's Not Just The Top Cop, Anymore, Dahling

Los Angeles, CA

No, ladies and gentlemen, gentlemen who are ladies and ladies who are gentlemen, LAPD Police Chief Willie Bratton is now Homo Hero of The Year. That should actually be flashing in disco lights to the beat of Dancing Queen but I'm having some trouble with the code.

The award, given by has singled out Chief Bratton for not only his public stand against Proposition 8, but also in the way that the LAPD handled the protests that sprang up all over Los Angeles after its passage.

Following a march in Silver Lake through mostly empty corporate buildings, a group of 300 or so protesters, including your editor, felt that protesting was more about taking your message to everyday people than preaching to the choir and so left the area and marched on Hollywood. The police responded quickly and blocked the advancing path of protesters. For a few minutes, the police stood shoulder-to-shoulder, inches away from a crowd shouting to let them pass.

And then a call came. Everyone could tell something had changed as the police started to relax. An officer on a bullhorn shouted, “We’re going to let you march. We just need to set up the route. We thank you for your cooperation.” There was no doubt who ordered the go-ahead: It was LAPD Chief William Bratton.

Awfully nice of them, which is, let's be honest, kind of a shift. 

Bratton has a certain pragmatism that I admire.  In a discussion he had at Zocalo a couple years back he remarked, "I don't care if somebody's in a gang. I care if they commit a crime." I think this pretty much fits that pattern.

Congratulations, Willie. I'm sure the party will be faaabulous. Take some X and amyls with you.

Never know, might get lucky.


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

God Sure Knows How To Pick 'Em

Anaheim, CA

When young men hear a calling, something bigger than themselves, some compulsion that they can't explain but are driven to, they sometimes join the church. That way they can indulge in that messy compulsion under the color of authority and keep molesting little girls.

Pastor Raul Rosas Hernandez was sentenced to 90 years after pleading guilty to molesting four girls and a boy over the course of 10 years. Thirty-four felony counts.

A guilty plea? Surely, he could have denied it. The word of a man of the cloth is inviolate. They'd have to have some pretty strong evidence to nail him that hard.

Like, say, a video tape of him doing a 13-year-old girl in his office?  Yep.  That'd do it.

When he heard the sentence Hernandez cried and clutched a bible to his heart. Hypocrisy? No, irony. He's gotta stay hip with the younger crowd after all. Is irony still hip? Or have we moved on? I really gotta watch more television.

So, Padre, enjoy the next 90 years in the pokey. I'm sure you'll find plenty of like minded gentlemen who will be very interested in you.

Might want to practice grabbing those ankles.


Monday, January 05, 2009

Must Have Really Needed That Macchiatto

Torrance, CA

It's come to this. Coffee Bandits taking their late night raids to new heights. Hitting the source. The very fount of their caffeine oppressors. Slaughtering their way through the very heart of the Starbucks machine they ...  Uh, hang on. I read that wrong.

Huh.  No, just some guy robbed a Starbucks store in Torrance last night.

I liked mine better.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Another Fine Holiday Tradition

L.A. County, CA

Nothing ushers in a new year like multiple homicides and New Year's Day saw five in L.A. County.

Vannaly Tim, 24, and her boyfriend, Sarith Em, 25, were both shot, seemingly at random, when they went outside to move their cars in Long Beach, leaving behind a very confused six-year-old boy.

Saul Soriano, 41, pissed off at his son for complaining about his drinking started waving a gun around at his family in Panorama City. He was killed by police after they had trapped him in the attic. On checking his car, they later found a home-made grenade. Guns, explosives and alcohol. Normally a fun weekend, not so much this time.

Adrienne Davidson, 46, shot her husband in Pomona and then turned herself in to the police. Very civic minded of her.

A man was shot at a house party off Coldwater Canyon in North Hollywood. They're withholding names right now and no arrests have been made. My money's on some D-List celebrity being involved. Because, you know, we don't have enough of that crap in this town.

And finally, an unidentified man was stabbed to death in Pico-Union.

What a fucked up way to start the year.

Last year we only had two murders; Jonathan Fernandez, 25, and Jason Grey, 29.

This year five. How about we ditch that whole "Begin as you mean to continue" stuff and just let this be a blip and not an omen for the year. Or is that asking too much?

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Like Clockwork

Santa Ana, CA

New year, new hopes, new dreams. Same old assholes popping rounds in the air like they're Afghani warlords.

A man was hit by a falling bullet in Santa Ana this morning. Imagine that. Gunfire for the new year.

It's nice to see people holding up the old traditions of blindly shooting into the air with no regard for gravity. Keep it up, guys. Only next year try shooting straight up.

Oh, and Happy New Year.