Monday, March 29, 2010

Feeling A Bit Parched

Salton Sea, CA

When I was a kid, back when the pollution hadn't killed every single goddamn thing within twenty miles of it, my family would occasionally go out camping by the Salton Sea.  It was a creepy place even then.  

Now it's home to just a handful of crazies, desert rats and shut-ins living among the dessicated ruins of motels and diners, gas stations and tourist traps.  Nothing but dirt and dust and dreams of a new California tourist empire gone bust.

It's sad in a lot of ways and dangerous as hell.  Middle of nowhere.  No one around for miles besides nutcases who like living next to a toxic dump.  Hard to say which is more dangerous, actually.  The crazies, or the desert.

Hands down, my money's on the desert.

Javier Robinson, 30 is a suspect in the killing of Chava Barrasa, 34, who was murdered in a halfway house in Upland back in January.  Stabbed, of course.  The body was hidden in the garage and when counselors showed up they didn't think anything was amiss.  No body.  Let's ignore the bloody knife and clothes they found on the scene and didn't bother to report.

Yes, they've been fired.

Anyway, Robinson.  On the lam.  Cops just found him.  Dead and mummified in his car near the Salton Sea.

Like I said, my money's on the desert.

Gardening Tools: Last Refuge Of The Crazy

Los Angeles, CA

Why is it that the insane never go on a rampage with chairs? Or, I don't know, pointed sticks. Coffee mugs, even. What's wrong with running around brandishing a coffee mug? I mean, besides the inherent lack of menace in a cup that says "World's Greatest Dad".

No, they have to go all bugfuck and grab the closest sharp thing at hand. An axe, say, a knife, the ever popular machete.

Over the weekend, Inglewood police shot a guy who ran out of a walk-in freezer swinging an axe. Last week, Downey police took down another guy with an axe.

Riverside deputies shot and killed a man with a knife on Sunday, while in San Marino last week police got another crazy with a knife. That one attacked a police dog before setting his own house on fire.

And last month a man in Long Beach got picked up for murdering his girlfriend with a machete.

What button in the brain gets pushed that says, "stab people"? Yeah, I know. Better than "shoot people". You have to be kind of close to get hit with a shovel and they're easy to duck.

Hey, how about we pass out foam swords along with people's anti-psychotics? "Here's your Compazine, sir and complimentary styrofoam flail." That'll solve it, right?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

What Was That I Said About Patterns?

Hollywood, CA

The other day I went off about a murder in Hollywood and the twenty homicides that have happened in the same area over the last few years. How we see patterns in things that aren't really there. How we'll pull together data and try to make it mean something. How we just naturally do it and one shouldn't read too much into that sort of thing.

I believe the words were, "I can't seriously see them being related."

Yeah, okay. I might be wrong.

Turns out that the woman who was killed, Karine Hakobyan, was a relative of one Khachik Safaryan, who, along with his 8-year-old daughter, was shot and killed in his home in 2008. About two blocks away.

Now this doesn't mean that there's a link. Could be a complete coincidence. It's not like this is a movie or anything.

I think.

Now that'd be a head twister. What if this is a movie? And we just don't know it? And you just know you'll never get somebody cool like George Clooney to be you.

Dear god, what if I get played by Wilford Brimley? Is he dead? Tell me he's dead. Sure, he looks absolutely nothing like me whatsoever, but still.

Please tell me he's dead.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Oh, And Check This Out

Crime Factory #2 is out now.

New fiction by Ray Banks, Dave Zeltserman, Kieran Shea, Patti Abbott, Josh Converse, Stephen D. Rogers, and Gerard Brennan.

Not to mention the features by Jimmy Callaway, Reed Farrel Coleman, Craig McDonald, Charlie Stella, Chad Eagleton and the ever entertaining Nerd of Noir.

Damn fine writers all. Grab a copy.

It's All Just Numbers

Hollywood, CA

Slicing data isn't always fun or interesting. Most times it's just tedium. Just another brainless exercise in moving numbers around.

But sometimes, if you're looking at the right thing in the right way patterns emerge. Things that show you that maybe there's more to this picture than random data points. Maybe it means nothing. Maybe it means something. You'll probably never really know.

Sometimes, it's just a little disturbing.

A woman was shot last night in her parked car on Lexington near Santa Monica Boulevard. Bullet to the back of her head.

Looking at the coroner's reports one will find that over the last three years twenty people have been murdered within a mile of her. Eleven in 2007, nine in 2008, seven in 2009 and three so far in 2010.

At least the trend is going down. That's something, right?

Does it mean anything?

Yes. It means that that you should be packing whenever you're in the neighborhood.

Other than that, who knows. We're pattern matching monkeys. We look for this sort of shit. God knows I do. But I can't seriously see them being related.

Now if we could correlate the homicides with the arrests and convictions of the murderers that would be interesting. Do the police know who the killers are? Have they caught them? Have the murderers been convicted or are they back on the street?

Any enterprising young Criminal Justice majors out there need a thesis idea?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

At Least Goat Entrails Don't Get You Twenty Years

Inglewood, CA

If you want to tell the future you've got a lot of options. Cartomancy uses cards. Tasseomancy has tea leaves. Tiromancy, moldy cheese.

So what do you call fortune telling through rape of a minor?

Cesar Duran, an Inglewood fortune teller, is finishing up his trial for nine counts of lewd conduct, sex with a minor, etc. Seems he told a couple underage girls in 2007 that their futures were going to be, shall we say, less than stellar and convinced them that the only way to avoid their dire fates was to, you know, schtup him.

You'd think he would have seen this coming.

Anyway, trial just had closing arguments. I predict he's going to go away for a long time.

And they say seeing the future's hard.