People Killing People

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People Killing People

when world economic collapse tore the camouflage off chronic malfeasance. Clients wanted their money back and his half-a-million refund checks were beginning to bounce. Why did he have to take his wife and daughters, whom he dearly loved, with him? I think he thought he owned them, and after all they'd cost him, in a sense, he did. The horribly controlled manner they were murdered, the oppressively hands-on, permanent shushing of their charming childlike chatter... Maybe he didn't want to hear the eruption of squeals when they found out their mild-mannered Daddy was a crook.


Unconvicted lesbian Lizzie Borden has inspired books, movies, a ballet.

I don't really want to think about Melissa Huckaby, although I should, I owe it to her and myself to think of her maybe most of all, because the 28-year-old Northern Californian killed a girl child. And since she bungled a subsequent suicide, she'll be eaten up with remorse during lucid moments. Melissa was a Sunday school teacher, her grandfather a minister at the same church, she had a young daughter herself. She allegedly raped 8-year-old Sandra Cantu with an object before killing and placing her in a suitcase, which she threw into an irrigation pond. Such a crime, committed by a woman, is statistically rarer than rare.

What went through Melissa's mind? What kind of mind does she have? Where'd she get it? Who taught her how to think? In her troubles, which included divorce and depression, how much help was church? How much hindrance was church? As a churchgoer myself, my guess is, church was no help at all. Church never gets blamed for abominations indirectly but unfailingly caused by the repression it preaches. Priests get caught, long after the harm's been done, to be singled out as monsters, while institutionalized misogyny, homophobia, and all-round hypocrisy walk free.

I'd like to pin this one on the church. I'd like to put the church on trial rather than Melissa Huckaby. And while we're at it, I'd like to review the Andrea Yates case and put that sonofabitch Rusty, her clean-cut smiling tyrant of a delusional husband, on trial for driving his wife mad enough to drown their five kids in the bathtub one dismal day.


Andrea and Rusty Yates and four of their five kids, may they r.i.p.

Comments [92]

lmz's picture

Erin Blackwell's picture

haha i wrote a play about

haha i wrote a play about that, 2 completely different drafts, could not get it right. it's so tricky, not to be sensationalist, since us audiences seem to instantly go that way.

some amazing performances in the brit film version of the papin tragedy: but the french is more accurate

as you know, genet's "maids" was a response, wrongheaded from feminist point of view but brilliant

lmz's picture

i'm fascinated by their

i'm fascinated by their story. those two girls seemed to live totally locked up inside a society they couldn't belong to and they couldn't escape at the same time. terrifying.

lmz's picture

they had no key nor code

they had no key nor code

Erin Blackwell's picture

but they had each other! you

but they had each other!

you know "la ceremonie"?

lmz's picture

yeah they had each other

yeah they had each other nothing and no one else. you can't live that way
the ceremony is almost the same story and a great film

Erin Blackwell's picture

isabelle huppert, love her +

isabelle huppert, love her + chabrol

lmz's picture

and it ends the same. Do you

and it ends the same. Do you remember the scene of the killing ? when the two girls killed the whole family listening to Don Giovani ? we hear them laughing and the voice of "il commendatore" :

"Don Giovanni, a cenar teco m'invitasti"

Erin Blackwell's picture

omg from "amadeus" so

omg from "amadeus" so beautiful + so on-topic: the splitting of self = madness

mysticsmb's picture

Thanks for that clip Erin!

Thanks for that clip Erin! One of my all-time favorite meditations on the the torment of artists and wanna-be (Salieri) artists. Add to that the MUSIC and pageantry--the first time I saw the film I was living in London and when I left the theatre I didn't know where I was, I had been so transported.

Erin Blackwell's picture

wait a minute. this one's

wait a minute. this one's even prettier.

Erin Blackwell's picture

here's a great rendition of

here's a great rendition of that don giovanni finale

Erin Blackwell's picture

"''La Ceremonie'' is based on

"''La Ceremonie'' is based on ''A Judgment in Stone,'' a book by the crime writer Ruth Rendell, whose view of human nature is every bit as big-hearted as Alfred Hitchcock's, and almost as fascinatingly macabre. This story has a chilling, lethal inevitability from the very start."

smart review, fails to mention RR based her book on Papins

certainly a case of "et in arcadia ego" like the worm in the rose.

lmz's picture

i thought it was based on

i thought it was based on "the analphabet" by the same Ruth Rendell
thanks for the link

lmz's picture

but a code is needed to enter

but a code is needed to enter the site
don't mind

Steph H's picture

“Shouldn’t we abolish this

“Shouldn’t we abolish this seriously out-of-touch codswallop whose smug displays of overweening wealth only provoke the unbalanced unfortunate?”

I could go on for hours about this but in short, my view , from a UK perspective, is - absolutely NOT! It may be "out-of-touch codswallop" but the UK without the monarchy is BEYOND UNTHINKABLE!!

I think I need to lie down.

Erin Blackwell's picture

have a digestive biscuit + a

have a digestive biscuit + a cuppa preferably in a commemorative cup or just go look at a pound note or a stamp, that'll bring ya round

Steph H's picture

I do have a commemorative mug

I do have a commemorative mug from the Queen's Golden Jubilee!

Oh, and just so you know, we don't have pound notes anymore, we have pound coins! But the Queen's head is still there so no cause for alarm....

Erin Blackwell's picture

at least you don't have

at least you don't have euros, darling

mysticsmb's picture

Erin, totally agree with you

Erin, totally agree with you that Rusty's maniacal grin could send even the sanest of us over the edge.

The Huckaby case just mystifies me on so many levels--not the least of which that I find it nearly impossible to believe she was cunning enough to kill and dispose of a body in broad daylight without anyone noticing. She was depressed, and depressives are usually characterized by inertia and an inability to complete tasks--which would seem to preclude such a brazen act. And as for the alleged molestation: either she was hearing voices or she was abused herself, or both--that's the only way I can fathom a woman doing such a thing.

Erin Blackwell's picture

i don't know if she did it or

i don't know if she did it or not but it doesn't take much cunning to dispose of a small body, i'm afraid. it takes nerve + some luck. such a deed would snap anyone out of a depression!

the hyperlink on "Melissa's mind" is an analysis of the abuser mindset, invariably abused themselves. it's unthinkable but it happens.

re rusty: it's too horrible to contemplate but he was a gung-ho "populator for god" you know these fundies whose ideology is more kids = more heavenly. he's remarried + is having more kids.

cameo's picture

what motivated you to write

what motivated you to write this column from the killer's perspective?

Erin Blackwell's picture

I didn't.

I didn't.

minniesota's picture

Perhaps, you didn't intend

Perhaps, you didn't intend that, but I interpreted it that way, specifically for your first example.

Still searching for the right brainy quote.

Erin Blackwell's picture

i never even tried to get

i never even tried to get inside his head.

minniesota's picture

Then I am worried for your

Then I am worried for your head.

Still searching for the right brainy quote.

Erin Blackwell's picture

because i said "poor Karst"?

because i said "poor Karst"? worry about my head when i say "poor bernie madoff". i know our media likes a good guy + a bad guy but mystics aren't so sure. and if queen beatrix is worthy of her throne (although no doubt blinded by being maybe the world's richest woman) she knows Karst is as much her responsibility as the parade route. the one thing to be said for royalty is it's ancient & ideally contains within it an understanding of social responsibility excised from the cut-throat corporate model. Karst was her subject. what went wrong? why didn't Queen's Day include some kind of get-out-of-rent-free card. i'll bet prince willem's suit cost 6 months of karst's rent. noblesse oblige, baby. when the poor, the outcast, suffer, royalty needs to respond. just ask marie-antoinette.

minniesota's picture

I didn't mean because you

I didn't mean because you said "Poor Karst." It's because you focused on the system or Royalty instead of the people who were killed. Sorry, but I just don't understand what your point of view on this tragedy.

Still searching for the right brainy quote.

Erin Blackwell's picture

hmmm... not that your

hmmm... not that your ambition is to understand my p.o.v.... the karst story isn't a murder story, isn't about the people killed. it's about power + powerlessness, perceived power + powerlessness.

bernie madoff will have killed more people than karst but BM's story isn't told in terms of people killed, either. bernie's more of a poisoner, who works imperceptibly over time.

my p.o.v. is that murder or assassination or terrorism happens inside a social, cultural, political context. to deny or ignore the context, to sentimentalize loss of privileged life, is to perpetuate the conditions out of which the murder arose.

K I T's picture

karst story is one of one

karst story is one of one thing only
responcibility there is only one person responcible for what happend in this case that was karst

not the royal fam not the fact that he had no job not the fact that he socalled did not have the money to pay rent not karst fam /parents
not the security people etc etc.

he and he a lone is to blame for his action

there plenty of people who are or where in the same situation as karst and plenty of them even worse or longer
they did not do what he did
any one who wants to harm them self and end there life thats fine by me but do not ever put blame on others or (try) to take others with you
its that simple

and people can analyze and come up with what ever they want the fact remains

it seems to be the sollution these days to just give up your self but not without taken others with you
parents or one of them taking there partner and or kids etc.

again there cowards not idiots not mental ill
just cowards
if they wanted to be brave ? then have the guts to not harm others along the way( impossible because people will get emotional hurt anyway )
im not even sure why i respond
i prob should not but your comments/post on this subject
have pissed me of

but im sure you don't care about that

LongBeachDogLover's picture

Kit~ I can feel your


I can feel your passion....
Thank you for your point of view.

Erin Blackwell's picture

:mrgreen: stop being so

:mrgreen: stop being so tolerant! :mrgreen:

K I T's picture

lol thanks p.s. i do believe

lol thanks

p.s. i do believe Erin is just as passioned about her point of view i just dont really understand hers thats all don't mean i dont want to hear hers ( even if it might piss me off .. afterall my views might not be liked or piss of some others to .. winks)

Erin Blackwell's picture

of course i care. thank you

of course i care. thank you for responding.

minniesota's picture

Well, Erin, mental illness

Well, Erin, mental illness crosses all social, cultural, political contexts...I believe you left that out of your analysis.

Still searching for the right brainy quote.

Erin Blackwell's picture

mental illness? what is

mental illness? what is mental illness? you mean some people are "mentally ill" + therefore do terrible things? that's as reductive as saying (some) people are born evil. what does it mean? there's a criminal class + "the rest of us"? and you + i belong to "the rest of us" until we do something that catapults us into a "bad category" from which like lepers we'll never escape?

minniesota's picture

Can't reply down there. I

Can't reply down there. I think that you read too much into the Karst incident into the Netherlands. However, regarding Andrea Yates you are probably right. I had a suicidal, delusional mother so can relate. But I also have compassion for my father, who also felt helpless to respond to her illness. Our mental health system in this country sucks out loud.

Still searching for the right brainy quote.

Erin Blackwell's picture

that's funny cuz so do i so

that's funny cuz so do i so does that mean you'n'i agree, minn?

minniesota's picture

Just now getting a chance to

Just now getting a chance to get back to this.

I was trying to say what KIT has said but was too busy with dang faculty meetings last week to write out all of my point of view. In other words, I agree with KIT (Thank you KIT).

Still searching for the right brainy quote.

minniesota's picture

system "of" royalty, dang

system "of" royalty, dang typos.

Still searching for the right brainy quote.

Tex's picture

Excuse the drop in, but I

Excuse the drop in, but I totally agree with you when you state that royalty needs to respond. The days of the elitist super rich royals of the world making and hoarding millions has got to end. The "Queens" could personally end the economic downturns of their countries and angst of their subjects. When does enough money become enough to these people?

Twitter Time @kdhales

peacekitty's picture

*waving* Hi sweet Tex. :)

*waving* Hi sweet Tex. Smile

"Fight Prime Time. Read a Book"

Xanadu's picture

The families of the dead will

The families of the dead will be subjected to this film being played on tv and the net FOREVER. How gross to have your loved one's screams and the moment of their death caught on tape Crying

In our newspaper they showed 'frame by frame' photos of a little blonde girl being hit, caught up in the wheel and then landing and sitting up.

Now I'm left wondering what happened to that cute little girl? Shock

Not2Taem's picture

That is just gratuitous

That is just gratuitous grossness. They should be fined for indecency and insensitivity.

Erin Blackwell's picture

the video i posted shows

the video i posted shows Karst driving into a monument. no bodies. i don't see the point in watching ayayayay that gruesomeness. this is just the car (you can't see him). he seems to aim himself directly at that monument, not the queen's bus, to kill himself. and he succeeded.

minniesota's picture

He didn't just kill himself.

He didn't just kill himself. He killed other people. Even if that particular video only shows the car, we still know that seconds before he crashed into the monument, that car was a vehicle of death.

Still searching for the right brainy quote.

Xanadu's picture

P.S. Some people are born

P.S. Some people are born plain evil, but most of these cases are the result of classic mental illness.

Society likes to label certain people as 'crazy', TV makes them the butt of jokes, we shun them, won't employ them (or fire a worker, if they are stressed), friends can't handle seeing their friend fall apart and walk away, we don't give them the treatment they need - simply because of $$$.

Then society acts completely SHOCKED when a person does something like this :idea: :!:

cameo's picture

Most murders are committed in

Most murders are committed in the heat of the moment whether or not the person is suffering from a mental illness. Both the murdered and the murderer are usually engaged in high risk activity and their roles could easily be switched.

Most of the time the murderer will never commit another murder unless s/he is a gang member (i.e., little kids shooting each other).

Usually the offender is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, especially PCP (water) which makes people very aggressive with the feeling of invinsibility,

The offenders to whom Erin references are anomalies. They do not fit the common patterns listed above. That is why the crimes seem so shocking to us.

Erin Blackwell's picture

if folks would read their

if folks would read their greek tragedies or take shakespeare seriously or dostoevsky or tennessee williams, they wouldn't be so shocked... there are patterns to human behavior. under extreme pressure, folks SNAP

cameo's picture

You're so insightful and

You're so insightful and right. This is a brilliant post. All murders involve the powerless attempting to acquire power through the only perceived means available...violence. And in that sense, the murderer can be seen as a "victim" as well as a perpetrator.

Suicide or the attempt thereof has the same dynamic as murder in that the "perpetrator" is simultaneously the victim. People under extreme pressure can become self-destructive, physically and mentally, ironically to acquire a sense of self.