November 16, 1940: Mad Bomber of New York Plants First Bomb

George Metesky, the most disgruntled of all disgruntled workers, planted his first bomb at a Consolidated Edison power plant on Manhattan.  A former Marine, Metesky had worked for Consolidated Edison and been injured at a work place accident in 1931.  Consolidated Edison successfully defeated his legal attempt to obtain compensation, his last appeal occurring in 1936.  (He waited too long in order to file a claim under workers compensation.)  He developed a strong hatred for the company, and decided to use homemade bombs to get his vengeance.  His first bomb was a crude one, a brass pipe filled with gunpowder, with an ignition mechanism consisting of batteries and sugar.  The bomb was discovered before it could go off.  It was wrapped in a note signed F.P. stating :  CON EDISON CROOKS – THIS IS FOR YOU.

In September 1941 the police found a similar bomb, this time a dud, without a note, laying in the street, five blocks from Consolidated Edison headquarters.

Shortly after Pearl Harbor, Metesky sent a note to the police stating:  I WILL MAKE NO MORE BOMB UNITS FOR THE DURATION OF THE WAR – MY PATRIOTIC FEELINGS HAVE MADE ME DECIDE THIS – LATER I WILL BRING THE CON EDISON TO JUSTICE – THEY WILL PAY FOR THEIR DASTARDLY DEEDS… F.P.

He kept his word, and took a ten year hiatus from planting bombs.  Between 1951-1956 he planted at least 31 bombs in New York City, twenty-two of which exploded.  Mercifully no one was killed, but fifteen people were injured.

The public was getting hysterical due to the police inability of stopping the bombings, the New York City police being surrounded by blind leads and a wave of false confessions.  They turned to criminologist James Brussels who worked out a profile of the bomber that was published in newspapers by the police:

Male, as historically most bombers were male. Well proportioned and of average build, based on studies of hospitalized mental patients. Forty to fifty years old, as paranoia develops slowly. Precise, neat and tidy, based on his letters and the workmanship of his bombs. An exemplary employee, on time and well-behaved. A Slav, because bombs were favored in Middle Europe. A Catholic, because most Slavs were Catholic. Courteous but not friendly.

Has a good education but probably not college. Foreign-born or living in a community of the foreign-born – the formal tone and old-fashioned phrasing of the letters sounded to Brussel as if they had been written or thought out in a foreign language and then translated into English. Based on the rounded letter “w’s” of the handwriting, believed to represent breasts, and the slashing and stuffing of theater seats, Brussel thought something about sex was troubling the bomber, possible an oedipus complex – loving his mother and hating his father and other authority figures.

A loner, no friends, little interest in women, possibly a virgin. Unmarried, perhaps living with an older female relative. Probably lives in Connecticut, as Connecticut has high concentrations of Slavs, and many of the bomber’s letters were posted in Westchester County, midway between Connecticut and New York City.

Pleased by all the publicity, Metesky entered into a taunting correspondence with the police by sending letters to the New York Journal American.  A Consolidated Edison clerk, Alice Kelly finally broke the case.  She had been assigned to examine files in which injured workers had made explicit or implicit threats.  She noticed that some of the phrases used in Metesky’s letters to Consolidated Edison matched the correspondence  sent by F.P. to the New York Journal American.  Police arrested Metesky on January 21, 1957.  He made a complete confession and told the officers that F.P.  stood for Fair Play.  Found to be insane, Metesky spent 25 years in a mental hospital before being released, having been unresponsive to therapy but otherwise a model inmate.  He died twenty years later in 1994, age 90.

Published in: on November 16, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on November 16, 1940: Mad Bomber of New York Plants First Bomb  
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A Great Film for a Labor Day Weekend

 

Probably the most powerful sermon ever placed on film, Father Barry speaks of Christ and his crucifixion on the docks.  The best performance Karl Malden ever gave.  Elia Kazan’s masterpiece, On the Waterfront  (1954) was also his response to the criticism he received for naming names before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1952.

The character of Father Barry was based on the actual work on the docks of a hardbitten Irish-Catholic Jesuit Priest, Father John Corridan.  From 1946-1957 he waged a one man crusade in New York against the gangsters who controlled the International Longshoreman’s Association.  One of the bosses who controlled the union was “Tough” Tony Anastasia,  a brother of Albert “The Madhatter” Anastasia, one of the former bosses of Murder, Inc.

In the face of these murderers, Father Corridan, son of a New York cop who had died when Corridan was nine, was completely fearless.  Teaching longshoremen Christian principles in labor\management relations at the Saint Francis Xavier Labor School, Father Corridan faced down a union thug sent to disrupt his class:  “If anything happens to the men I’m trying to help here, I’ll know who’s responsible, and I’ll personally see to it that they are broken throughout this port. They’ll pay and I’ll see that they pay.”

Father Corridan compiled information which eventually filled sixteen filing cabinets on the mobsters who controlled the ports and who made life miserable for honest longshoremen.  He shared this information freely with reporters, including Malcolm Johnson of the New York Sun who won a Pulitzer for his series in 1948 on “Crime on the Waterfront”.  Father Corridan realized the pressure that could be exerted on the mob and the crooked politicians who protected the mob by such stories, and he used every opportunity to expose them in the press.  He wrote scorching articles himself for America and other publications.  Gradually the public began to become aware of the problem of mob domination of the docks.

A turning point came in 1951 when a faction of the longshoremen rejected a union negotiated contract and went on a wildcat strike.  Father Corridan supported them to the hilt.  The strike shut down ports in New York and New Jersey for twenty-five days.  To refute a claim by the mob dominated union that the strikers were communists, Father Corridan held a public prayer service with the strikers.  He also successfully pressured Governor Dewey of New York to address the issue of mob control of the docks.

Father Barry in the movie had his sermon on the docks.  Father Corridan preached many of them and one of them had this memorable statement:  “I suppose some people would smirk at the thought of Christ in the shape-up. It is about as absurd as the fact that He carried carpenter’s tools in His hands and earned His bread by the sweat of His brow. As absurd as the fact that Christ redeemed all men irrespective of their race, color, or station in life. It can be absurd only to those of whom Christ has said, ‘Having eyes, they see not; and having ears, they hear not.’ Because they don’t want to see or hear. Christ also said, ‘If you do it to the least of mine, you do it to me.’ So Christ is in the shape-up.”

The shape up was the system by which the mob completely controlled which longshoremen would work and which would not.  Father Corridan succeeded in having the shape up banned by the time that he left the docks in 1957, and a New York\New Jersey commission was in place to regulate the harbors.

Father Corridan went on to teach economics at LeMoyne College in Syracuse , theology at Saint Peter’s College in Jersey City and was a hospital chaplain in Brooklyn until his death at 73 in 1984.  It is said of Father Corridan that he could swear like a longshoreman himself at the sight of injustice.  If true, then I imagine his language is pure in his final abode.

Published in: on September 6, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on A Great Film for a Labor Day Weekend  
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February 19, 1859: Congressman Dan Sickles Acquitted of Murder

 

Edwin M. Stanton could be a pill.  Irritable, sarcastic and often completely unreasonable, no doubt many of the Union Generals who had to deal with him often thought that they were dealing with a very mad man.  Mad in an emotional sense Stanton often was, anger often seeming to be the prime emotion he displayed throughout his career, at least after the death of his beloved first wife in 1844 which had a souring impact on his disposition.  However, he was also a very able man, and that compensated for his complete lack of tact in dealing with virtually everyone he came into contact.  Prior to becoming Secretary of War he had been one of the ablest attorneys in the country.  Doubtless his most famous, or rather infamous case, was in the defense of future Union general Daniel Sickles.

Sickles in 1859 was a Democrat Congressman from New York, already notorious for having been censured for bringing a prostitute into the New York General Assembly chamber.  Leaving his pregnant wife at home, on a trip to England he had introduced the same prostitute, Fanny White, to Queen Victoria under an alias, the surname of which was that of a political opponent in New York.  Sickles obviously viewed his vow of marital fidelity with complete contempt.  However he did not view the vow of fidelity given to him by his wife Teresa in the same light.  When he found out on February 26, 1859 that his long-suffering wife was carrying on an affair with the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, Philip Barton Key II, the son of Francis Scott Key, the composer of the Star Spangled Banner, he murdered Key the next day in Lafayette Park across from the White House, shooting him through the heart.  Sickles immediately surrendered to the Attorney General who lived just a few blocks away.

His trial was one of the most sensational in American history.  Public opinion was almost totally on his side, painting Sickles as an outraged husband defending his wife Teresa from a villain who had seduced her.  Sickles engaged a stellar defense team which included Stanton.  The defense team had a problem.  No matter what the public thought as to his motivation, Sickles was manifestly guilty.  Stanton hit upon the idea of raising the novel defense of temporary insanity which had never before been successful in the United States.  This was a true stroke of legal genius.  It allowed the defense to put on endless lurid testimony as to the affair and, in effect, have the dead man tried rather than Sickles.  In his closing argument Stanton portrayed the ever adulterous Sickles as a defender of marriage: (more…)

Published in: on February 19, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on February 19, 1859: Congressman Dan Sickles Acquitted of Murder  
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Charles Manson Dead

(I originally posted this at The American Catholic and I thought the history mavins  of Almost Chosen People might find it interesting.)

 

 

A reminder of evil times past:

 

The man who masterminded one of the most heinous murder sprees in American history — is dead  … this according to the sister of his famous victim.

Debra Tate tells TMZ she received a call from the prison telling her Manson died 8:13 PM Sunday.

We’re told the prison is contacting all of the victims’ families.

Manson was recently wheeled into Bakersfield hospital and escorted by 5 uniformed cops. Our sources had said at the time, “It’s just a matter of time.” He was covered in blankets and looked ashen in the gurney.

TMZ broke the story … Manson was taken from Corcoran State Prison to the hospital back in January where he was being treated for intestinal bleeding.

As we reported … Manson was supposed to undergo surgery but it was deemed too risky.

Manson has been locked up since his arrest in December 1969 for the Tate-LaBianca murders. He was convicted of conspiracy to commit the slayings, which occurred one day after the next in August 1969.

 

Go here to read the rest. Charles Miles Maddox, known as Charles Miles Manson, founded a muderous cult known as the Manson Family.  A petty criminal, Manson spent his life in and out of state and federal prisons, being released in 1967.  Manson for years was fixated on starting a race war in which he would play the role in the apocalyptic aftermath of Jesus Christ.  That summary does too much credit for the ravings of Manson who clearly was mentally ill.  One of his followers Catherine Share stated how Manson’s fixation on the Beatles helped initiate what Manson called the Helter Skelter scenario:

“When the Beatles’ White Album came out, Charlie listened to it over and over and over and over again. He was quite certain that the Beatles had tapped in to his spirit, the truth—that everything was gonna come down and the black man was going to rise. It wasn’t that Charlie listened to the White Album and started following what he thought the Beatles were saying. It was the other way around. He thought that the Beatles were talking about what he had been expounding for years. Every single song on the White Album, he felt that they were singing about us. The song ‘Helter Skelter’—he was interpreting that to mean the blacks were gonna go up and the whites were gonna go down.”

It says much for just how bizarre the late sixties were in the 1960s, and how many lost souls were running around, especially in California, that Manson had no problem, although clearly crazy and dangerous, in assembling a following eager to do his bidding.

As a result of this lunacy a total of seven people would be murdered in the Tate-LaBianca murders, on August 9 and August 10, 1969, with Manson and his followers attempting to leave clues that would convince the police that Black militants had performed the slayings.

Being a bunch of drug-besotten losers, the plan quickly backfired with Manson and his loons being arrested and placed on trial.  Manson was sentenced to death with his death sentence being commuted to life imprisonment, following the California Supreme Court ruling that the death penalty was unconstitutional in 1972.  As a result of this, the relatives of the victims had to relive the crimes each time that Manson came up for parole, he would appeal before the parole board twelve times, and they testified that he should never breathe free air again. The board on his last appearance noted that Manson had never given any sign of remorse for his crimes.  His next parole hearing would have been when he had attained the age of 92.  He was 83 at the time of his death.

It is chilling to recall that a portion of the hard left regarded Manson as a hero back in 1969:

The charismatic Bernardine Dohrn, later a friend of Barack and Michelle Obama, feverishly told Weatherman followers: “Dig it: first they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them, then they even shoved a fork into the victim’s stomach. Wild!”

When I asked Weatherman Mark Rudd why his otherwise intelligent friends paid homage to Manson, he told me: “We wanted to be bad.”

Like Dohrn, Rolling Stone later went on to enjoy mainstream respectability despite publishing bizarre views on one of the twentieth century’s most notorious serial killers. Whereas Manson looked every bit the madman on the cover of Life, he appeared as a visionary on the front page of Rolling Stone. Therein, the magazine depicted Manson’s refusal to offer an insanity plea as a principled stand and characterized his criticism of the legal system as “obviously accurate in many ways.” In calling him Charlie, a first-name-basis intimacy later reserved for Madonna, Prince, Bruce, and other singing celebrities, the magazine actively sought to humanize the man who dehumanized so many.

Other underground newspapers went further. The Los Angeles-based Tuesday’s Child proclaimed, “Manson: Man of the Year” on one cover and depicted Manson as Jesus Christ dying on the cross under the tag “Hippie” on another. The Los Angeles Free Press ran a weekly column penned by Manson. The Other, playing off controversial remarks made by the president, headlined an issue “Manson Declares Nixon Guilty.” Upon the release of an album of Manson’s music, several underground newspapers provided advertising for it gratis.

Go here to read the rest.

One of his followers, Lynette Alice, “Squeaky”, Fromme attempted to assassinate President Ford on September 5, 1975.  Sentenced to life imprisonment, she was paroled in 2009.

Looking back on the evil, wasted life of Charles Manson we see the end to which the misuse of free will can drive a person, and the mystery of why Christ died for even such as Charles Manson, but God can love even when Man can’t.

 

Published in: on November 30, 2017 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Charles Manson Dead  
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January 14, 1864: Execution of the Kentucky Cannibal

Boone Helm

When it comes to crime and villainy there is nothing new under the sun.  Boone Helm was a serial killer long before the phrase was coined and a real life Hannibal Lecter.  Born in Kentucky in 1828, Helm moved with his family as a child to Missouri.  There he grew up to be a bully and wife beater, his wife divorcing him for his love of cruelty.

He decided to go to California in 1850 to pan for gold, murdering  a male cousin who had promised to go with him but backed out of the trip.  Placed in an insane asylum for this murder, Helm quickly escaped.  Proceeding now to California, he murdered several men along the way.  Fleeing from vigilantes, he teamed up with six other men to whom he boasted:  “Many’s the poor devil I’ve killed, at one time or another… and the time has been that I’ve been obliged to feed on some of ’em.”

The party came to disaster on their journey to Fort Hall in Idaho Territory.  Finding himself with one other man after Indian attacks and starvation, Helm ate the legs of his companion after the man allegedly committed suicide.

Spending time in Salt Lake City, Helm committed a few murders for a group of Mormons.  Returning to California, Helm murdered a rancher who befriended him.  Helm then embarked on a career of robbery, murder and, when his rations were short, cannibalism, which stretched from Oregon to Texas.  Helm’s luck ran out when he and other members of the gang he was traveling with were captured, tried and hanged by Montana vigilantes.  The crowd viewing the hanging of Helm and his compatriots was estimated at 6000.  No estimate exists as to how many men the Kentucky Cannibal murdered.

Published in: on January 14, 2014 at 5:30 am  Comments (8)  
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