Tuesday: John Wayne Gacy, Freudian Slips, “the Liberal Bulldozer,” and other Valentine’s Day Reads

Rosalynn Carter and John Wayne Gacy

Good Morning!! I’ll have a few political links for you later, but first I want to share an interesting story I came across yesterday. Remember John Wayne Gacy? He was a supposedly upstanding member of the Chicago business community and active in Democratic politics, even having his photo was taken with first lady Rosalynn Carter when she visited Chicago in May, 1978. In his spare time, Gacy dressed as “Pogo the Clown” and entertained at charity events and kids’ birthday parties.

All that ended in late 1978, when it was revealed that Gacy had 26 bodies buried in the crawlspace under his house and 3 others under the concrete floor of his garage. The gregarious businessman and clown was a serial killer. In March of 1980, Gacy was sentenced to death for 12 of the murders. He was executed on May 10, 1994. It’s too bad Gacy is dead, because two Chicago attorneys have convinced Cook Country Sheriff Tom Dart to do some further investigating on the case. It might be helpful for investigators to be able to interview Gacy about new evidence.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said Friday that he will ask his investigators to look into a theory that serial killer John Wayne Gacy had one or more accomplices.

Criminal defense attorneys Robert Stephenson and Steven Becker recently examined Gacy’s work and travel records and suspect he was out of town when victims Russell Nelson and Robert Gilroy disappeared in 1977.

They also think Gacy didn’t have enough time to abduct and kill victim John Mowery because he disappeared about 10 p.m. in Chicago and Gacy’s work records show he showed up at a job in Michigan at 6 a.m. the following day.

There is more detail on these victims in an article at Time Magazine.

So far, the lawyers believe Gacy may have had accomplices in at least three of the notorious killings of 33 young men and boys, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. This supports an earlier claim from Jeffrey Rignall, a victim who survived, who said another man was in the room while Gacy raped him, WGN notes.

One of the murders raising questions is that of Robert Gilroy. Apparently, the convicted murderer had been in Pittsburgh when the 18-year-old disappeared on Sept 15, 1977. Allegheny Airlines tickets indicate Gacy had been out of town from Sept. 12 to 16, making it unlikely he could have snatched and killed Gilroy, the Sun-Times reports. This also echoes claims Gacy had made while in prison, saying he was not in Illinois during 16 of the disappearances.

Gilroy also died in a completely different way than most of Gacy’s victims. He was apparently suffocated by having a cloth shoved down his throat. Many of Gacy’s victims were strangled by a rope.

Russell Nelson, the Minneapolis architecture student kidnapped while with a friend outside a bar in October of the same year. Stephenson told the Sun-Times he doesn’t believe Gacy could have seized the 21-year-old without the friend noticing. And like Gilroy, Nelson had been suffocated with a similar cloth stuffed in his throat. Thirteen victims died the same way, according to WGN.

The friend who was with Nelson at the time of his disappearance is also allegedly suspect. According to WGN, the friend demanded money from Nelson’s mother in exchange for helping the family search for him. Nelson’s mother had also reported a striking coincidence. Following her son’s disappearance, Nelson’s brothers went to Chicago to look for him. They met with the friend, who offered the siblings contracting jobs with Gacy.

All three victims were found in Gacy’s crawlspace.

Last fall, eight Gacy victims who had never been identified were exhumed for DNA testing, in hopes of discovering their identities. Since then, two men who were believed to have been murdered by Gacy have been found alive.

Harold Wayne Lovell was found in Florida.

“He was high on the list,” said Sheriff Tom Dart. “If not one, two, or three, in someone’s mind, of the most likely person that was one of the eight down in the crawl space.”

As Sheriff’s detectives began their renewed search, they quickly learned there had been recent activity by Lovell in Florida. It was about that time that the family came across a booking photo of a Harold Wayne Lovell, 53, from South Florida. It was him.

“I almost gave up hope in the late 90s,” said Lovell’s brother, Tim, 48. “I dreamed about it. I’ve only had maybe a one percent inkling that I’d ever, ever see my brother again, and here we are. It’s just amazing.”

Lovell said he left home because of a “family situation.” He took a train to Florida because he “couldn’t stay around the house any longer.”

Lovell may have been fortunate, because he did yard work at Gacy’s before leaving for Florida. He says Gacy tried to get him to come in the house, but Lovell refused. In addition, Gacy had apparently taken some belongings of Lovell’s and they were found in Gacy’s house. Lovell’s mother had identified them.

A second missing man, Theodore “Ted” Szal, turned up in Oregon.

Szal admits that he simply vanished. There were family issues. A troubled marriage, coupled with a belief that his mother had assisted his wife in getting an abortion.

“I didn’t have too much money. I didn’t have a job. So I drove to the airport, threw my keys down a sewer drain so I wouldn’t change my mind and got on an airplane. That was 35 years ago.”

Thirty five years without a single word to his family. Szal travelled first to Colorado Springs, then California, and finally to Oregon, where he settled down and eventually remarried. He admits that the memory of his family had haunted him, especially on holidays.

“Christmas has been hard. But this year, Christmas is going to be different.”

One of the unidentified bodies is now known to be William George Bundy

For years, Laura O’Leary has visited the graves of her family members in southwest suburban Justice, but she didn’t know her brother was buried in the same cemetery — as an unidentified victim of serial killer John Wayne Gacy.

O’Leary recently learned her missing teenage brother, William George Bundy, was one of Gacy’s eight unidentified victims more than three decades ago. He was buried in Resurrection Catholic Cemetery where his grandparents and an aunt were also laid to rest.

On Tuesday, O’Leary hugged Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart to thank him for a DNA initiative that led to her brother’s identification on Nov. 14.

“Today is a terribly sad day for my family. But it is also a day that provides closure,” she said at a news conference with Dart.

Another mother, Sherry Marino, has always wondered if the body buried in the grave she visits frequently is really her 14-year-old son Michael Marino and if he was really a Gacy victim. She plans to have the body exhumed for DNA testing as soon as she can raise the money.

Now that I’ve indulged my fascination with true crime, I’ll give you a few news headlines. Everyone is laughing about Mitt Romney’s Freudian slip at the CPAC conference. He told the audience he was “severely conservative” as Governor of Massachusetts. I say it’s a Freudian slip, because it makes being conservative sound like a disease–that’s probably what Romney really feels in his subconscious mind.

At the New Yorker, Ryan Lizza provides A “Severely Conservative” Lexicon, with examples of the use of the odd expression. Here are a few examples:

“Like so many alcoholics, or criminals, or sexually promiscuous people who reform, Janet had flipped to the opposite extreme, to severely conservative behavior. At some level, Janet was doing penance for her past destructive behavior. She was full of self-hatred and was operating out of fear. ”

“Mastering Your Moods: How to Recognize Your Emotional Style and Make It Work for You,” by Dr. Melvyn Kinder (1994)

“As philosopher James Rachels has observed, ‘the opposite is true: the rule against causing unnecessary pain is the least eccentric of all moral principles, and that rule leads straight to the conclusion that we should abandon the business of meat production and adopt alternative diets. Considered in this light, vegetarianism may be thought of as a severely conservative moral stance.’ ”

“Introduction to Animal Rights: Your Child or the Dog?,” by Gary Lawrence Francione (2000)

“Only severely conservative jewelry is worn by the bride. She may wish to wear pearls or other simple jewelry given her as a gift by the groom or her parents.”

“Planning LDS Weddings and Receptions,” by Lois F. Worlton and Opal D. Jasinski (1972, revised edition 1999)

Hmmmm….maybe that’s where Romney picked up the expression.

As everyone knows by now, Rick Santorum is ahead of Mitt Romney in Romney’s home state of Michigan. Santorum is also running neck and neck with Romney in the national polls.

Via Charlie Pierce, right wing Catholics are thrilled that Rick “the Dick” is “fighting the liberal bulldozer.”

Rick Santorum was impossible thirty years ago. If Rip van Winkle woke up today he would be dumbfounded. How could such an overtly religious and socially conservative politician have so much traction on the national scene?

The answer comes from the Left. Since the Sixties our liberal elites have become increasingly anti-religious, increasingly opposed to traditional moral norms, and increasingly aggressive. As a result they have made our national politics much more extreme.

To a great extent, post-sixties American politics has been shaped by liberal aggression. As Lyndon Johnson knew, the Civil Right Act of 1964 would trigger a fundamental shift in national politics. The South would no longer be in the hip pocket of the Democratic Party.

I don’t know how the author of the piece, R.R. Reno, knows this, but he or she says that Johnson didn’t predict “liberal overreach.”

Mandatory school busing—modern liberalism always tends toward coercion—as well as crudely imposed quotas in the 1970s led to a great deal of unhappiness among white ethnic and blue collar voters who had for decades been pillars of the Democratic Party. They weren’t (for the most part) in favor of Jim Crow, but they didn’t like being moved around like chess pieces by liberal elites. It was during those years that the term “limousine liberal” gained currency as a new and telling term of abuse in American political culture.

The Equal Rights Amendment would have encoded gender equality into the Constitution. It seemed a sure thing in the early 1970s. But opposition mounted and it failed to secure ratification. That’s not because most Americans were opposed to women’s liberation. Instead support for the Equal Rights Amendment dwindled because John Q. Voter was coming to see how modern liberals use rights—not as instruments of freedom but as new warrants for social control.

And so on. It’s like going through the looking glass with Alice.

House Republicans have agreed to extend the payroll tax holiday without accompanying cuts.

House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and his top lieutenants said they do not want to be held responsible for the tax increase on 160 million workers that would happen if the tax holiday were not extended.

The two sides have been negotiating for weeks but have been unable to strike a deal. Republicans want to continue negotiations over financing the rest of the original legislative package, including an extension of un­employment benefits and a key tweak to maintain Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors, while ensuring that taxes will not rise on workers.

“Because the president and Senate Democratic leaders have not allowed their conferees to support a responsible bipartisan agreement, today House Republicans will introduce a backup plan that would simply extend the payroll tax holiday for the remainder of the year while the conference negotiations continue,” Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said in a joint statement.

Awwwww…that’s big of you boys. Now you can devote full time to the war on women’s health care.

A famous portrait of Mary Todd Lincoln has turned out to be a fraud.

A long-celebrated portrait of Mary Todd Lincoln which hung for decades in the Illinois governor’s mansion has been deemed a fake.

James Cornelius, the curator of the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum, described the painting as part of an elaborate fraud that befell President Abraham Lincoln’s descendants in the 1920s, the Chicago Tribune reports.

“It was supposedly a gift Mary Lincoln planned to give to her husband, but then he was assassinated and she became a widow before she could present it to him,” Cornelius told the Tribune Saturday of the painting’s alleged backstory.

But the truth of the matter, as the Daily Journal reports, is that the portrait supposedly painted as a “secret” present for the president actually depicts an unknown woman who was later doctored to look more like Lincoln. Barry Bauman, a conservator, discovered that the “artist’s” signature had been added to the portrait later, while he was cleaning it.

That’s it for me, except to wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day! Are you getting the feeling it isn’t one of my favorite holidays? What can I say? I’m getting old, and I’m jaded about romance.

What are you reading and blogging about today?

31 Comments on “Tuesday: John Wayne Gacy, Freudian Slips, “the Liberal Bulldozer,” and other Valentine’s Day Reads”

  1. Pat Johnson says:

    PBS presented a masterful series on Lincoln that told the story of the partnership he had with Mary Todd Lincoln. This poor woman suffered greatly throughout her marriage with the loss of her children and the fear that was always with her that he would be harmed.

    She lost her grip on reality but he remained her faithful companion until his death. Though she died a broken woman, estranged from her one remaining son, she was more to be pitied than villified as some historians have described her.

    It would be safe to assume that she suffered great sorrow that led to her mania and today would have found treatment to ease her anguish.

    I have great empathy for Mrs. Lincoln who was just more than the tragic figure that has emerged from history.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I haven’t read a lot about her, but a couple of years ago I read a piece about her supposed insanity. Her son actually forced her into a mental hospital so he could get control of her money. She didn’t seem to really have a serious psychological disorder. She and Abe may both have suffered from depression. I’d like to read more about her.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        Following his assassination she wandered from city to city and her behavior today would more than likely be diagnosed as manic depressive.

        She spent lavishly and often was without the means to pay her bills. Her son did try to intervene but she would have no part of it. Paranoia set in after a time and she was often found wandering around in a sort of haze.

        Medical breakthroughs today would have benefited her but they were unavailable then.

        A very sad ending to a life that caused her so much suffering.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Fox talking head Liz Trotta says women in the military should expect to be raped.

    TROTTA: But while all of this is going on, just a few weeks ago, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta commented on a new Pentagon report on sexual abuse in the military. I think they have actually discovered there is a difference between men and women. And the sexual abuse report says that there has been, since 2006, a 64% increase in violent sexual assaults. Now, what did they expect? These people are in close contact, the whole airing of this issue has never been done by Congress, it’s strictly been a question of pressure from the feminist.

    And the feminists have also directed them, really, to spend a lot of money. They have sexual counselors all over the place, victims’ advocates, sexual response coordinators. … So, you have this whole bureaucracy upon bureaucracy being built up with all kinds of levels of people to support women in the military who are now being raped too much.

    • Pat Johnson says:

      She really is a nasty piece of work.

      • ralphb says:

        And that’s on her “good” days!

      • northwestrain says:

        She is a — Female Chauvinist Pig –(with apologies to real pigs). There is a book of that title which is quoted and referenced in “Enlightened Sexism” by Susan Douglas.

        This Liz person is indeed a nasty piece of work — from the interviews I’ve read. She has a bad case of self hatred. Women can be women’s worst enemies.

        Liz is probably off her meds and the guys with the white straight jacket are looking for her.

    • Allie says:

      Whew – she seems to be blaming victims and those nasty feminists for demanding protection from rape in a male-dominated army that’s out of control. Couldn’t possibly be the years of turning a blind eye to the problem, could it…

    • NW Luna says:

      “being raped too much” ?

      That implies there’s a “just enough” level of rape. What a misogynist idiot.

    • Woman Voter says:

      Liz Trotta AKA #TalibanLiz on sexual assault in the military

      Fox News pays her to make fun of our military women! 😡

  3. Allie says:

    My sister and I are also morbidly drawn to true-crime books.

    If you haven’t already read “The Devil in the White City” – it’s about another serial killer in the Chicago area operating at the time of the 1893 World’s Fair there. According to Wiki – Leonardo DiCaprio bought the film rights in 2010. Very good read.

    Also check out The Monster of Florence if you haven’t yet – fascinating unsolved case and provides a glimpse into the psyche of the prosecutor in the Amanda Knox case, although the murders in Florence are a separate case decades earlier.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Thanks, Allie. I haven’t read either of those. I’d like to read the one about Amanda Knox.

      On the Gacy story, I was fascinated by the young men who left home and then didn’t contact their families for decades. I hope they will be able to reconnect now. I wonder if more of these will turn up?

    • northwestrain says:

      Stalkers and serial killers is probably why I studied Psychology and Personality Structure. The case that was the trigger for me was the Zodiac Killer in the SF Bay area. I went to school with two of his victims. The Zodiac Killer went after couples and the male student that survived the attack was in nearly all of my classes for two years. His girlfriend lived down the hall in the same dorm.

      Then I move to Washington — Ted Bundy was busy as was the Green River monster. The stalker serial killers mostly go after the disposable human population — runaway kids, prostitutes. These monsters tend to be highly mobile — Ted Bundy covered a lot of territory.

      Too bad John Wayne Gacy was executed — because if the theory of multiple killers is true . . . . . Did his partners continue on their own, move to new territory??

      Great topic BB — Ann Rule worked along side Ted Bundy and then she used that to make her name in “True Crime” — but I consider her a flake. She wrote a book about a “criminal” and didn’t really do her research — turns out he was innocent. There’s another true crime writer, Jack Olsen, who wrote about a serial rapist in Spokane. South Hill Rapist — (Kevin Coe, convicted rapist living in the McNell Island Prison ). Jack Olsen’s “Son” is probably one of the best books about serial stalkers. Jack Olsen didn’t have much good to say about Ann Rule’s tabloid style of crime writing. Olsen put a tremendous amount of research into the books he wrote. And he is one of the few that investigated serial rapists — like Kevin Coe and . . . Another of his major works is Doc: The Rape of the Town of Lovell, an incredible account of a Wyoming doctor who relied on his small town patients’ naivete and Mormon female submissiveness to rape generations of them on his office examining table. . . . He began chronicling psychopaths before anyone (himself included) really knew what they or their diseased behavior were bout. Olson wrote one of the genre’s defining classics, Son: A Psychopath and His Victims. It is the story of Kevin Coe, Spokane’s South Hill rapist, whose rich and influential mother was sent to prison after trying to hire a hitman to kill the judge and prosecutor responsible for convicting her son. I: The Creation of a Serial Killer”, also by Olsen — is a classic.

      Jack Olsen (June 7, 1925 – July 16, 2002) was an American journalist and author known for his thorough, scholarly approach to crime reporting. Wikipedia entry

      • northwestrain says:

        I can’t find the name of the “criminal” who wasn’t — that Ann Rule wrote about. Jack Olsen felt Rule was too quick to write (Instant true crime). But I did hear Jack Olsen interviewed on this subject on a local TV station (Seattle).

      • bostonboomer says:

        I’ve read a couple of books by Jack Olson. He’s very good. I read “Doc” years ago. Such a horrifying story. I also read The Creation of a Serial Killer–what a horrifying book! I thought Anne Rule’s book on Ted Bundy was good, but the one on the Green River Killler was disappointing. I haven’t read any of her other books.

      • northwestrain says:

        Those are the two books by Rule that I’ve read. Since both authors are from the Northwest I’ve heard them interviewed many times. “Son” was helpful to understand the psychopathology of rape (one doesn’t need a college degree to understand the way a sick mind works when reading the book) it was so well researched — and apparently a lot of the details of Coe’s depravity weren’t reported. One of the person associated with the case felt that Coe was slowly leading up to killing his victims. Anyway the resources that the dimwitted Liz could have used are out there — but she insisted on being a female chauvinist pig.

        In this modern era how is it that we still have women telling other women that rape is normal — if women want to join the military — or work in a male dominated field? Jack Olsen’s two books about serial rapists shows rape this isn’t “normal” male behavior.

        The discussion above about males raping males (video posted by Woman Voter above) — illustrates the fact that rape isn’t about sex but rather power and control and humiliation. Rape in the military doesn’t surprise me — nor does blaming the victim. Bullying in the military is common place — I witnessed it as a kid growing up on military bases. Spouses of deployed servicemen weren’t safe from rape either. The rapist was merely transferred and the women told to shut up. There is far too much violence happening in the military.

  4. Allie says:

    OOps – did I do that? Sorry BB – the Monster of Florence book is not about the Knox case – but the prosecutor in the Knox case figures into the story. The Florence case was a series of horrific murders in the 70s that have never really been solved, although the authors posit a theory.

    It’s amazing the Gacy case could have been more than one person. I’d like to hear more about what they find with that investigation. And yes – I hope the families can reconcile or have some closure.

  5. foxyladi14 says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day skydancers!!!! 🙂

  6. ralphb says:

    Interesting that in writing about “liberal overreach” the author didn’t remember that those quotas and forced busing were put in place primarily by the Republican Nixon and I believe he got exactly the reaction to those policies that he was expecting. The courts really only ordered integration but didn’t specify how it was to be done.

  7. ralphb says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day to all!

  8. ralphb says:

    New Breeding Program Aimed At Keeping Moderate Republicans From Going Extinct

    WASHINGTON—Saying the now critically endangered species of politician is at high risk for complete extinction within the next 10 years, Beltway-area conservationists announced plans Monday for a new captive breeding program designed to save moderate Republicans.

    According to members of the Initiative to Protect the Political Middle (IPPM), centrist Republicans, who once freely roamed the nation calling for both economic deregulation and a return to Reagan-era tax rates on the wealthy, are in dire need of protection, having lost large portions of their natural terrain to the highly territorial Evangelical and Tea Party breeds.

    As always comedy is truth, as it should be, in The Onion.

    • bostonboomer says:


      • ralphb says:

        Have you seen this. It’s really interesting. Another story by that retired GOP staffer about the right wing.

        “The Right-Wing Id Unzipped”


      • bostonboomer says:

        No. I’ll go read it now.

      • bostonboomer says:

        That’s a very interesting article! Thanks for the link.

      • northwestrain says:

        Dak has also written that the true conservative Republican is very different from the Right wing religious crazies now in control of the GOP. This article reads like a Sociological study [snark].

        Right-wingers have occasioned much recent comment. Theirbehavior in the Republican debates has caused even jaded observers to react like an Oxford don stumbling upon a tribe of headhunting cannibals. In those debates where the moderators did not enforce decorum, these right-wingers, the Republican base, behaved with a single lack of dignity. For a group that displays its supposed pro-life credentials like a neon sign, the biggest applause lines resulted from their hearing about executions or the prospect of someone dying without health insurance.

        Ah yes — the oxymoron — pro-life but loves “them some” executions.