Saturday, August 05, 2006

"Random recreational violence."





Recently I put up a post about the pair of serial killing sprees that have terrorized people in the valley for several months.

Today, two suspects are in custody in one of the cases, and that case has been solved. Dale Hausner, 33 (top) and Samuel John Dieteman, 30 (bottom) were taken into custody last night outside their apartment in Mesa and are each facing multiple counts of first degree murder in addition to numerous other charges. The two 'serial shooters' alternated between being shooters, as they used their single shot .410 gauge shotgun to target victims who 'looked to be transients' while the other drove their silver Toyota Camry as the getaway car. Incidentally, though they targetted victims who they thought were transients, not all were-- for example, their last victim, 22 year old Robin Blasnek, was a mentally challenged woman who lived in a group home.

Police say they are certain they have the right men in custody. But Friday, as information about the suspects' lives began to emerge, Phoenix Police Chief Jack Harris said he still couldn't answer what everybody really wants to know: Why someone would do such terrible things.

"Unfortunately," Harris said, "some people get personal enjoyment out of being evil."


And evil it is. What is really disturbing is the term that one of the two suspects used to describe his reason for doing the shootings-- "random recreational violence."

Beyond that, this turns out to continue a trend I've written about in the past (Kill some time, kill a man) in which we have now reached the point in which today's violent society, the 'instant gratification or reset' mentality of some of today's youth, and the dehumanization of the homeless which began when Ronald Reagan claimed they were all out on the street by 'choice' or because they were too lazy to find a job, has produced a deadly confluence in which people who are either transients or (as in this case) appear to be transients to the killers, are simply popped off for 'random recreational violence.'

Further, as I wrote in the January post (following an attack by youths who beat several homeless men, including one to death, on the campus of the University of Florida) about the increasing level of violence targetting the homeless,

Many of the attacks have involved weapons, such as knives and bats, while others have involved straightforward beatings with fists or with feet. What is disturbing though is that the profile of the attackers often is like those who are being sought in this case-- young, usually white males who apparently are looking to amuse themselves. In one case last year, the teens had been watching a copy of the video 'bumfights,' which was made by people who had paid homeless people to fight with each other, and then distributed 300,000 copies. The video was criticized for 'dehumanizing' homeless people. Apparently correctly. It is hard to imagine what must be going through minds of these youths (who often, when caught, it turns out have come from relatively affluent families) who try to kill an afternoon by killing a man.

And that fits the profile in this case as well. Though Hausner, at least, does appear to have had a troubled background (and now has a terminally ill two year old daughter, who does not live with him but who unfortunately was visiting Hausner last night when he was arrested; the girl was returned by police to her mother) both suspects apparently came from families in which they never experienced poverty, and so apparently bought into the misconception of transients as all being that way by choice or because they were lazy. Of course that is a misconception, as many homeless people today were living in a home not so many years ago, and then living 'paycheck to paycheck' when the floor fell out from under them. And the social safety net that would at least have put them in some temporary housing had it happened in the 1970's, has since been sawed away from under them. I've met myself at least two of these folks who are homeless not because they are lazy but because they worked every day of their lives but had lost everything, and just recently my mother in law, who lost her job at 58 last year, was forced to sell her house and move to Colorado (where she is now living in a trailer, thanks largely to my sister in law's help, while she looks for a job). In fact, you may be closer than you think to being in the crosshairs of these kinds of wild youths. As I also wrote in January,

Now, the life of a homeless person is already a very difficult one, even without these two legged wolves out prowling the streets....

With the changes in the bankrupcty bill, it is now possible for millions in the middle class to become homeless simply by having a major medical expense which they can't pay, having the court take their house and sell it to pay the medical creditors, and then ending up on the street. And out of the millions who are now living on thin ice and don't even recognize it, there are thousands who it will happen to.


Hope you are not among those thousands.

Incidentally, the Baseline Killer is still out there, so let's continue to pray for the people in and around Phoenix, and if you live there be sure to contact the police if you have any information about this character:

3 comments:

shayna said...

I'm glad they have the suspects in custody...

and I do pray that the Baseline Killer is caught...

Gosh... it is a scary world we live in...

Lammy said...

Sometimes I get the feeling that we live in a system of "socialism for the rich" which I mean the rich have a lot of influencial friends and government connections and when the floor falls out from under them, they get a lot more aid and help because of their associations. The really poor or paycheck to paycheck people don't have the clout to bounce back as easily as the rich. I've heard of millionaires that have gone bankrupt and came back to being a millionaire in very little time. The common guys don't have the same sources for loans and assistance in finding new income opportunities.
And you seem to make me think that those afluent punks who get good jobs and education because of their wealthy parents, look down on less fortunate people as less than human or even as unreal as characters in a video game.

Eli Blake said...

Lammy,

Video games-- a great analogy. In today's society, when someone thinks of someone else as less than human (even if it is only from a purely hedonistic vantage point) instead of simply treating them poorly as they might have in the past (i.e. prejudice) now it is simply 'pull the trigger and pop, pop, pop, drop.' Just like a video game.

Terrible, really terrible.