If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

September Interviews

9/2 Dianne Freeman, A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Murder

9/9 Ellen Byron, Murder in the Bayou Boneyard

9/16 Marilyn Levinson, writing as Allison Brook, Checked Out for Murder

9/23 Rhys Bowen, The Last Mrs. Summers

9/30 Sherry Harris, From Beer To Eternity

September Guest Bloggers

9/19 Judy Alter

WWK Weekend Bloggers

9/5 V. M. Burns

9/12 Jennifer J. Chow

9/26 Kait Carson


For The Love Of Lobster Tales by Shari Randall is now available to download free for a limited time. Go to Black Cat Mysteries at: https://bcmystery.com/ to get your free copy! Thanks for the freebie, Shari.

Keenan Powell recently signed with agent Amy Collins of Talcott Notch. Congratulations, Keenan!

KM Rockwood's "Secrets To The Grave" will appear in the new SinC Chesapeake Chapter's new anthology Invitation To Murder, which will be released by Wildside Press on 10/6.

Congratulations to our two Silver Falchion Finalists Connie Berry and Debra Goldstein!

Paula Gail Benson's "Cosway's Confidence" placed second and Debra Goldstein's "Wabbit's Carat" received Honorable Mention in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 short story contest. Congratulations, Paula and Debra!

Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.

KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.

Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!


Friday, April 18, 2014

Hate Crime Killing

Hate Crime Killing

Sunday afternoon, April 13, a 73-year-old man with a criminal background, who  organized a Klu Klux Klan group in the past, shot and killed two people in the parking lot of the Jewish Community Center of Overland Park, Kansas.  Later that afternoon he shot and killed another person at Village Shalom, a senior living center.  For many years the suspect had made intensely anti-Semitic remarks. 

Two of the murder victims attended the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection.  They were a grandfather and his grandson. It was a double tragedy for one family.  The other person killed attended a Catholic church,  She worked as an occupational therapist with visually impaired children. She was at the senior center to see her mother.  

When arrested the shooter shouted, “Heil Hitler” loudly enough that reporters were able to record his words. 

Kansas City responded with ecumenical prayer services and statements of support for the Jewish community by many religious groups.  High school students organized a “wear white” campaign of remembrance and a candlelight walk to support the families of the victims.
Not long before, the Klu Klux Klan organized a march in Kansas City to show their strength in numbers.  Organizers predicted a turn out in the thousands.  Klan members came out in tens.  People showed up in the hundreds to protest the marchers.  To learn more go to: http://writerswhokill.blogspot.com/2013/11/nazis-and-ku-klux-klan-and-aryan.html

In the past I worked for the local Jewish Family Services. I often attended meetings at the community center.  I also frequently saw the murdered woman around Kansas City although I did not know her.

There is no rational explanation for the violence.  Apparently the shooter was not involved in any white supremacy groups at the time of the shooting.  From what I’ve read, the man led a fairly isolated life.  His neighbors recall him as a loner who made bitter remarks about Jews, but who was otherwise unremarkable.  On the day of the shooting he reportedly had an ordinary conversation with his ex-wife.  She said he did not talk about plans to hurt anyone.

With the rest of the community, I am left feeling shocked and dissatisfied.  I am unable to make any sense out of the murders.  I doubt that the killer could explain his actions in terms I could relate to.  Of course, I’ve known people who make racial/ethnic/religious slurs throughout my life.  Often the remarks start with, “I’m no racist, but…”

Often the poisonous speech is thinly described as humor.  When I Googled “racism” all of the items on the first page of results included the heading “jokes.”  It seems to me that it is no longer acceptable to admit to the label of racist, but I am not convinced that underlying beliefs have changed.  My grandfather made racist statements although he always declined to explain why he thought the way he did.  I doubt he ever really got to know a person of color.  I’ve heard truly disgusting statements by church members, people with advanced degrees and ordinary neighbors.  The remarks often surprised me and left me nearly speechless.  I’m concerned my silence might well have been taken as acceptance or approval.  In one case when a group of roughly ten people were talking I allowed two remarks to pass before I summoned the courage to express disapproval.  As I expected, my remarks were not welcomed.   (And that’s putting it mildly.)   

In thirty years as a psychologist, I worked with people of every imaginable ethnic background who held about every possible religious belief.  A large part of my job was to empathize with my clients, i.e., imagine myself in their place with their life experiences.  I have lived and worked over a number of years in places where people of my ethnicity (Caucasian) were in the minority.  I’ve experienced having to be aware that I might be judged by my ethnicity when engaged in everyday activities like grocery shopping.  On a few occasions I was mistreated due to my ethnicity. 
I do not claim that I know what it is like to be a minority in a Caucasian society.  But I have lived as a member of a minority.  I suspect when racism was openly expressed it was at least easier to know who was and who was not racist.  Nowadays anyone might be and very few will admit to it. 

 A recent Supreme Court decision makes it more difficult to bring voting discrimination cases to court.  Current efforts to make voters prove they are legal citizens — also known as making voting more difficult for citizens — make me distinctly uneasy.  There is no credible evidence that non-citizens vote. I don’t believe everyone who supports that idea is racist, but I feel certain racists support that idea.  


E. B. Davis said...

I think most prejudice is based in fear. I'm not sure what we can do about it, but it seems to be taught in some families, like mom's meatloaf recipe, and passed along. As more schools become integrated and people mingle, there should be less prejudice, less fear. Nonsense killings make for lousy mysteries. There's nothing to figure out because there is no logic. All emotion--fear.

Warren Bull said...

EB There is a song in the musical "South Pacific" about families passing on prejudice: You have to be taught.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Excellent post. It is hard for me to imagine that hate could consume you to such a level as to take another's life--unfortunately it happens all too often.

Jim Jackson said...

I too have effectively countenanced racism through silence, through not challenging racist “statements of fact.” I don’t do it as often, but sometimes I am mentally weak and don’t object. Soon afterwards I regret my not rising to the occasion and hope to do better the next time—knowing in this imperfect world, there will be a next time.

~ Jim

Tina B said...

I'm not sure there is anything uglier than racism. And, it seems one characteristic is often denial. This is such a tragic and needless event with ramifications that will last a very long time. The problems in the Ukraine are deeply troubling. http://time.com/67272/ukraine-jew-register-donetsk/. Let's be extra loving this Good Friday/Passover/today.

Sarah Henning said...

The suspect has a long history of prejudice. When I read his resume of hate, I couldn't believe it. How does someone walk through life with that much hate?

Jenny Milchman said...

What a horrendous tragedy. Words fail, but yours add something, and solace in your encouragement to speak up. Hate smolders in a vacuum.

Gloria Alden said...

Warren, it was such a tragedy. I agree with E.B. that much of it is taught in the home. I heard on NPR today that a lot of this hatred is coming from unemployed white men on the computer visiting the White Supremacist websites which support their views and adds to their prejudices. Apparently they can leave comments and communicate back and forth that way. Sad! Sad! Sad! and incredibly scary.

soyfood said...

Check ou the Southern Poverty Law Center that has been keeping track of these far right groups over many decades.
If this person had been a Muslim, I guarantee that all law enforcement would be calling him a terrorist!
betsy shipley

Linda Rodriguez said...

I believe that we're seeing the last desperate, nasty, violent gasp of the angry, bitter, white racist in this country. It's scary, and I hope it's soon over.

KM Rockwood said...

How sad to think that we humans are so capable of this type of action, whether individually or as a group