When I first came upon the Jared Loughner mug shot, my mind flashed back to 1977.
That was when I was working for the Associated Press. I was sent to State Supreme Court in Brooklyn to cover the first courtroom appearance of David Berkowitz, known previously as “Son of Sam.”
The courtroom was jammed, and he was hustled in by a bevy of court officers while chanting in a sing-song voice, “Stacy was a whore. Stacy was a whore.”
His outburst shocked the spectators, among whom, as I recall, were family members of victims of his serial killing. Among the families were relatives of Stacy Moskowitz.
Shocking as was his outburst, I was even more struck by the wild look in his eyes. He had the appearance of a maniac, and a psychologist I interviewed soon thereafter said I wasn’t mistaken to equate that look with that of a crazed individual. He added that everyone mentioned the eyes–always the eyes–when it came to someone who had fallen into the deepest abyss of mental illness.
Of course, it is Loughner’s eyes that grip many of us.
But let me tell you that his photo–how he appeared in person I have no way of knowing–makes him look like a doe caught in the headlights compared with the animal ferocity that those of us perceived in Son of Sam. The difference to me is one only of degree, perhaps because I was witnessed just one of them live.
As long as I am on the subject of Loughner, I feel compelled to make an observation about the immigration law and the ethnicity of two of the event’s heroes. How would much more painful would the tragic shooting have been if Daniel Hernandez Jr. and Dr. Peter Rhee had not been living in Arizona?
It seems that Rhee and Hernandez were born here. Hernandez says his mother arrived from Mexico the year before his birth and that his father was then a Californian. Does it make a difference under what circumstances they, their parents or their forbears arrived? Of course not!
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