Tag Archives: murder

Murder of John Paul I — from the inside?

April 25, 2014

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UnknownThe pages are yellowing in the this English-translation of “The Last Pope” that I couldn’t resist in an antique store, and the copy looked as though it had never been touched.

That should have been one tip that “The Last Pope” was no “The Shoes of the Fisherman,” but the glossy cover of the hardback claimed it was an international bestseller, so I sprang for the $7.

“The Last Pope” was probably worth the $7, but not a cent more. Its premise is that rather than dying in his sleep, as is the official word on the passing of the former Cardinal Albino Luciani, the man who was pope for only 33 days in 1978 was killed because he had made plans to remove high-ranking Vatican officials. Several cardinals from that era are implicated in ordering the pope’s death.

In the story, copies of John Paul I’s supposed plans have made their way out of the Vatican archives, and the bad guys are killing folks to get them back. A beautiful female reporter and a mysterious “Rafael” get involved, and, well, no spoilers here.

What the novel by Luis Miguel Rocha is, of course, is a vehicle to paint the Vatican Curia as corrupt and the church itself as behind-the-times on all kinds of contemporary issues. John Paul I was going to change all that, so the story goes, and the usual Catholic punching bags — birth control, homosexual relations, priestly celibacy, female priests — take their lumps.

That’s too bad, because “The Last Pope” isn’t a bad novel. But it does explain why the eight-year-old copy was sitting untouched in an antique store.

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8 Reasons why I’m Irked with Dr. Kermit Gosnell

May 7, 2013

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GosnellAs I am writing this blog, the jury is still deliberating in the murder trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell. You’ve heard about him, or perhaps not, the media hasn’t given this case of the atrocious abortionist much ink.

So, I decided to list some of my frustrations (in no particular order).

Frustration #1: Gosnell ran what some call “A House of Horrors.” The conditions at his abortion clinic were deplorable. A flea-infested cat roamed the place, cat feces was on the floor right along with blood. Urine could be smelled in the rooms of this “health” clinic in West Philadelphia. Jeanne Monahan, president of the March for Life Education and  Defense Fund, said that “…the majority of abortion clinics in our country are held to very minimal standards: legally the same standards as beauty parlors and vet clinics.” (Catholic News Service)

Frustration #2: The staff at this “House of Horrors” threw the bodies of aborted children into bags, orange juice cartons, milk jugs and cat food boxes.  What a complete disregard for human life! It’s because of this disrespect that they call the babies “fetuses” or “blobs of tissue,” wrench them from their mothers and toss them into the garbage.

Frustration #3: A 41-year-old Nepalese woman lost her life from an over-dose during an abortion at his clinic (she was over-sedated). Where is the concern for the health of women and girls?

Frustration #4: Gosnell, aged 72, used a procedure called “Snipping.” He would cut the spinal cords of premature babies at the base of their sculls causing their deaths. 

Frustration # 5: Four babies were born alive during illegal, late-term abortions in his clinic…and then they were killed. THIS IS INFANTICIDE! THIS IS MURDER! The prosecutor cited Pennsylvania law stating that if a baby delivered during an abortion “shows any sign of life, it’s considered alive–a heartbeat, breathing, a cry, movement.” (New York Times) And staff testifying in this case say that the four babies did indeed have signs of life.

Frustration #6: He failed to counsel patients a day in advance of the horrific procedures, and during the abortions, he often turned the ultra sound screen away from the women/teens so that they didn’t see the babies’ images.

Frustration #7: Dr. Gosnell charged $3,000 for his meat-market style of assembly line abortions. Most of his patients were poor, and their late-term abortions were illegal. The bigger the baby, the more he charged. He joked that one baby was big enough to walk him home. Sometimes Gosnell and his wife, Pearl–a cosmetologist–performed late-term abortions on Sundays when nobody else was around.

Frustration #8: Some of his staff was not licensed (like his wife). Yikes!

If you know of any other atrocities about this case that you’d like to add to my list, please write them in the “comments” section below. Doing so will help to get the word out! Thank you!

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14 murders. Serial killer. Florence. True-detective-story. Can’t go wrong!

March 14, 2012

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If you’ve ever wanted a reason to be glad you’re an American, read “The Monster of Florence.”

Italy has the judicial system from hell, and Doug Preston and Mario Spezi describe it the way Dante did — only this time it’s a true story.

The best-selling American novelist and the hard-working Italian reporter found out just how devilish that corrupt, ethics-barren system could be when they began investigating what appears to be serial killings in the hills around Florence.

Over the course of 14 years seven couples were found slain after parking in “lovers’ lane” types of spots in the scenic Tuscan hills. The males were shot with the same Beretta, the females pulled from the cars, killed, stripped and their sexual parts cut out with a knife and taken.

When I get to that latter part of a book, that’s when I usually toss it aside. But the misogyny here is not what “The Monster of Florence” is about.

It’s a page-turner

This is a nonfiction crime story told as well as any of the novels by Doug Preston (“Relic,” for example) that have sold millions. Once the authors start on the trail to see the murder cases solved and justice done, the tale is can’t-put-it-down reading.

Along with being a compelling story — who doesn’t want to find out who The Monster of Florence is ? — the ineptness and unprofessionalism of Italian police, investigators, judicial administrators and judges all turn the story on its head to the point where the reporters covering the story become accused of involvement in covering up the crime, and Spezi is suspected himself as being the Monster and gets thrown in jail.

But listen to this: He isn’t told what he’s being charged with.

In Italy, you can be arrested and the charges “sealed” because they are a “secret.”

And investigators can prevent you from talking with an attorney. In the meantime, the investigators leak the charges to the media, making up whatever they want without any evidence. The salacious Italian media eat it up with a spoon, not checking the statements, not demanding evidence.

Ever hear of Amanda Knox?

This book has been out for more than two years, so no, it’s not new. But there is a coincidence that makes this story fresh and worth reading.

Remember Amanda Knox? Spent four years in jail waiting for her murder trial to be held, was convicted, then the conviction thrown out on appeal?

The same investigator who jailed “The Monster of Florence” authors handled the Amanda Knox case.

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Mixing Missing Person Case with Marconi?

September 7, 2010

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thunderstruck cover

“Thunderstruck,”

by Erik Larson

For more than half of Erik Larson’s 2006 book, readers have to wonder how the best-selling author is ever going to bring together the story of the invention of wireless telegraphy with the true story of a famous English crime.

“Thunderstruck” is a narrative history that bounces back and forth between the lives of world-renown Guglielmo Marconi and one Hawley Crippen, an American caught up in a sham of a marriage. Once Marconi’s network of transmitting towers and receivers develops to the point of enabling easy wireless trans-Atlantic messaging — and once Crippen apparently has had enough of his wife’s browbeating — what emerges is one of the great chases of all time, one followed around the world thanks to Marconi’s invention.

Ship-to-shore and ship-to-ship dispatches fly through the ether between England and North America, building suspense.

Will Scotland Yard find Cora Crippen alive?

Will the ghastly partial remains of a human being turn out to be the overbearing wife of the kind, timid man?

Will nascent wireless traffic be intercepted by the wrong people, including the yellow journalism practitioners of the early 20th century, and blow the capture of the suspect?

The biography of Marconi almost becomes a by-product of the drama, but it’s an interesting life story all the same. And the 392 pages of the Crown Publishers hardcover eventually make for can’t-put-this-down reading. — bz

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