Crime all the Time

By Katie Koth

The Death of Elizabeth Short

Words cannot comprehend how sad this reading was for me. I had actually heard of the death of Elizabeth Short before. It is one of the most well-known murder crimes of the mid 1900s. The details of the murder are horrifying. She had rope burns along her wrists and ankles, indicating that she had been “spread-eagled”. There were cuts along the breasts. Obviously, this girl had endured significant amounts of torture before her untimely murder.

One thing I’m a little confused about. The killer tortured the Dahlia so severely for several days. But once the victim choked on her own blood, the killer took care of the mess. He drained her blood, cleaned her body, and even shampooed her hair. Why?

The layout of this article was very good. I loved how it pulls the reader in and captivates them. I pictured a Law and Order episode while reading it. The body is discovered, and it’s a mystery who the body actually is. So they spend the first half of the episode searching for clues. Once the victim is identified, they spend the second half of the episode trying to figure out who did it. This is the basic structure to any Law and Order episode. However, most Law and Order episodes resolve, and this one didn’t. It left the reader completely in shambles wondering WHO KILLED ELIZABETH SHORT?????

Escape!

First of all, the name “Baby Face Nelson” certainly does not sound like a cold hard criminal. I couldn’t help but laugh when I first read his name. Couldn’t he be more menacing in his choice of name?

This guy is tough. No matter how many times the police would put him behind bars, he would escape. He’s not your average criminal. Eventually, he grew tired of the cops, and actually began killing them too. Talk about a bad boy.

Reading about all of these prison escapes makes me think about this in a different way. Society often considers criminals to be dumb and insane. But if these men can escape prison multiple times, then it must mean two things: either they are smarter than we give them credit for, or there is something seriously wrong with the law enforcement system.

Genius

In the comic Torse, we read the exciting story about a murderer that leaves the only the torsos of his victims. At first, I was very confused as to why he did this. Clearly, it is insane to be a chain murderer in the first place. But chopping off the heads and limbs of your victims seems like a whole other level of crazy. Then, I realized the opposite of what I thought in the first place. The murderer was actually a genius. Back in those days, it was extremely difficult to identify the body if there is no face or fingerprints to go off of. Therefore, it would be even harder to identify the man who killed the body. Genius!

This is probably the most graphic comic I”ve ever read. Not only were the heads and limbs removed from the bodies, but all the blood was drained from them as well. Furthermore, the genital area of one of the bodies was also removed, making the suspicion of a sex crime a possibility.

I found the comic style of this book to be a little challenging to read. While it was entertaining, there were a lot of details in each picture, and I sometimes missed an important detail and had to go back and read it over again.

Ballads

First of all, I love and hate the poem form of these ballads. I love it because I’m partial to poetry and it is a new and creative way to describe these crimes. However, it portrays the crimes as light and fluffy, rather than dark and dirty, as some of them are. So it gives me mixed feelings.
I also want to applaud the authors of these ballad poems for how well structured they are. They all seem to include so much detail about the crimes and the people in them, and they manage to do this while rhyming!!! For example, in the Murder at Fall River, we learn the year and the month in which the murder took place. We also learn about Lizzie, the suspect of the murder who was set free. The author was able to tell a detailed story and still make it sound very poetic. Bravo for that.
My favorite of the ballads we read was definitely Bonnie and Clyde. Everyone should know the classic story of the Barrow gang. The two went around stealing everything, and murdering those who told on them. Their entire story is thrilling, and the poem just makes it better.

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Talk about dramatic. The Ballad of Fred and Allie is such a crazy story. Fred and Alice met in grade school and began to fall in love as their friendship grew older. The idea of same sex couples was highly frowned upon in 1891, and it’s interesting to see the mother’s response to the two girl’s relationship. The text says that whenever they observed their friendship becoming too much, it was tolerated and ignored. This is interesting. It seems to imply that back then, a lesbian love wasn’t even thought of as a possibility. When the mother found the engagement ring, however, all hell broke lose. The ring was returned to Alice, who realized that they could never be together on this earth. This became her motive for the murder. She eventually ended up slitting Fred’s throat, thinking that she would kill herself right after. Then the two of them could live happily together in the afterlife. However, Alice was unable to kill herself after because she was apprehended by Fred’s family.
Was that her plan all along though? It says in the text that Fred began to flirt with other boys and wrote about them in her letters. Alice always seemed to be more interested in their relationship than Fred was, despite her claim otherwise. Also, when Fred visited, they did not speak, which probably aggravated Alice a great deal. Perhaps the murder was not so the two could be together later. Perhaps she was driven by the rejection of the engagement, and acted rashly based on her emotions.
Either way, Alice was considered mentally insane after the murder. However, the love Alice had for Fred was considered more inappropriate than the murder. This highlights how much society hated same sex love in the late 1800s. This to me seems so ridiculous, and makes me angry. In no society should same sex love be worse than a murder. Even gay haters these days would admit to this. This idea seems crazy to me.

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