I have to say, I wasn’t really shocked at what I saw when I was watching “City in Fear” tonight, a true crime story on the “MSNBC Investigates” series. This report was about Richard Ramirez, also known as “The Night Stalker,” who gripped not only the Los Angeles area, but the entire state of California, in fear with his brutal rapes, murders, and tortures during the mid-80s.
According to Court TV’s Crime Library, “The police were baffled. But, in the months to come, they were to encounter a madman whose lust for killing and depravity equaled, if not surpassed, that of Jack the Ripper or, more contemporary, the Hillside Strangler. Soon to be named the “Night Stalker” by the press, this madman bore, according to true crime author Richard L. Linedecker, “the horror in his soul of a Stephen King or a Clive Barker fright novel â€“ and more.” A Freddy Kruger. For real.”
The police and L.A. Sheriff, Sherman Block, had finally gotten the true identify of the “Night Stalker,” and they were withholding that and other key factors about the case known only to the police and Ramirez, and this information had clearly been marked “For Law Enforcement Only.” They were most disheartened to see any lead they might have had in their investigation be blown…. on national TV, no less; by none other than then-mayor of San Francisco, Diane Feinstein.
As most police officers know, you never “deal your full hand” to the media when trying to solve brutal crimes, or any high-profile crime for that matter. The police did not have AFIS (the finger-print database), DNA, or many other sophisticated tools that we have today for crime scene investigation. They relied on wit, cunning, and skill as investigators. Sometimes it is best to leave some things unknown to the public; something that only the perpetrator and the police would know. When major crimes happen anywhere, especially serial or mass murders, many psychopaths try to claim responsibility for these crimes due to their notariety and desire for spotlight; but if they don’t know that one important fact that is known only to law enforcement and the true killer, they can easily be elimininated, thus less investigative time is wasted.
Enter Mayor Feinstein. As the then-Sheriff says, “some agencies released more information than they should have,” but I would think someone in the position of Mayor should have known that releasing such details might harm the investigation (I would hope that she would have consulted law enforcement before the press briefing, but apparently she didn’t). Leave it to a power-hungry politician to jump the gun and ruin all of the investigation that had been done thus far. Now, Richard Ramirez, “The Night Stalker,” previously unknown, knew exactly what the police knew of his identity, his crime scenes, signature, and for all we know, he may have been enabled to continue his killing spree for longer than he might have been.
You might be thinking I’m stretching it a bit, saying Mayor Feinstein was just ‘looking out for the community,” but wouldn’t you have expected her to consult the investigators before doing so? Whatever you think, I believe it shows you that certain politicians not only can’t be trusted with matters of local security; but now this particular politician is privvy to issues of national security, and I have to wonder if she can be trusted at all? She’s on the Senate Committee for Homeland Security! It’s no wonder she’s been aghast at the uncovering of the NSA’s secret terrorist spying program, probably claiming she didn’t know about it. But should she have? She’s certainly shown her colors when speaking about the administration’s policy on gathering foreign intelligence and dealing with terrorist threats, whether abroad or at home. I trust Pres. Bush and our military commanders more than I do any senators or congressmen.
Oh, you’re offended? Ask me if I care…..