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A sniperís mark from realm of fiction - The killerís calling card reveals echoes of old movie
MSNBC ^ | 10/10/02 | Paul Farhi

Posted on 10/10/2002 10:56:58 AM PDT by areafiftyone

Oct. 10 — Life sometimes has a disturbing habit of mimicking art. Charles Manson’s followers scrawled the name of a Beatles song, “Helter Skelter,” on the walls of a house owned by one of their victims. The shootings at a school in West Paducah, Ky., in 1997 allegedly were inspired by a scene from a Leonardo DiCaprio movie, “The Basketball Diaries.” A 1994 murder in Texas bore disturbing similarities to events depicted in Oliver Stone’s “Natural Born Killers.” And now — maybe it’s just a coincidence — there are echoes of an old movie in a new crime.

THE MOVIE, “MALICE,” is a psychological thriller released in 1993 and starring Alec Baldwin. “You ask me if I have a God complex?” Baldwin’s character, a surgeon, says when challenged during a legal deposition. He pauses dramatically before declaring, “Let me tell you something: I am God!”

(Excerpt) Read more at msnbc.com ...


TOPICS: Editorial; US: District of Columbia; US: Maryland; US: Virginia
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 10/10/2002 10:56:58 AM PDT by areafiftyone
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To: areafiftyone
I'm sure the shooter couldn't possibly have gotten the idea that serial killers are misunderstood geniuses from movies like "Se7en" or "Silence of the Lambs."
2 posted on 10/10/2002 11:02:26 AM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum
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To: areafiftyone
Nothing more dangerous than a "Crazed Loner" with a driver.
3 posted on 10/10/2002 11:04:06 AM PDT by Mike Darancette
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To: areafiftyone
The only problem with the theory that the killer was influenced by the movie Malice is that, presumably, no one actually saw that lame Alec Baldwin flick.
4 posted on 10/10/2002 11:08:51 AM PDT by Dr. Frank fan
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To: areafiftyone
When I heard of the tarot card, I first thought of "Apocolypse Now". Cards with the unit designations (In this case, the 1st Cav) would be placed on the enemy dead so that the VC would know who had killed them.
5 posted on 10/10/2002 11:12:09 AM PDT by maximus@Nashville
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To: areafiftyone
The murderer(s) might have placed the card there. Or someone else, unassociated, might have. Odd that there are two suspects, and that they are apparently still using the white van.
6 posted on 10/10/2002 11:16:57 AM PDT by RightWhale
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To: areafiftyone
Life sometimes has a disturbing habit of mimicking art. Charles Manson’s followers scrawled the name of a Beatles song, “Helter Skelter,” on the walls of a house owned by one of their victims. The shootings at a school in West Paducah, Ky., in 1997 allegedly were inspired by a scene from a Leonardo DiCaprio movie, “The Basketball Diaries.” A 1994 murder in Texas bore disturbing similarities to events depicted in Oliver Stone’s “Natural Born Killers.” And now — maybe it’s just a coincidence — there are echoes of an old movie in a new crime.
It could be a quirk, unrelated to a forgettable film, but for this disturbing fact: ‘Malice’ aired on the TBS cable network last Thursday evening, four days before the tarot card turned up in the woods outside a Bowie middle school.

THE MOVIE, “MALICE,” is a psychological thriller released in 1993 and starring Alec Baldwin. “You ask me if I have a God complex?” Baldwin’s character, a surgeon, says when challenged during a legal deposition. He pauses dramatically before declaring, “Let me tell you something: I am God!”
I am God. The same three-word declaration of psychopathic egomania appears on a tarot card found Monday by police at the scene of the sniper shooting in Bowie. It could be a quirk, unrelated to a forgettable film, but for this disturbing fact: “Malice” aired on the TBS cable network last Thursday evening, only four days before the tarot card turned up in the woods outside a Bowie middle school.
Related or not, the killer’s brazen means of communication puts a chilling real-world spin on an ancient device in fiction, the “signature,” a distinctive mark left by a character to announce some misdeed or just his presence. It’s his taunt, his boast, his brand.
The discovery of the card recalls the signature of a fictional sniper in James Patterson and Andrew Gross’s recent best-selling thriller, “Second Chance.” In that story, the most striking clue in the murder of a girl outside a church is a calling card in the shape of a mythical monster called a chimera.

SIGNATURES IN ART HIGH AND LOW
Signatures pop up in popular art high and low. It’s the Riddler’s question mark, left behind to rile Batman. It’s the playing card that Lt. Col. Bill Kilgore (Robert Duvall) leaves on the bodies of Viet Cong killed by his air raids in “Apocalypse Now.”
It’s the fish sent to the Corleones by Luca Brasi’s assassins in “The Godfather” — the visual realization of the notion that Brasi would henceforth be “sleeping with the fishes.” It’s the horse head in the bed.
And it’s sick, of course, when the stuff of dreams and nightmares transmogrifies into reality.
“It’s kind of a creepy phenomenon of modern life [for a criminal] to blur the line of the fictional,” says Maureen Corrigan, who teaches a course in detective fiction at Georgetown University and reviews such books for NPR and The Post. “I’ve read that scene a thousand times where the killer leaves a playing card on the body, usually the ace of spades. This guy is following that same pattern.”
The signature has, of course, been real before. The burning crosses and white hoods of the Ku Klux Klan were portents of terror in the post-Civil War South and Midwest. The Black Hand was the symbol and name for a terroristic secret society that was associated with the Mafia. It was especially active in New York City in the late 19th and early 20th century. According to the Columbia Encyclopedia, as much as 90 percent of New York’s Italian population was blackmailed by letters threatening death and marked with a black hand.
In more recent times, attention-craving serial killers have “marked” their crimes with letters to authorities or even the news media. David Berkowitz, the Son of Sam, more or less corresponded with New York newspaper columnist Jimmy Breslin in 1976 and 1977 before being brought to justice. The Zodiac Killer — so called because his crimes occurred in close proximity to a solstice or equinox — mailed as many 20 letters to news media in California between 1966 and 1981, claiming “credit” for various murders (the letters contained intimate knowledge of events, and thus were considered authentic by investigators). The Zodiac Killer was never apprehended.

NOT ALWAYS SINISTER
But the “signature” isn’t always sinister. Good guys use it, too. Think of the Lone Ranger’s silver bullet, or Zorro slashing a “Z” on the imperialists. The TV hero Paladin, who dispensed his own brand of frontier justice, had a business card adorned with a chess piece that read “Have Gun Will Travel.”
Think, too, of the Scarlet Pimpernel, who saved the innocent from the guillotine and memorialized his good deeds with . . . a scarlet pimpernel (a reddish flower).
“My first reaction when I picked up the paper this morning was that this guy has been reading too many bad novels, or watching too many lousy TV shows,” says a local author, who writes best-selling suspense thrillers. “You don’t often see a villain who acts like a Hollywood character.”
The author, who asked not to be identified out of concern for himself and his family, says the sniper may be lifting a technique employed by all thrillers and works of suspense: leaving a clue for the hero (and the reader/viewer) to chase down. In this way, he would be creating a more tantalizing mystery — precisely what creators of fiction strive for.
Reality following fiction? And someday perhaps fiction will follow this bad patch of reality. Can scriptwriters resist the notion of a murderous character who leaves tarot cards?
Not likely, answers the author. “The snake,” he says, “has swallowed its tail.”
7 posted on 10/10/2002 11:43:56 AM PDT by sharktrager
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
Or the new flick "Red Dragon"--the comment about "I am God" specifically.
8 posted on 10/10/2002 11:47:50 AM PDT by pankot
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To: pankot
Or the new flick "Red Dragon"--the comment about "I am God" specifically.

Good catch. I even remembered that but didn't connect it to this.

9 posted on 10/10/2002 11:57:26 AM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum
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To: areafiftyone
I think the police should arrest Alec Baldwin and beat a confession out of him.
10 posted on 10/10/2002 12:01:10 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: Dr. Frank
The only problem with the theory that the killer was influenced by the movie Malice is that, presumably, no one actually saw that lame Alec Baldwin flick.

I saw it, and enjoyed it quite a bit, enough to buy it on DVD.

Bill Pullman, Nicole Kidman, the always great Bebe Neuwirth, and yes, even the obnoxious Alec Baldwin are all great in the film, and Anne Bancroft absolutely shines in her small but important role. Alec Baldwin can't miss because his character is *supposed* to be arrogant and amoral.

And it's not an "Alec Baldwin flick". The central character is Bill Pullman, and he gets most of the screen time. Without giving away too much of the twisty plot, Pullman is an "everyday guy" school teacher who is wronged, and has to learn how to become cunning enough to defeat the opposition at their own game.

It's not "Citizen Kane", to be sure, but it's a very enjoyable film if you're a fan of the "double-double-double-cross" genre of psychological thrillers.

11 posted on 10/10/2002 12:01:54 PM PDT by Dan Day
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To: areafiftyone
Recall the old difference between jokes/ Lawyers/whores etc?
Difference between G-d and a doctor? G-d doesn't think HE is a doctor.....
12 posted on 10/10/2002 12:04:35 PM PDT by litehaus
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To: areafiftyone
Also consider the Nazi concentration camp commander in Schindler's List. Remember the scenes where he randomly shot inmates from his balcony and Schindler convinced him temporarily that he was like God with the power to punish or absolve?
13 posted on 10/10/2002 12:06:22 PM PDT by flying Elvis
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To: flying Elvis
Nazi concentration camp commander

HILLARY???? ;-)

14 posted on 10/10/2002 12:09:23 PM PDT by areafiftyone
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To: Dr. Frank
The only problem with the theory that the killer was influenced by the movie Malice is that, presumably, no one actually saw that lame Alec Baldwin flick.

Actually, the main problem with the theory is that other than the appearance of the same three-word-phrase, there's no other similarity between the DC sniper and the film "Malice".

"Malice" has no scene with tarot cards, the phrase is spoken and not written or left as a "message", and the phrase is pronounced as an arrogant statement of the character's ability to SAVE lives (as a doctor -- who is not a serial killer) and not in relation to the taking of lives.

And it's not that uncommon a phrase. You can find it in the film "Impromptu" ("Good evening. I am God"), "The Lawnmower Man" ("I am God here!"), the 1996 TV series "Superman" ("I am many things, Kal-El... here, I am God"), and so on.

15 posted on 10/10/2002 12:14:42 PM PDT by Dan Day
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To: Dan Day
I recall a movie (unfortunately not the title) featuring an American combat squad in a European village with their sniper in the bell tower for cover. The sniper answered his radio with "this is God."
16 posted on 10/10/2002 12:41:39 PM PDT by Jumpmaster
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To: areafiftyone
Given some of Alec Baldwin's whackier deeds of the past few years...

Has anyone actually seen him of late? :o)

17 posted on 10/10/2002 12:43:04 PM PDT by Poohbah
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To: Jumpmaster
The movie was "Navy SEALs."

Intel weenie at debrief: "Did you engage hostiles?"

"Sir, I vaporized hostiles."

18 posted on 10/10/2002 12:44:12 PM PDT by Poohbah
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To: Jumpmaster
In that movie "Navy SEALS" they are using the God reference to mean he is watching over his "flock" not to mean that he is dispensing life and death on a whim!!
19 posted on 10/10/2002 1:29:56 PM PDT by Nitro
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To: Nitro
In that movie "Navy SEALS" they are using the God reference to mean he is watching over his "flock" not to mean that he is dispensing life and death on a whim!!

Dispensing life and death, most certainly. However, not on a whim but as necessary. The straight-up professional approach, as is true of all US snipers in combat.

20 posted on 10/10/2002 1:40:17 PM PDT by toddst
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To: areafiftyone
Bump The Freeper Tagline Challenge!

Double Your Donation - For Details Click Here

21 posted on 10/10/2002 1:42:35 PM PDT by cake_crumb
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To: areafiftyone
...He's an ALEC BALDWIN fan too?? MAN...he IS nuts!
22 posted on 10/10/2002 1:43:25 PM PDT by cake_crumb
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To: areafiftyone
Verily, I am God: there is no God but I: so serve thou me, and establish regular prayer for celebrating my praise. -- Koran 20:14
23 posted on 10/10/2002 1:46:23 PM PDT by Liberal Classic
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
From "The Regulators" by Richard Bachman/Stephen King review:

It is a summer afternoon on Poplar Street in Wentworth, Ohio, and the 14-year-old who delivers the local shopper is biking his route. A weird-looking red van waits, motor running, at one end of the block. When the vehicle coasts down the street, the "fun" begins. Its windows roll down to let shotgun barrels protrude. The boy is blasted off his bike, the first of many victims of a wave of assaults by a strange company of cartoonish, futuristic shock troopers and western-movie cowboys...

24 posted on 10/10/2002 1:47:47 PM PDT by hispanarepublicana
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To: Dog Gone
I think the police should arrest Alec Baldwin and beat a confession out of him.

Isn't that your solution for everything?;^)

25 posted on 10/10/2002 2:33:23 PM PDT by Oztrich Boy
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To: Oztrich Boy
Yes. The solution to Global Warming is to arrest Alec Baldwin and beat a confession out of him.
26 posted on 10/10/2002 2:35:22 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: sharktrager
“Malice” aired on the TBS cable network last Thursday evening, only four days before the tarot card turned up in the woods outside a Bowie middle school.

What time did it air? It seems unlikely the sniper would have watched it, in view of the fact that he was shooting that Haitian man on Georgia Ave. in D.C. at 9:20 PM that Thursday evening.

27 posted on 10/10/2002 2:38:37 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: maximus@Nashville
We always only used the Ace of Spades and then only in their mouth.
28 posted on 10/10/2002 2:54:35 PM PDT by mad_as_he$$
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To: Dog Gone
I think the police should arrest Alec Baldwin and beat a confession out of him.

I hope they're wearing rubber gloves...

29 posted on 10/10/2002 4:15:27 PM PDT by fire_eye
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
It was a book before it was a movie. I can't find my copy but the cops ought to check out a copy--may have clues to this nutcase. (an ex-cop)
30 posted on 10/11/2002 3:55:46 PM PDT by pankot
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