Wednesday, March 7, 2018


Apropos of nothing and with no prompt, this month's check-in is basically, a half-baked melange of what I've been attempting to work on, in terms of fiction writing. As I think a lot of writers do, I try to incorporate real-life events around me into whatever I think will make my writing a bit more exciting.

It did, however, get a wee bit too exciting around here in October and November of 2017 when, along with the usual drug-runners, brain-dead meth-heads tearing around loose with guns and knives, we had a real serial killer pop up in our midst along my bus route. He approached and killed his victims in the one way I would never be able to defend myself against. From behind, and he'd put a bullet in the back of his victims' heads.

I'm not physically afraid of anyone or anything; I've fought off two muggers and chased two idiots out of my house who had the audacity to interrupt my sleep during a wind storm, when my stupid door blew open. A crime of opportunity became a humbling lesson indeed for two young men who didn't think that someone smaller than they were, could be so bat-shit crazy or ferocious. My only reaction to the invasion was one of pissed-offed-ness, as I have trouble sleeping.

But this scenario truly scared me. The TPD had grainy photos of some guy, who could or could not be the shooter, but who knew. That was when I started ordering food online and having it delivered for a short-time. I could think of no way to counter an assassin like that, short of developing eyes in the back of my head, and I'm not going to be around enough eons for that development. We did start pairing up and people were no longer walking alone; always a good thing around here, but I'm also used to my freedom and I hated this.

He quickly took three victims, beginning October 9th, and then, went to earth for about three weeks. Then, one night, in early November, an older man was crossing Nebraska Ave., about a mile north of me, and the shooter got him. The older man was meeting his Pastor to discuss the food kitchen they ran in that sector, and the police nearly caught the shooter, but he got away. The older man died and once again, another part of our community died.

This is what happens in any situation where a life is just wantonly taken. It's not only the man's family or his relatives and friends, but there were others in the kitchen who depended on him to deliver supplies, help prepare the food and serve the homeless. The damage is immeasurable and, while it can be replaced, it's never the same. The person is gone.

Two days following the fourth killing, the shooter, who was working at a McDonald's in Ybor City, handed a bag to his manager and said “Don't look in this bag”. Well, of course, she looked in the bag and saw a .9mm Glock handgun. She called TPD detectives and the shooter was taken into custody. Apparently, there had been some kidding between one of the detectives and the manager that the composite looked like this kid who worked for her who in fact, did turn out to be the killer.

Our Mayor, Bob Buckhorn has been hot about this from the start. He's a good Mayor and a good man. He's determined to see this man go to Starke, which is where our prisoners are put to death in Florida. Mayor Buckhorn was angry from the beginning, as the first victim was a young autistic boy, who had gotten on the wrong bus and was confused. I understand the Mayor's anger in this. Once again, the weak are preyed upon.

Here's what I don't get; this is such a mystery to me and there are so many questions. The shooter bought the gun in his own name, and waited the mandatory 3-day waiting period before picking up the .9mm Glock. Three days later, he committed his first murder. Shortly after that, he committed two more and then stopped. Apparently, the heat wasn't hot enough, so he shot the fourth victim, then two days later, gave the bag to his Mickey D's manager with the admonition “Don't look in this bag!” Who among us, wouldn't look in the bag? We're all curious. This whole murder scenario from gun purchase to arrest is like a connect-the-dots, and I take NOTHING away from the fine TPD. They work their tails off, put up with asses like me – I yelled at one of the officers for having his back to an open door, like I was his mother – and they work under a constrained budget. PLUS, they get out and they know us. I can't think of a finer force of men and women in this job and I'm so grateful for them, but just what was the killer after here?

The shooter was a recent graduate of UVA, in Sports Administration and he was not working in his field. He had been working at UMA at their call center and did so for two months, when he was fired for absenteeism. He then applied for and worked at McDonald's. He had grown up in Tampa, and recently re-located back to this area, after graduating from UVA, but claimed not to “know it very well”, yet as a killer, he appeared to know it very well. He also lived with his parents. For him to commit these types of crimes in Florida seems so reckless (it does anywhere), but, he HAD to know that this is a Death State and the death penalty will be sought. I cannot see him getting out of this by “temporary insanity”.

So, is this an elaborate new way to commit suicide by Fiat? By justice? I really don't understand. What about his parents? Maybe I cannot relate and as a parent, if I KNEW my kid was running around killing people willy-nilly, and saw someone who looked and walked an awful lot like him, wouldn't I be curious? Would I not say something? Or would I, as lots of parents would, instinctively want to protect my child? So, I cannot put too much blame on them. They seem truly, truly shocked and hurt by this. Their son did not even look like himself, at the time of his arrest, so maybe there is a physical reason; a brain tumor, as in the case of Charles Whitman in the Tower of Texas A and M University, in 1964.

I was looking for a way to work this into my “Nebraska Creepers” series, but it is way too soon. People are too raw and skittish. If I do, it will have to be through some miraculous prose-y legerdemain that I do not yet possess to pull it off. But, that's what's been going on in my world. I have deliberately left names and place names out of this post; it's lurid enough, without dredging up more pain for the victims' families. My health is continuing to improve and I have another rent-a-kitty. This one's a mooch. She comes in the house, sits on my furniture, eats my chicken and leaves. All in all, pretty funny cat! Anyway, I hope you all have a productive #IWSG!