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Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Murder Room

Yes occasionally I do go slumming and read a thriller/mystery type fiction or nonfiction. Here's an oldie but goodie from the library or your ereader....  The Murder Room is about the Vidocq Society  a members-only crime-solving club that meets on the third Thursday of every month in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Vidocq Society is named for Eugène François Vidocq, the ground-breaking nineteenth century French detective who helped police by using the psychology of the criminal to solve "cold case" homicides. Vidocq was a former criminal himself, and used his knowledge of the criminal mind to look at murder from the psychological perspective of the perpetrator. At meetings, Vidocq Society Members (VSMs) listen to local law enforcement officials from around the world who bring in cold cases for review.
VSMs are forensic professionals; current and former FBI profilers, homicide investigators, scientists, psychologists, prosecutors and coroners who use their experience to provide justice for investigations that have gone cold. Members are selected by committee invitation only, pay a $100 annual fee, and commit to attend at least one meeting per year.
The Society was formed in 1990 by William Fleisher, Richard Walter, and Frank Bender. It solved its first case in 1991, clearing an innocent man of involvement in the murder of Huey Cox.
Vidocq will only consider cases that meet certain requirements: they must be unsolved deaths more than two years old, the victims cannot have been involved in criminal activity such as prostitution or drug dealing, and the case must be formally presented to them by the appropriate law enforcement agency. The Society does not charge for its services, and pays for the travel expenses of the law enforcement agents who come to present cases.
The Society was featured in several cases of America's Most Wanted TV series, and was also a plot point in the finale of the 2007–08 season of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. In 2010 it became the subject of a book, The Murder Room by Michael Capuzzo.

While reading the book is not for the faint hearted, I found it quite interesting. The clues of numerous horrific and unsolved murders are not skipped over. Still it gave me some insight into the subject that frightens and frustrates people when murderers appear to get away with their crimes. The new forensics popularized in many recent televisions programs. The subtitle of The Murder Room is The Heirs Of Sherlock Holmes Gather To Solve The World's Most Perplexing Cold Cases. The reference to Sherlock Holmes is appropriate indeed.

Finally, like many of the cases references in this book, the details are scattered and seemingly unorganized. In a word the book needs some serious editing. The author skipped between cases with other topics in between. It all made for interesting but somewhat confusing reading.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Deer Hunting With Jesus Rereviewed

I wrote this review in March of 2009 as an introduction to my new second blog Troutbirder II. I recall finding the book interesting and unsettling.  Around that time a friend had accused me of fomenting "class warfare" by my pro labor union comments.  I responded by referring to "famous" social scientist Paris Hilton having pointed out the war was over.  "We won" she said.  I feared she might be right. I needed more information...... so the picked up Deer Hunting With Jesus.

My take on March 17, 2009
"If you are comfortable with all your political, social and cultural assumptions:
DON'T READ THIS BOOK. It's very upsetting.
If you attack people who suggest that the income differential between those who shower before they go to work and those who shower afterwards has increased
enormously in recent decades by accusing them of "class warfare:"
DON'T READ THIS BOOK. You won't like what you find out.
If you think all blue collar working class people are stupid and worse:
DON'T READ THIS BOOK. If you do you might be shocked.
If you get upset because their are "Reagan Democrats," Limbaugh "dittoheads,"
"Armed Old Testament Evangelicals," and "My Country Right or Wrong Superpatriots."
DON'T READ THIS BOOK. It won't make you happy to find out why they exist."

March 9, 2017  A Second Look
Deer Hunting with Jesus    -  Dispatches' From the Class War  

From the church where his brother preaches in tongues to the Rubbermaid plant that employs half his hometown, Bageant uncovers harsh lessons about how liberals failed the people who do society's grunt work, as well as fight our wars, and wind up with nothing to show for it.  They're bitter as hell, but they "vote Republican because no liberal voice...that speaks the rock-bottom, undeniable truth, ever enters their lives."
Bageant's dead serious and damned funny, as he despairs over his benighted brethren but loves them fiercely and wants justice for them. This book is a fantastically readable explanation of why working-class America has given up on liberalism. Winning it back, Bageant writes, means liberals "are going to have to pick up this piece of roadkill with our bare hands."
Looking back on my first review I can't say we weren't warned.  Instead we lost focus and the result was Trumpism with Trump as President. God help the U.S.A.

Of course, the situation has gotten a lot worse since the book was published.  Miss Hilton's team hasn't won but is winning.  Bill Clinton had it right those decades ago..."It's the economy stupid."