Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Bargain Assassins, Death by Mercedes, and the Good Old Days

"Think you could kill her for a little less?"
Robert Basler, Oddly Enough blog, Reuters (December 15, 2010)

"This is just pathetic. You may have seen the story about a former TV chef who pleaded no contest to trying to have his wife killed, and was sentenced to nine years in prison...."

What's pathetic, according to the Oddly Enough's Robert Basler, isn't that this former TV chef pleaded no contest, or that he tried to have his wife killed. It's the way he tried.

The Lemming is inclined to agree with Mr. Basler: though maybe not for the same reasons.

First, and not a pathetic detail, this wannabe uxoricide failed. His wife is okay. Probably royally steamed about what her husband tried to do - and how the twit tried to have her killed: and that's why this is, in Mr. Basler's opinion, "pathetic." In the Lemming's opinion, too.

Here's the deal: this former TV chef wants his wife to die. Instead of doing the job himself, or hiring a competent hit man, he - get this - offers some homeless men $1,000, in exchange for killing his wife.

Back to Mr. Basler's blog:

"...Let's all think about that. I can't decide whether this guy is cheap, or just plain stupid.

"I mean, if these poor guys were good at performing complicated tasks and following directions and so on, chances are they might not be homeless in the first place.

"If my wife ever decides to get rid of me, and who would blame her, I hope she would care enough to spend a few bucks and have it done right...."

The post is done in Mr. Basler's inimitable fashion: and the Lemming found it funny. Your experience, as the Lemming's said before, may vary.

Now, about what that one-time chef tried: and how he tried it.

The Lemming does not think that it's okay to kill one's spouse. Not just on the technical detail that it's illegal these days: there are moral and ethical concerns. As the Lemming put it, in another blog, "murder isn't nice, and you shouldn't do it." (A Catholic Citizen in America (December 26, 2008) That sounds judgmental: and that's another topic.

Now, it's just as well that the Lemming's beliefs include rules about killing for personal reasons. Dig a short distance into the Lemming's psyche, and you'll find: well, let's say an appreciation for the 'good old days.'

That's what prompted the Lemming's response to another Oddly Enough post, one which discussed an unusually bizarre and demeaning (in the Lemming's opinion) bit of fashion. One involving bleached teddy bears. Here's what the Lemming opined, regarding the model's expression:

"...I can't tell for sure, since photography hadn't been invented when some of my ancestors hacked their way into possession of Cawdor Castle,1 but I suspect that's the sort of look my great-to-some-power grandmothers may have had, before they stuck something long and sharp into an offensive person...."

Then there was the Lemming's reminiscences, not previously recorded in this blog, in connection with a news item from Texas. The article, about a two-timing husband, an enraged wife, and a silver Mercedes, recalled to the Lemming the High Renaissance in Italy, when daggers and poison were employed when settling personal disputes, rather than lawyers and courts. Sometimes poisoned daggers, and that's yet another topic.

This set of headlines may jog your memory:Now, the Lemming wishes to emphasize that, in the Lemming's considered opinion, killing your spouse is not only illegal: it's wrong. Even if you've got some reason for doing so. Which, in this case, judging from details in the news, Clara Harris had.

Her husband had cheated on her before, been confronted, agreed to stop: she'd gone to what the Lemming believes are unreasonable lengths to placate the him - and then the jerk cheats on her. Again. Picking up the story, as reported a few days later:

"...Last Wednesday, Clara Harris, accompanied by her 16-year-old stepdaughter, confronted her husband at the hotel where he was meeting his alleged mistress, Gail Bridges, authorities said.

"Bridges and Clara Harris confronted each other in the lobby and Harris tore Bridges' shirt, witnesses said.

"As David Harris walked Bridges to her car, Clara Harris and the 16-year-old girl got into their Mercedes-Benz and crashed into David, sending him 25 feet the other direction, witnesses and police said.

"Prosecutor Mia Magness said Clara Harris then crossed two grassy medians and ran over her husband three more times before putting the car into reverse and backing over his body, leaving the car parked on him...."
(ABC News)

Another account identified the car as a silver Mercedes. Sort of the 20th-century equivalent of a hand-crafted, bejeweled, made-to-order personal dagger.

The detail that stuck in the Lemming's mind was "leaving the car parked on him."

Now, once again, the Lemming does not condone murder. On the other hand, the way Clara Harris acted - making sure she had a witness, using a weapon that could be identified as belonging to her, and leaving the weapon with the body in a public place? That reminded the Lemming of the 'good old days,' when an insulted woman might shishkebab the guilty party: leaving her dagger in the body to leave no reasonable doubt as to who was responsible - and, by implication, why the deed was done.

That was then, this is now: and the defense tried to pass the hotel parking lot incident off as an "accident." (The New York Times)

Not-totally-unrelated posts:


Brigid said...

One, a case of runaway editing? "that's why this is, in Mr. Basler's opinion, the situation is 'pathetic.'"

Two, a case of publishing before finishing? "Back to the former TV chef and "

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

Brian, aka Aluwir, aka Norski said...


"Runaway editing:" I like that phrase. And, yes, that's more-or-less what happened. The other thing? That sentence fragment at the end? It's what's left of a transition that I decided to skip - but didn't remember to delete.


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