Yesterday was the anniversary of one of The Boston Strangler’s more audacious murders: Albert DeSalvo (right, above) raped and strangled Mary Sullivan in her Boston apartment, then left a card reading “Happy New Year” leaning against her foot. She was the 13th and last victim of the maniac who terrified the Boston area between 1962 and 1964. I had a near meeting with DeSalvo: in 1964, he knocked on the door of my family’s neighbors, the Morelands, one afternoon. I saw him; of course, I didn’t know who he was or why he was there. It turned out that he had the wrong address, and went to the street parallel to ours in Arlington, Mass. and murdered the woman who lived at the same house number.
DeSalvo was a serial maniac. In the late 1950s, he knocked on the doors of young women’s apartments, claiming to represent a modeling agency and telling them he needed to take their measurements. Then he fondled the women as he used his tape measure. Police called him “Measuring Man.” Next he broke into hundreds of apartments in New England, tying up the women and sexually assaulting them. He always wore green handyman clothes and became known as the “Green Man.” But “The Boston Strangler” was the name that stuck. DeSalvo avoided execution or even the full life sentence F. Lee Bailey negotiated for him. He was stabbed to death by an inmate at Walpole State Prison after less than a decade behind bars.
Richard Ramirez, aka.”The Night Stalker,” was, amazingly, worse than DeSalvo; last night I watched a documentary about his reign of terror in the ’80s. A Satanist, Ramirez murdered at least 15 people, committed burglaries and rapes, and sexually molested children. He remained defiant throughout his trial, and though he was sentenced to death, California’s endless appeals system kept him alive, at great taxpayer expense, long enough to perish of cancer after less than twenty years in prison.
Both DeSalvo and Ramirez are excellent examples of the kind of anti-social predators who warrant society having and using a death penalty to establish the ultimate punishment for those who have unequivocally forfeited their right to exist in civilized society. For people like them, capitol punishment is ethical. Allowing them to live on society’s dime is unethical, as well as unjust.
1. To lighten the mood, consider this public service spot by Hawaii’s Department of Health. “Keiki” is Hawaiian for “child.”
Yes, this is the level of awareness so many of our state bureaucracies exhibit. The thing was actually greenlighted. After it had been viewed many times, the video was pulled. “As soon as I saw it this morning, I thought, ‘Hey guys, let’s pull this,’ ” Brooks Baehr of Hawaii’s DOH told reporters. “The intentions were noble, but it was clearly not our best work.”
Boy, I hope it wasn’t their best work. With thinking like this going on in our health departments, no wonder the pandemic is still with us. Continue reading